2023 Royal Enfield Bullet 350: Bullet Meri Jaan
Test: Jeff Ware Photography: Royal Enfield
Pulling out of the hotel driveway onto the open road of Chennai for my first riding experience in India, I could not have been on a more suitable motorcycle.
As crazy as the Indian traffic appears from the outside, now that I’m immersed in it, caught up in the current, I find it is much easier than anticipated. I find myself quickly at one with the Bullet and making good use of the horn!
The narrow build, commanding ride position, powerful rear brake, nimble low speed steering and super tight steering lock make so much sense to me as I work my way through the chaos. Short shifting the slick gearbox and taking advantage of the 350 torque works wonders.
The Bullet is almost vibe free, with some mirror blurring in the upper rev range and only very slight vibes through the handlebars and footpegs. The engine is a gem, just don’t rush it, let the torque come to you and ride the long, broad curve. The ratios are spot on in the slick shifting heel/toe gearbox, with top gear a tall overdrive but one, I’m discovering, that the 350cc engine has no problem pulling at all.
I need to remind myself that although here in India that fifth gear overdrive and 115-120km/h top speed is sufficient, when I tested the Meteor back in Australia I was looking for a sixth gear within half an hour testing, and I think the J Series would pull another gear, too.
I am getting the hang of warning people I am coming through, and I somehow know when I’m been warned, too. It’s a survival battle out here on the roads of Chennai but the trusty Gold Black Bullet 350 seems to be working with me as one to safely get me through.
What I am noticing is the super comfort of the seat and the compliance of the suspension. The Bullet is not bottoming out on any of these extreme bumps and both ends are balanced and well damped too.
The steering is sharp, nimble yet stable and geometry is overall sensible and sweet handling, just as intended for its purpose. The brakes are predictable with low initial bite, perfect for slippery roads (and new riders), but stopping power is there. The rear is the go-to, it offers strong power and a late locking up point. The ABS works well.
The suspension is a strong point and above that of the category and competition. Overall handling is quite good for the weight and style. Styling I will leave to you. Personally, I love the look of the new Bullet 350 and would have a Black Gold in my garage any day of the week.
The Bullet will make you smile and that is something that can’t be engineered into a motorcycle. It comes from passion, history and in this case, an incredible 91 years of development…
BULLET 350 SPECIFICATIONS
Price & Availability: N/A
Colours: Black Gold, Standard Black, Standard Maroon, Military Black, Military Red.
Claimed Power: 20.2hp@6100rpm
Claimed Torque: 27Nm@4000rpm
J Series single-cylinder, four-stroke, air-oil cooled, 349cc
Frame Type; Twin Downtube Spine Frame
Front suspension: Telescopic, 41mm forks Rear suspension: Twin tube Emulsion shock absorbers
Wheels & Tyres: Spoked 100/90 – 19in, 120/80 – 18in(r) tubed.
Brakes: Front 300mm rotor with twin piston floating caliper, rear 270mm rotor, single piston floating caliper, ABS both ends.
Seat Height: 805mm
Kerb Weight: 195kg
Fuel Capacity: 13L
ELECTRONICS: Analogue and LCD display, ABS, Electric Start.