I haven’t posted much about the Royal Enfield C5 since I bought my Triumph Bonneville but I came across this red Enfield with a tastefully modded seat. I heard the engine fire up and I must say, I still love the rumble of that single cylinder engine. The red colour is looking good too.
So I finally got around to taking a test ride on the Royal Enfield Classic C5. I went to Eurobrit; a store that specialises in retro and classic bikes. They are passionate about their Enfields and have a good eye for customisations. I wont offer a lengthy write up about the Bullet as all the reviews are pretty accurate – and I am no bike expert. However you may find my perspective helpful from someone who is not desperate to compare this bike to Hayabusas but would like to upgrade from their “learner” bike.
Currently, I ride a Honda VTR 250 and when I sat on the Enfield, there were many adjustments I needed to make. This model had the aftermarket exhaust and rear rack. Starting the bike was a mini ritual of centre stand down, side stand up, letting the engine warm up as it threatened to stall on idle. As I mounted the steel steed, I nervously searched for the unfamiliar foot pegs in front of me and sat a little taller on the bike. Accelerating the Enfield causes you to race through the gears due to the limited rev range. Anything over 4500rpms or so was not worth reaching for. Vibrations were aplenty with the single cylinder engine but you soon stop noticing it. You would feel silly trying to ride fast on this bike as the clunky chassis bounces you around and the engine always feels like it is going to run out of steam. You had to enjoy the torque as it carried you lazily around the roads, listening to the exhaust backfire as you decelerate.
All these things might sound like negatives but I had to remind myself that it was a privilege to ride such a classic machine, the same way using an old manual SLR camera might appeal to a photographer sick of high tech gadgets. I’m not old enough to remember the classic bikes so I’m not going to pretend. Despite this, I can appreciate why so many riders love it, as it is about moving with style not pissing everyone off with fast obnoxious riding. Is this a bike for me? Probably not, mostly because it would not suit the kind of riding I do. It handled well and I believe it would be a very reliable bike for many long years, due to the simplicity of the design and lack of plastic bits. I still love the looks and have enjoyed the helpful services and advice of the folks at Eurobrit. Maybe in a few years time and if I stumbled on a bag of cash, I might treat myself to one.
(I snapped this photo as I pulled over somewhere nice to appreciate the bike. Couldn’t start the bike until someone indicated to me that I still had it in gear!!! Yes, I felt very stupid but I was too busy making sure the right stands were up or down.)
Here is a good review of the Enfield Bullet C5. This reviewer is comparing the new Bullet to the Suzuki Galdius. A strange comparison but I can understand the inner debate between passion vs practical. Read on to see which bike was chosen…
“The Bike they forgot to stop making”, as often quoted by several reviewers of this classic British/Indian motorcycle, the Royal Enfield C5 is a retro bike made to appeal to those who remember the ‘good ol days’ and those who just want something different. What piqued my interest was the newly designed 500cc EFI engine. I have no interest in tinkering with a broken bike, nor do I want to sacrifice performance to relive days that I was not alive in. This new engine was completely redesigned by some smart guy from Japan and is said to be far more reliable and powerful than the previous models. Did I mention this was several thousand dollars cheaper than a Triumph Bonneville?
I sat on one the other day at my local dealer, and being a little vertically challenged, the low single seat felt very comfortable to me and it did not have the porky weight of the Triumph Bonnevilles and Thruxtons to shift around. As I started up the bike (via an ignition button) it rattled to life and I marveled at how primal the bike sounded, with it’s single cylinder thumping away. I felt very comfortable in its upright seating position but still involved. Vibrations were aplenty but this is said to subside after a few thousand kilometers on the odometer.
I am having a little identity crisis as I feel like this is a bike to own when I’m a little more grey and for now I should stick to something more sporty. However, sitting on the Enfield, it felt alive and full of personality. I’m going to test ride this soon and if the power and handling is of any decent quality, it may be time for a change. It will be the black model for me, and I’d like to swap the mudguards to something a little shorter and perhaps chrome and change the tail light to lighten up the look. Just dreaming for now, but that’s how many great things start isn’t it?
If you own this bike, drop me a line if you have a review or just let me know what you think of it.