Last week, in Royal Enfield Bullet 500 EFI: I Got You (I Feel Good), MotorMartin spent time looking into the history behind Royal Enfield and the quite extraordinary circumstances that led Enfield India to keep the breed alive whilst the parent company back in the U.K. floundered and died at the beginning of the 1970s. Indeed, in 1990, Enfield India joined forces with the Eicher Group, and later merged with it in 1994 and it was during this merger that the name Enfield India changed to their name to become the instantly recognisable Royal Enfield.
And now, finally, I urge you to take a look at the photographs that accompany this piece and take a moment to digest the flow of this most handsome of motorcycle. To describe the lines of the Bullet as being ‘classic’ is to take the easy route and surely the one most travelled. There’s certainly no denying the lineage of the Enfield and it’s links to those British built Bullets, Super Meteors and Constellations of the past however, the Royal Enfield Bullet 500 EFI doesn’t look out of place on the UK roads of today. The completely reworked and restyled 500cc single cylinder engine clearly dominates the overall look but is ably complimented by the gorgeous fuel tank with its stunning hand painted tramlines, triangular side panels, which hide a simple tool kit, fuses and the like and rarely seen these days, metal mudguards. The paint would seem to be inches thick and well applied back at the factory with the overall impression you’re left with being one of solidity and style in equal measures. In MotorMartin’s opinion, the Royal Enfield looks superb, being modern, old, contemporary and perfectly proportioned, this Bullet is striking in all the ways that a modern bike can’t hope to match.
Royal Enfield must be leaping from the rafters at the moment as the Bullet is currently bang on trend, with hipsters and the like gravitating towards the good looks and an application of technology that looks simple but with Electronic Fuel Injection, modern engine materials and design, can really be viewed as anything but.
The thing is though, once you’re sat on the Bullet and reach forward to the perfectly positioned bars in front of you, it just feels right. Surprisingly for some, starting is a simple affair consisting of pressing the starter button whilst holding just a hint of throttle, and letting the EFI get on with doing what it does best, rewarding you with a steady single cylinder Braap braap braap from the ever so slightly louder exhaust of this test machine. There is a kickstart for those wishing to undertake the full 1950s experience but you know what, MotorMartin isn’t one of them, life really is too short and my kickstarting days ended with a Honda XBR500 many years ago. For riders of more modern machinery, all other machinery, the riding position will be a little unusual as your feet are placed further in front of you than on most other bikes, other than cruisers, whilst you reach forward to the comfortably set bars. Imagine sitting bolt upright on your favourite armchair and reaching forward for the remote and you get the idea. All joking aside, you soon get used to where to put your feet and it becomes an extremely comfortable way to ride the Bullet through the highways and byways of this green and pleasant land of ours.
Once under way you’ll be surprised at how easy the Enfield is to ride, the gearbox, although a little less slick than a modern machine, responds well to a positive movement of the left boot and clicks it’s way to the next gear with a feeling of solidity that is most welcome in this digital age. With a relatively light clutch and short throttle action, the Bullet moves forward with enough acceleration to allow you to keep up with all but the most enthusiastically driven cars up to an indicated 50-60mph as any faster and the expected vibration begins to be felt through the pegs and bars but anyone with even an ounce of mechanical sympathy will realise that speed is not what this motorcycle is all about.
And once you realise that fact, you start to tune in to the Royal Enfield Bullet 500 EFI and get what it is all about. You’ve got to slow down, feel the engine and what it wants to do, feel the pulses from that 500cc single cylinder as it powers (sic) you along, realise that it’s not always about top speeds and knee down action but chilling out and enjoying the bend swinging and sensations that can be achieved at a third of the speed. Riding through the country lanes that suit the Enfield best the Bullet is clearly in it’s element, using the ample torque to pull the bike along makes a refreshing change and keeps gear changing to a minimum, all of which allows you to concentrate fully on finding the right lines through your favourite set of bends and making progress without the stresses that riding at speed can bring about. Unbelievably, throughout all of this, figures of 80+ mpg can be achieved on a bike that is comfortable enough and capable enough to be ridden the 200 to 250 mile tank range that this incredible efficiency brings about. Superb.
MotorMartin is extremely happy to note that Royal Enfield are continuing to grow, and grow at a quite astonishing rate both in India and across the globe with new models being designed and planned for, whilst the Bullet 500 and it’s derivatives are becoming more and more popular here in the U.K. Motorcyclists are quite rightly becoming more aware of the charm that this efficient and ‘bullet’ proof Motor can offer. I love it. It’s the perfect antidote to this increasingly hectic life, after all, this is a busy existence that we all lead and maybe, just maybe, the Enfield Bullet 500 EFI has ridden the right route all along.
Where will you go?