Royal Enfield Meteor name for Thunderbird 350 successor has been confirmed by test mule rider
Royal Enfield has been busy working on the next-generation ‘350’ line-up (that includes the Bullet, Classic and Thunderbird) for quite a long time. The Chennai-based motorcycle manufacturer initially intended to introduce the products before the advent of BS6 emission norms from 1 April 2020. However, the motorcycles are still far from being market-ready and the brand had to make-do with BS6 versions of the current-generation ‘350’ models.
In the meantime, a patent application for the name, ‘Royal Enfield Meteor’ had surfaced online. Needless to say, Royal Enfield fans and a good majority of general motorcycle enthusiasts started making speculations on what the Meteor could be. The answer to this has been finally revealed in a completely random, yet interesting, video uploaded by the YouTuber, Dhabaswin KD.
The upcoming Royal Enfield Meteor 350 is the virtual successor to the popular Thunderbird 350. The Meteor 350 was spotted on multiple occasions across the country over the months, but everyone was in the belief that it was the next-gen Thunderbird. Internally, the Meteor is codenamed as the Royal Enfield J1C0. The motorcycle employs the brand’s all-new modular J-platform which will become base to several new products in the future.
Under the new architecture, the next-gen ‘350’ range will debut with an all-new 350cc power plant. From the many spy shots that were shared earlier, the new engine seems to have an OHC (Over Head Cam) layout in comparison to the outdated tappet-valve setup employed in the current generation. The advantages of an OHC arrangement is lower NVH, better refinement and smoother power delivery.
The current-gen Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 BS6 has not made it to the market yet, even though its production had started earlier this year. However, the Royal Enfield Classic 350 BS6 which employs the same power plant was launched recently at a starting price of Rs 1.65 lakh ex-showroom. Compared to the previous BS4 model, the main improvement is the addition of an FI system. The output figures from the 346cc air-cooled single-cylinder motor are somewhat similar to that of the previous BS4 avatar, at 19.8bhp and 28Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a 5-speed transmission.
Royal Enfield has discontinued the ‘500’ range on account of poor demand. Meanwhile, the refreshed BS6 ‘350’ models are not doing substantially well compared to its previous sales figures, since many are eagerly awaiting the launch of the next-gen ‘350’ range — including the new Royal Enfield Meteor.