Royal Enfield continue their assault on the small to mid capacity market with the Hunter 350 revealed to the global press in Bangkok this week. It’s a more muscular, roadster themed bike which will take it’s place alongside the Meteor and Classic 350.
A unique and contemporary bike with a range of factory accessories, it’s aimed at a more youthful market, with vibrant colours schemes and accompanying apparel focused on reinforcing the message of pure motorcycling fun.
The roads of Bangkok on a Saturday night provided the perfect testing ground for the Hunter 350 and gave an insight into the urban sprawl these motorcycles are designed for. A short go-kart circuit added to the joy of the riding event.
It all kicked of with a heap of lights, music and hype at the hotel, before we pulled out into peak hour Bangkok traffic to see what this brand new model from Royal Enfield had to offer. Coloured in Rebel Blue, our test subject featured blacked out componentry.
There were splashes of blue on rims too, and there’s plenty of branding in case you forget what you’re riding. The Hunter 350 sits on 17-inch alloy wheels, with tubeless CEAT tyres fitted standard.
The ergonomics are relatively simple and user friendly, with a seat height of just 790mm. There is the same clean and easy to use instrument cluster as on the Scram 411, and the handlebar controls are uncluttered.
The Tripper navigation system will be offered as an optional extra. That aside, as we weaved, dodged, twisted, lane filtered and in general negotiated Bangkok’s busy traffic, there was a lot to take in, but we were busy concentrating on the mental riding conditions.
If you’ve never ridden in Bangkok, it’s a slightly insane experience. The further we rode and the more distance we put between us and the congestion though, the more we realised how practical the Hunter 350 really is.
Its nimbleness is outstanding, its handling characteristics exceptional, and although the 350 powerplant is in no way overwhelming, it stands up to the conditions and provides enough off the mark to be good.
Powered by a single cylinder fuel injected 349cc air-oil cooled J-Series motor, the Royal Enfield Hunter 350 produces 15kW of power and 27Nm of torque. A primary balancer shaft cuts down vibrations as well.
It feels both responsive and seems to work well down low, and higher in the rev range. The J-Series motor is matched to a 5-speed box which operates without issue. Like most Royal Enfield bikes, the handling is nice and neutral.
The bike behaves well, even when being ridden at its limits. We learned that while cutting some laps under lights around the Impact kart track at around 1am on the Sunday morning.
This gave us the perfect opportunity to put the Harris Performance chassis to the test. With it’s shorter wheelbase, more compact geometry and a kerb weight of around 180kg, the Hunter 350 feels nice and manoeuvrable as it flicked through the tight corners.
That same experience highlights the biggest weakness of the bike, and that’s the tyres. The brakes work adequately well, without being sensational or too performance oriented too. A 300mm front and 270mm rear disc setup features dual channel ABS as standard.
After the kart track, it was time for the last leg of our trip, which would see a little open road before hitting Bangkok traffic for arrival back at our hotel. The overall test experience was intense and an absolute blast.
We built on that with some daylight riding, which again afforded us the opportunity to reinforce opinions formed the night before. A few cases of heavy braking and a few more deep breath moments simply added to the experience.
On the plane home, we had time to reflect on the 2023 Royal Enfield Hunter 350. Here in Australia, our riding conditions are different to where the bulk of Royal Enfield’s motorcycles find their homes. Bikes aren’t a primary transport system here.
Rather, we mainly think of our motorcycles as a leisure item, or as a way to navigate the day-to-day city commute, without the craziness of somewhere like Bangkok. Set to arrive down under before the end of the year, we’re looking forward to riding it at home.
There is no official word on pricing for the ANZ region yet for the learner approved Hunter 350. What we do know is that it will come in six striking colourways, including Dapper Grey, Dapper White, Dapper Ash, Rebel Black, Rebel Red, and of course Rebel Blue.
What Royal Enfield have created with the Hunter 350 is roadster, which already builds on a solid platform. A bike for the urban jungle, that’s easy to ride, with a proper cool factor. It’ll be particularly popular among learners here in Australia.
We rode the 2023 Royal Enfield Hunter 350 as part of its global media launch. Further details are available from your local Royal Enfield dealer.