On or off road, the Hunter 350 can handle it all
published : 19 Sep 2022 at 04:30
newspaper section: Life
writer: Jedd Sreshthaputra
The new Hunter 350 is a remixed roadster with the character of a Royal Enfield reimagined in a stylish, compact-yet-muscular geometry that can handle busy city streets, suburban backroads and more.
As the world of motorcycles moves from elaborate and complicated to simple and high on design creativity and self-expression, Royal Enfield set out to make a big-city motorcycle that fits perfectly in the coolest neighbourhoods on the planet. A motorcycle that is both new and cool from the old school, and that still has the Royal Enfield DNA.
"At Royal Enfield, we are closely engaged with our consumers and community. Their desires and aspirations shape the motorcycles we make and we are always looking to create newer experiences and newer formats of pure motorcycling for our communities. There were always a set of passionate motorcyclists that loved our brand but did not find the right kind of attitude within our portfolio. The Hunter 350 is for them. It is a motorcycle that combines the strengths of seemingly different species, and brings it together in a super stylish and fun package that is an all-new flavour of pure motorcycling with the unmistakable Royal Enfield character," said Siddhartha Lal, managing director of Eicher Motors.
"It just seemed the most natural thing in the world for Royal Enfield to develop a fun, lighter and more agile 350 roadster. It's fresh but is still fully Royal Enfield. Every time I look at it, the Hunter gives me a carefree feeling -- of being young, jumping on my bike and whizzing off to meet up with mates," said Mark Wells, Royal Enfield's chief of design.
The Hunter is powered by the new 349cc air-oil cooled single-cylinder J-series engine, which was just released on the Meteor and Classic 350. This engine is well-liked all over the world. It is fuel-injected and makes 20.2bhp at 6,100rpm and 27Nm of torque at 4,000rpm. This gives it a strong low-end grunt, super smooth linear power delivery, and a ride that is both smooth and energising. With a primary balancer shaft that cuts down on vibrations, it feels both responsive and refined, and the 5-speed gearbox makes shifting gears crisp and smooth.
The Hunter 350's chassis geometry is made to give the best height-to-weight ratio, and its wide, long, one-piece seat makes it even more comfortable. With changes to the rake and trail angles, a lower seat height of 790mm, and a shorter wheelbase, the Hunter is easier to manoeuvre and gives you more confidence when going through tight streets. It also feels planted and stable everywhere you go. Equipped with alloy wheels and wide 110/70 x 17in front and 140/70 x 17in rear tubeless tyres for superior handling and muscular good looks, 300mm front and 270mm rear disc brakes, dual-channel ABS and a handy centre stand.
Not much and not really needed. An LED tail lamp and premium digital-analogue instrument cluster that displays an odometer, trip meter, gear indicator, fuel graph bar with low fuel warning, clock and a service reminder complete this stylish package. All Hunter editions feature uncluttered handlebar controls.
The Hunter comes in two models. Hunter Rebel offers a choice of three stylish tank colour and graphics combinations (blue, red and black) and Hunter Dapper offers a solid colour gas tank design (white, ash and grey).
Genuine Motorcycle Accessories
These are made to work with the Hunter. You can order these with the bike or add them later. Attachments like engine and sump guards, pannier mounts and luggage, a custom seat, and touring mirrors are all part of the Suburban range. The Urban range has options like a bench seat, black LED indicators, a tinted flyscreen, and a simple "tail tidy" at the back. All of them have a high-quality finish and can be put on your motorcycle without any trouble. For more ways to show who you are, you can choose from a variety of high-quality riding gear, like T-shirts and smart personal accessories.
Royal Enfield launched the New Hunter 350 to the general public for the first time in August in Bangkok. From what I understand, this is the very first time a new model has been shown in Asia. There are two models, Retro Hunter and Metro Hunter. The price starts at 129,000 baht.
You won't find another Royal Enfield motorcycle quite like the Hunter 350, thanks to its award-winning 350cc J-series platform with highly flickable Harris Performance chassis, it is nimble without being fragile around town and a pure joy to ride out on the open road.
Riding the Hunter
If you look at the new Hunter 350, Enfield's new commuter motorcycle with the tagline "Pure Motorcycle", you will instantly recognise the surroundings in which it was created to thrive. It is light, durable, and agile, and it is designed to relish the chaos of cities from India to Thailand.
Motorcycle journalists from around the world converged on Bangkok for Royal Enfield's largest event in Thailand, the global press launch event. The event began with a night ride from W Hotel, Sathon Road, over 170km through the streets of Bangkok, and ended with a ride on the Go-Kart race track, Muang Thong Thani, so that attendees could get a feel for the bikes' speed and ability to handle fast corners.
The Hunter is powered by the same basic 349cc air-cooled single that is featured in the Classic and the Meteor; however, the chassis has been completely redesigned and now includes a sleek new frame and relatively light 17in wheels (an Enfield first). The wheelbase on the Hunter is significantly shorter, the head angle is more aggressive, and it weighs in significantly less than its 350 siblings at 181kg (172kg when dry).
Royal Enfield Thailand conducted a study with Thai riders and discovered that Thais who appreciate the design of the Hunter 350 choose sport mag wheels with Duel Channel ABS systems. Only a small number of people, including me, favour spoke wheels. Royal Enfield Thailand confirmed that GMS parts, particularly spoke wheels for the classic market, would be available soon.
The Hunter Rebel is welcoming to all. It is really simple to ride. The riding position makes the riders feel comfortable, and the single-cylinder engine produces a good clean rumbling engine sound, with the engine vibration remaining purposefully for enjoyment. The weight distribution on the bike is satisfactory. The Hunter weighs about 20kg less than the Classic and Meteor. Impact Speed Park's cornering test on a wet race track is not ideal, but it does a good job.
The entry price of 129,000 baht for the Hunter Dapper is easy to access, while the Rebel is 3,000 baht more at 132,900 baht.