2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350: real world fuel efficiency tested

    Published On Sep 04, 2021 07:00:00 AM

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    Is the new J-platform engine more fuel-efficient than the old UCE motor?

    We put the 2021 Classic 350 through our real-world fuel-efficiency tests, and these are our findings.

    • Single-cylinder fuel-injected engine
    • Produces 20.2hp and 27Nm
    • Mated to a 5-speed gearbox

    The 2021 Classic 350 may look almost identical to its predecessor, but in reality, almost every single component on the updated bike is brand new. At the heart of it all is the 349cc J-platform engine, which is more modern and sophisticated than the UCE motor it replaces. As a result of all this, the Classic 350 has become a little more expensive to buy than before. But thanks to more modern underpinnings, can it offset this by being more affordable to run? To find out, we put the 2021 Classic 350 through our real-world fuel-efficiency tests.

    In terms of output, the Classic 350 now produces a little more power than before, but is down on torque. Nevertheless, the differences are quite marginal, and output remains in the same ballpark as the older model. It is also very similar to its predecessor in terms of kerb weight.

    So as you'd expect, fuel efficiency has also remained quite similar. In the city, the 2021 Classic 350 manages 32.7kpl, while out on the highway, it returns 36.7kpl. For reference, the old Classic 350 BS6 managed slightly higher figures of 34.33kpl and 38.33kpl respectively.

    There are a couple of possible explanations as to why the older bike offered slightly better fuel efficiency. The UCE engine was never designed with BS6 emission norms in mind, yet Royal Enfield managed to get the motor to pass them, by adding a fuel-injection system and an additional catalytic converter. But in order to achieve this, it most likely had to tune the engine to run rather lean, which offers better fuel-efficiency, at the cost of a small compromise in on-off throttle smoothness.

    The J-platform engine was envisioned with BS6 norms from the get-go, which is why it probably has cleaner combustion and can afford to run a little richer, offering a softer throttle response more appropriate to this motorcycle. However, this comes at the cost of fuel-efficiency.

    Then there's also the fact that the new engine features a counter-balancer which greatly reduces high RPM vibrations, allowing you to use the entire extent of the rev band. The UCE motor's crippling high RPM vibrations seriously limited how frequently you could explore its top-end, so it was naturally conducive to a more fuel-efficient riding style with early upshifts.

    And of course, some of the difference in fuel efficiency can also be attributed to the different climatic and road conditions on the two different days these bikes were tested.

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