Hello Fellow bikers, It’s me again who wrote my first review on my CBR 250R now came up with my review on my roomie Chandru’s RE Classic 350. I am very proud to say that I dragged him to the world of bikers, and introduced him this master piece. Initially I was never attracted towards any RE and I never bothered to consider them as it was not my kind of machine. Am more attracted to Sporty than Cruising. It was yet another regular day I was going through blogs and previews about new bikes in India.

Suddenly I came across the launch of RE Classic series in India. I visited the RE site to see what is this new RE’s about. I would say I was lost at that moment. Totally mesmerizing beauty. I was never attracted towards any of the RE I have seen in my period until I see this legendary bike’s look. I still wonder, how this model changed my view on RE’s.

A great Kudos to the designer, who thought of bringing this heritage looking machine back with latest technologies. After seeing the look and specification I spoke to my Friend about this bike casually. It is must to mention that he prefers cruisers over sports bikes. But at that point of time he had a 2nd hand Fiero FX and never thought of getting a new bike.

After seeking the bike’s snaps he too had fallen for it. He finally decided to go for it after couple of days, though it is quiet pricey and also ignoring the regular scolding’s he is going to get from his parents. He went to his native and spoke to his parents and brother about this and none was convinced to get a RE, as in their view RE is mostly used by big shots. They suggested him to go for some other brand if he wants a new bike. He saw couple of them but he wasn’t convinced either to move out of Classic.

Finally once he returned back to Bangalore we both went to the RE showroom for a test drive on 21st Jan 2010. We saw the beast facing us in flesh. It was a classic 500. What a beauty. We asked for test drive and they told they have only Classic 500 and not a Classic 350. We took test drive of Classic 500 for the bike’s posture and comfort and a Thunderbird for the engine performance which got the same engine.

Somewhat we both didn’t like thunderbird because of its riding posture. I must say, we were 100% satisfied with the performance as well, as we were already fallen for Classic series looks. He paid 10K in advance same day and booked it and was told a waiting period of 3-4 months. On-road price was less than 1.1 L while booking and after new budget announcement before delivery he paid 1.18L on-road.

Like others, we used to call the dealer to find out the availability and delivery. RE never kept their words on delivery, they delayed, and promised dates couple of times and finally delivered only on 28th Oct 2010. Yes only after 9 months, after making 100s of calls, blasting them. He doesn’t go to office regularly in his bike because it is too far. It was mostly used by me and his younger brother, who is another roommate.

I will never compare this bike with any other bike, at least in India. It can be compare with few other bikes like ZMR, R15 etc. for the price range. But will that be fair? RE is entirely different bike when compared to any other bike available in the Indian Market. RE has its own market. It is Love it or Hate it kind of bike. It is not the one chose by many.

Neither people will get this just like other bikes. Only RE fans will buy this piece of art. RE got its own charm. People who don’t like RE’s, Trust me guys, u will have 2nd thought after u ride it. It will surely make an impact in you with its ride. I used it continuously for about 4 months while I was waiting for the delivery of my CBR. Now let me present you my observation about this bike.

I took this bike for a small ride though the very first long ride, on 3rd day itself to Nandi Hills, which is about 65 Kms from our place. I kept it under 60 Kmph in run-in, same pain being slow running in run-in time. But I must admit that it was still wonderful. The great torque generated by its engine pulled the bike up the hill just like normal ride on city roads.

Later after run-in we took it to couple of long rides including Nandi hills, Chennai and Madurai. The most comfortable machine for long drives I must say. What a leisured posture, Widest saddles, Bike will not tend to go out of your hand even in 3 digit speeds. Its weight keeps it on road when you ride on any type of roads.

Even riding continuously for more than 100 Kms, when we stop for a break, we never felt as we had a ride in a 2-wheeler. And the pillion seat too, the most comfortable in the Indian bikes. This was confirmed by his mom, my mom and my sister too. Its short body and wider seat makes it most comfortable for ladies. This I could never achieve in my present or old bike.

