Home » I Just Bought This Gorgeous New Royal Enfield Classic 350 For Under $6000. Here’s Why That’s Such A Great Deal

I Just Bought This Gorgeous New Royal Enfield Classic 350 For Under $6000. Here’s Why That’s Such A Great Deal

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On Saturday, I drove about 180 miles east of my Illinois home to the bustling town of Elkhart, Indiana. I wasn’t there to gawk at the many RVs produced out there, but to buy my first new motorcycle. For years, I’ve raved about how much I love today’s retro designs, yet I never put my money where my mouth is. Well, I finally did just that and brought home a 2023 Royal Enfield Classic 350. I expected to love the motorcycle. What I didn’t expect was an experience that brought me back to what got me into riding in the first place.

This month marks my fifth anniversary of getting my motorcycle endorsement. Back in 2018, I embarked on a journey of changing my life. In those days, I had little confidence in myself. I wanted to do so much, but just made up excuses as I was too scared to venture too far outside of my comfort zone. Well, that year I decided to throw my comfort zone into a blender. I went off-roading and I got that motorcycle endorsement. My only regret is not doing it sooner.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

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Since then, I’ve owned maybe 30 or so motorcycles and I’ve learned that I definitely have a preferred style. I love vintage bikes and new motorcycles that look like they’re 50 years old. There’s nothing wrong with modern motorcycle design, of course. I also adore the quirky motorcycles of Buell and Ducati reliably punches out beautiful machines.

Time Machines

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In recent years, I’ve found myself gravitating toward the likes of Janus Motorcycles and Royal Enfield. The wonderful folks behind Janus don’t just sell motorcycles with vintage style, but they build motorcycles by hand like a big company just can’t. I’ve watched as a Janus artisan took a boring flat piece of metal and over the course of about an hour or so, beat and bent that metal into a gorgeous fender. Metalwork is an art and Janus’ talented builders showed me that. Janus bikes come with pinstriping by hand, leather from Amish craftsmen, custom-milled parts, and every bike has a deeply personal touch. I stand by my word when I say that riding a Janus (above) is the closest you’ll get to having a time machine.

Bullet 350 Majestic Stance

Since Janus Motorcycles is a boutique brand, prices do get pretty steep. If you don’t have the kind of cash that Janus commands, look no further than Royal Enfield. Until recently, nobody ever told Royal Enfield that modern motorcycles exist. For a famous example, the Royal Enfield Bullet has been in continuous production since 1948 and for the most part, updates have come slowly. The Royal Enfield Bullet 500 didn’t get fuel injection until 2011 and the Bullet 350 soldiered on until 2020 before it got fuel injection. Today, the most technology the Indian market gets from a Bullet is ABS on the front wheel.

A Classic Reborn

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Here in America, we used to get the Bullet, now we get the Classic 350. This motorcycle looks like a Bullet, specifically the 1948 Royal Enfield G2 350. However, despite the looks, there’s a new motorcycle under all of that metal. And there is so much metal on this motorcycle. More on that in a bit. As I noted before, Royal Enfield reinvented itself in recent years:

Royal Enfield has been enjoying a renaissance of sorts in recent years. The company, known by many riders as the company that builds cheap bikes that tend to break, found a winning formula. In 2015, it purchased Harris Performance Products in the U.K.. Pierre Terblanche was then poached from Ducati to become RE’s head of industrial design. James Young and Simon Warburton came over from Triumph, where they worked as heads of engines and products, respectively.

Royal Enfield still wasn’t done, as it headed over to Bosch for some fuel injection. Royal Enfield even found a Harley-Davidson manager, Rod Copes, to run its North American operations. While this was happening, Royal Enfield’s CEO Siddhartha Lal divested 13 businesses from parent company Eicher Group, leaving the company with a more focused portfolio.

Royal Enfield now has a base of operations back in the UK where the brand originally began. Out of this renaissance have come motorcycles with better quality and better technology but with the same stunning looks. The Royal Enfield Classic series made its debut in 2008 and got a second generation in 2022. This second generation was a complete redesign, leveraging the new talent and resources under the RE roof. The Classic 350 is new from top-to-bottom including the chassis, suspension, brakes, and the engine. This isn’t the Royal Enfield of not even ten years ago that would fall apart in its own promotional videos.

