Royal Enfield Meteor 350 Long-term Review: Change Of Hands At 13,410km

  • Sep 5, 2022
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After being through remote villages and congested city roads, the Meteor received a grand farewell with wide open roads and a fully-pinned throttle

Odometer Reading: 13,410.3km

Fuel Efficiency achieved: 23.36kmpl 

The last five months have been eventful and the Royal Enfield Meteor 350 has been a constant companion, truly free of any issues. And, as a Royal Enfield Thunderbird owner, I’m surprised how things have changed for the better with the Meteor. 

In May, I went to Navi Mumbai, picked up my partner and then visited a village called Mugaon, which lies beyond Lavasa, near Pune, for social work. The Pune-Mumbai run and back was an absolute breeze. 

After the first toll from Pune, a random rider on a Suzuki Gixxer SF started riding along with me, matching my pace. We never exchanged a single word, but we still had an understanding that we’d watch each other’s backs on our journey to Mumbai. Him and I then pulled over to take a short break after the ghats. Got to know he was also a fellow south Indian heading home for the weekend. We parted ways at Belapur, from where I returned to Pune with my pillion. 

The pillion comfort is excellent on highway roads, and from someone who hasn’t really been on long rides, positive feedback like this really speaks volumes about how comfy the Meteor is. The cushioned backrest not only relieves your lower back from strain but also gives you a sense of security that you won’t slide off the pillion seat - something I was really paranoid about while riding pillion on my colleague Arun Nadar’s previous generation KTM 390 Duke a few years ago. 

After crossing Pune and then Lavasa, the roads started to virtually disappear as we headed deeper into remote villages. It also made me realise how bikes like the Meteor are so different from what rural India requires. 

At one point, I had to tail a villager who was on a 110cc commuter bike with an elderly woman as pillion. He was able to go over bad roads with such poise and comfort that I kept falling behind as I had to reduce the speed considerably to accommodate for the limited suspension travel, making for a bone-jarring ride. 349cc torquey thumper be damned in situations like this. 

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It’s interesting how a commuter motorcycle with such a simple frame is the most effective on such roads. On the other hand, the Meteor is built to munch miles on the highway. But being the true Desi bikemaker Royal Enfield is, it has made sure the Meteor can also handle bad roads with relative ease. 

What I loved about the Meteor is that it doesn’t complain so much that it’s out of place on such bad roads. It just goes “Yeah, sure, that can be done”, and gets the job done irrespective of your bum’s condition. There was not a single rattle or squeak with all that off-road riding and that’s a major departure from the Thunderbird which throws a tantrum with its incessant Royal Enfield noises. 

 

Later, the motorcycle was lying unused for a couple of weeks because I was down with COVID-19. After recovering and then spending another week out of town, my gut feeling said the Meteor would crank in just one touch of a button with no issues and it did exactly that. 

It’s fascinating how fuel injection and computer-controlled ignition can make life so much easier than old-school carburetted bikes. My Thunderbird would’ve flatly refused. Sure, you’d counter it by saying nothing gives you the true feeling of machismo by kicking and bringing an engine to life. But then, when your office starts with a meeting at 9.15am and you’re leaving home at 9am, you’ll be glad that the FI is saving the day.

Then it was finally time to hand over the keys to the cruiser to other boys in the office. After taking the Meteor everywhere it didn’t belong, I had to give the bike a proper send-off with a ride on the highway. 

That’s exactly what I did last weekend, with a 200km (round trip) ride to Wai. The Mumbai-Satara highway let the Meteor really stretch its legs, cruising at over 110kmph, and touching 120kmph every now and then. 

I had to keep the throttle fully open in order to keep up with my riding group, which consisted of several Bajaj Dominar 400s, a KTM 390 Duke, a Bajaj Pulsar F250, a Royal Enfield Himalayan, a Kawasaki Versys 650, a Ninja 1000, and a Triumph Street Triple RS. Though the engine was really pushed to its limits for extended periods of time, it never really felt as ‘stressed’ as the older UCE mill did, and that’s commendable. 

As expected, the Royal Enfield Meteor 350’s mileage figures took a major hit with all that spirited riding. After the ride, I had to visit a friend in the city and just as I was nearing home, the motorcycle’s low fuel light came on. It lights up once the remaining fuel capacity is five litres, which I think is a little too soon for someone who gets anxiety seeing the low fuel light. 

Also, the fuel gauge readout is very inconsistent, so you don’t really know what’s going on, and will have to heavily rely on the trip meter readout. I got a combined efficiency figure of 23.36kmpl, which wasn’t all that surprising. Ishan took the keys of the Meteor 350 last week, and now I’m back to basics with my TVS Radeon. We’ll be putting up a tyre review for the Radeon soon, so watch this space.

Royal Enfield Meteor 350 Video Review

Royal Enfield Meteor 350
Royal Enfield Meteor 350
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