Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Royal Enfield Bullet 500

Discussion in 'Showcase' started by mattb, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. G'day All.

    Tonight I picked up my new bike. Last week over a 24hr period I suddenly decided to sell my SR500 after five years of passionate ownership and a friend shot me the cash, and I began looking around for some British iron. Now, I wanted the Brit bike experience, but it is more important for me to ride than to show off my authentic iron, so something which struck me as a very sensible option was to buy one of the British-designed Indian Royal Enfields for which all parts are easily and cheaply available (madly so!), as are English-made superior after-market critical engine parts.

    An Enfield Club member had a 1995 Bullet for sale, an Enfield model which, aside from 12V electrics and indicators, is exactly the 1955 model. He was selling it for the price I got for my SR, so we did the deal.

    Here 'tis:




    For anybody who doesn't know the wonderful story, in the early 1950s Royal Enfield of England became overwhelmed with orders for their Bullet from India, and so made a deal with Madras Motors to set up a factory in Madras to produce the Bullet. Madras Motors kept on building the 1955 model, even though the English model changed in aspects of its design until its end of production in 1962 (the model had began in 1932), and when Royal Enfield shut shop in 1970 the story continued in India where they just kept making the 1955 model with almost no changes (until they experimented with some alternative models a decade back, and then a few years ago ceased production of the tradition Bullet for a new unit construction engined Bullet), and this applies to me new bike - it is the iron barrel 1955-year model.

    Some aspects of the bike: My model has the traditional system with the foot levers back to front and upside down compared to a Japanese bike. That was a bit scary tonight as I rolled off the footpath inbetween two cars, with my hand focused on blipping the throttle for fear of stalling and with the habitual act of using the foot brake for stopping...but try as I might to punch down, the gear change lever at my right foot did not stop the bike! I managed to avoiding rear-end teh car by use of my boots (anybody from the boot thread reading? My steel cap Redbacks did great! Just goes to show! Only slightly less effective than the Bullets brakes!) At any rate, the brakes are interesting. Nothing, then something. You plan ahead. There is no neutral light, but there is a neutral finder lever on which I stomp down (all foot lever work is done in stomps) and it puts the bike in neutral regardless of what gear it was in. If you're in the wrong gear it doesn't matter - you open the throttle and the bike just pulsates and pulls away, with no chain snatch. It is quite unbelievably balanced and nimble. You just have to be mindful of the rigid footpegs. The headlight gives the beam of a miner's candle. But the kickstarting is quite easy compared to a big Japanese single.

    The fellows in the RE club know nothing about the internals of the engine, but another Bulleteer whom I already know, and who has done about 120,000km on his Bullet (and half a dozen full engine rebuilds) has ridden it for the last six months and has found it fine. At any rate the blokes in the club are very actively engaged in helping rebuild engines for fellow members, and I will be spending about $1k on a roller bearing to replace the fragile floating bush bottom end bearing, a Hitchcock's steel conrod, a JP to replace the fragile piston, as well as a couple of other bearings.

    Here's my old SR alongside a couple of Bullets:

    • Like Like x 5
  2. Congrats on the purchase. Be a bit wary of Hitchcocks, the fellows at Eurobrit told me they get a lot of poorly fitted parts sent from them, bolt holes in the wrong place and things of that nature
  3. Nice one matt
  4. I was going to post this in multimedia when they get a bit more on there, but 2 mates of mine have just crated up their two lovingly refurbished Bullets and shipped them to Singapore.

    The Bullet Diaries

    They're going to ride the all the way accross Asia and end up in England eventually, well worth a look, maybe not if you're the jealous type! Looks like these bikes were born for adventuring, congrats on your new ride!

  5. (y) Congrats on the purchase. The bike looks magnificent.

    ...brings back some very fond memories. :)
  6. Today the lights turned green and I slowly pulled away on the slow, slow Royal Enfield Bullet across Sydney Rd. Ahead of me, to everybody's dumbfounded expression of amazement, a woman shot through the red light at speed (I don't think she realised after, either). If I'd been on the W650 I would have accelerated faster and she would have cleaned me up. Nice. I like this Bullet. It has good safety features.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. It looks nice Matt, not my sort of bike I will admit, but hey ... you didn't buy it please me did ya??? enjoy it mate,
  8. Tis a good omen - this bullet cares for you
  9. Yes, it seems Vishnu (the protector or preserver) and not Shiva (the destroyer) was on shift today.

