Kottigiri (Ooty), NFAPost: First impressions: a big disappointment !The bike is snazzy. Looks somewhat like a cross between a poodle and a Yorkshire terrier! ( my apologies, dont mean to insult the dog breeds)!
To be fair, Sid’s team though have got the ergonomics right this time, well almost. At 763 mm saddle height the Meteor appears to have fulfilled the desires of many short riders who wished to be astride an RE badged steed.
That is good. So even people just about 5 ft should face little difficulty in placing a foot on the ground when the bike is stationary.
In fact this was a major complaint against many RE steeds. RE saddle heights are around 800 mm . This left out a large majority of intending riders. India and South Asia after all are not populated by herds of 6 footer plus homo sapiens !
Yet I cannot resist the temptation to make a comparison with another long discontinued motorcycle from RE stable. The present Gen Meteor is an apology of the original Meteor of 1950 to 1968s which was a 700cc twin cylinder bike.
Some may also remember, but it was the RE Meteor Minor, a bike I saw during my younger days ridden by a young army officer in Wellington, that left an everlasting impression. No frills, no fancy paint work, just pure bike ! A black beauty! The saddle height of that Meteor Minor was 750 mm!
The next element of ergonomics is the bike weight . RE new gen Meteor weighs 191 kgs minus with an empty fuel tank. Well the dry weight of the Meteor Minor was 168 kgs!
Finally the engine, RE new gen meteor has stuck to the under square/ long stroke layout engine architecture for a single cylinder. The bore is 70 mm and the stroke is 85.5 mm, only 4.5 mm less than the RE Himalayan.
The visible change in the RE Meteor is a switch to the overhead camshaft engine as opposed to push rod valves still sported by the RE Bullets.
The Meteor Minor’s engine on the other hand was a twin cylinder short stroker, 70 mm bore with a 64.5 mm stroke. The engine note of that yesteryear short stroker was the equivalent of a Rottweiler growl through an amplifier. The new Meteor sounds like an underfed poodle growl !
I remember the army officer who let my father, a bike freak himself (He owned a black Ariel Sq4 of 1954 vintage) , take a spin. My father returned after the spin grinning from end to end !
That was a smooth bike, undoubtedly a speed devil of those days but well behaved in the corners of the Nilgiri roads. The claimed top speed of the Meteor Minor was 95 miles. Well the RE new gen Meteor is a sissy at a top speed of 70 miles !
Moreover, The RE meteor engine is unexciting, if pitted against the Jawa another relaunched classic bike. The Jawa is a 300 cc short stroker and she is fast .
The marketing compulsions in the reluctance to launch a 500 cc twin is understandable. The obvious fear being that it may cannibalise the flagship Interceptor.
Obviously RE Meteor is not meant for a blue blooded biker. That leaves the preference only to the Himalayan or the Classics. Against the Jawa, well RE Meteor, i reserve my opinion. RE Meteor is certainly unlikely to entice a second look! I certainly won’t, though I am a classic 500 rider!