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By now, you’ve probably noticed me talking about how much I adore both Royal Enfield and Janus Motorcycles. I’ve been talking about them for years, even at Jalopnik. Yet, I never pulled the trigger, thinking that they were just about too far outside of my price range. That changed when I wrote about five new motorcycles for sale for under $5,000. Somehow, I wasn’t aware that there were Royal Enfields for under $6,000 before fees and whatnot. Indeed, RE has a whole lineup of inexpensive machines and all of them are oh-so pretty.

Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

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My heart fell for the Classic 350 in Halcyon Grey. Whenever I get the rare chance to buy a new vehicle, I always choose a “real” color. I ordered my first Smart Fortwo in metallic sky blue and the second one came in bright orange with a matching orange interior. I would have bought the Royal Enfield in hot pink or yellow if I could have, but I chose Halcyon Grey, which is a mix of cream and blue-sh. As I’ve been learning, Halcyon Grey is a popular color in some regions. I tried to chase down three of them over the past couple of months and they all sold before I could get to them. So, when I found one in Indiana, I asked the dealership, Elkhart Indian Motorcycle, to hold it for me.

Saturday’s forecast called for morning rain followed by sun that afternoon. I didn’t care, I was so excited. In fact, I couldn’t even sleep. I lept out of bed at the crack of 6 am, pulled my tired wife out of bed, and had her haul me out to Elkhart to pick up the bike. We arrived in the middle of a rainstorm and saw my new baby sitting in a corner waiting for me.

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The first thing that surprised me is that the Classic 350 is not sized like you would expect it to be. Based on the pictures, I expected something about the size of an old Honda Rebel 250. Instead, this is pretty substantial and firmly a middleweight-size machine. In the above picture, my Classic 350 was parked next to a Royal Enfield Interceptor 650. The Classic is pretty close to the same size.

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I started exploring my Classic 350 before I found the salesperson I was supposed to speak to. On initial inspection, the quality seemed to be great.

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It looked like great care was taken with the welds and the paint looked better than the paint found on many new cars. As I said before, there are very few parts on this motorcycle that aren’t made of metal that feels pretty substantial. Just about everything I felt up was hefty metal, except for the switchgear and the side covers. The Classic 350 weighs 430 pounds with a 90 percent fuel load and I feel like you can identify where every pound is. Of course, you can also see where Royal Enfield saved some money; there are decals on the tank and side covers.

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Anyway, eventually, the salesman I talked to on the phone materialized. Nate gave me a tour of the entire Elkhart Indian Motorcycle facility where everyone was quite helpful. I indicated that I’ll be doing my own services and the service department walked me through what I will be doing and pointed me in the correct direction for how to do it.

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While I was there, I noticed that the Classic 350 is missing a feature found on other RE models. On other models, you get something called the Royal Enfield Tripper Navigation System. It’s a little screen that pairs with your phone to display turn-by-turn directions next to your instrument cluster. I like that the Tripper is a discreet device that retains the classic looks of the motorcycle. As the dealership told me, Royal Enfield has elected not to include the Tripper on the Classic 350 and it may never be available. However, the Classic 350 should be wired for it, so it’s just a matter of buying the device and taking 10 minutes to install it.

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My 2023 Classic 350 stickered at $4,599. The dealership charged $750 for freight and about $550 for setup and document fees. I rode out of the showroom paying around $5,850 total. I probably could have negotiated a lower out-the-door cost, but I budgeted for a total cost like this, so I left satisfied. Big two thumbs up to Elkhart Indian for making the buying process painless and comfortable.

The Ride

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For the ride home, I decided that it probably wasn’t best to take a bike with just 10 miles on it and subject it to three straight hours of a top-speed run, so I routed myself home avoiding highways. My route took me into Michigan, where I followed the rim of Lake Michigan until it brought me into Chicago then ultimately, home. I would ride my Classic 350 about 173 miles and the motorcycle would face just about every environment it could reasonably expect to face.

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Under the pretty paint sits a 349.34cc air and oil-cooled thumper making 20.2 HP and 19.9 ft-lb torque. It’s fuel-injected and other technology comes in the form of dual-channel ABS.

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The motorcycle also has a monochrome display under the speedometer and a USB plug cleverly hidden under the clutch lever. Yes, that engine is making the kinds of power you got from a 250 three decades ago. Clearly, speed is not the Classic 350’s forte, so at first, I avoided taking it down highways.

Most of my journey home took place on country roads in Michigan and Indiana. It was here that the Classic 350 shined. Royal Enfield worked some magic with this engine. Single-cylinder engines are notorious for having the refinement of farm equipment and the engine note of a lawnmower. The engine in the Classic 350 has some of those vibrations, but they’re muted to the point where they don’t make your hands and feet numb. You can feel the little engine working, but you don’t feel the vibes in your heart. And when you ride this motorcycle how you should-like you stole it-this engine bellows out a deep, satisfying exhaust note. It sounds a tad like a lawnmower in some of its rev range, but otherwise, to my ears, it almost sounds like half of a BMW R 18.

