Royal Enfield Classic 350/500 to get big upgrades!

The Royal Enfield Classic 350 and 500 retro motorcycles are the single biggest reason for the brand’s huge success in India, in recent years. Introduced in 2010, the Royal Enfield Classic 350/500 is almost 10 years old in India. However, aside of cosmetic changes and the addition of dual channel ABS, the motorcycle has been more or less unchanged. The upcoming Bharat Stage 6 emission norms will change all this. The Royal Enfield Classic 350/500 is all set to get major changes, and an upgraded example of the same was spied testing by PowerDrift. Here are a couple of spyshots.

Royal Enfield Classic Upgraded 1

As the spyshots indicate, the Royal Enfield Classic now features a new tail lamp, a revised seat and also a new exhaust. Look closer and you see a slew of mechanical changes on the motorcycle. The swing arm is a new item and so is the  chassis, The rear shock absorbers also are revised units, the absence of a kick start means that Royal Enfield may have finally decided to go full-electric in terms of starting, the rear disc brake is now situated on the right hand side and the chain on the left. All in all, a totally redesigned engine could be in the pipeline.

Another big change is likely to come in the engine department, which is now likely to be Bharat Stage 6 compliant. We expect Royal Enfield to add fuel injection to the 350cc Classic and the Bullet range of motorcycles. This change will be meant to make the motorcycle meet the much tighter Bharat Stage 6 emission norms. Of course, prices are likely to go up as fuel injection is costlier than a carburetor. The benefits will be lower emissions, better fuel efficiency and a crisper throttle response.

Royal Enfield Classic Upgraded 2

Fuel injection works by electronically controlling the amount of fuel that an engine receives. The fuel injection consists of a computer chip known as the ECU (Engine Control Unit), a bunch of sensors, a fuel pump and an injector. The injector is an electro-mechanical device that is responsible for the final delivery of fuel. The various sensors give their inputs to the ECU, which figures how much fuel needs to be delivered to the injector, which in turn injects it into the engine. The fuel pump pumps fuel into the injector. This allows the quantity of fuel delivered to the engine to be controlled more precisely.

Currently, the Royal Enfield Classic 350 is powered by a 346cc, unit construction engine with 19.8 Bhp-28 Nm on tap. The motor gets a carburetor as standard, along with a 5 speed manual gearbox. It uses overhead valves actuated by hydraulic tappets, and is an old school, long stroke design. The Classic 500 gets a 499cc version of the same engine, but with 27.2 Bhp-41.3 Nm outputs. Like the 350cc motor, a five speed manual gearbox is standard. However, the Classic 500 has been available with fuel injection right from the outset as Royal Enfield builds this motorcycle mainly for export markets – most of which have tighter emission norms that necessitate fuel injection.

The upgraded Royal Enfield Classic 350/500 are likely to be launched in India by the end of this year, or early next year, just in time to meet the new emission norms. The Royal Enfield Classic 350, for long, has had little or no competition. Things have changed with the arrival of the Jawa 42 and Classic – two affordable retro styled motorcycles with modern mechanicals that are also priced similar to the Classic 350s. The new competition is another reason why Royal Enfield needs to upgrade its cash cow – the Classic 350.