The Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Heads To Rider Mania

  • Dec 4, 2022
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The Hunter 350 stretches its legs and heads to the sunny beaches of Goa for a 1,000km run

This year’s Rider Mania was a special one for the J-platform bikes as it was their debut outing at Royal Enfield’s most popular event. While Priyadarshan opted for the Classic 350, I went for the new kid on the block - the Hunter 350. I had already ridden the bike on the streets of Bangkok and Pune, but was curious to find out its highway performance and what better excuse than a ride to Goa and back. Here’s how the Royal Enfield Hunter 350 in its maiden run to Rider Mania. 

Good bits

Highway Dynamics

Having toured on the Royal Enfield Meteor 350 and the Classic 350, I had a fair idea of the new 350cc engines’ performance. What makes it even better on the Hunter 350 is its lightness compared to its sibling. The low kerb weight means that it not only feels more sprightly but even overtaking requires comparatively less effort and time. While it could cruise around 100kmph, minor vibes could be felt on the handlebar and the footpegs, and the Hunter 350 felt the most relaxed at speeds of around 90kmph. 

Fuel Efficiency

Cruising at speeds around 90kmph had another advantage and that’s great fuel efficiency. On our highway run, the Royal Enfield Hunter 350 returned an impressive 37kmpl. This could be credited to constant speeds and the arrow straight patch between Satara and Kolhapur. With a 13-litre fuel tank capacity, you’re looking at a real-world range of around 400km, which isn’t too bad in my opinion. 

Handling

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The 17-inch wheels and low kerb weight makes the Hunter 350 a hoot to ride in the city and the story continued on the twisties of Amboli Ghat as well. Its inherent agile nature made it a wonderful companion on both the flowing and tight corners of the ghat. I was having so much fun, that PD was finding it difficult to keep up with me on the Classic 350 and the Hunter 350 is clearly among the better-handling Royal Enfield on sale. The other good bit about the bike is that it feels compact like any other 200-250cc street bike and doesn’t feel heavy or bulky like a typical Royal Enfield. 

The Bad Bits

Comfort

The riding posture of the Hunter 350 is a bit sporty and similar to a modern street bike. Although the handle bar is flat and wide, the footpegs are a bit rearset and raised, so you sit a bit canted forward. This riding posture does feel great in the city or when you’re in the twisties, but out on the highway windblast is quite prominent. It also starts feeling a bit cramped once you spend long hours on the saddle. I am 5ft 10’ tall and had to stretch my legs quite often in the latter half of the journey. My biggest concern with the Hunter 350 is its seat, it’s a bit too firm and after 4hrs on the saddle, my rear became numb and by the time I reached Goa, I was in clear discomfort, while PD on the Classic 350 had no issues. 

Ride Quality 

Apart from the saddle, the suspension setup of the Hunter 350 is on the firmer side as well. While it was fine on slightly bad roads, once we crossed Ajara on our way to the Amboli Ghat, the road surface was bad enough to make the Lunar surface look like the Autobahn. I encountered long stretches of roads that felt as if they had been hit by an earthquake and potholes the size of meteorite craters. The suspension is so firm that the jolts became so unbearable that I had to stand on the pegs and ride. Things would have been slightly better on the Hunter 350 Retro variant thanks to its spoke wheels, but the suspension setup in general isn’t too comfortable and lacks a bit of travel for our roads. 

Tyres

You might be wondering why I am mentioning tyres as a negative when I already spoke so positively about its handling. You see the stock tyres perform wonderfully on perfect tarmac, but once it encounters undulations or slightly loose surfaces then you’re just inviting trouble. It has a tendency to skip and this can be a bit scary and one has to be careful so as to not overdo it. This can be very frustrating as the chassis has a lot of potential, but the tyres hold you back from exploring the full capability of the bike.

Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Video Review

Royal Enfield Hunter 350
Royal Enfield Hunter 350
Rs. 1.49 Lakh
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