Royal Enfield’s new entry into the LAMS cruiser market finally has a price and local arrival date.
The new Royal Enfield Meteor will be priced from $7490 for the Fireball Red and Yellow base models, with the more premium Stellar paints priced at $7790 before the range tops out with the two-tone Supernova edition which features a windscreen and backrest as standard at $8190. The Meteor is expected to start arriving in Kiwi dealerships from late February and should be quite an eye-catching sight.
The Meteor replaces the Rumbler 350 which entered the market here in 2018, but I like that bike which traced its routes to the Indian market, the new Meteor has been designed from the outset to be a global market bike.
This is quite obvious in the design, which opts for a classic cruiser set of lines and a rake that doesn’t look like it has hit the back of a truck - one of the oddities of the bike which it replaces.
In fact, the Meteor is a truly handsome machine. The base colours of Fireball Red and Yellow truly pop, while the more traditional glossy finishes of the more premium paint options give a broad choice for all kinds of tastes.
With a tagline of "Cruise Easy", the Meteor has been designed with a broad range of riders in mind too, with a seat height of 735mm low enough to allow most a sturdy foothold, while the forward set pegs are positioned in a neutral position for optimal comfort.
The engine is an all-new unit with Royal Enfield taking plenty of care to reduce vibrations making their way to the rider from the 349cc SOHC single-cylinder.
The J series Air-Oil Cooled, 349cc, SOHC engine as it's internally known at Royal Enfield, features the firm's signature long-stroke producing smooth tractable power and plenty of bottom-end torque.
Unlike the Rumbler 350 it replaces, the Meteor scores an electronic fuel injection (EFI) system which provides reassuring power delivery right from the start, consistently throughout the rev range which ensures a unique performance. Peak torque is rated at 27 Nm at 4000rpm, while maximum power is a claimed 20.2bhp (15kW) at 6100rpm. Power is then transferred to the 17-inch rear wheel via a 5 Speed constant mesh gearbox.
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.
The real party piece of the new Meteor, however, is nestled in the dash. With an offset large-diameter speedo unit featuring a floating needle surrounding an inset LCD display, but it's 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 speedo that really steals the show.
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. Expect to see this option pop up in other Royal Enfield products down the line as well, as its too great an idea to leave on just one model.
Another cool feature is found in the switchgear, which Royal Enfield took inspiration for from the firm's back-catalogue to give the bike added character. Likewise, the headlight blends old and new with a halogen main bulb surrounded by an LED riding light to give it a distinctive visual. This is repeated in the rear end with the brake light.
While it might not be the most powerful bike in the LAMS cruiser class, the Royal Enfield Meteor brings more than its fair share of character and authenticity to the market place. With a massive range of colours available to choose from and backed by a wide catalogue of accessories, it should help keep Royal Enfield growing positively in the Kiwi marketplace.
If that doesn't sound good enough, the bike is backed by a 3-year unlimited km warranty and roadside assistance, so it should make for quite a solid little addition to the LAMS segment when it arrives later next month.