Royal Enfield has a brand new motorcycle called the Meteor 350 coming up very soon that will replace the Thunderbird 350 range. Find out all that’s new on the motorcycle here.
We have already reported to you that Royal Enfield will be replacing the Thunderbird 350 with a new motorcycle that they are calling the Meteor. Royal Enfield have updated their entire product lineup to the BS6 emission norms but only the Thunderbird 350 series has been left out. The 500cc range has anyway been discontinued. Enfield had trademarked the name ‘Meteor’ last year and the bike was finally spotted in the flesh sometime ago. The new Royal Enfield Meteor 350 is based on what Royal Enfield calls the J-platform and it looks more like a replacement of the Thunderbird 350X than the standard Thunderbird. So here’s how the Meteor 350 is different from the Thunderbird 350.
Well, for starters, the new Meteor 350 does not look all that different from the Thunderbird 350X. The fuel tank, side panels and even the fenders look pretty much the same. Even the alloy wheels remain the same. What’s new are the headlights. From what can be understood from the images, the headlight is a conventional bulb-type unit compared to the projector headlamps of the Thunderbird 350. We wonder why Royal Enfield took a backward step there. The new headlamp also gets a black bezel on the inside. What’s also new is the split seat setup. The seat however seems similar in profile or height.
Instrumentation and Switch Gear
The Meteor 350 seems to continue with the twin-pod instrumentation like the Thunder 350X. However, the two instrument-pods on the new motorcycle are now asymmetrical, unlike the symmetrical pods we had seen before. The smaller pod will likely be the tachometer and the bigger roundel will probably have the a digital inset, analogue speedometer, and a few tell-tale lights. The digital inset could very well be from the Interceptor 650, displaying just the odometer and two trip meters. Also, we really hope that this new Enfield comes with a distance-to-empty indicator and a gear position indicator. As for the switchgear, its completely new and unlike anything you have seen on any other Royal Enfield motorcycle.
This is where the main change lies with the new Royal Enfield Meteor 350. While the Thunderbird 350X was based on a single-downtube frame, the new Meteor 350 uses a double cradle chassis. We believe Royal Enfield has developed this new chassis with the help of Harris Performance, which is the company’s performance partner, who has incidentally also helped develop the chassis for the 650 twins. We could also expect to see new engine mounts on the Meteor 350 to isolate the excess vibrations that a big-bore single-cylinder motor is known to produce.
We expect the new engine will be much more modern than the UCE motor that was used in the Thunderbird 350X. The UCE engine definitely had a character but it seriously lacked some punch. With the coming in of the Jawa Forty Two and the Benelli Imperiale 400, Royal Enfield’s UCE engine had really started to show its age. The Meteor 350 is expected to address all those grievances. Firstly, will no longer be running a push-rod setup for an overhead cam. Secondly, the engine casing seems a lot similar to the Interceptor 650 and could perhaps use a counterbalancer to suppress vibrations. Royal Enfield might also introduce a slip-and-assist clutch to reduce clutch lever effort.
There’s still a lot that’s unclear about the new Royal Enfield Meteor 350. While we expect this new motorcycle to a replacement to the Thunderbird 350X, does Royal Enfield have anything that replaces the standard Thunderbird 350? This new motorcycle is expected to launch very soon in the Indian market and we will have more details closer to the launch. Stay tuned.