Royal Enfield

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CNF2002
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Royal Enfield

#1 Unread post by CNF2002 » Wed Oct 11, 2006 1:36 pm

I saw a 2003 Royal Enfield on ebay for $3500 with 900 miles. Its a very retro looking bike, looks very unique, seems to be a 'standard'. No info on TMW about Royal Enfield, anyone know anything about them?
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#2 Unread post by -Holiday » Wed Oct 11, 2006 1:39 pm

from what i've heard they're absolute peices of crap in the quality/fit/reliability department.
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#3 Unread post by gsJack » Wed Oct 11, 2006 2:11 pm

Cycle World included it in a 10 bike comparo called Deals on Wheels in their 03 Buyer's Guide.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v443/ ... deals1.jpg

It's made from drawings taken from England to India in the 50's and made there now the same as it was back then. It wasn't a bad bike in the 50's.

It came in 9th in the CW comparo, just ahead of the Blast, their opinion not mine. :oops:

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#4 Unread post by XJRJohn » Wed Oct 11, 2006 2:16 pm

Its an old english firm.Very popular at one time.They are now built in india.Still quite popular as a cheap bike.They run a tour india thing on enfield bullets.Always wanted to do it.Go to www,royalenfield.com to find out more.xjrjohn
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#5 Unread post by Aggroton » Wed Oct 11, 2006 3:47 pm

i like them alot. test drove one. i think they are super sexy. but id buy a used bonnie first.
thats a sweet bike.

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#6 Unread post by jstark47 » Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:09 pm

A Royal Enfield is a 1955 bike made in 2006. IMO, no matter what year, they're like a 1950's Austin or MG: more a hobby than a form of transportation. If you like wrenching on bikes, an Enfield is for you.

To be fair, here are some positive reviews of a 2004 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 on Chuck Hawks' website: Letter #1 and Letter #2. These letters are reminders of something easy to overlook: by 1955 standards, the Bullet was a very successful design. Bikes designs don't last that long unless they have something going for them.

The retro cool factor is undeniably off the chart (but consider what I ride daily). If I had the wrenching skills and the time, I'd have an Enfield. But never as my only bike.
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#7 Unread post by paul246 » Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:35 pm

These bikes are more for the enthusiast rather than the commuter. Don't expect it to perform or hold up like a modern bike.

I have heard that the 350 single was the more reliable unit over the 500 single. Careful break-in is mandatory in either case.
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#8 Unread post by JC Viper » Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:57 pm

One of the magazines reviewed a Royal Enfield Electra X. Basically it's a reliable machine compared to the old models but it's performance is not up to today's standards but would make a nice commuter.

Decent simple bikes that can be worked on by the owner.
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Re: Royal Enfield

#9 Unread post by sv-wolf » Wed Oct 11, 2006 6:47 pm

CNF2002 wrote:I saw a 2003 Royal Enfield on ebay for $3500 with 900 miles. Its a very retro looking bike, looks very unique, seems to be a 'standard'. No info on TMW about Royal Enfield, anyone know anything about them?
Whcih Royal Enfield was it? I don't know what models are available in the States, though it sounds from what someone has said in the thread above that you have a similar range to us. The bikes are made in Madras, India. Here in the UK the Madras factory ship the bikes over, mostly basic 350 Bullet's with 'tractor' seats, to the sole British importer, Smith Westonian. Smith Westonian strip them down and rebuild them into a number of different models for the British market. These range from the 'Classic' and very basic 350 Bullet which retails here, new, for under £2,000 (dirt cheap if you have an arse made out of reinforced concrete and strong leather on the soles of your boots in case you need to stop in a hurry) up to a really snazzy version with this new fangled thing called an electric start.

Back in the 1950s Royal Enfield, based in Redditch in the UK, got a huge order for Bullets from the Indian Army. They were going to have trouble meeting the order until an Indian businessmen did a deal with them to manufacture the bikes in India under licence. Royal Enfield UK went bust in the 1960s (except their bicycle business which still exists), but the Madras factory has continued to churn out bikes ever since. The bikes they make today have changed little over the last fifty years. They are still basically 1950s technology and design. So, for example, the unmodified Bullets still have the gear change on the right hand side - as was the case with most old English Bikes.

What you have to remember above everything else is that Enfield bikes are still largely hand built. Official guide books will tell you that a new production line process was introduced into the factory about a decade ago, but that only sees the bikes through the last assembly process. The tank, for example, is still hand panel beaten by a chap sitting on a three-legged stool with a hammer and painted by a man with a paintbrush; many of the components are made under contract by small independent workshops around Madras using very simple tools and then shipped into the factory on modified tricycles. This all means that every Royal Enfield is different in detail and function from every other Royal Enfield. If you see one, it might be a goodie or it might not. The basic advice is, take it for a ride before you buy. You might get one with a front brake which will bring you to a halt as effectively as a stick of celery. Enfields are not noted for their brakes - though the modified versions like the Electra X are better than the basic bikes.

The great beauty of Enfields is that they are bomb proof and extremely easy to maintain. I know guys who say they have siezed the engine, waited half an hour for it to cool down and then ridden off again. It is as well that they are easy on maintenance 'cos you will have to do a lot of it.

Their very top speed is about seventy. And if you buy new you have to run them in very carefully, which means for quite a long time at under 35 mph.

Enfields are really for enthusiasts, as far as I can see. I'm very tempted to buy one for a second bike to potter about on (though like Aggroton I'd go for a Bonnie anyday if it were within the same price range). But I wouldn't have one as my main form of two-wheeled transport

My manager at work is a great lover of Enfields. He brought an Electra X (basically a 500 Bullet with the electric start) and just loves it. Mind you, his racing days are well over and he is happy to bimble around the back lanes on it.
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#10 Unread post by jstark47 » Wed Oct 11, 2006 9:13 pm

Richard- a quick look at the Royal Enfield USA website leads me to believe they are no longer importing the 350's here, only the 500's. Models available are Bullet Classic, Bullet Deluxe, Bullet Military, Bullet Sixty-5, and Electra X. Given the American penchant for all things large, I can imagine the 350's didn't sell enough to make it worthwhile.
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#11 Unread post by sv-wolf » Thu Oct 12, 2006 6:21 pm

Hi JS That doesn't surprise me. The market here is heavy with nostalgia, and would be very different from the situation in the States.

I hear from several sources that Royal Enfield have recently recapitalised and are planning/hoping to emerge onto the world stage as a major exporter of 'classic' bikes, with a whole range of new models tailored to the various national markets. They are intending to challenge Triumph in the UK, for example, in their range of retro bikes (If their publicity is to be believed.)

Enfield have traditionally manufactured bikes primarily for the Indian domestic market. In India, after fifty years, the Bullet is still THE motorcycle of choice and carries more status there than any other bike. Their only significant export market until now has been the UK. As I said, there is a lot of nostalgia for them here. And they have a lot to play on: they were originally a British firm based just south of Birmingham, and they have produced motorcycles without interruption for longer than any other manufacturer, anywhere in the world.
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#12 Unread post by xsyamahadg » Sat Oct 14, 2006 3:10 pm

Here is a little bit on the Royal Enfield
http://www.phpbbcommunity.com/rideohiom ... .php?t=339
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#13 Unread post by ArcticHarleyMan » Sun Oct 15, 2006 10:29 pm

My Father-in-law useed to ride one in England back in the late 40's or early 50's. He crashed it into a sandpile while trying to avoid a trolly, it caught fire and he never rode again. He never wanted his "little girl" to ride with me when he found I rode, but now she has her own Honda 750 Shadow ACE. :wink:

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