Can the Meteor one-up the CB350?

There’s some serious competition happening in India’s 350cc market segment. In late September, 2020, Honda unveiled the H’ness CB350, designed specifically to go after Royal Enfield’s niche neo-classic market. Though Enfield seemed initially caught off guard, it retaliated with the introduction of the long-awaited Meteor 350 on November 6.  

Competition between the two new bikes ramped up and Honda just announced that since the September 30 launch, it already sold 1,000 CBs.   

Can Royal Enfield do better? It's at least what the company is attempting to do. Not only is the local bike maker planning to export its entirely new 350 to Europe and North America, but it also brags about having already secured 8,000 local pre-orders. Now, to actually make the bikes.   

There’s no denying that despite all the delays, the Indian market was ready for a new Enfield. According to the Indian media, in only 10 days, over 8,000 bikes already found potential owners. The catch is that these 8,000+ units have yet to be produced. While that’s an impressive number compared to the 1,000 Honda CB sold, at least the new Honda owners have a bike to show for.   

Due to supplier issues, the manufacturer has an important backlog—around 125,000 units according to India Car News—and it will be a while before it starts rolling the Meteor out. Carblog India estimates that the current wait time for a new Meteor is of about a month.    

The maker plans to steadily increase its output to as much as 100,000 bikes a month and intends to launch a new model every new quarter. In October, 2020, Royal Enfield was able to produce a little over 66,000 motorcycles. Is the plan ambitious or cocky? Only time will tell. Let’s only hope that Royal Enfield won’t pull a Jawa and bite more than it can chew. 

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