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To make the best use of the morsel of power on hand, a Classic 350 is best ridden like you’re in a point-to-point race with your friends. Use the engine’s rev band and it will deliver. This engine makes that 20.2 HP at 6,100 RPM and 19.9 lb-ft torque at 4,000 RPM, so you must be willing to let it rip. When you do, you’ll find acceleration to be perfectly adequate up to about 60 mph. On my ride home, I found myself outrunning traffic up to 60 mph and I wasn’t even at full throttle. After 60 mph is when the Classic 350 begins running out of steam.

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Honest top speed is 75 mph. What I mean by “honest” is that my Classic 350 will reach and maintain 75 mph with me on it. I’m a big person with 250 pounds to throw around and I wasn’t tucking. However, it should be noted that getting past 75 was a struggle. I got it to hit about 83 mph fully-tucked going downhill. My Classic 350’s engine seems most at home going between 65 mph and 70 mph. With me on it, it had no problem even going up small Midwestern hills at 70. In that speed range, the engine settles into its cruise and seems to have a good time. Just know that you have no reserve for passing.

Motorcycle Tranquility

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That makes the Classic 350 a perfect machine for cities and the country, places where you’ll rarely go above 65 mph. So, that’s where I rode it. On the country roads of Michigan and Indiana, the ride was pure bliss. No, riding the Classic 350 down country roads resulted in euphoria. On those roads, it was just me, the bike, and country as far as I could see. I wasn’t in a rush and neither was my Royal Enfield. The bike and I were having a relaxing Saturday circling the bottom of Lake Michigan.

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In today’s world of high-tech gadgetry, it’s easy to get lost in riding something that feels like a laptop with wheels. That wasn’t the case with the Classic 350. It reminded me of why I got into motorcycling in the first place. Riding my motorcycle felt like the simplest form of vehicular freedom. There was a simple machine between my legs and a wide-open road of endless possibilities.

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The lack of technology is a bonus. There were no gauges to worry about and should something happen, I could just pop open a side cover and use the included tool kit to get me back on the road. I couldn’t do that with my Triumph Tiger.

Riding the Classic 350 probably won’t cause your heart rate to tick up. No, riding a Classic 350 is motorcycle tranquility. It’s a motorcycle that forces you to take your time and enjoy the ride.

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It’s a motorcycle that convinces you to slow down, take in the sights, and sometimes, just stare at your machine. Yes, you’ll be passed by anyone riding anything bigger than a Honda Grom, but who cares, you’ll be in your happy place.

The City

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Later in the day, I took the Classic 350 into Chicago, where I parked next to the Adler Planetarium to snap a couple of quick pictures. While there, a lot of people came by to ask me where I found such an old bike in such great condition. More than one person asked for the number of the company that restored it.

This motorcycle reeled in some incredible attention. I think you will have to be some sort of extrovert to own one of these because someone will always be asking you questions or making comments about how beautiful it is. And most of them will have their minds blown to find out that it’s not a 1953 but a 2023.

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The city is another place where the Royal Enfield Classic 350 excels. It’s plenty maneuverable at slow speeds and as I said before, will easily outrun city traffic. And so long as people aren’t driving 90 mph on the highway, you’ll have no problem there, either. On this Saturday, Chicago traffic moved about 70 mph and I had no problem keeping up. I also took the Classic 350 down Lake Shore Drive, where those feelings of tranquility returned. I’m also a bit amazed at how comfortable its saddle is. This is something you’ll almost certainly not tour on, yet it’s so comfortable that you can sit on it all day.

One Of My New Favorite Bikes

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I pulled into my storage unit some five hours and 173 miles after I left Elkhart. And I tell you what, I was smiling from end to end. I just stared at the Classic 350 for a good 15 minutes then washed it and waxed it. I waxed it! I’ve never done that to a motorcycle before. That’s how much I loved it. The day itself was also pretty special. It was the 17th annual International Female Ride Day. A good 95 percent of the motorcyclists I saw on the road that day were women and their bikes were awesome. I saw a little everything from Harleys to Can-Am Spyders out in the rain with me.