This is not a bike where you can feel the adrenaline rush, having best 0-60 neither best top speed. Still the way it carries you makes you fall for it. It is people’s dream, passion. It makes one feel proud to be owner of a RE. Once there was heavy rain it was a flyover construction site and people never dare to ride where the road was filled with water.

But being riding a RE, I took it; water was till the top end of the wheel height, and still the bike never felt that. It passed that stretch just like a normal road. That makes RE different from other bikes. At that moment I remembered a line I read somewhere. “Guys you can pull you bike fast; you can reach better top speed. But remember, I can go anywhere“

As others it got its own hitches. First and main thing is the waiting period. RE don’t keep their promise on delivery; neither have they taken it serious about their demand in market. Come on RE, there are lakhs of people dying for a RE, and it’s your waiting period which makes them move to some other brand. Don’t think everyone will wait for a whole year to get a new bike.

It is ridiculous. Same applies for parts too. And RE has to improve a lot in quality parts front. Many areas are prone to rusting. When one make a bike with lot of chrome, they should first think about how to avoid rust.

Now let me summarize the Pros and Cons of this beast.

Pros

  • First of all you can proudly say that I own RE. It is a master piece.
  • Lot of chrome on this bike, which makes the machine more beautiful.
  • The fuel tank comes with Rubber pad for thigh support like heritage models, which not only offers thigh support, but also enhances the look of the bike.
  • Classic series is the only RE which comes with split seat with removable rear seat.
  • The Rear seat supports are on the rear shock mounts and under the front seat. And it leaves no trace of any seat mount when removed there by enhancing the beauty of this beast more.
  • The bike is short and very much comfortable even for people who are below average in height, like me.
  • Initially one might feel the bike hefty, but once you are on the move, you will never feel that you are riding a 180KG monster yourself. Thanks to its design and very low center of gravity.
  • It got body coloured steel mud guards that looks more beautiful when the rear seat is removed.
  • There is a Golden coloured sticker reading “Royal Enfield” just above the tail lamp assembly which looks gorgeous when riding single seated.
  • The RE logo with its slogan “Made like a Gun” is on the fuel tank again Golden coloured and no words to describe its beauty.
  • People might feel that spokes are out of fashion, but spokes are best for a bike of this kind. Can’t even imagine any type of alloy replacing this beautifully designed spokes.
  • Though hefty it is easy to maneuver in city traffic.
  • Solid build and hand assembled. It will last for decades together unlike other bikes.
  • Heritage beauty, which is unambiguous to Classic series.
  • Round Headlights with wonderful power and neatly spread across your path makes it best for city rides as well as long rides.
  • The tail assembly is again heritage design with a metal enclosure projecting out of the mudguard holding classic tail and turn indicators.
  • The chrome metal cap over the round headlights highlights the heritage beauty.
  • The speedo meter console is placed over the headlight embedded in a metal unit, just like 50’s models. Which is very beautiful for this bike.
  • Gives a mileage of around 30 Kmpl, which is very good for a 350CC engine. (Heard few saying mileage more than 35 Kmpl also)
  • Best bike if you want to carry a lady pillion often who sits one-sided wearing saree or similar dress.
  • Best bike if you look hefty (No offence taken please). Because I know you will not like others commenting about you that “Look how small the bike when he is on that”
  • The grunt generated by its muffler give a unique feel. There is no other comparison to this, at least in India.
  • Best machine for cruising on highways, thanks to the riding posture, wider and soft seats and very good suspensions.
  • The rider seat got visible springs which not only looks like heritage assembly, but also acts as a 2nd shock absorber, which enhances comfort.
  • Classic series comes with MRF Zappers which is contemporary with RE and far better than the old tires, and it offers excellent grip for this machines pull and speed.
  • Very good bike for off-roading. Thanks to its solid build, best in class torque and riding posture.
  • Very good kick start mechanism. It ignites in the very first kick itself most of the time and no reverse kicking to worry about.

