The Royal Enfield Classic 350 Meets Its Competition...

  • Sep 1, 2021
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… on paper

Royal Enfield has delivered well with the pricing of the new Classic 350, although the premium colour models do feel rather pricey. However, do its specs feel a bit underwhelming when compared to the competition? Or has Royal Enfield done enough to fend off the likes of the Jawa and the Honda CB350 H’ness? Here’s how the spec sheets stack up:

ENGINE

Specifications

2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350

Honda CB350 H’ness

Jawa

Engine

349cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled, 2-valve engine

348.36cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled, 2-valve engine

293cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4-valve engine

Power

20.48PS @ 6100rpm

21PS @ 5500rpm

27.33PS

Torque

27Nm @ 4000rpm

30Nm @ 3000rpm

27.02Nm

Gearbox

5-speed

5-speed

6-speed

There’s no debating the Jawa’s sporty genes. It has a slightly more sophisticated short-stroke engine that likes to be revved. Recently, the motor got the same set of updates that we saw on the Jawa 42 2.1, which made it a bit more usable and tractable.

Having said that, the Honda has the torquiest engine here. Its power figures might just be a bit more than the Classic’s, but with better bottom-end torque, it should be the quicker bike. Having tested the new J1-349 mill on the Meteor 350, we expect the new RE engine to be tractable and pretty sprightly. Yes, the Classic will not be as quick as the other two but what might work in its favour is its gearbox, or rather the gear ratios. The Jawa’s closely stacked six-speed ‘box will have you working the cogs a fair bit in the city and the tall ratios on the Honda don’t do it much favours when you want to ride in a chilled manner.

UNDERPINNINGS

Specifications

2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350

Honda CB350 H’ness

Jawa

Frame

Dual-cradle frame

Half duplex cradle

Double cradle frame

Front suspension

Telescopic fork

Telescopic fork

Telescopic fork

Rear suspension

Twin shocks

Twin shocks

Gas-charged twin shocks

Front brake

300mm disc with 2-piston caliper

310mm disc with 2-piston caliper

280mm disc with 2-piston caliper

Rear brake

270mm disc with 1-piston caliper

240mm disc with 1-piston caliper

240mm disc with 1-piston caliper

Front tyre

100/90 - 19

100/90 - 19

90/90-18

Rear tyre

120/80 - 18

130/70 - 18

120/80-17

Although it might not be that obvious, Royal Enfield has taken a major leap in terms of hardware on the Classic. The new chassis is said to be beautifully balanced while still endeavouring to give you that authentic old-school charm.

The Jawa again has the better mechanical setup for someone looking at something sporty and retro. Its smaller wheels, in conjunction with the steering geometry, set the rider up nicely for a thrilling ride to the nearby twisties.

DIMENSION

Specifications

2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350

Honda CB350 H’ness

Jawa

Wheelbase

1390mm

1441mm

1369mm

Ground clearance

170mm

166mm

-

Fuel tank capacity

13-litres

15-litres

14-litres

Seat height

805mm

800mm

765mm

Kerb weight

195kg

181kg

172kg

The Jawa takes the cake here with its low seat height, light kerb weight and short wheelbase. Ground clearance is a bit of a concern on the Jawa as you might just end up rubbing up the underbelly of the bike on some gnarly speed humps.

The Classic’s heft and small fuel tank don’t do it much favours. For a bike that instilled the idea of freedom on the open road for the majority of Indians, the smaller fuel tank is a bit of a shame. In that sense, the Honda has the right middle ground: good ground clearance, not too heavy, and a large fuel tank. Its long wheelbase does make it a bit lazy in the corners but hey, this isn’t a bike to go hooning on.

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FEATURES

 

2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350

Honda CB350 H’ness

Jawa

LED lighting

No

Yes

No

Smartphone connectivity module

Only Tripper pod

On the DLX Pro variant

No

USB charger

No

Type C only

No

It is a shame that Royal Enfield skimped on offering LEDs on the new Classic. We expected at least an LED DRL and tail-light, like the Meteor 350, but RE decided to keep it quite ‘authentic.’ Thankfully, there is a small digital inset which displays an odometer, a tripmeter, and, for the first time on the Classic, a fuel gauge!

The Honda is truly the modern package here. LEDs all around, a slightly larger digital inset and even smartphone connectivity module for the premium variant. Plus, not to forget, the CB350 has traction control.

No fancy stuff for the Jawa as the only modern bit on the bike is a small digital bar that reads out the odo and a tripmeter.

PRICE & VERDICT

2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350

Honda CB350 H’ness

Jawa

Redditch (single-channel ABS): Rs 1,84,374

Halcyon Series: Rs 1,93,123

Signals Series: Rs 2,04,367

Dark Series: Rs 2,11,465

Chrome Series: Rs 2,15,118

DLX: Rs 1,94,450

DLX Pro: Rs 1,99,450

Single-channel ABS: Rs 1,78,415

Dual-channel ABS: Rs 1,87,357

Limited edition colours: Rs 1,93,357

(all prices ex-showroom Delhi)

Only Jawa and Royal Enfield offer their bikes in a single-channel ABS avatar. We would definitely recommend you spend the extra bit and get yourself the dual-channel ABS options for their wider safety net.

As far as a true blue retro experience goes, the Classic 350 (certain colours) manages to undercut the Honda CB350 by a big margin. And considering the vast network of Royal Enfield touchpoints across the country, getting a Classic 350 wouldn’t be much of a bother.

Lastly, for a slightly spirited rider, the Jawa still holds promise. Having said that, we would like to pit the two bikes, the Classic and the Jawa, head to head to give you a clearer picture.

Royal Enfield Classic 350
Royal Enfield Classic 350
Rs. 1.93 Lakh
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