Laying down the 350cc retro-modern gauntlet.
On August 7, 2022, Royal Enfield formally introduced the brand-new Hunter 350 to the world with a livestreamed event from its launch in Bangkok, Thailand. The newest member of the company’s 350cc trio is meant to appeal to a wide cross-section of motorcyclists, from total newbies to returning riders—and everyone in between. The plan was to roll it out for the Indian market first of all, with the rest of the world to follow in the coming months.
It’s now August 31, 2022—and Royal Enfield just officially announced that the Hunter 350 will be headed to Japan. As a bike with a fascinating retro-modern aesthetic and set of features, this math makes total sense. Unfortunately, full details for the Japanese release haven’t been announced yet, but so far, we know that it’s coming as a 2023 model according to Autoby.
For the Indian market release, the Hunter 350 is available in two flavors: Retro and Metro. In addition to different colorways and graphics, the Metro version comes with cast wheels, disc brakes, and dual-channel ABS. Meanwhile, the Retro version comes with wire-spoke wheels, a rear drum brake, and single-channel ABS at the front. When I attended the Hunter 350 global launch, we were told that only one version would be released in markets outside of India—but as we said, we don’t have full details for the Japanese market release (or any other markets) just yet.
While plenty of ink has been spilled in talking about the Honda H’Ness CB350—a bike first introduced in the Indian market and later introduced in Japan as the GB350—and how it’s meant as an Enfield challenger, there previously hadn’t been an apples-to-apples direct model comparison. With the announcement of the impending release of the Hunter 350, here’s the most direct challenge we’ve seen yet in terms of both specs and styling.
The Hunter 350’s MSRP in India starts at 149,900 rupees—or about $1,884. We don’t yet know its MSRP for the Japanese market, but part of the intention behind the Hunter’s development was to create an extremely affordable, nimble bike for everyday riders. In Japan, the Classic 350 starts at ¥634,700, or about $4,568, and the Meteor 350 starts at ¥650,100, or about $4,678. By contrast, the Honda GB550 starts at ¥550,000, or about $3,959.
Where will the Hunter 350 slot into the market? That remains to be seen. What we can say with certainty is that if it can thread through Bangkok traffic, it should do quite well coping with life in most major cities around the world.