So after thinking hard and taking long test rides, I dodged the "bullet" and bought an Avenger. Here are few reasons why I chose Bajaj Avenger 150 over RE Classic 350.
Looks: It looks super cool and has immense road presence! The low slung body, the fatter rear tyre and the huge tank make you feel you are riding something bigger like a Harley Street 750. RE Classic is a looker too but I think Avenger pulls it off by being more up to date.
Engine: It's a quieter engine with a more audible exhaust note. You can't hear the thump in the Classic unless you change the stock muffler. The power is quite adequate too and is more economical at the same time.
Gearbox: The shifts are smoother and there's no problem of false neutral here.
Handling: The bike is quite nimble in the traffic. Note that the word nimble is very relative; a Pulsar is any day better in the city. However, when compared to the Classic 350, the Avenger 150 is more agile in the traffic.
Weight: It weighs 148kgs over 187 kilos of RE. There are plastics where there ought to be plastics!
Rust: I haven't heard of any rust problems on the Avengers. There are plastics where there ought to be plastics!
Seat: The seat is plusher and more comfortable than the RE... any day!
Seats: The bike is always showcased and sold as a two seater.
Silencer: The silencer is shorter than the body.
Speedometer: When you are doing 50, it points to 50; does not oscillate between 40 and 60.
Typical Rider: My plumber doesn't have an Avenger and I don't think he has any plans to buy one in the future either.
Equipment: It's got alloys, fatter tyres, better brakes, electronic trip/odometer, crash guard and fuel gauge.
Maintenance: Cost of maintenance should be as good any other Bajaj bikes.
Value: The Avenger 150 costs 90k (on road Bengaluru) which is over 60k cheaper than the Classic 350 - an incredible value for money!
Bars: The riding position is quite relaxed except for the handle bar. The bar is quite low in the Street guise which is a stretch most of the time.
Highways: For highways, I still feel the Classic is a better choice, as it's got more power, more torque and should be more stable while cruising.
Seat: The passenger seat is nowhere near as comfy as the rider seat.
Thump: You can't get the Bullet thump.
Brand: The Bajaj brand is not in the same league as the Royal Enfield, is it? RE never sold a 100cc commuter or a scooter. Although there's no mention of Bajaj anywhere on the bike, except for the "flying B" logo on the speedometer.
Heritage: Avenger is not the world's longest running production motorcycle. So, you will have to take time to explain your grandpa that the bike is just like a Bullet, only smaller and modern.
Kick Start: It doesn't have an amp meter so you can't kick start the bike and they have removed the kicker too.
Exhaust: There are no readily available custom exhausts, so you cannot annoy your fellow motorists.
Merchandise: No expensive merchandise available as well.
Tiger Mat: Can't fit a tiger mat to the rear mudguard with a hole for the silencer.
There's very little to dislike the Avenger, except perhaps the Sales Experience. The day I booked, I was told the bike will be ready by 8th, then they said 10th, then it changed to 11th, then 15th and finally it was delivered on 16th. Even on the day of delivery, the accessories were not fitted and the registration number was not ready. So I had to follow up a couple of more times for these.
And Storage: There's absolutely no storage - not even a cubby to store your bike's documents.
And Colors: There's no choice of colors!
And Tyres: No tubeless tyres :(
--FEELING LIKE GOD