Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Retro compared with Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Metro, these were the differences

Royal Enfield is offering the Hunter 350 at three very attractive price points. It’s the cheapest J-series motorcycle in the lineup and a good option to consider if you’re looking to move on the commuter without compromising on day-to-day practicality.

That aside, let’s compare Hunter’s entry-level variant, the Retro, to the most expensive Metro Rebel, to see if they’re really as far off as premium bike makers would like to believe.

But first Learn more about the differences between these two variants. Here are some things you need to know about the Hunter that we didn’t cover on our first ride. The 17-inch rims on either end make the bike a lot more agile and sporty, but at the cost of low ground clearance.

To lower the bike for easier access for riders challenging upright, Royal Enfield had to compromise ground clearance.
Compared to the Classic 350 and Meteor 350’s 170mm ground clearance, the Hunter gets a smaller 150mm coverage. So, bikes in this city tend to struggle a little harder than city speed bumps (!). Especially when there are rear seat passengers.

Rim
Retro has wire spoke rims that make the entry-level version of the Hunter a bit outdated. Metro, on the other hand, uses tubeless alloy wheels, but at a higher cost.

But on the road, we’ve found the Retro handles a variety of surfaces, especially rough materials, better than the more expensive Metro Rebel thanks to its wire-spoke rims and thinner tires.

That said, you can hardly find a difference between the two when you crash and go on a daily basis. What really matters is the convenience the alloy provides. Because punctures are a painful reality, and repairing punctures on models with cast rims will be a lot faster.

Tyres

The real difference between the trims starts to show up, especially when you start pushing hard when wet. Of course, Metro’s Ceat Zoom XL offers more confidence than Retro’s skinny Ceat Gripp XL, but neither inspires enough confidence for sports riding. And here the bonus of having 17-inch alloy wheels comes in handy. Because of its size, there are plenty of good gripping tire options to help you ride comfortably.

Brakes

Metro has partnered with dual-channel ABS to offer single disks on the front and rear. The Retro, on the other hand, has a single disk in the front, drums in the back, and only single-channel ABS.

Braking on the metro is better and makes you more confident. It may lack the initial braking feel the Retro offers better, but the stopping performance is much better on the Metro. Retro doesn’t fishtail when braking hard. That’s good news, but it takes up quite a bit of space to stop.

Seats

Royal Enfield has decided to offer two variants of its motorcycle single-part leather-finished seats. The Retro has a simple design, while the Metro has an old-school scrambler-style ribbed seat design.

Personally, I like the subway the most out of the two. Unlike the Retro’s softer cushioning, the Enfield offers stiffer foam, making it easier to manage long hours in the saddle. But neither offers as much comfort as the Classic or the Meteor 350. Of course, RE’s GMA range also offers some additional options to help you further customize your saddle experience. So be sure to check it out.

Function and quality

Being built with the cheapest Hunter, the Retro gets more basic gear. Monopods are more analog than digital and show minimal information even on a digital screen. The plastic of the switches, handlebar grips and levers imported directly from the Bullet 350 is impervious to quality.

Alternatively, Metro’s monopod display gets useful digital readouts like time and gear position indicators, along with all standard items. Go to the handlebars and you can pull and push these cool buttons and tight levers. These are all borrowed from Meteor.

Again I prefer Retro. This is because this base lever allows for better feedback and is easier to reach and grip. In fact, the Retro’s clutch feels lighter than the Metro, simply because of its slimness.

The Retro (177kg) is 4kg lighter overall than the Metro (181kg) because it misses a few important parts like the main stand, rear disc brakes and dual-channel ABS and uses thinner tires. But that doesn’t really translate into an obvious performance advantage either off-line or on gear roll-on.

A place where you can feel agility is parking. With an accessible seat height of 790mm, I was able to flatfoot on the bike without fuss and I’m 5ft 9in tall. The Hunter’s narrowness and compactness make it easy to use while parking or through heavy traffic.

Price

Hunter Retro price is Rs 1,49,000 where as Hunter Metro Dapper price is 1,63,900 and Hunter Metro Rebel is priced 1,68,900. These all are ex-showroom prices.

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