Smooth riding, torque on tap, and a style icon. Royal Enfield Hunter 350 – a motorcycle cheap on the wallet, and heavy on the fun. We had a pair of 350s in from the once-English manufacturer, who has now shipped out manufacturing to India and is crafting some of the best motorcycles on sale today for fun per pound.
First up for us was a chance to sample the recently launched HNTR 350, with the Classic 350 waiting in the wings. It’s an effortless bike to ride, a spot-on step up from the 125cc category, and supremely easy on the wallet.
It’s not a carbon copy of the Classic 350 and Meteor 350, of which it joins the J-Series family, this Hunter has slightly different suspension, chassis and wheels to point it towards a younger audience. It certainly helps that the price is affordable for that crowd, too!
2023 Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Price and Availability
First available in the UK in November 2022, the Royal Enfield Hunter 350 is priced up starting at £3,899 for the solid tone colours (Dapper White, Ash, and Grey) or £3,979 for the two-tone colours, Rebel Blue (as ridden), Rebel Black, and Rebel Red.
Some dealers are listing the Hunter 350 for a tad cheaper online, as of June 2023, and it’s likely that your local Enfield dealer (of which there are plenty, and growing) will have a few in stock for you to ride away with. That’s the beauty of Royal Enfield, they’re seriously in-demand motorcycles – with a huge supply!
Against similar capacity rivals, the HNTR 350 comes out on top price-wise. A Yamaha MT-03 will set you back £6,000, Honda’s CB300R is £5,099, a KTM Duke 390 is £5,499, and the BMW G 310 R is £5,190. Off the bat, the Royal Enfield is far cheaper than the premium options from other manufacturers – but holds itself strong with solid build quality and style.
J-Series Hunter 350 Engine
With the J-Series motor as seen in the Meteor 350 & Classic 350, the air-oil cooled single-cylinder is by no means an outright power-hungry machine, with around 20 bhp and 27 Nm (20-ish lb-ft) of torque at your disposal.
Realistically it’s a very easygoing ride, torque delivery is nice and smooth, and anyone can jump on one of these and feel comfortable with how the bike performs.
A limiting factor is the top speed of 71 mph. In the top 5th overdrive gear, you can happily plug away at an indicated 75ish MPH (on GPS would be closer to 71 mph) without bouncing off the non-existent rev limiter. That’s a good and bad thing – good, as it’s ultimately frugal and adheres to the Euro 5 emissions regulations, but it’s bad as you have no leeway for overtaking on a dual carriageway (or single carriageway for that matter).
You’re lulled into cruising along busier roads, or taking the nearest backroad route to have a bit of fun – and by that merit, turns itself into a fun motorcycle again.
In towns and cities, this power is perfect for cruising around, dodging between standstill traffic and doing it on a budget. Plus, there’s a lot to be said about running a bike at 100%. You have an immense amount of fun trying to keep your speed through successive corners, much like a 125cc, without worrying about losing your licence.
Simply put, the Hunter has no rider modes, rider aids or electronics to worry about. You just jump on, use the lovely vintage-styled switchgear to flick it into life, and get out there enjoying the ride.
We noted on a few rides that rolling off the throttle can often leave the motor engaging a bit of rev before catching up to your input, and the idle revs are fairly low. Though, it sounds seriously good when revved up – almost like a 125cc with more bass. It was a pleasant surprise to hear it sing!
Handling | Frame, Suspension, Brakes
One highlight for me is the handling, and this is mostly a result of the chassis and suspension, with the short wheelbase and sharp steering that allows you to turn in no space at all.
The new twin-spar chassis feels responsive, and to an extent ‘sporty’, with 17-inch wheels trod with questionable CEAT tyres. You can certainly throw it around, but on the edges of the tyre, the grip does feel a tad hit or miss. I’d opt for better hoops once you’ve seen out this pair.
