Royal Enfield Hunter 350 and TVS Ronin: Comparison between Royal Enfield Hunter 350 and TVS Ronin will give you a clear idea over which is best.
It’s pretty clear from the design and specs alone that the TVS Ronin was made specifically to eat Royal Enfield’s pies. But TVS never imagined that Royal Enfield would lower the price of the new Hunter this much. In fact, in this color scheme, the Hunter 350 costs Rs 4,000 less than the top spec Ronin we have here, and both top spec models cost the same Rs 1.69 lakh (ex-showroom). This will be an interesting story.
For a simple, straight-forward design, the Hunter is better on the eye with a better sense of proportions and some tricky or oddly shaped design details. Meanwhile, the Ronin catches the eye with its funky LED headlamps and gold USD fork, but the best thing about looking at both bikes together is that the Ronin definitely looks like a bigger bike.
It mostly depends on the Ronin’s larger, wider and more unusually shaped fuel tank. A thicker inverted front suspension fork and wider seat also help. The Hunter, by comparison, is lower, thinner and smaller in size, which is definitely new and will appeal to less confident or small riders. But existing RE fans will definitely not care.
The Ronin looks bigger, but also has odd design touches, such as the giant chain cover that tries to look like the belt drive system on a cruiser motorcycle. Look through the other side of the wheel to see how unnecessarily large it is. The Ronin also doesn’t have real off-road capabilities, but it still comes with block-pattern TVS Rambler tires. The Ronin, on the other hand, has some cool stuff like adjustable levers, stylish mirrors, funky LED indicators and a nice LED strip brake lamp.
The Hunter is quite small by RE standards, but the bike fits most riders well and adapts easily to riding positions. It’s definitely a sportier riding position, with pegs fixed at the rear and slightly tilted towards the handlebars.
By comparison, the seat RE expects is actually the Ronin. It’s very similar to the Classic 350 in the way it sits completely upright with your feet forward. The Ronin’s seats are also wider and softer, and overall this bike offers a more comfortable riding position.
Both motorcycles here are designed to excel on city limits and have engines that strive to deliver a generous amount of low-end performance. .
The TVS has a new 225.9cc, four-valve oil-cooled engine that generates around 20hp and 20Nm of torque. The main figure to note is that the Ronin generates maximum torque at 3,750 rpm, which is much lower than the Enfield.
The Hunter, meanwhile, uses the same 350cc engine as the Classic and Meteor, with the same gear and power figures.
It is tuned slightly differently to produce a slightly harsher sound from the shorter exhaust pipe. In terms of power, the Hunter is pretty much the same as the Ronin, but the larger engine can produce much larger torque figures.
Although there are similarities in power transmission, there are significant differences in engine sound and feel. The Ronin has a smooth rotating motor with a light exhaust sound, which is what you would expect from a TVS engine. RE motors get smoother at higher RPMs, but at lower revs they feel very different with a slow, thumping beat. In fact, at higher RPMs the Enfield engine actually produces less vibration than the TVS. For a 5-speed gearbox, the RE offers sharper, more precise shifting.
The TVS engine has short gears and can almost always get one or two gears higher than the Hunter, but above 80kph it sounds and feels like it spins quite high. Neither of these bikes are really meant for high speeds, but the Hunter is more comfortable at 90-100kph cruising.
We ran both bikes through a comprehensive testing process and found the Ronin to be the faster bike in all measurable parameters, but the difference isn’t huge.
In terms of fuel economy, the short gear Ronin beats the Hunter (32.31kpl vs 30.61kpl) in the city, but the latter has an advantage on the highway (36.62kpl vs 39.84kpl). Those figures are fine, but we expected a little more from the smaller engine and lighter Ronin.
There isn’t much difference in overall performance or efficiency, but one thing that sets us apart from the Hunter is the heavy clutch. Now, this is something RE customers can expect or accept from a Classic or Meteor, but Hunter is targeting new riders and first-time Enfield buyers, and I’m not sure how they’ll take this. Being stuck in traffic can be painful.
On the other hand, the Ronin is very light in clutch action and comes with a slip/assist clutch. Speaking of lightness, the Ronin is almost 20kg lighter than the Hunter, despite the fact that it is the lightest RE the Hunter can buy right now. You can definitely feel the difference, but the Hunter is characterized by agile, lightweight handling and ride quality. Both bikes have a seat height of less than 800mm, which helps. Weight isn’t much of a concern here, but there’s another issue with Hunter. That’s the suspension.
The front fork is fairly soft and is actually somewhat damped on the rebound stroke, but the twin rear shocks are unforgivably hard and are factory set to minimum preload. This can be unpleasant, especially for light riders, if you live in an area with poor roads. By comparison, the Ronin’s 41mm USD fork/monoshock setup is flexible and flush.
A lot of people have expressed concerns about the Hunter’s 150mm ground clearance online, but we haven’t faced that problem so far, despite the weight of the occupants. This is probably one of the areas where strong shocks benefit. Speaking of which, neither bike rides great, but the Ronin’s seat, handle rails, and foot peg placement are slightly better than the Hunter’s.
When it comes to handling, the Hunter is definitely a more fun and connected machine. The TVS, by comparison, feels light and easy, but the scratched front end doesn’t communicate well and makes your foot nails scratch more easily. As for the brakes, the actual braking distances in our tests were about the same, but both were nearly adequate in terms of power and feel.
Finally, we move on to the functional area. As expected, TVS absolutely wins. The Hunter comes standard with a neatly designed USB port, and the upper models of these two bikes have dual-channel ABS. The RE’s tripper navigation display is also available as an additional option along with many other well-designed accessories.
The Hunter’s display looks smart, similar to the Meteor’s.
However, the TVS offers a lot more as standard, including LED headlamps, a more sophisticated digital instrument cluster, two ABS modes, Bluetooth connectivity, and all features activated via a dedicated mobile app.
Ronin’s digital dash reveals more data.
Other features include a slip/assist clutch and TVS’s Glide-Through technology, which allows the bike to move forward smoothly in slow-moving traffic without throttle input. All of this combined makes the Ronin much easier and nicer bike riding within the city.
When it comes to Hunter, there seem to be a lot of positive aspects and two real problems that oppose it. Unfortunately, both cannot be ignored because they have to be dealt with continuously, and there is no easy and cheap fix.