My Enfield Ride

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.)

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7 thoughts on “My Enfield Ride

  1. Thank you for your impressions. I have a 1999 Enfield (no electric starter) so I know all about the rituals involved, and they are part of the charm. There is no rushing out to garage, pulling on the helmet and trying to make it to work on time. I had to get up early, and savor my exit, appreciating what I was about to do. I liked the connection to a time in the past when every human contact wasn’t just a text message away. It was pleasant and I usually arrived at work early as a result, although the Enfield was slower than my Honda CB. Then I lost my job, which is another story. You shot a great picture, too. The C5 looks great from that angle.

    • Thanks David. I agree with your sentiments and am glad people are still making bikes that don’t have to compete with the blistering pace our world runs in. I have enjoyed following your articles on your blog and it has certainly has fueled my curiosity about the bike.

  2. I have a Royal Enfield C5, the first one sold in the USA. i’t been a brilliant motorcycle, 5000 miles and nothing but fun out of it. If you like big singles it’ll make your day!

    • Hi Dan. Your love for the C5 is legendary in the Enfield world and certainly an influence in my testing the bike. May you travel many more miles on your big single.

  3. I suppose I’m one of the old guys that came back to my roots, I started on british singles. I’ve owned and ridden a lot of bikes in the last 40 years, this new Royal Enfield brings back all the fun reasons why I fell in love with motorcycles. Now I can ride a classic with none of the problems of the past, makes me grin just thinking about it.

  4. I instantly felt connected to you with these lines of yours…”Couldn’t start the bike until someone indicated to me that I still had it in gear!!!”

    The same happened to me, when brought home the C5 (Classic 500 in India). I was so lost admiring her that forgot all about the gears and neutral.

    In the start, had my little doubts about the reliability part. Now, it has been an year and we have clocked 20,000 miles together. And she haven’t left me standard on the road, not even for once…. :) One word for RE .. sheer fun!!

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