Royal Enfield Meteor is the virtual successor to the current Thunderbird 350
Royal Enfield has been busy testing its next-generation ‘350’ line-up for quite a long time. The Chennai-based motorcycle manufacturer initially planned to introduce the motorcycle before BS6 emission norms kick in on 1 April 2020. However, the products are still far from being production-ready and Royal Enfield had to introduce BS6 versions of the current-generation ‘350’ models: Bullet, Classic and Thunderbird (yet to be launched).
We had previously reported that the Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 will be discontinued in the next phase of product development. The upcoming Royal Enfield Meteor will take its place while ‘Bullet’ and ‘Classic’ monikers continue alongside. The Meteor cruiser was spotted on multiple occasions in the past and this time, we get a brief idea about its ergonomics and riding stance. Video is credit to automotive enthusiast Sugheendran.
It is evident that the Royal Enfield Meteor (or Meteor 350) is significantly different than its predecessor. The rider triangle (for a cruiser) seems to be ideal for riders of most sizes. It would be a bit baseless to comment on seating comfort just by analysing a video as it depends on multiple factors, including cushioning. Presumably, at least, the Meteor seems to be a comfortable motorcycle to ride.
The riding stance seems to be a bit more relaxed than the Thunderbird or ThunderbirdX since the footpegs are mildly on the forward side. For an average-sized Indian rider, the ThunderbirdX returns mixed opinions. Some find the seating position to be a bit upright for a Royal Enfield while others find it a bit weird. The Meteor boasts of a dual-seat setup as well. Again, the exact riding experience can only be understood once we actually get the motorcycle in our hands.
Being an entirely new model, the visual differences are plentiful as mentioned before. With test-mule spottings on the rise in recent times, there is certainly progress in the motorcycle’s development even though the launch timeline remains uncertain. As far as pricing is concerned, one can expect slightly higher figures than that of the Thunderbird; inclusive of the BS6 hike.
One of the main highlights of the next-gen Royal Enfield ‘350’ models is the new OHC (Over Head Cam) power plant. At present, the air-cooled 346cc single-cylinder motor employs a rather outdated tappet-valve arrangement. The latest BS6 update comes in the form of an FI system while output figures remain roughly the same at 19.8bhp and 28Nm of torque. The engine is coupled to a 5-speed transmission. The next-generation ‘350’ power plant would be substantially improved in terms of throttle response, refinement and NVH control.