    Of course, magical things happen on Enfields anyway
  10. But it did give me cause to celebrate the thing:

    • Like Like x 1
  11. I rode one on a Ferris Wheels tour in India in 2009.
    Highly recommend Ferris Wheels.!

    Will buy one for myselfeventually just to feel the nostalgia, and for the slow days.

    Not a bad bike, but NOT a modern bike. With all the good and bad that goes with that.

    But always an enjoyable ride.
  12. Thanks ramjet, I just read, and enjoyed, that thread.

    Peter, I'm really enjoying mine. I most certainly wouldn't have it as my first bike, but as a second bike it is great! So far....
  13. Damn, after seeing that ad I want to rush out and buy one.
  14. Hey, that's groovy man, far out! I bet one day, all the kids will be riding these motorsickle things!

    Hope she treats you well, may your mechanical sympathy know no bounds.
  15. Hya Matt, Grats on the Scoot mate, Please keep updating your experience with her. I have just got rid of my 2nd and last Harley, just a barman without a wife now, canna afford sooch looxury nor repairs anymore. . But am Seriously considering the 2012 Classic or Chrome model. Eurobrit $9600 on road. Desperate to hear how they are. Ride Safe Mate.
  16. G'day Popkok.

    I rode one of the new UCE bikes and loved it. Similar power to my old Yamaha SR500, so low powered by today's standards but quite adequate in my mind. Maintenance costs should be quite minimal. Reliability-wise they are pretty good from what I can see (based on web research such as here - remember of course that the majority of owners have no problems and so don't post up - forums give a negatively biased view) but not up to Japanese standards - maybe 5-10% are trouble makers, the main problem being the EFI (a Japanese system) can play up on some (but most are fine). If I had that problem I'd consider a carb, but that's just the luddite that I am - people seem to be very happy with these things for the most part. The character of these bike makes it definitely worth it.

    I highly, highly, recommend going to Motorcycle City in the CBD for your bike - their service is beyond any other bike shop in my opinion. Recently a new owner and new member of the Royal Enfield Club of Australia (RECOA) had a problem with a Bullet that she bought from them, so they drove to her home, picked up the bike, fixed it, and returned it to her. That's typical of their approach in my experience. With a new bike purchase you'll get membership of RECOA; and you should join the Aussie Enfields forum now.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. My first bike(at 16yrs 9 mths ) was a 700cc Royal Enfield Meteor twin, 1954 model. I have always had good memories of the beast. Good riding on your 500 .
  18. Thanks for replying Matt. I had been tossing between Greensborough and the city, That service example you give of MC City is fantastic. That sort of thing is a major deciding factor of where to buy is'nt it. I'm certainly keen for one and can accept slow as routine ( i hope ) the Softail was'nt terribly fast by modern standards and I was content with it, as long as you can overtake a 90kmph cage on the hiway. Have you been there yet with yours ? I mean it mate, Please post as often as possible here. Ride Safe Matt..
  19. Wow Rennsport - great bike to start on! Royal Enfield are talking seriously - as is the word from the CEO - about releasing a larger twin, inspired by the Meteor and Interceptor.

    My 1995 bike, made according to the 1955 design, is a different beast to the UCE. Less powerful. And with its Indian home market metallurgy and quality control much less reliable (the UCE is the latest and most notable jump forward by Royal Enfield which since the late '90s has been increasingly looking long term to become a serious player on the world market). It's basically a move from the 1930s mechanicals of my bike (my engine design began life in 1932) forward into the 1960s. So I wouldn't overtake, and my cruising speed is 80kph until I update some engine components (bearings, conrod, piston) with modern English parts. I imagine a UCE will be ok for such overtaking - certainly it will be on the straights - as it is apparently fine for cruising at the speed limit. But NB it will make the Softail feel like a rocket ship.

    In my blog in my signature below I record my rides on my Bullet.
    • Like Like x 1