A few weeks ago, we were given the chance to hop on Royal Enfield’s brand new Meteor 350 to finally experience what the craze was all about with this modern classic cruiser. The Meteor 350 was released as the successor to the beloved Classic 350, and rolls out of the showroom floor with a much needed refresh for the modern rider looking for a classic machine. At a first glance, the Meteor 350 might pass as your bare-bones classic cruiser with nothing more to offer than a relaxed seating position and a slouchy engine.
However, our time with Meteor 350 reminded us that Royal Enfield knows how to bring life back into the classic motorcycle market. One would be smart not to judge the Royal Enfield Meteor 350 too quick—it packs a strong punch for the price. If you're looking to get into the modern classic cruiser scene, the 2021 Royal Enfield Meteor 350 might just be the perfect motorcycle for you.
- Well-balanced motorcycle
- Smooth engine and power delivery
- Feels very light to ride
- Bluetooth capable with navigation display
- Stiff rear suspension
- Cannot enter expressways
- No tachometer
Being the successor to the Classic 350, the Meteor 350 is a fresh and more modern rendition of the beloved classic cruiser. The Meteor still comes with all the bells and whistles of a classic cruiser from decades ago, thanks to the stylish rear dual-shock suspension system, the classic round headlight and taillight, right-side-up forks, the air-cooled thumper with a chunky set of cooling fins, and the conservative forward-set footpegs and mid-rise handlebars. However, the Meteor 350 does come with a few key updates from the Classic 350 which breathes new life into this modern city cruiser.
The rear taillight is now an LED unit which makes for a bright and stunning aesthetic in dimmer environments. The engine is also painted in a matte black finish with silver cooling fins which screams of modern minimalism over the shiny and high maintenance mirror finishes of engines from decades ago. The wheels are now cast wheels and forego the spoked wheel set up of the Classic 350, and the gauge cluster is a modern piece of tech, combining analog and digital style gauges in one neat combination.
Despite being styled as a classic cruiser, the Meteor 350 looks and feels like a modern classic. The simple touches and updates from the Classic 350 is a neat and clean execution of a modern take on the classic cruiser without being overbearing or excessive in the design. Overall, the Meteor 350 stays true to what the Classic 350 was praised and loved for all these years—it comes out of the box as a stunning and simple cruiser which makes for a great blank canvass for modifications and custom work. It remains true to the heritage of the Royal Enfield cruisers.
The Royal Enfield Meteor 350 comes equipped with a 349cc air-cooled single-cylinder engine churning out about 21 horsepower. Don’t let the vintage aesthetic and the large thumper fool you—the Meteor 350 revs out like a charm with minimal vibration and rattling thanks to an electronic fuel-injection system and a counterbalancer. 21 horsepower might seem a little bit underpowered for a 349cc engine, but the Meteor tends to deliver much of its power in the low revs making the Meteor feel quicker than the spec sheet might suggest. Paired with a 5-speed manual transmission, the Meteor has no trouble getting up to 100 km/h and is happy to pump power out for overtakes or smoothly cruise along through your favorite roads.
The suspension of the Meteor 350 is relatively good for a city cruiser and is designed for relaxed riding. The front suspension is perfectly damped and suspended for the majority of riding conditions and city roads in the Philippines, however, the rear dual-shock system may be a little bit stiff and is certainly felt through rough roads, speed bumps, and potholes. What makes the suspension of the Meteor 350 quite great is that it’s incredibly happy to power through twisty roads. Despite the 19-inch front wheel and the 18-inch rear, the suspension happily carries the Meteor through twisty roads feeling firm, planted, and surefooted—instilling a sense of confidence that’s hard to find in the cruiser market as a whole.
The brakes of the Meteor 350 are also very decent. Despite feeling a little bit wooden on the initial bite, both the front and rear brakes help the Meteor stop on a dime with a bit of extra strength—and the dual-channel ABS system will be there to assist in case a bit more braking force will be needed. The Meteor, weighing in at 191 kg, generally carries its heft very well too. The Meteor seems to carry its weight quite low, which makes it an easy bike to carry through tight spots and low-speed maneuvers. When going through twisty roads or spirited city blasts, you’ll find that the Meteor seems to ride more like a 160 kg motorcycle than a 190+ kg bike which makes the bike feel a lot less intimidating than the other motorcycles in this weight bracket.
Being a cruiser, the Meteor 350 is designed to be comfortable—and comfortable it is. The forward set footpegs are conservatively mounted, meaning that your legs will still get a good bend in your knees and will give your legs an easy time when going on and off the pegs during stops and low-speed maneuvers. The handlebars also have a generous upward sweep which provides your arms with a comfortable bend no matter your size. The rider triangle is generally very relaxed and stays true to the cruiser's feel of being relaxed and easy on the body.
If anything, the only part of the Meteor which takes away from comfort would be the stiff rear suspension which can be a little bit jittery over rumble strips, cement cracks, and potholes. Overall, however, the Meteor provides a very comfortable experience on the saddle. The comfortable and wide seat, relaxed handlebar and footpeg positions, compliant throttle and brake controls, and the relatively light clutch feel all add up to a bike that is comfortable and easy to ride for city commutes and long trips alike.
Staying true to the modern classic cruiser that the Meteor 350 is, many different modern components could be found on this bike which elevates the feeling of being fresh and new. For reliability and safety, the Meteor 350 is equipped with an electronic fuel-injection system and a dual-channel ABS system which means the rider has to worry less about engine maintenance and emergency brake safety. The rear taillight is also an LED unit now, which makes the visibility of the brake light much clearer in dim environments, however, the headlight remains a halogen unit.
What makes the Meteor 350 quite impressive in the technology department, however, would be the gauge cluster unit. In the cockpit, riders will find two round displays. The larger unit on the left is your typical speedometer which comes in an analog gauge style, but also has a digital gauge tucked into the center which displays your fuel level, the time, your trip meter, and an eco meter for those who are mindful about consumption. The Meteor 350 also has Bluetooth capability for trip navigation, which is what the smaller gauge on the right is for. When not connected, the display is used as a clock. However, when it is connected through the Royal Enfield app, the Meteor displays your trip directions including the next turn direction, the distance until your next turn, and your total trip distance.
Overall, the Meteor 350 is a motorcycle that is comfortable and easy to ride. Despite weighing in at 191 kg, the way the motorcycle carries its weight through slow and fast rides alike. It is a relatively long motorcycle which might make it difficult to park or pull u-turns through very tight areas—but it is a slim bike for a cruiser in its class, and will easily filter through traffic and squeeze through tight spots on the road. The engine of the Meteor is not very hot which will allow your legs to keep cool, and the exhaust of the cruiser provides a tame growl which boosts the character of the motorcycle without being overbearing to the ears. The Meteor 350 is a fantastic motorcycle for commutes through the city and leisurely rides out of town.
Coming in at just P232,000, the Royal Enfield Meteor 350 is in a league of its own. It’s a no-frills cruiser with timeless styling, modern componentry, and an affordable price tag. Because the Meteor is a super friendly bike to hop on and ride through city commutes, leisurely weekend trips, or longer adventures out of town, it’s hard not to recommend this motorcycle to the average rider looking for a classic cruiser experience with a modern twist.
Overall, the Meteor 350 makes a strong case for beginner riders looking to start with a cruiser, returning riders looking for a classic no-frills bike, custom motorcycle enthusiasts who need a blank canvass for custom jobs, and experienced riders who may be seeking out an elegant and comfortable machine for easy rides around town. We’re definitely excited to see more riders experience all that the Meteor 350 has to offer.