Chennai-based motorcycle manufacturer Royal Enfield has been working on its next-gen ‘UCE 350’ lineup for quite some time. The Royal Enfield Meteor 350, the first one to get the upgraded power plant, was spotted testing on multiple occasions in production-ready formats. In fact, its rough pricing was also revealed from a recent leak of a beta configurator platform.
The upcoming Meteor 350 is essentially a replacement to the BS4 Thunderbird 350 and ThunderbirdX 350. The British-origin automaker discontinued its ‘UCE 500’ lineup well before the industry shifted to BS6 emission norms. As a final tribute to the decade-old model range, Royal Enfield had launched the limited-run Classic 500 Tribute Black (BS4). ‘500’ models were phased out due to poor demand.
Royal Enfield is developing another motorcycle with the same power plant, supposedly dubbed ‘Hunter 350’. It was also spied a few times over the months. Meanwhile, certain sources suggest that Royal Enfield is planning to launch “something other than the Meteor 350” by the end of this month or early next month. There has not been an official statement on this yet.
Belt Ur Drive on Facebook has shared an interesting spy shot of the new Royal Enfield Meteor 350. It wears some additional factory-spec accessories such as a tall flyscreen or windscreen, crash guards, pannier mounts, broader footpegs, silver levers, etc. Notable standard features include 5×2-spoke alloy wheels, split seats, semi-digital instrument console (with Bluetooth connectivity), LED DRL, round LED taillamp and more.
It is based on the brand’s all-new ‘J’ (sub-500cc) architecture. Rumours tell that Royal Enfield has three more platforms for the future: P (twin-cylinder), K (higher middleweights) and Q (above 750cc). It is too early to make any speculations on the platforms’ potential products.
At present, the BS6-compliant ‘UCE 350’ lineup employs a 346cc air-cooled fuel-injected single-cylinder engine good for about 20bhp and 28Nm — unimpressive numbers for the time and displacement. It follows an archaic tappet-valve arrangement while the Meteor 350’s next-gen ‘UCE 350’ mill (also air-cooled) gets OHC (Over Head Cam). For the same reason, we can expect a sharp increase in output. Transmission duties would be done by a 5-speed unit.
Royal Enfield would most likely launch the Meteor 350 by the end of this year unless the nation goes into another stage of COVID-19 lockdown protocols. Ex-showroom prices are expected to start at around Rs 1.75 lakh (Rs 10,000-15,000 over the BS4 Thunderbird 350).