THE latest cool bit of kit from Royal Enfield is the Meteor 350, a small capacity urban cruiser which is focused on being a commuter bike, with the added benefit of letting the rider explore further when the mood arises.
The Meteor inherits its name from another iconic Royal Enfield motorcycle of the 1950s too. Launched towards the end of 1952, the Meteor was a touring motorcycle with a reputation that has stood the test of time.
The 2021 edition shares much of the charm and characteristics of other bikes in the Royal Enfield stable, including the Himalayan and the Interceptor 650. Learner approved, it’s available in three variants, the Fireball, Stellar (tested here) and the Supernova.
An easy to ride cruiser, each variant of the 2021 Royal Enfield Meteor 350 has its own set of paint schemes (including Stellar Red), which is a nice touch to make the different models stand out from each other. They also come with slight variations in styling.
The Meteor 350 offers the rider the perfect combination of urban mobility, adventure and exploration, but it does have its limitations. By no means is it an express in pace, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Don’t expect to break any speed records aboard the Meteor. In saying that, it will cruise at 110km/h, even if it has to work hard to do so. After riding it for a few days, it seems like its happy cruising spot is between 75-105km/h. In that space, it hums along nicely.
What Royal Enfield’s Meteor does well though is make a small bike not feel small. This author is not a small man, and is rather well proportioned, as it were. But at no time were there any growing pains on the bike.
It’s very ergonomic and that’s thanks to its relaxed seating position and easy to reach handlebars. The seat is plush and comfy too, and the mid mount foot controls are in a comfortable and relaxed position.
It makes piloting the Meteor 350 easy – sort of easy like a Sunday morning, if one were a Lionel Ritchie or Faith No More fan (we much prefer the latter). This bike is unmistakably Royal Enfield – the handling and holistic ride experience is predictable and user friendly.
This is where it will really shines.
It’s near perfect for learner riders looking for a retro themed ride. Powering the Meteor 350 range is a J Series air-oil cooled 349cc SOHC engine, with a charismatic long stroke that produces smooth tractable power and bottom end torque.
The electronic fuel injection system provides reassuring power delivery right from the start and consistently through the rev range. Matched to a 5-speed gearbox, it produces 15.1kW of power and 27Nm of torque, with a claimed top speed of 115km/h.
The motor is relatively smooth and like the theme of the bike, just feels easy to live with. But perhaps the most intriguing and interesting new feature to be launched on the Royal Enfield Meteor is the Tripper, a turn-by-turn navigation device for real time directions.
Built using the Google Maps platform, the Royal Enfield Tripper is capable of simple non-intrusive and non-distractive navigation directions. It’s paired with a specifically designed Royal Enfield app. And of course, we had to give it a go.
Downloading the app was simple and there was step by step directions to prompt you through the process. Once it’s paired, away you go. The navigation display is located to the right of the very nicely designed and functional speedo.
It gives clear and easy to read instructions, and as a feature is a very good addition to the motorbike. We know there will be a lot of very excited prospective Royal Enfield owners waiting for this to be implemented across other models in the range.
The 2021 Royal Enfield Meteor 350 ticks a lot of boxes for city functionality with a good dose of retro styling. It’s a good starting point for those beginning their motorbike journey and a good introduction to the Royal Enfield brand.
A host of accessories have also been made available for the Meteor, along with a range of riding gear, including helmets. It’s backed by a 3-year unlimited kilometre warranty, including roadside assist. It’s priced at $6,840 plus on road costs
Our test bike was provided by Royal Enfield Australia and New Zealand. To find out more about the 2021 Royal Enfield Meteor 350, contact your local Royal Enfield dealer.