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Old 06-22-2008, 05:40 AM   #1
Tralfamadore64
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Question Royal Enfield Concerns from a first-time purchaser

Hello, all

Come August I plan on buying my first bike, and while I'm in love with a particular machine, I'm not 100% sure that it's for me. Here she is:

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1310/...d20c0c.jpg?v=0

I'm aware of the standard criticisms leveled against RE bikes, but I'm willing to put time into tuning and maintaining the machine. In fact, the appeal of the machine is that, with it being the equivalent of an older model, it's something I can work on by myself without having to rely too much on mechanics. Plus, the military style is easy on the eyes, you know?

My concerns are really that of size ratios. I'm not a large guy by any means. I'm roughly 6'1" and 195 pounds, so I don't think I'm going to break the thing, but I'm a little concerned about comfort and performance on a 500cc engine. I'm not wanting to get a powerhouse for a first bike, so do you think a Royal Enfield will give me reasonable performance and comfort given my height and weight?

Also, if anybody has any relevant experience with these machines, let me know. I've read everything I can find on the internet about them, but I'm always looking for new stories and opinions.
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Old 06-22-2008, 06:49 AM   #2
sachiwilson
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You'll have no problems with performance. It won't be a speedster but those old Enfields (and British bikes in general) have a lot of torque and can pull quite a bit of weight. In the old days, bikes like that Enfield were used to pull a sidecar as well as the rider -- and that's going to weigh a lot more than you do.

As for "comfort," what's your concern? Are you worried about your fit on the bike, or something else? I owned a couple of 1960's British twins, which have similar seating position and size to that Bullet, and as long as you ride them as they are designed to be ridden, they are pretty nice.
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Old 06-22-2008, 06:59 AM   #3
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The newer model Royal Enfield Bullet got a lot of upgrades that make it more reliable than the earlier versions. For instance on the old ones you had to replace the piston, carb, valve springs, valve seats & other major stuff with new aftermarket parts, 'else the mighty Bullet would eat itself for lunch.

I can't think of a better bike for beginner, you might want to get the "scrambler" package, with the alloy tank and up-pipe, and I believe a higher compression head (stock is only about 5.1).

The bike is a classic. It will teach you how to ride and wrench at the same time. A good idea if you ask me.

On a side note I tried to become the distributor for RE in California about 10 years ago, it was impossible with all the air pollution control nonsense in the people republic of Kali. One test you had to run the bike at full throttle on a dyno for 24 hours, in a small air-tight shed with HC2 sensors to see if it put out unacceptably high amounts of hydrocarbons and NOX.

I think it would have gone off like a roadside bomb in Iraq and gravely injured the tester.

Good luck, and let us know how your RE is doing!
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Old 06-22-2008, 07:47 AM   #4
Tralfamadore64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sachiwilson View Post
As for "comfort," what's your concern? Are you worried about your fit on the bike, or something else? I owned a couple of 1960's British twins, which have similar seating position and size to that Bullet, and as long as you ride them as they are designed to be ridden, they are pretty nice.
My concerns include both fit and long term comfort. Where it's slightly smaller than the average machine you see on American roads and where I haven't had tons of experience on a variety of bikes, I had concerns that I might feel or appear a bit foolish and splayed out on a smaller bike. I don't think that will be an issue from what I've read on some Royal Enfield forums recently.

As far as long term comfort goes, by the end of next year I'd like to take an extended road trip on my bike, heading out to explore the midwest for a few weeks (hopefully finances will allow for it at the time) and I'm not sure how hard this bike will be on the body over a long trip. with one of the RE solo seats. Not a huge concern, I know, but I was wondering what I should expect.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:14 AM   #5
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You should be fine for an extended trip. The seating position on old-style British bikes is generally comfortable, and it's pretty easy to adjust things if you need to. When you use it, you'll begin to figure out what you might want to do for longer rides. For example, you could get different handlebars that fit you better, or you could get a small windscreen to help keep the wind blast off at higher speeds. IMHO the upright seating position on British bikes works best at speeds up to, say, 50 mph, which is what those bikes really were designed to do. Go over that speed and you may want to change some things.
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Old 06-24-2008, 07:33 AM   #6
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I'd guess the reliability of the RE would be the biggest concern. I've not seen any reports either for or against the RE's, but I'd think it would not be my first choice for any extended trip.

If you really like the look, you might consider one of the new Bonneville's. Heck, you can paint it Olive Drab if you want. They are extremely reliable, make decent power and should fit you.

Good Luck!
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