The centre of mass feels seriously low, with pegs near enough directly beneath you and a wide bar in front. Sat atop the 790 mm seat you feel in charge and able to manoeuvre the bike exactly how you want it, getting some serious lean and a load of fun.
Braking power is in the form of a single 300mm front disc with a floating twin-piston caliper, and a rear 270mm disc with single piston floating caliper. Dual ABS is present, and if hammering on the soft brakes you can engage the ABS quite easily – but all in, the braking power is good. Particularly for beginner riders who may get a bit ham-fisted mid-corner.
Lastly, the suspension provides a forgiving ride for the 181 kg bike, if a tad soft – particularly at the front with telescopic 41mm forks. You have twin rear shocks that can be adjusted within 6 steps for preload, and at their initial setting felt firmer than the front.
Worth thinking about how this machine will also have buyers in India and the Asian areas who may have different expectations for carrying capacity - with the roads out there being a tad less forgiving (and bikes put to task a bit more).
Simple Motorcycling – This is what it’s all about!
Encompassing all of these points into one, the picture the Royal Enfield Hunter 350 paints is one of accessibility and simplicity. Easy to ride, frugal, cheap to run and purchase. You’d be hard-pressed to find a bike that’s of the stature of this Enfield, with the riding pleasure and customisation potential.
A full 13-litre tank will get you around 250 miles per fill-up – though Royal Enfield does point towards a 300-mile range figure. If looking to take a long tour, you’ll also be pleased to hear the Tripper Navigation unit can be selected as an option, to help point you in the right direction when out on a ride.
Another classic Royal Enfield positive is the customisation. There are plenty of OEM accessories to pick from to add a bit of personal flair to your ride, and enough to appease the younger audience who will love to chuck one of these around.
The switchgear is nice, and the analogue display (with a small LCD screen for your gear indicator, fuel gauge, trip and odometer) is on-brand with its equal helping of simplicity and style.
In terms of comfort, for a 6’3” rider it’s fairly nice. I wouldn’t want to spend long periods running at top speed, so long carriageway commutes may not be the bike's strong point, but the saddle is fairly comfortable despite leaning you forward into the tank a touch.
Some reviews have pointed towards a heavy clutch, and it does feel a bit heavy on the hand with repeated use at slower speeds, but for the most part, it's easy to get to grips with.
Pros and Cons
- Cheap to buy, cheap to run.
- Easy riding with top handling.
- Top speed is only 71 mph.
- Braking is a tad soft – could be in benefit to it’s easy-riding nature.
2023 Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Verdict
City riders and countryside riders will find a lot to love, here. The Royal Enfield Hunter 350 makes a solid effort at providing some real motorcycling that is accessible and friendly, with plenty of character – and all for under £4000. You’d be hard-pressed to find a 125cc motorcycle that’s built this well, looks this good, and provides this quality of riding experience.
We loved having the Hunter and Classic 350 duo in at BikeMatters, and it’s yet another Enfield that hits the mark.
Sure, it won’t hit 100 mph, and it only pushes to a top speed of 70 mph after a good open run, but it doesn’t claim to do anything like that at all. It’s unapologetic in what it can provide, and that’s bare-bones motorcycling. I think we can all get behind that sentiment.
It makes a good argument against the more premium models in this segment, with all the character to back itself. You'd also be well advised to check the Classic 350 & Meteor 350, which make use of the exact same motor but in two varying styles.
Cheers to Royal Enfield, check their website to find a dealer local to you (and for more specs & information). Make sure to hit up Lexham Insurance for a motorcycle quote if you’re looking for some insurance, let them know BikeMatters sent you!
2023 Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Specs
|Engine||349cc, single-cylinder, 4-stroke, SOHC, air-oil cooled, CrossPlane (CP2), 20 BHP, 27 Nm|
|Brakes||Front 300mm Disc and Rear 270mm disc. Dual Channel ABS|
|Suspension||Front 41mm telescopic Forks, Rear Twin shocks with 6-step preload|
2023 Royal Enfield HNTR 350 Video Review
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