The latest Royal Enfield motorcycle will be called the Royal Enfield Meteor 350, a name the Indian brand had trademarked almost a year ago. The RE Meteor 350 is in fact a replacement for the Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350. While the new BS6 Royal Enfield Bullet 350 and the Royal Enfield Classic 350 have been launched, will the Meteor 350 be based on the same 350 cc single-cylinder UCE engines, or is there more to it? And will the Meteor 350 just be a case of a rebranded and renamed Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350X?
The new Meteor 350 is likely the production name for the internal codename of the upcoming Royal Enfield J1D model, rumoured to be a completely new platform, built around a new engine, as well as new chassis, and hopefully will be the first brand new engine after the hugely successful and popular 650 Twins.
The biggest, and most significant changes are however, in the engine and the frame. Unlike the single downtube chassis of the Thunderbird 350X, the Royal Enfield Meteor 350 employs a double cradle chassis, and will likely offer better stability and handling than the Thunderbird 350X. More importantly though, are the changes to the engine. Although it’s likely going to be a 350 cc, or an engine of around that size, the Meteor 350’s engine will likely have significant changes, including different power and output than the 19 bhp UCE of the Classic 350, but will have accessible power not to overwhelm first-time riders.
Finally the new Royal Enfield Meteor 350 may be a replacement for the Royal Enfield Thunderbird, but once launched, it may be anything resembling the Thunderbird, in terms of performance, handling and as a product. The Meteor 350, or the J1D platform, is likely to be the second most important product for Royal Enfield as the company looks to establish itself as a leading brand in the mid-size motorcycle segment globally.
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