In the end, I am absolutely in love with this machine. Yes, you could buy more motorcycles for less money on the used market. And yes, its top speed makes touring a non-starter and long-distance interstate travel ill-advised. If you can live with that, the Royal Enfield Classic 350 is fantastic. I wouldn’t say the quality is on the level of Honda, but it’s good. There was nothing that felt nasty or like it didn’t belong. The switchgear was robust, the five-speed transmission was clicky and confident, the suspension soaked up the terrible roads, and the brakes quickly brought the show to a halt.

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This didn’t feel like a motorcycle you buy because it’s inexpensive, but because you really want it. If you’re looking for something to get you around the city or down picturesque country roads, I don’t think you’ll regret buying a Royal Enfield Classic 350. This motorcycle brings riding back to a purer form and maybe, just like it did for me, you’ll find motorcycle tranquility.

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MH7
MH7
1 year ago

Nice bike. Dropped it off at the storage unit though? Find a nice set of drown saddlebags and daily that thing.

MH7
MH7
1 year ago

I guess that’s not bad if the unit is near by. For two years I kept a sportster outside in my apartment parking lot-I’d just try to park next to my car and toss the cover in the back when I took the bike. Only took about 30 seconds to get on and off.

That said, I was living in a city that (despite horrible violent crime statistics) just didn’t have much in the way of motorcycle crime. Nobody ever even touched my saddlebags in 3 years. Move to CA and people are legit chucking R1s into vans at my gated apartment complex, and ransacking my bags 3 times a week. So YMMV

Marc Miller
Marc Miller
1 year ago

Congratulations on the new bike!

Spartanjohn113
Spartanjohn113
1 year ago

The design is a fantastic throwback and your choice of color is perfect! I especially love your picture at the end, with the Royal’s hue almost matching the water’s. Just as your articles got me started on fiberglass camper research, I’m now looking at the Ryvid Anthem as my first bike. Though…the Classic 350’s price point is pretty competitive.

The biker day might also explain the scanner traffic we heard at the TV station Friday night. There were an unusual number of bikers in downtown South Bend Friday night and some were a bit unruly, at least according to dispatchers.

PS: Next time you’re in Michiana, lunch is on me!

Last edited 1 year ago by Spartanjohn113
Matti Sillanpää
Matti Sillanpää
1 year ago

Five years of motorcycling and 30 motorcycles :O. I think you’ve got a problem and this is from person who believes right amount of bikes is n+1 :D.

Zeppelopod
Zeppelopod
1 year ago

Mercedes, I am not kidding when I say I am wildly envious of this purchase! I’ve been wanting to get into motorcycling for years now, just never pulled the trigger on it. Alas I’m overseas right now in a deeply motorcycling-unfriendly country (Bahrain) but good lord do I still want to try. Especially as Royal Enfield has been making inroads here; despite the high cost of consumer goods, a Meteor or Interceptor is priced largely the same as it would be in the US.

That Halcyon Grey (which looks more like powder blue in the pictures) is gorgeous. It’s an elegant color and I think it suits your introspective style quite well. The chrome accents and decals look fantastic.

I only have to make it one more year, then I’m headed back to Dayton. There’s a dealer there and hopefully Enfield will have gotten enough traction in the market that I’ll be able to pick up a gently used specimen. If you and Sheryl make it down to visit the USAF museum again (or if you’re there for the air show) maybe there’ll be enough Autopians present to do a ride.

Anthony L
Anthony L
1 year ago

Congratulations Mercedes! A beautiful bike indeed! I’ve really enjoyed my RE Himalayan. It is simple to work on and is a fun but subdued ride. Safe riding!

Dodsworth
Dodsworth
1 year ago

That is gorgeous, and the brown seat is icing on the cake. Royal Enfield has been gaining my interest so I’m looking forward to every little thing you have to report. This might sound weird but their engines are very good looking. Kudos to the dealer for not throwing a royal fit when you said you would do your own maintenance. Impressive. In the long run I hope it turns out to be as good as it looks.

John Hower
John Hower
1 year ago

Congratulations, Mercedes! Your excitement for the new bike comes through your words. Well done!

Bomber
Bomber
1 year ago

Congrats Mercedes on new bike day! Gorgeous choice! Classic styled bikes are so pretty! Your ride sounds like a great way to get to know her! Better than just interstate riding for sure.

After much crazy deliberation, I decided on my new bike too! I put money down on a 2023 Husky Norden 901 Expedition that will hopefully arrive here in a few weeks.

