Author Topic: Upcoming RE Meteor 350 looks interesting!  (Read 3620 times)

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Morgan60

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Reply #30 on: November 12, 2020, 11:02:21 am
The new R.E.Meteor 350 IS coming to the Colonies. In the Spring 0f 2021.

 https://www.roadracingworld.com/news/royal-enfield-bringing-all-new-meteor-350-to-north-america/
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Adrian II

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Reply #31 on: November 12, 2020, 12:30:59 pm
If this bike does make it as an official export, I'm hoping a certain very well-known spares specialist will be offering big bore kits, carb conversions and large containers of industrial grade paint stripper to clean those engine cases off.

A.
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Richard230

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Reply #32 on: November 12, 2020, 02:37:56 pm
The new R.E.Meteor 350 IS coming to the Colonies. In the Spring 0f 2021.

 https://www.roadracingworld.com/news/royal-enfield-bringing-all-new-meteor-350-to-north-america/

I think that is going to be a marketing failure for RE in the U.S. The only reason that the RE singles sold was due to nostalgia to customers romancing about the "big" British singles from their childhood during the 1950's and 1960's - like me.

The Himalayan sells OK to customers who want a simple, practical, unassuming, dual-purpose motorcycle that can actually deal with relatively rough roads, along with some ability to handle slow-lane freeway speeds. Sort of a larger version of the Honda CT90/110/125. But the Meteor just doesn't fit in here.

The only customers who want a small, low-power single are the few that want one to either learn on until they can afford something larger or for urban or suburban commuting. While the Meteor might be just fine for these customers, its price would have to be around $3K to attract them away from Japanese 250-350cc models with established reputations and dealer networks. And I don't see RE selling the bike for that low a price.

Plus, cruisers in the U.S. are for highway travel and the Meteor just isn't up to the task of dealing with U.S. freeway traffic.  While the Meteor seems to be a well designed and nice looking motorcycle which sells in India at a decent price, my prediction is that if RE tries selling the Meteor in the U.S. it will prove to be a sales failure.
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AzCal Retred

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Reply #33 on: November 12, 2020, 05:54:12 pm
Yamaha has sold a LOT of their XV250's. Used they are still $2500 - $3500. New they are about $4400. If the Meteor is retailed for around $4000 - $4500, its superior fuel mileage and work-a-day centerstand will likely attract a reasonable contingent of new riders with a utilitarian bent. It has quite the electronic gimmick package as well, apparently a necessary bit for the whippersnappers these days.

"Yamaha did not announce any major changes for its little retro-styled V-twin, even the price remains unchanged from last year at $4,349. May 27, 2020 ; Engine: Air-cooled SOHC V-twin ; Price: $4,349 ; Displacement: 249cc ; Bore x Stroke: 49.0 x 66.0mm"

Even the Genuine Scooter Company G400C is going for $4600 and doesn't have any electronic trickery to placate the electro-gizmo obsessed public. The lovely & somewhat unavailable Himalayan seems to retail around $5000 - $6000 for a new base machine depending on where you live, so a retro-style street machine might be a real hot item at $1000 - $1500 less. The sand-cast 650 look-alike left side engine cover was a nice touch for marketing. I'm with Axman88 here - I believe they have a shot. Time will tell, eh? - ACR -
 
https://www.topspeed.com/motorcycles/motorcycle-reviews/others/2019-genuine-motorcycles-g400c-ar183493.html#:~:text=Genuine%20Motorcycles%20G400C%20Pricing,2019%20G400C%20rolls%20for%20%244%2C599.

https://ultimatemotorcycling.com/2020/11/12/2021-royal-enfield-meteor-350-first-look-7-fast-facts-specs-photos/
« Last Edit: November 12, 2020, 05:59:41 pm by AzCal Retred »
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Keef Sparrow

