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2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350 vs rivals: Specifications comparison

Royal Enfield recently launched its 2021 Classic 350 in India. When compared to the model it replaces, it’s completely new and has a starting price of Rs 1.84 lakh.

  • Classic is available in five variants

  • It uses a new SOHC, 349cc engine

  • Jawa Forty Two is the most powerful

With competition heating up and taking things to the next level, it was only a matter of time before the segment leader went through a massive overhaul in order to stay in the game. Here’s how the Royal Enfield Classic 350 fares on paper against its direct competitors.

2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350 vs rivals: engine

Like the Meteor 350, the new Classic uses the company’s ‘J platform’, SOHC, 349cc, single-cylinder engine that produces 20.2hp at 6,100rpm and 27Nm at 4,000rpm. While the engine continues to be air-cooled, Royal Enfield has incorporated an oil circuit in the 2-valve head to aid cooling. The engine also has a balancer shaft to make it run smoother.

Powering Honda’s CB350, meanwhile, is a 348cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder engine that develops 21.1hp at 5,500rpm and 30Nm at 3,000rpm. Interestingly, Honda has also equipped the CB350 with a slipper clutch.

Royal Enfield Classic 350 vs rivals: Powertrain
Royal Enfield Classic 350 Honda H’ness CB350 Benelli Imperiale 400 Jawa Forty Two
Engine 349cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled 348.36cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled 374cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled 293cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled
Power 20.2hp at 6,100rpm 21.1hp at 5500rpm 21hp at 6000rpm 27.3hp
Torque 27Nm at 4,000rpm 30Nm at 3000rpm 29Nm at 3500rpm 27Nm
Power-to-weight ratio 103.58hp/tonne 116.57hp/tonne 102.43hp/tonne 158.72hp/tonne
Gearbox 5-speed 5-speed 5-speed 6-speed

As for the Benelli Imperiale 400, it makes 21hp at 6,000rpm and 29Nm at 3,500rpm from its 374cc single-cylinder, SOHC engine. Like the Classic and the CB350, it is also air cooled and comes paired with a five-speed gearbox.

The Jawa Forty Two takes a very different approach to its powertrain. Despite having the smallest engine at 293cc, it makes the highest power figure at 27.3hp. Torque, however, is slightly lower than its rivals, at 27Nm. The Jawa manages this because it uses a short-stroke architecture and features more modern technology like DOHC and liquid cooling. Additionally, it’s also the only bike here that uses a 6-speed gearbox.

2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350 vs rivals: chassis

The new Classic 350 uses a double-downtube frame in place of the single-cradle frame. That’s not all, the bike also comes equipped with new suspension components and upgraded brakes. Aside from the base variant, every other Classic 350 model features a rear disc brake. The Jawa is the only other bike on this list that has rear discs as an option.

The Honda, Benelli and Jawa also use double-downtube frames, with a conventional telescopic fork and twin shock absorbers handling suspension, like the RE. Another similarity between the Honda, Benelli and Royal Enfield comes in the form of the 19-inch front/18-inch rear wheel configuration, while the Jawa runs 18-inchers on the front and 17-inch wheels at the rear.

Royal Enfield Classic 350 vs rivals: Underpinnings
Royal Enfield Classic 350 Honda H’ness CB350 Benelli Imperiale 400 Jawa Forty Two
Weight (kerb) 195kg 181kg 205kg 172kg
Ground clearance 170mm 166mm 165mm NA
Wheelbase 1390mm 1441mm 1440mm 1369mm
Brakes (f) 300mm disc 310mm disc 300mm disc 280mm disc
Brakes (r) 153mm drum / 270mm disc 240mm disc 240mm disc 153mm drum / 240mm disc
Suspension (f) Telescopic fork Telescopic fork Telescopic fork Telescopic fork
Suspension (r) Twin shock absorbers Twin shock absorbers Twin shock absorbers Twin shock absorbers
Tyres (f) 100/90-19 100/90-19 100/90-19 90/90-18
Tyres (r) 120/80-18 130/70-18 130/80-18 120/80-17
Fuel capacity 13 litres 15 litres 12 litres 14 litres

At a hefty 195kg, the new Classic 350 continues to weigh around the same as the outgoing model. For comparison, the CB350 and Forty Two weigh 181kg and 172kg, respectively. The Imperiale 400, meanwhile, is the heaviest, at 205kg.

2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350 vs rivals: features

The Royal Enfield Classic 350 finally gets a fuel gauge. It has been highly-awaited and comes along with an odometer and two trip meter readouts on a new LCD that sits below the analogue speedometer. While the LCD is available across the range, the top-spec Classic Chrome variant can also be equipped with a TFT display called Tripper navigation. It showcases turn-by-turn navigation using Google Maps data when connected to the Royal Enfield app on your smartphone. It will also be available as an MIY accessory for the lower models in the coming months.

The Japanese motorcycle takes it a step further. It gets Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) and Honda Smartphone Voice Control (HSVC) systems. The HSTC is a traction control system that detects the difference between front and rear wheel speeds, calculates the slip ratio and adjusts engine torque via fuel injection. HSTC can be turned on or off using a switch on the left side of the meter.

The HSVC feature (only available on the DLX Pro variant) has been developed in-house and allows the rider to pair his smartphone to the console via the HSVC app. Once connected, the rider can operate the system to access phone calls, navigation, music playback and incoming messages. Like the Royal Enfield, it has a digital fuel gauge.

On the other hand, the Benelli uses a twin-pod layout that features a large RPM gauge (it's the only one here to get a rev counter) and speedometer, along with a small digital display for the odometer; it also features a fuel gauge. The Jawa, on the other hand, uses a single-pod unit that displays the speed and fuel gauge. Its cluster also has a small digital screen for the odometer.

2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350 vs rivals: verdict

What is quite clear is that the new Classic 350 is a massive step up over the model it replaces. It has major improvements to the engine, frame, suspension, brakes and features.

With an ex-showroom Chennai price ranging from Rs 1.84 lakh to Rs 2.15 lakh, the lower-spec Classic 350 models are priced quite competitively. In comparison, the Honda H’ness CB350 is priced between Rs 1.94-1.99 lakh, while the Benelli Imperiale 400 will set you back by Rs 1.89 lakh. The Jawa Forty Two, meanwhile, is the most affordable at Rs 1.64-1.78 lakh.

Also see:

2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350 video review

2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350 image gallery

2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350 review, road test

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