A month or so ago, I took my Royal Enfield Interceptor in for routine maintenance. The shop was a bit back up and I had appointments that meant I couldn’t get back to pick it up until the following afternoon. The boys at Motopia New Mexico loaned me the shop’s Supernova Blue two-tone Meteor 350 for a couple of days. I’d ridden it before when in for tires, and at one of their events to introduce the bike, but this was my first opportunity to really put it through its paces.

Let’s do the motorcycle review stuff first: this is a 2021 Meteor 350 in Supernova Blue. It comes with the backrest for the passenger seat, which is nice for the pillion and gets in the way of my leg as I swing it over the bike. It is equipped with Royal Enfield’s proprietary Tripper navigation system that takes instruction from your cellphone using the Tripper application. No one at the shop had bothered with trying the Tripper to that point, so I downloaded the app and set about seeing how it would work over the course of the day. The chassis of the Meteor was a new design that year, and the bike feels light and nimble when you’re riding it. Also new for Enfield is the 350cc single that powers the motorcycle. It produces a lazy 20hp and 20 ft-lbs. of torque that runs through a five speed gearbox — this isn’t a speed demon of a bike, but the gearing is nice a linear and the Meteor runs up the speedometer at a relaxed, but not slow, rate. The bike is governed at 75mph, but supposedly there is a different ECU for the folks in South America that is pushing these into the 90mph range. The tank is 3.96 gallons (advertised) and with the 80ish miles per gallon I was getting at between a mile and 10,000′ in elevation, the Meteor could easily do a 250 mile trip on a tank. The footpegs are forward, in the cruiser style, and there’s a heel/toe shifter. Mileage, fuel level, and gear indicator are in an LED centered in the speedometer, which goes up to a wildly optimistic 120. The Meteor has ABS standard. Fit and finish are equal to anything on the market right now, and a step up from the Interceptor/Continental lines, which are pretty well built, as well. There’s a lot of little touches that you miss at first and grow on you over time.

So with that out of the way, how does it ride? The Meteor is probably as far from what I want in a bike as you can get shy of a Ducati Panagale or similar sportbike. That said — it’s a lot of fun. There’s zero intimidation factor, it turns well for the claimed 420 lbs. (You could shave off another 10-15 if you wanted to pull the center stand.) The bike does not feel heavy and with 30″ seat with a bit of suspension squish is low enough for the height challenged to put their feet down. Popping around town from light to light, was a pleasant and easy experience, even in the death trap traffic of Albuquerque. Out on the highway — I took it out on Interstate 40 for a run out of town to the East Mountains — the Meteor held 70mph and frequently crept up to 75. At one point, downhill and throttle opened wide, she hit 77, then started banging against the governor and got a bit jerky. I believe these things have another 5-10mph in them, with the right tune. The Meteor seems happiest at about 55-60mph and doesn’t feel stressed at all even up to 65.

I took her out to one of the biker coffeeshops in the Cedar Crest, Cabra Coffee, then took it up the Sandia Crest — a twisty mountain road that goes from 6000′ to 10,660′ with 120 turns, from nice sweepers to tricky switchbacks. The Meteor didn’t set any records, but it was able to do the climb with little loss of power. Handling was solid, there were no laggy bits in the fueling, and the brakes were adequate to the task of stopping before I hit a couple of deer in the middle of the road.

I found that the saddle that had been comfortable for a 20-30 minute pop around town starts to get you in the tailbone after an hour or so. The Meteor requires you to sit up straight. The heel/toe shifter that I was unimpressed with wound up being very useful changing gears quick during acceleration through the mountain twisties. By the end of my time with the Meteor, I was starting to really like it. Vibration on the 350 mill is very slight and mostly felt in the footpegs when you’re really pushing it.

The Tripper navigation system worked better than I expected — on par with Google Maps or Apple Maps. The app is powered by Google, so it’s up to date. The directions are simple on a smaller gauge off to the right of the speedometer. You get a yellow arrow and distance to the turn, if you miss your turn it has to recalibrate and you get a red/black arrow to show you that you screwed up. The only glitch was that when you arrive at a destination and reset Tripper for a new one within a few minutes, it takes time for the app to let go of your previous trip and can throw the red arrow trying to get you back to where you just left. After a few blocks, it relented and gave me directions to the new place I was going.

Who is this bike for? Beginners, sure, but I have a friend who’s been riding since the dawn of time and used to be a racer — he loves this thing and rides “his wife’s” bike more than his Interceptor. A lot of younger riders will outgrow the Meteor after a year or two of riding, but it’s a great commuter bike — small, agile, and fantastic on fuel. There’s more than enough oomph for the town or city, then a quick highway run to the next town over, especially in places where the speed limit isn’t 75mph like here in the Southwest (and most folks are well over that.) The price is also easy on the credit impaired — the Meteor range is about $5000 out the door, give or take a $100 for whichever model you choose. It comes with a three year warranty, and so far my dealer tells me they’ve been really easy to work with, which means getting your repairs done in a timely manner.