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Reply #34 on: November 12, 2020, 08:44:55 pm
the Meteor will make no impact on the 125 sales in the UK. I struggle to see it doing well here unless it's so cheap commuters view it as almost disposable, it's in a deadzone for licencing. The earlier mentioned L platers can't ride it, the A1 licence can't use it, the A2 licence (for 19 years olds), it has less than half the permitted power output and what teenager wants that? Then the A licence for big boys (24+) I suspect if after an RE would just buy a twin or if after a cruiser would go for something more, cruisery.
I think a lot of people are missing the point that the Meteor is squarely aimed at the huge Indian market and any sales elsewhere in the World are just a bonus. The 350 capacity is very popular in the Indian market for tax reasons - where 500cc models are heavily penalised. Hence the Bullet/Classic 500 range being dropped due to falling sales. I suspect the Meteor will be a winner in India but sales in the rest of the world will be meagre - especially in the USA where anything below 750cc is considered to small to be worth bothering with by most riders.
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Richard230

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Reply #35 on: November 12, 2020, 09:58:47 pm
Well, time will tell. Let's wait until next year (if it ever arrives) and see what happens.  ;) I will be especially interested to see what the MSRP will be in the U.S. and what RE retail dealers will actually sell the bike for.  ::)
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axman88

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Reply #36 on: November 12, 2020, 11:01:50 pm
I'm with Axman88 here - I believe they have a shot. Time will tell, eh? - ACR -
 
I'm actually with Richard230 on this one, I don't see much demand for a 20hp cruiser.  I'm surprised, and just a bit skeptical, of this announcement that they are bringing it to the US.

Once they repackage the J engine into a retro CAFE racer, or retro BOBBER, then it might grow some legs, or if they sell it for India equivalent pricing or at least less than 3K.  We are up to our eyeballs in low mileage, 2nd hand,  80s styled cruisers already.  On any weekend, I can leave the house with $5k and come home with 4 or 5 Intruders, Magnas, Shadows and Viragos.

I think that Keef is right, the Meteor is designed to retain the market carved out by the Bullet, and encroached on by the Benelli 350, the Honda 350, and the Indian Jawa.  The last on this list, the JAWA, I could see selling in some numbers in the US, because it out-retro's even the RE Classic, and can thus draw sales away from the hipsters and the nostalgia markets.  Too bad that it seems Mahindra's licensing arrangement only allows sales in India.

But I disagree on the reason Keef stated for the 350's dominance.
The 350 capacity is very popular in the Indian market for tax reasons - where 500cc models are heavily penalised. Hence the Bullet/Classic 500 range being dropped due to falling sales.

I've read that the tax burden for < 350cc is 28% vs. 31% for > 350cc.  3% doesn't seem like a heavy penalty.  Far more impactful was the fact that RE priced the EFI 500 at around 2 lahk, while the BS4 and earlier, carbureted UCE 350s started at less than 1.3 lahk.  Not many Indian riders chose to pay the additional 50% to get the larger machine.

RE claimed that they were dropping the UCE 500s because they couldn't easily be brought into BS6 compliance, but I think you are correct in thinking their real reason was poor sales.  But, now I think that they were already planning the graceful transition from the pushrod engine to this new OHC "J" engine, and think it's not unlikely that the 500 will be reborn as part of the "J" line.  I think that we can assume that the "J" machines are being built on modern automated equipment, and have lower labor content than the older design machines.  I'd say that they can build them for less, build them faster, and sell them for more.  Also a 500cc version, if it's only the substitution of a barrel and piston, should cost RE essentially the same as the 350cc, with any addition on the price being almost purely profit.

What I find most amazing, is how close, at least from what I've seen so far, this Meteor 350 engine is to the new Honda H'ness CB350 engine. 
         RE Meteor J 350                       Honda H'ness CB350
               349 cc, single-cylinder           348.36 cc, single-cylinder,
               20.2 PS                                21.0 PS
               72 mm x 85.8                       70.3 x 90
               air / oil cooled                       air cooled
               counterbalance shaft             counterbalance shaft
               5 speed trans                         5 speed trans

It seems almost like Honda got wind of what they were planning, then developed their own version, and beat RE to the market with it by 5 weeks.  That is a competitor to respect!

I look forward to the new models that RE will develop, based on the "J" engine, and other projects already in the works.  RE has promised one new model each quarter, for the next 7 years.  I think the time will pass quickly.  Have you guys seen the RE electric motorcycle prototype?
             


