Royal Enfield Bullet 350: Fleet Intro – 974km

Sayantan De
The song remains the same…

Worcestershire sauce is one of those things that have been around for ages, outliving empires and republics alike, in production since the late 19th century. It is an acquired taste, to be honest, and some people may not acquire the taste for it, ever. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that people have heard of it, even if they haven’t tasted it.

There’s something else from Worcestershire that has had a similar long lifespan, refusing to die, against all odds. It is of course the Royal Enfield Bullet. And kind of like the sauce, people have heard of it, even if they haven’t ridden it. The Bullet has the longest production run of any motorcycle in the world — more than 90 years, in fact.

Royal Enfield has finally bid goodbye to the UCE and in its place is the new J-Series engine, mounted on a new chassis. However, you would be hard-pressed to tell the differences from ten paces, such is the styling of the new Bullet in terms of staying faithful to the original. Even the speedo remains a proper analogue unit, though it doesn’t have the top-down sweep of a Smiths dial. 

Having ridden Bullets of a varied vintage, including a 1956 Redditch-made one, and a 1978 CI-block with the heavy crank and points ignition, I will say this – Royal Enfield managed to get the riding geometry just right. Mechanically it is identical to the current-gen Classic 350, however, the feel of the motorcycle is completely different. The Bullet, thanks to the more relaxed geometry and possibly a different tuning of the engine, makes you take things easy, in a nod to the unhurried times from whence it hails.

I must mention the exhaust note, as it was something I really loved. Gone is the treble-heavy, hollow sound of the UCE, replaced with a nice, bassy tone. Granted, with the engine made out of aluminium, it can’t match the sound of a cast iron-engined machine from the yesteryears, but the sound is something truly likeable, and it was evident that Royal Enfield spent some extra time getting it just right.

And that, in itself is the crux of the Royal Enfield Bullet, where it becomes greater than the sum of its parts, a trick it has been pulling for nearly a century. The more it changes, the more it remains the same. As timeless as steaks, coated with some Worcestershire sauce.

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