A massive update brings the popular Classic back to the future.
Royal Enfield has also made big improvements in the chassis department. The biggest change comes in the double-downtube frame that replaces the basic single-cradle unit. While the main frame and swingarm are exactly the same as on the Meteor, the foot peg mounts are different, as is the rear subframe which enables the mounting of a different rear fender. Like with the Meteor 350, the ground clearance on the 2021 Classic 350 has climbed by 35mm, to a fairly substantial 170mm. As a result, there’s a big bump in cornering clearance as well.
While the suspension components might look the same as before, Royal Enfield has said that they aren’t and the new Classic gets a fatter 41mm telescopic fork. Even when compared with the Meteor, the Classic gets a little more damping, which results in a slightly firmer ride.
Handling is vastly improved with more feel and cornering clearance available to the rider.
The bike has a relatively firm feel to the ride quality, but it’s not harsh or too stiff. What has come as a by-product of this suspension set-up is much more confident handling. That being said, it still doesn’t feel as agile and light on its feet as the Meteor 350. The different wheel and tyres sizes, as well as the different rider ergonomics, are probably the reasons for this. While the 2021 Classic 350 continues to use a 19-inch (front)/18-inch (rear) wheel set-up, the Meteor comes equipped with a 19-inch (front)/17-inch (rear) combination. These wheels come wrapped in a 100/90 tyre at the front and 120/80 section tyre at the rear. The Ceat tyres it comes equipped with behaved quite well in the rain.
Anchorage comes from a 300mm front disc and a 270mm rotor at the rear with dual-channel ABS – although there is a base model with a rear drum brake and single-channel ABS. Braking performance is good with a heavy pull, but the front brake feel is dull, just like the Meteor’s. Despite this, the 2021 Classic 350 managed to get from 60-0kph in 16.47m, which isn’t only better than the outgoing model, but also respectable when you consider its heavy, 195kg kerb weight.