Royal Enfield has announced an all-new model set to join the Indian owned firm's 2021 lineup in the form of the 350cc Meteor.
Built around a new oil and air-cooled single-cylinder engine, the Meteor 350 is targetted at the entry-level cruiser/commuter market and is expected to arrive in New Zealand dealerships next year with an as yet to be released price.
The stylish new Meteor shares a similar design aesthetic to the previously released Royal Enfield Thunderbird – which was released in New Zealand and Australia under the Rumbler 350 nameplate – but with a smaller 15-litre fuel tank and larger 140 section rear tyre giving the bike a more traditional cruiser aesthetic.
Power from the EFI single-cylinder is similar to that of Rumbler, with 20.2hp at 6100rpm backed by 27Nm of torque from 4000rpm. As we found out when we rode the Rumbler in 2018 this is ample for the task of commuting and enough to keep pace with traffic at highway speeds. Sadly, unlike the Rumbler the Meteor 350 appears to have done away with the kick-start option leaving starting a push-button only affair.
Rolling stock comes in the form of a cast alloy 17-inch rear wheel and a 19-incher out the front with braking is taken care of by a 300mm disc up and two-piston caliper combo in the front and a 270mm disc and single-piston unit in the rear. As you'd expect the now mandatory ABS backs up the brakes to prevent unwanted lock-ups.
While it seems like a relatively low-fi commuter so far, Royal Enfield has included some useful technology into the Meteor as standard equipment to help ensure it is a strong contender in the commuter segment.
This is perhaps most evident in the inclusion of the new Tripper navigation system (the first built-in navigation system on any Royal Enfield that's more sophisticated than a simple compass) which is mounted to the handlebar next to the stylish analogue speedo.
The Tripper nav system uses a combination of Google Maps and Royal Enfield's new app to deliver turn by turn instructions straight to the Meteor's dashboard via a Bluetooth connection and, quite handily, Royal Enfield has also provided a charging option in the form of a built-in USB charging port to ensure the rider's device doesn't go flat while out riding.
Other useful features include a low seat height of just 765mm for ease of access for a wide variety of riders and a removable windshield for added comfort.