Well, I ran into a snag regarding my India/Nepal motorcycle adventure.
But I’m getting ahead of myself…let me start from the beginning.
My buddy, Julio—who is currently stationed in New Delhi, India— has been trying to get me to come visit him for the last couple years. We did go see him in Pretoria, South Africa when he was there and had quite an adventure driving through Mozambique with his 4-wheel-drive Range Rover.
So it was with that spirit of adventure that I took his recent phone call.
Him: Bro, you’ve gotta come visit!
Me: We’ll look at maybe November 2023.
Him: No! This April would be better.
Me: I’ll have to see if I can get away then.
Him: Well, if you do, we can ride to Nepal. I’m buying another bike and you can take one of mine. Nepal is an easy 2-3 day ride. Maybe only 700 miles each way.
Me: I’m in!
And just like that the planning commenced.
Basically, I just needed to get the time off from work (3 weeks) and book airfare. We’d stay with them in India. He would handle all of the local logistics if I planned the route from New Delhi to Kathmandu and back. He would provide me with a motorcycle use. And I needed to bring my riding gear.
Everything was going great. We arranged for visas and (very expensive) flights. Then, last night, I received this troubling message:
“Bro, the new bike I ordered won’t arrive until April…and that’s not enough time to register it in time for the ride. A local friend is selling his almost new Royal Enfield Hunter 350. You can buy it for less than $2,000 and sell it when you leave. Or I can borrow a motorcycle from one of my local friends. What do you want to do?”
So I researched the motorcycle his friend was selling (a 2023 Royal Enfield Hunter 350) and—unless a better idea came up—I planned to buy it. It would basically be a $2K rental for a one-week ride, with hopes that I could then sell it for not too much of a loss.
And that’s where I am right now…
Here are some notes from reviews of the bike: The 349cc RE Hunter 350 seems a bit anemic at 20 hp. The 286cc Honda Rebel 300 puts out a better 25 hp.
At 50 mph, the engine purrs along with a nice rumble and feels strong while accelerating up to 60 mph. Anything faster than 60 takes a little longer to reach, though like the Meteor, the Hunter is capable of getting up to 75 mph with enough run-up. If you’re looking for a highway cruiser, this isn’t your bike, though it’s fine for short highway jaunts if needed.
The Royal Enfield Hunter 350 motorcycle is the cheapest Royal Enfield ever made. In India the bike is priced significantly lower than both Classic and Meteor models. The Indian market has Hunter models at 163,900 INR (roughly $2,075). Keep in mind that the bike priced equivalent to $2,775 in India costs $4,649 in the US.
The rear shocks have 4” of travel and are preload adjustable on six levels. Seat height is a low 31”. Ground clearance is just 150mm (6”). This might be an issue as I’ll be riding over some pretty crappy road conditions. The tires are tubeless, so that’ll make for easier road repairs if necessary.
The lower weight and HP of the single cylinder 350 equates to a claimed 80 MPG (36 km/l), so that’s good since it’s only a 3.4 gallon tank.
Accessories I’ll need would be crash guards, a skid plate, side bags and a USB/power port.
Lastly, the Hunter 350 comes in two variations: Metro and Retro. I’m unsure which one I’ll possibly buy.
The Metro is considered the top end variant and features a semi digital instrument cluster with tripper navigation, 17 inch Alloy wheels with 110/70-17 and 140/70-17 tubeless tyres. Dual channel ABS. LED tail lamp. Stylish grab rails. Premium switch gears with hazard light switch. Round shaped indicators. For these features you have to pay Rs.20,000 more over the retro variant.
The Retro is the basic variant so it gets very basic features. It comes with a basic and basic looking semi digital instrument cluster. Single channel ABS and the rear wheel has drum brake setup. Halogen tail lamp and box shaped indicators. Basic switch gears and it misses out the hazard light switch. 17 inch spoke wheels with 110/80-17 and 120/80-17 with tubeless tyres. Rudimentary tubular grab rail.
2023 Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Specifications
SOHC, air-cooled single-cylinder; 2 valves/cyl.
Bore x Stroke:
72.0 x 85.8mm
20.2 hp @ 6,100 rpm
19.9 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm
Electronic fuel injection (EFI)
Twin downtube spine frame
41mm telescopic fork; 5.1 in. travel
Twin-tube emulsion shocks, preload adjustable; 4.0 in. travel
2-piston ByBre caliper, 300mm disc w/ ABS
1-piston ByBre caliper, 270mm disc w/ ABS
Cast alloy; 17 in.
CEAT; 140/70-17 / 110/70-17
Claimed Wet Weight:
A mix of digital and analog instrumentation adorn the Hunter’s handlebars, though the navigation system on the right is an aftermarket accessory.