Cons

  • RE dealers are least bothered about the Customers. No proper response when enquiry about the vehicle details and also when enquired about the delivery also they can’t keep their words on delivery date.
  • Initially Classic 350 came with normal tire in the front with straight threads, which got very bad road grip. There was no optional upgrade to other tires like Zapper. This point can be eliminated as I have seen now a day even Classic 350 comes with Zapper in front too.
  • The stock muffler doesn’t look good, neither the sound is great. RE provides another short muffler with some nice curves which suites best on Classic and sounds great too. But one has to buy this separately as a different accessory as an upgrade. This will end up the owner paying more and having a spare muffler at home.
  • Few dealers sell both original spares as well as local made spares and they aren’t informing about this to the customer. While changing the muffler a dealer from Chennai replaced a local made muffler for a lower price. This one we came to know only after talking to some person from RE that the original muffler costs much more that what my friend got for.
  • Lack of spares which leaves customer disgruntled. We have a bent handle bar which we are trying to replace for months and whenever we call RE always there will be only one answer “Sir, we will be getting the spare in couple of days”
  • Rusting parts. We found a couple of nuts, bolts and the local muffler too getting rust. But it is not much to worry about. Still RE can improve on this front to make their beast look more reliable.
  • No plastic parts anywhere on the bike, all made of steel. This could sound better when we think of any accident. But even mud flaps made of steel which collects mud and prone to rust easily.
  • Too heavy to handle if you are not ready to bear the weight. If you face flat tire, never think of pulling it to the shop. All that 180KGs will sit firm on the road. The best way around will be try to get a person to fix it in the same place.
  • It doesn’t have good pickup. To compare with, even a 150CC bike pulls faster than this. But this is ok for a cruiser like this in my personal opinion.
  • It doesn’t have good top speed. Being a 350CC it pulled only till 110 Kmph which I feel very low. At least top speed should have been more.
  • Once you cross about 80-90 Kmph you can notice mild vibrations on handle bar, but it is negligible.
  • Front disc brakes are good, could have been better to stop a 180 KG monster.
  • A rear disc would show some justice. If cost matters, at least should have been kept as optional for some who prefers it.
  • Engine shows some heat to the foot area after long run.
  • Tail lamp is good enough, still LED would have been better.
  • Fuel Injection is not there in Classic 350, it would have increased the mileage to some extent I feel.
  • This machine also got cold start issue once in a while when you try electrical during morning, so it is recommended to use kick start.
  • Precise fittings are needed in some area light tool box cover. Every time after we open, it takes about a minute or two to get it closed.
  • Parts like side stand needs lubrication often, else u can’t use it easily just like other bikes.
  • Not easy to hold it in main stand because of its mass. But one can get used to it.
  • Electrical units fit and finishes are not up to the mark. Turn indicator switch gets stuck sometimes even after got it repaired in every service.
  • It got only analogue speedometer, odometer and an Ammeter. And It lacks Trip meter, tachometer. It would have been better if there was a tachometer in place of ammeter. Still I wonder what can a rider do seeing an Ammeter.

Conclusion

Though I observed so many cons about this bike, (even my friend admits too), he is very much happy about this beast. I would say even I am very happy after driven it for 1000s of Kms. I took it for rides even now too once in a while. One will never regret getting this beast. It makes you feel proud of a RE owner. My friend is a proud owner of this beast and if you have in mind to own a RE, Better don’t ask anyone.

Go and book one for you. You will realize the feel only when you own one. This bike is not for the guys who seek adrenaline rush or who want to be the fastest or for one who is looking for a commuter. This is pride. Own one to get that feel. I know what will go inside one’s mind hearing 10-12 months waiting period. But trust me guys, the wait is really worth for such a classic piece of art.

You could ask me more thru’ comments if I have missed to cover any part in this review. Ride fast/ ride wherever you want to, but remember to be well within your limits and your bike’s limits. Wear safety gears. Have fun riding.

Regards,
Diwa

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