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Royal Enfield Bullet Classic 500

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The Bullet 500 EFI is the culmination of over 80 years of Brittish bike legacy, The Royal Enfield Bullet 500 is one of the longest running models in continuous production.

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You don’t have to buy a classic to get an authentic feel of Fifties and Sixties British bikes. And we’re not talking about modern retro bikes, such as the Triumph’s Bonneville which bring back the look of the British parallel twin, Royal Enfield’s latest Bullet 500 has a real Fifties flavour.

Since 1932 the Bullet has mesmerized thousands all over the world with its unique styling and one of its kind feel of ride feel. The Bullet 500 EFI is a seamless pairing of the majestic Bullet styling, performance and reliability with the new technology elements like the Electronic Fuel Injection synergized seamlessly with the period styling.The Bullet 500 EFI is all about romancing with history on today’s terms.

Royal Enfield is more about survival than revival, but the latest Bullet certainly will revive memories, as from a distance it’s almost indistinguishable from the first Enfield Bullets built in Redditch in 1955.

One of Royal Enfield’s most important Bullet customers during the Sixties was the Indian army, which found the rugged British singles ideal for the poor roads and mountainous terrain they often had to negotiate.

Modern emissions laws made it increasingly difficult for the venerable old motor to stay legal, and after some interim modifications such as a lean-burn cylinder head, the company finally took the plunge and designed an all-new engine, complete with fuel injection, five-speed gearbox (with a modern change pattern) and wet, multiplate clutch.

This is what powers the latest Bullet, a bike that marks a return to Enfield’s core appeal in its export markets in the past two or three decades: classic biking on a budget.

The Royal Enfield Bullet 500 is now a viable option as an everyday commuter bike. There are some allowances you must make howevwe, such as never being in a hurry because the engine doesn’t like, or respond well to higher revs.

So maybe this is a revival after all. The old Bullet was being killed off by modern regulations, and this new one brings all the charm and character back, as well as the authenticity of following on directly and being made in the same factory, by the same workers. A slice of history, new and with a warranty.

This basic Bullet, though, is just MSRP $5,349.

Engine

The Royal Enfield Bullet 500 is certainly not fast superbike but the power is up from the original 22bhp to a more useful 27bhp, and because the construction is modern, you can make full use of the bike for long periods, such as a steady 75mph on a motorway.

The Royal Enfield Bullet 500 has retained the key to the engine’s character, its long-stroke cylinder, along with a heavy flywheel to keep it thumping along smoothly at low revs. The new motor has been styled faithfully to the original, and it sounds and feels like that engine, too.

Suspension

The suspension is improved but still rather crude, and the riding position is a dated foot-forward, hands-forward stance, but this is as much charm as fault. Build quality isn’t to Japanese standards either – expect to deal with various niggles during your tenure.

Front Disc Brake

280MM front disc brake.

The front disc brake, while far better than old-fashioned drums, stops you without feeding back much information.

Metal front Mudguard

All metal front mudguard true to the original style

Headlamp

Headlamp nacelle, housing speedometer and ammeter, unique only to the Bullet.

Seat

Seat contoured for comfortable seating position.

Rear Mudguard

Traditional mudguard with subframe.

Tank

Petrol tank with hand painted pin striping. Motif on tank faithful to period specific looks.

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Engine

Type

Single Cylinder, 4 stroke

Displacement

499cc

Bore x stroke

84mm x 90mm

Compression Ratio

8.5 : 1

Maximum Power

27.2 bhp @ 5250 rpm

Maximum Torque

41.3 Nm @ 4000 rpm

Ignition System

Digital Electronic Ignition

Clutch

Wet, multi-plate

Gearbox

5 Speed Constant Mesh

Lubrication

Wet sump

Engine Oil

15 W 50 API, SL Grade JASO MA

Fuel Supply

Keihin Electronic Fuel Injection

Air Cleaner

Paper Element

Engine Start

Electric/Kick

Chassis & Suspension

Type

Single downtube, using engine as stressed member

Front suspension

Telescopic, 35mm forks, 130mm travel

Rear suspension

Twin gas charged shock absorbers with 5-step adjustable preload, 80mm travel

Dimensions

Wheelbase

1370 mm

Ground Clearance

135 mm

Length

2200 mm

Width

800 mm

Height

1120 mm

Kerb Weight

187 Kg (with 90% Fuel & Oil)

Fuel Capacity

14.5 Ltr (3.2Gallon)

Brakes & Tyres

Tyres Fr.

3.25 x 19

Tyres Rr.

3.50 x 19

Brakes Front

280mm Disc, 2-Piston caliper

Brakes Rear

153mm Drum, Single Lead Internal Expanding

Electricals

Tail Lamp

21 W / 5 W

Turn Signal Lamp

Electrical System

12 volt – DC

Battery

12 volt, 14 Ah

Head Lamp

60 W / 55 W, HALOGEN

 

THE FACTS

Price/on sale: From MSRP $5,349.

Power/torque: 27bhp @ 5,250rpm/30lb ft @ 4,000rpm

Top speed: 85mph (est)

Fuel tank/range: 3.2 gallons/260 miles

Verdict: As close to a Fifties motorcycle as it’s possible to get, built with modern components. Brand new yet with the sound, feel and charm of an old bike. A fine place from which to view the countryside, but not a silly choice as a commuter either.

Telegraph rating: Four out of five stars

RIVALS

Triumph Bonneville, MSRP $8,599

It’s a lot more expensive than the Bullet but you get modern performance and build quality and a look that recreates British twins of the Sixties very well. It’s enjoyable to ride, too.

 

Gallery Royal Enfield Bullet Classic 500