CSRoad
CSRoad
1 year ago

Congratulations, that looks like a great ride if you ride it where the fun is and the fun is not on the interstate anyway. Be safe and enjoy. (-:

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
1 year ago

I really love these bikes, but wishing for a consistent 80 MPH cruise speed is still keeping me from buying one.

I prefer to ride the back roads because they’re much more fun, but I need to use the interstate now and then, not to get somewhere quickly, but to de-stress. People are so ignorant of motorcycles on country roads that I’m often on edge at every intersection, every blind corner, and every small town I have to pass through. So after a while, I have to ride a segment on the highway to relax. I can’t do that around here if I can’t maintain 70-80 with a little extra in reserve for safety.

That said, I love the look and the price point. Call me when they add 50ccs or maybe a second cylinder.

Last edited 1 year ago by PaysOutAllNight
MH7
MH7
1 year ago

They have a 650 twin for about $6k. 47 hp and S&S make go-fast parts if you want more.

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
1 year ago
Reply to  MH7

True, but the Continental GT and the INT650 look nothing like the Classic 350.

I love remakes and reissues, but prefer when they are updated enough to remain relevant in the current era. The Classic 350 is updated in the right ways to make it a great bike, but it’s just not quite updated enough for my needs.

SYKO Simmons
SYKO Simmons
1 year ago

I want one so bad….but I literally look like a gorilla on one in a circus because of their size….

David Saunders
David Saunders
1 year ago

Love it! I am very tempted myself. I owned a Suzuki TU250X for many years which I adored. I still used it as a long distance bike despite it really not being suited to the task. I almost jumped on a Kawasaki W800 a year ago but everything since that is semi local has been rather pricey.

The only thing stopping me from picking up a Classic is I am wondering if I’d like the Hunter 350 better.

Last edited 1 year ago by David Saunders
Jim Stock
Jim Stock
1 year ago

ENJOY!!!
I love thumpers but at 6 ft & 250+ pounds after riding gear, singles just do not have the power I need to feel safe at higher speeds.

Jonathan Green
Jonathan Green
1 year ago

Mercedes, enjoy!

Time machines do exist; they just don’t work the way you think they would.

If I’m on an old bike, I see the gas on the ground from tickling the carbs. You have the whole “art of the start.” It rides like whenever the bike came out.

If you were on a country road, where you didn’t see any other cars or signs, it could easily be 1960. You wouldn’t know it wasn’t.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
1 year ago

That is a sweet bike! Well bought!

Frankly, I doubt they would have come down on those fees. I looked into buying a new $6100 scooter from Dupage Honda Yamaha last week and it was almost $9200 before you got out the door!

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
1 year ago

Royal Enfield is,the Morgan of motorcycles and you buy one to have the experience of an old bike without the work of restoration and the fiddlyness of carb ticklers and key starts.
I rode a 500 several years ago and apart from sounding like lawnmower and feeling gutless it was a pleasant machine. Enjoy your ride.

Gubbin
Gubbin
1 year ago

Just the thing for a nice bimble through the countryside.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
1 year ago

Not my cup of tea, but…
Damn if Mercedes Streeter isn’t the best automotive journalist going right now. She’s putting out piece after piece and knocking them out of the park.
Keep it up.

Lokki
Lokki
1 year ago

What a beauty! I have a soft spot for thumpers too. Nothing better for lazy countryside Sunday cruising with a friend or two in no hurry to get anywhere

JDE
JDE
1 year ago

A big Fat NOPE to Janus with their Chinese sourced mini motors. I would absolutely rather get a hold of 30 to 40 year old Japanese vertical twins and probably reliably drive them farther than any of those sub par chinese piles. Heck you could probably get some 10 to 15 year old 650 twin kawasaki’s for the same price as a Tao Tao wannabe 30’s motorcycle.

those are just for the Sunday Coffee Poseur riders who only ride a couple miles to the coffee shop and then stand around wondering what to do next versus actually going out and riding for a bit.

But I do have a soft spot for the Enfield. Just wish the single was a 500 so it was not so painfully slow.

Grey alien in a beige sedan
Grey alien in a beige sedan
1 year ago

Mercedes… I think that this bike suits you better than any schoolie or smart car ever did. Nice find!

Scott Ross
Scott Ross
1 year ago

Nice Bike, I like smaller displacement also, My Next bike will be 500cc or less. Just wondering since you rode in Chicago, are you or any of the Autopian staff going to the Street Race in a few months?

Fix It Again Tony
Fix It Again Tony
1 year ago

Nice bike!

WR250R
WR250R
1 year ago

Looks awesome! Hope you really enjoy it!

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