Sunday, 10 July 2011

Royal enfield bullet 350 UCE review

Royal Enfield is a brand that needs absolutely no introduction. One of the oldest bike brands both in India as well as the world, the company has made a reputation of producing loud, mean & seriously butch masterpieces that command the respect and envy of all non-owners. The most iconic Bullet of them all was and remains the Bullet Standard 350. Some would say that Royal Enfield refuses to leave the past and is a brand that is aloof to modernization. NOT ANY MORE. The Unit Construction Engine {UCE} is a “move towards the future” modification that has been introduced to the entire Enfield line-up. Fortunately the designers have successfully protected the “old school” essence which the brand is built upon and haven’t let the engineers steal their Thunderbird..Oops I mean Thunder!
The Bullet 350 UCE is mostly based on the old Bullet 350 standard. The most significant change noticed would have to be the engine, after all it is the engine that has created a different identity for the bike altogether. Shiny, large and with playful and enticing grooves the Unit Construction Engine makes the rider enter a whole new realm of Bullets. The stroke is a lot more refined and the throttle response is magnificent and as always the kick-start is strong enough to let you feel the bike come to life. The displacement remains the same 346cc that has been tuned beautifully to deliver a peak power of 19.8 bhp at 5250rpm & 28nm of torque. Fuel economy stands at around 30 kmpl which isn’t impressive but an Enfield was never a bike to be bought with your head but with your heart. Another major alteration is the gear-pedal. Instead of being on the right side like the original Enfield, the Bullet 350 UCE has followed its sisters and the pedal is now on the left and has sacrificed the neutral-finder. It was an ingenious lever that saved the rider from the hassle of having to down-shift at a red signal simply by pushing it down. Royal Enfield enthusiasts were on the verge of depression when the company announced the retirement of the legendary Bullet Standard 350 with the good old fashioned cast-iron engine but then with the introduction of the new 350 they won back a few hearts. Why I say a “few” hearts is although the look is the very retro one that we all fell in love with right down to the “Royal Enfield” badge that embraced both sides of the fuel-tank , the Trademark resonant thump was lost. It is this thump that even today can be easily heard dominating all other sounds no matter how bad traffic may be. The loss of this rumble is arguably a stain on the Enfield name. The dials are the same as the one on the previous model i.e. the speedometer in the middle and the amp-meter on the right with the ignition on the left. Contrary to its imposing looks the beast is as nimble and graceful as a ballet-dancer. Overall the bike is good but is as example of incomplete modernization. The shock-absorbers still are rough enough to put you at the risk of getting a slip-disk and are a constant reminder of how bad India’s roads are and for a bike that is capable of entering the early triple-digit speeds the lack of a disk-brake at least on the front wheel is ludicrous. The fact is there are better options from within the Enfield family. At a price tag of Rs.84.700/- (Ex-showroom, Delhi) and Rs.96000/- (Ex-showroom, Pune) the bike is overpriced as compared to the other bikes available. Even though the Electra or classic 350 would cost more they offer better value for money as well. This bike is meant for those who truly love the “original” appeal of the standard 350. However if having a retro look is the criteria the classic 350 seems like the more desirable Bullet. A decent effort by Royal Enfield to please its followers and cult-members alike the Bullet 350 UCE’s sales will be heavily dependent on its enthusiasts.

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