For the first time since the early 2010s, motorbike gross sales exploded in the midst of the pandemic. Sales in the first quarter of 2021 had been up practically 40 %, and that’s on high of the practically 50 % enhance in 2020, in accordance with the Motorcycle Industry Council. But 2020’s increase was totally on the dust and journey bike aspect. Why? In half as a result of quite a lot of these are comparatively inexpensive. Buying a motorbike that prices not rather more—and ceaselessly much less—than the worth of quite a lot of electrical bicycles, seems like an inexpensive splurge for lots of recent or renewed riders. You can perceive, then, why Royal Enfield is now bringing extra inexpensive choices to its lineup. If it really works on dust, why not on the street, proper? The new Meteor 350 is a steal, at $four,399.
We’ve examined loads of bicycles, powered or not, that value double or greater than that. But it’s not only a discount; the Meteor 350 is a great-looking cruiser that additionally occurs to be tremendous simple to trip. Here are three causes we dig it—and one qualifier.
Why the Royal Enfield Meteor 350 Is Summer’s Most Thrilling Motorcycle
Royal Enfield might have been born in England at the flip of the 20th century, however it’s an Indian model now. Even if you happen to’ve solely seen a couple of of them in the U.S. (up to now), they’re offered by the hundreds of thousands in the creating world. That type of scale—and for a market that doesn’t suppose large bikes are interesting for value or gas economic system—permits Royal Enfield to consider refinement first. So this bike isn’t loud or violent; as an alternative, it’s tremendous clean. Throttle, clutch, and braking all work mildly and predictably. If you don’t trip, you may suppose motorcyclists need drama, however if you happen to’re moving into it simply to take pleasure in a trip with associates and carve via your native hills at a manageable 40-50mph, the Meteor is the good machine for you.
Even the built-in Tripper Navigation, which pairs with a Google Maps-based app in your telephone, and exhibits turn-by-turn instructions, is intelligent, as a result of it enables you to concentrate on using. It doesn’t ask you to spend money on some costly aftermarket GPS.
Ah, and talking of that, though there’s normal tech you wouldn’t anticipate at this worth, like ABS brakes, to maintain you safer, Royal Enfield used old-school-looking switches for headlights and the ignition, and layers on numerous class with spherical—relatively than sq.—lights, leaning on a century-plus historical past of timeless styling cues.
With a seat peak that’s just below 30 inches, shorter riders can simply get flat-footed astride the Meteor 350, however the ahead peg place means even if you happen to’re over six-feet tall, you received’t discover the bike cramped. Also, we like that for a cruiser you sit fairly upright, which makes you’re feeling extra athletic and in management, and that places you in a greater place for dealing with site visitors too.
The bars even have a cushty, upright place, with simply the proper sweep to maintain your shoulders relaxed and comfy.
All these options make the Meteor 350 a long-mile pleasure. That mentioned, get the model with the small windscreen. It doesn’t detract a lot from the retro look, and can hold wind and street grit from pinging you, which may hasten fatigue.Michael Frank
No, the Meteor isn’t mild. It clocks in at 421 kilos. And it has a modest output shy of 20 horsepower. But the torque hits moderately early in the rev vary, so the single-cylinder SOHC nonetheless scoots effectively sufficient off the line to get you out of hassle, and chugging up steep hills. Sure, you’ll ratchet the five-speed extra because of that modest output, however you’ll nonetheless handle accelerating to 70mph, though Interstate runs aren’t what you’d purchase this bike for. It’s much more at residence on backroad ribbons, the place a semi-progressively sprung suspension makes simple work of the twisties (so long as you’re not pushing too laborious). And it helps that at 55.1 inches, the wheelbase is pretty tight, so the bike all the time feels nimble.
What this bike lacks is grunt. You’ll know that getting into, however given the aforementioned weight, which does work in your favor at larger speeds, protecting the bike planted, it really works towards any notion of using with a passenger. That would simply really feel like a chore.
Our guess? At this worth, no one’s shopping for the Meteor to tour with a big different. This is a enjoyable bike for tooling round, cruising. Its real, good-natured high quality and character are what win you over (consider it as the labrador retriever of bikes). There are loads of quick, highly effective bikes. There are few which can be this user-friendly and inexpensive.[From $4,399; royalenfield.com]
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