Richard230

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Reply #37 on: November 12, 2020, 11:45:46 pm
I would like to see the new J engine enlarged to 500cc and installed in the Himalayan chassis.  :) That could get some legs in overseas markets like NA.
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AzCal Retred

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Reply #38 on: November 13, 2020, 04:20:17 pm
   How different is the OHC "J" from the Himalayan internally? I haven't seen any exploded views, so I can't really compare. externally I see the oil filter location is different. The Himalayan BxS is 78mm x 86mm, so the stroke is practically the same. The left side case seems to mimic the 650's. Both are counterbalanced. Is there just more "meat" built into in the "J" cases, allowing its motor to easily be enlarged to a full 500cc? Hitchcocks has their 460 kit with the 83mm forged piston, but the liners look about as far as you'd reasonably take it. Stroke would need to go to about 92mm to produce 500cc even with the Hitchcocks kit, so you'd be back to "Bullet" numbers, and then the counterbalancer likely wouldn't be right.
   Is the "J" an attempt to homogenize the design to be more like the 650 in layout? The profile pictures look a bit beefier than the Himalayan, so Axman88s 86mm piston idea shouldn't cause any grief as a 500 iteration. I can't believe that it's an accident that the left case mimics the one on the highly successful 650 effort. If you are borrowing ideas though, the 6 speed transmission needs to be brought along as well.
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Keef Sparrow

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Reply #39 on: November 13, 2020, 04:22:09 pm
I would like to see the new J engine enlarged to 500cc and installed in the Himalayan chassis.  :)
Would it fit in the frame? I definitely think there is a market for for a 500cc Himalayan or something similar - I think currently it's main issue is being underpowered.
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AzCal Retred

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Reply #40 on: November 13, 2020, 06:14:35 pm
Unless you just can't physically fit a larger crank in the 410 cases, it seems like a factory 500 effort would be way cheaper specing a 92-95mm crank, different counterbalancer & larger 83mm bore cylinder rather than redesigning the entire frame. The new components would drop in on the assembly line, no other changes needed. You know the current package works, and the Hitchcocks kits have been out long enough to prove engine/transmission/clutch reliability under higher torque & thermal loads.
If they do go the "J" route, hopefully the J's engine package is lighter than the existing Himalayans. The last thing you need on a trail bike is more weight.
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Richard230

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Reply #41 on: November 13, 2020, 10:37:38 pm
   How different is the OHC "J" from the Himalayan internally? I haven't seen any exploded views, so I can't really compare. externally I see the oil filter location is different. The Himalayan BxS is 78mm x 86mm, so the stroke is practically the same. The left side case seems to mimic the 650's. Both are counterbalanced. Is there just more "meat" built into in the "J" cases, allowing its motor to easily be enlarged to a full 500cc? Hitchcocks has their 460 kit with the 83mm forged piston, but the liners look about as far as you'd reasonably take it. Stroke would need to go to about 92mm to produce 500cc even with the Hitchcocks kit, so you'd be back to "Bullet" numbers, and then the counterbalancer likely wouldn't be right.
   Is the "J" an attempt to homogenize the design to be more like the 650 in layout? The profile pictures look a bit beefier than the Himalayan, so Axman88s 86mm piston idea shouldn't cause any grief as a 500 iteration. I can't believe that it's an accident that the left case mimics the one on the highly successful 650 effort. If you are borrowing ideas though, the 6 speed transmission needs to be brought along as well.

I saw an exploded view of the engine on a YouTube video a couple of days ago. The engine is all new. It has a chain-driven overhead cam, two valves, one or two anti-vibration weights and various other components that make it comparable with a Japanese design from the 1980's. Looks like a decent engine, assuming that the metallurgy and assembly is up to snuff.  So far reviewers seem to like the new bike and they say it is quite smooth up to its top speed of 75 mph.
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axman88

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Reply #42 on: November 14, 2020, 01:07:37 am
   How different is the OHC "J" from the Himalayan internally?
Clearly different, but with some similarity.

I'm a fan of the spur gear instead of a chain, primary drive that both share.
Himalayan engine puts the balancer shaft underneath, while J350 puts it in front.

