The designers of the all-new 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 didn’t have to look very far to find inspiration. Above all, the company says, the 1948 G2 350 Bullet had the greatest pull on the hearts and minds of the drafters and clay-carvers in the modern era—and it shows.
This is A Motorcycle, all caps, and it wants everyone to know it. It’s simple, it’s unpretentious, and quite simply, it just Is. Sure, you could slap some accessories on it if you wanted, but this is motorcycling distilled down to its most precious, basic essence. You see, the secret to having fun on a bike in 2022 is pretty simple: Make stuff better (like, say, brakes), but don’t overcomplicate a good thing.
To find out what the 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 has to offer riders, we were invited down to lovely Savannah, Georgia to try out this bike in its natural habitat: A congested (but beautiful) city. Traffic, stop signs, stop lights, tumbleweed formations of rogue Spanish moss laying in the street—we saw it all. We also took it out on some country roads, and even tested its top speed out on a highway. It’s a capable, honest little bike—and here’s what I thought about it.
If you read Dustin’s Meteor 350 review, or you’ve had the chance to check one out for yourself, then you’re already familiar with the engine that powers the 2022 Classic 350. It’s an air and oil-cooled, 349cc single cylinder mill, with bore and stroke of 72 x 85.8mm. It makes a claimed 20.2 horsepower at 6,100 rpm, as well as 19.9 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. It’s fuel-injected, as you’d expect in 2022—and it has a five-speed gearbox.
Suspension duties are performed by a 41mm telescopic fork up front, which has 130mm of travel. The twin rear shock setup features six-step adjustable preload. It rolls on a 19-inch wheel up front and an 18-inch wheel in the back, both shod in CEAT Zoom Plus rubber.
Braking power comes from a 300mm front disc with a ByBre two-piston floating caliper, and a 270mm rear disc with a ByBre single-piston floating caliper out back. Dual-channel ABS makes it hard to get yourself in trouble, no matter what shenanigans passersby and traffic throw at you as you’re rolling downtown.
The headlight is a halogen unit with an LED light guide, says Enfield—and we didn’t ride these bikes at night, so I can’t speak to its performance under cover of darkness. However, in the daytime, I can tell you that the display is crisp, simple, and easy to read, with an attractive analog speedometer and a simple LCD fuel gauge. There’s no tachometer, but you’ll learn pretty quickly how it likes to be shifted. Seat height is a very approachable 31.69 inches, and Enfield lists its curb weight as 430 pounds with 90 percent fuel and oil.
Made For the City
To start the 2022 Classic 350, you still need a physical key in the ignition—no fancy electronic key fobs here. From there, instead of the standard red ignition toggle on the right handlebar, you have a round, red thumb switch that you flick to start it up. It’s pretty easy to get used to if you do it once or twice, and the action on the switch is clear and reassuring.
Standing it up from the side stand is also pretty simple. The side stand itself is big and beefy, and may take a little getting used to when you’re trying to move it. That goes right along with the foot pegs, which are massive, chunky things. I liked them, but some people with bigger feet may find things a little more difficult without adjusting the shift linkage.
The stock saddle is wide, and just the right kind of supportive for my tastes. It’s not too hard or too soft, and the stock suspension setup seemed pretty reasonable for spirited city riding purposes. As a longtime city rider myself, I found it pretty well suited to the task at hand.
The counterbalanced single-cylinder engine has just the right amount of character and signature thump to tap into those nostalgic feelings, but is also remarkably smooth when you rev it out and are just riding along, doing your thing. It’s not too vibey to ride for several hours at a time—and if you need to stop, it won’t be because the bike made you.
Stop-and-go traffic is also no big thing to the Classic 350. In fact, you’ll have to slow down to almost a complete stop before you find the bike starting to stutter if you haven’t pulled in the clutch. Also, if you accidentally forget to downshift from second into first and you do come to a complete stop, just a little extra throttle when the light is green will have you rolling off the line with zero issues. Tight turns and U-turns are pretty simple to execute as well, and there’s a reasonable amount of zip when you’re pulling away from a complete stop. These are all good tools to have in your city riding toolkit, as far as I’m concerned.
One note: This bike requires confident shifting between first and second. That’s a thing that both I and other riders in the group noticed—so it seems to be a characteristic rather than a fluke. If you’re hesitant, it’s easy to accidentally find neutral later—and that’s pretty much the only time I heard it make an angry noise while I was riding the Classic 350. Just treat it the way it wants to be treated and you’ll probably be fine. I mean, that’s probably a fair thing to say about anything or anyone you meet, isn’t it?
Made For the Country
If you’re familiar with the ways of singles, you probably already know you’re going to spend a lot of time wringing the throttle wide open to tap into this bike’s power. It’ll go—but it has to get up to speed first, and you need to wind the revs out before upshifting. Short-shifting isn’t the way to go. Rev it out and you may be surprised at how well it does going about 60 to 65 miles per hour (though I don’t know how fast you’ll be able to go with a pillion).
It’s highway-capable for short blasts, and if that’s a feature of your commute, then you’ll likely find that it does this with no problem. I’m also not sure that you’d necessarily want to spend hours at a time on the highway on a Classic 350. Then again, that’s not really what it’s made for. I got it up to about an indicated 70 on level ground with calm winds. Your mileage may vary based on a number of factors, but if you stick to what this bike is good at, you’ll probably be pretty happy with it.
Aesthetics, Pricing, and Availability
The 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 comes in a range of color options for the North American market—nine in total, to be exact. The two Signals models pay homage to Enfield’s long association with the Indian armed forces, while the two Dark colorways give a more modern twist. Later this year, the Halcyon trio will pay homage to the era of 1950s British roadsters, and the two Chrome models will offer yet another twist on the Classic 350’s silhouette.
The four colorways rolling out right now in North America are Dark Stealth Black, Dark Gunmetal Grey, Signals Desert Sand, and Signals Marsh Grey—all starting at $4,599. The Halcyon trio—Halcyon Forest Green, Halcyon Black, and Halcyon Blue—will be available later in 2022 for $4,499. Chrome Red and Chrome Brown will also be available later this year, starting at $4,699.
Gallery: 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350
The 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 is a solid, unpretentious little workhorse of a bike, made by the world’s longest continuously-operating motorcycle OEM. That means it’s not just any old bike inspired by historic designs—it’s got plenty of its own history to back up those design choices. If you’re a person who loves a vintage aesthetic, but you still appreciate modern niceties like braided stainless steel brake lines and ABS, then it’s hard to go wrong for the price Enfield is asking. It’s no speed demon, but it could be your faithful, everyday city companion.