Enfield Bullet 500 review
Now in its third century, the last of the surviving original British motorcycle marques may be headed for the history books. The nostalgic Enfield Bullet 500 cc is the longest-running model in motorcycling history. The last of the once-dominant British motorcycle brands to survive the rise of the Japanese motorcycle industry may finally be succumbing. Royal Enfield`s parent Eicher Motors has announced that it plans to spin off the classic Brit bike brand, which actually produces bikes in India these days. Although Eicher is putting a happy face in the situation, presenting it as an opportunity for the brand to get much-needed infusion of capital, observers see the move as Eicher abandoning its financial support for Royal Enfield, which makes less than 30000 of its traditional some would say 250, 350 and 500cc singles each year. If the newly liberated company is unable to find the necessary cash, its prospects appear bleak.
Royal Enfield started building bicycles in 1898 and produced its first motorcycle in 1900. It began using its own engines in 1914, and the forefather of the current line of bikes, the first Bullet, was built in 1932. After World War II, Royal Enfield sometimes seemed to be one of the more innovative British makes and offered a line singles, V-twins, and the vertical twins it was best known for. A 500cc vertical twin introduced in 1948 eventually grew to 736cc and became the Interceptor, the best-know model in the U.S. The Bullet was licensed for manufacture in India, where it was first produced over half a century ago and has been produced continuously since, with remarkably few changes. Royal Enfield motorcycles made their first real foray into the U.S. market in the late 1950s, when 500 and 700cc vertical twins were sold with Indian badging as the troubled American brand tried to ward off the advances of other British marques in the new world. That arrangement ended in 1960.
Kick-starting a Enfield Bullet 500 motorcycle is a lost art. Use of the handlebar-mounted compression release was essential for a smooth, quick start. What was far more distressing than manually starting the Bullet was attempting to shift the deal, especially from first to second gear. In fact, we couldn`t shift it with the toes of our boots, and instead had to reach around the shifter with our boot heels in order to give it a more effective yank. Now we heard "modern" Royal Enfields vary more than a bit from one to the next. So while some have this unbearable tightness in the shift linkage, some simply don`t. Also our bike was fresh out of the box and some stiffness was expected, especially around town with no breeze to cool the works. The beauty of the Bullet`s simple design is that there isn`t a single component that can`t be tinkered with or trained into obedience. And the basic design is built to stand up to almost anything. Consider the 5.5:1 compression ratio, for example. But it must be massaged a bit to keep all the parts working cooperatively. More specs and user manual of Enfield Bullet 500 you can see in next overview.
Enfield Bullet 500 specifications
Model: Enfield Bullet 500
Engine and transmission
Displacement: 499cc (30.45 cubic inches)
Power: 22HP (16.1 kW) @ 5400 RPM
Torque: 34 Nm (3.5 kgf-m or 25.1 ft.lbs) @ 3000 RPM
Cooling system: Air
Dry weight: 168 kg (370.4 pounds)
Seat height: 760 mm (29.9 inches) If adjustable, lowest setting.
Wheelbase: 1370 mm (53.9 inches)
Chassis and dimensions
Speed and acceleration
Top speed: 125 km/h (77.7 mph)
Power/weight ratio: 0.1310 HP/kg
Fuel capacity: 14.50 litres (3.83 gallons)