Can see some CAD system exploded images of J350 here:
https://youtu.be/87sJdeNLsa0?t=485
and briefly here:  https://youtu.be/vbIpO3yMkyQ?t=489

Can see a cutaway LS410 engine here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdH78UvPN40
And a pretty complete teardown here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D51ib-FtHQE

And here's some pictures of the INT650 engine torn down, the post includes a link to a utube video discussing the design of the 650 twin engine:  https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/superbikes-imports/192178-royal-enfield-interceptor-continental-650-edit-launched-rs-2-50-2-65-lakhs-57.html#post4507024

I would like to see the new J engine enlarged to 500cc and installed in the Himalayan chassis.  :) That could get some legs in overseas markets like NA.
The rumor mill has been pumping out reports that RE was working on a 650 version of the Himalayan for the last two years, but so far the only evidence of such a development effort is the photoshopped image that has popped up illustrating these dubious articles:  https://indianautosblog.com/royal-enfield-rule-out-rumoured-himalayan-650-p320604

If RE is indeed NOT working on such a machine, then I agree, a version with a larger single would likely be quite welcome in export markets.  A 500, with ~30hp would be nice.  Even better would be a bike that could cruise at 75mph, with enough power left over to hit 90mph, while maintaining plenty of low geared grunt for adventuring off the pavement.  How about a 572 single, 90 x 90, that can give us 34hp with the same moderate 9.5:1 compression ratio as the current 411?

Good on gas, gets you there, bullet proof, and has the thump!   Contrary to popular belief, American don't NEED to be able to go 100mph.  We don't NEED 100+ hp, or even 47.  But we do need to keep up with traffic when we are traveling cross country, and the big trucks on our roads are often moving at over 120 kph.


wr6133

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Reply #43 on: November 14, 2020, 08:39:18 am
A 500, with ~30hp would be nice.  Even better would be a bike that could cruise at 75mph, with enough power left over to hit 90mph, while maintaining plenty of low geared grunt for adventuring off the pavement.  How about a 572 single, 90 x 90, that can give us 34hp with the same moderate 9.5:1 compression ratio as the current 411?

I'd buy that, I really would and I usually never consider buying new. My problem with the current Himalayan is here in the UK large areas of dirt are few and far between (I live on one of the largest, by US standards it's small). So any "adventure" bike needs to be able to cover large distances on Tarmac too, the test ride I had on a Himalayan it didn't cut the mustard on faster, traffic heavy, roads. I wouldn't want to ride it to Scotland for example where, in order to not spend days getting to the interesting bits, a lot of time would be spent on 3 lane, 70mph motorways. With that in mind for me it would be a "local" bike, for that use I'd rather have a trials type bike I think it would be more fun. Testing that theory out, couple of weeks ago I bought a 350 iron barrel trials, so far it's fun  ;D . I'm probably an irrelevant minority though as they are not exactly struggling to sell it here.


AzCal Retred

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Reply #44 on: November 14, 2020, 04:32:37 pm
Axman88 - nice collection of links!
The spur gear counterbalancer is the way to go. I had a 80's Honda 400 Hawk that had eaten off the teeth on its crank chain drive sprocket for the counterbalancer. The rest of the engine was sound. I removed the chain, and instantly had a baby 650 Triumph! When you revved it when on the centerstand, it would orbit around you on the concrete garage floor in a buzzy dance. Even without the counterbalancer, it still didn't produce objectionable vibration levels when riding. 
The Himalayan & "J" are both vertically split case motors, the 650 is horizontally split. Maybe that's why the 5 speed vs. 6, to keep it narrower. Both of them seem to have pretty tight clearances between the flywheels and the transmission gears, so probably not much stroke to be gained without real changes. The "J" design seems to have more meat built into the barrel area than the Himalayan.
Even fitting up the "J" with your proposed 90mm piston, the hole in the case only gets about 5/8" larger. It looked from the link that there was easily adequate material there on the "J", and it's certainly been SOP for RE to add bore size to get a new model. An 86mm x 86mm "square" motor gives you a 500cc machine, the 90mm piston yields about 550cc.
Kawasaki has sold a lot of KLR 650's, I can't imagine there'd be any market resistance to a 9/10's scale, lighter, lower, simpler air cooled version that the average guy could easily throw a leg over & not have to tiptoe at stop lights. Maybe even at the same $5000 retail price if the "J" is cheaper to build?


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