Can the new UCE Royal Enfield Bullet 500 cruise at 65-70mph?

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by spddmn, Apr 11, 2009.

  1. Eamon Nordquist

    Eamon Nordquist Adventurer

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    You're talking about the handful of folks who have had issues. Every bike has some. You don't hear from the ones who have nothing to complain about, like my brother and the several other people I know who have the new motor. This notion of constant wrenching on the new bikes is nonsense. No sweat if you don't want one, but you're not exactly speaking from experience in your assessment.

    My own Bullet is the old motor (well sorted and very reliable, but yes limited to 60mph cruising with bursts up to 80), but if I could buy a new bike right now it would be one of the new Bullets or an Ural sT.

    Eamon
    #61
  2. conchscooter

    conchscooter Long timer

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    In a burst of nostalgia I bought a Stella scooter. I was so excited to be back on a P series Vespa. I put 2600 miles on the thing. Then the oil pump failed (factory issue as the pump gears were defective and the pump failed to pump causing a seizure), I sold the $4,000 scooter back to the dealer for $1500 and washed my hands of it.
    In the six months I owned it the Stella lost nuts and bolts all over the place. The light switch failed, the rear wheel hub nut repeatedly came loose. The clutch nut fell off. The shifter lever got stuck. The glovebox door rattled incessantly. The paint peeled. It was a nightmare. And the performance was feeble, against an advertised 60mph the Stella could barely hit 50mph and against a headiwnd it got 35mph if I was lucky.
    After that debacle my wife said: No more Indian.
    Reading the Enfield website there is a problem with unit engined bikes weaving to a degree that has firightened the riders on some bikes.
    Is that acceptable? Other failure invovled poor assmebly at the factory.
    Indian build quality is not where it needs to be to charge $6,000+ for a motorcycle.
    It bother me that others could end up in the lemon situation I was in without having their eyes open to that possibility.
    #62
  3. Blizzard Beast

    Blizzard Beast Been here awhile

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    Those problems that you mentioned are very real.There is high speed instability on the C5 which many believe is due to the swingarm design.However this comes into play only after , say 110 km/hr.So 60-65 mph is relatively stable and safe.
    Royal Enfield has always had problems with quality control and the newer ones are no exception.However I think the export models are better than those sold here in India.Paint peeling off is a common problem in these motorcycles.
    All things said,the newer ones are still relatively maintenance free.
    #63
  4. Blue Ridge Wheeltor

    Blue Ridge Wheeltor Been here awhile

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    The Enfield has a 2 yr, unlimited mileage, NON TRANSFERRABLE warranty. At $6395 ++, you are approaching $7k. At that price, The Ural ST is twice the bike.
    #64
  5. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp REMF

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    If you are using that logic, the Triumph Bonneville is twice the bike as the Ural, for just several hundred more.
    #65
  6. Eamon Nordquist

    Eamon Nordquist Adventurer

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    BS. 2 or 3 people had an issue with stability, which was related to assembly. The swingarm design is sound, and someone else even posted a video of a C5 at 80mph with no hands on the bars - dead steady. Why is it that a few people reporting a problem gets taken as a representation of a whole line, but reports to the contrary are ignored. I guess folks listen to whatever fits their preconceptions.


    As far as the Ural sT (I bike I do like for its own merits) being twice the bike of the Enfield, from what I understand it DOES take TWICE the gas per mile! Not my idea of twice the bike! Your mileage (mpg?) may vary! :rofl

    Eamon
    #66
  7. Blizzard Beast

    Blizzard Beast Been here awhile

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    You're right.In fact my post was not based on personal experience.It was from the posts of other owners( on some Indian forums).I have never come even close to those speeds.
    #67
  8. wmax351

    wmax351 Been here awhile

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    My Dad and I have a (June)1999 Bullet 500. Last Month of iron engines with the original 4 speed Albion gearbox. It leaks, you just buy the official, "ROYAL ENFIELD" embossed oil pan. It lubes the chain for you. You put thin grease in the gearbox (Or 50-50 mix of grease and 85w-140), or tear it apart and replace the bearings with modern, sealed industrial ones. I redid the electrical system with my own harness. These few tweaks (and a mikuni enrichener circuit carb) make it run great, with 15k on the clock so far. Cruises all day at 60. Rides up US 1 to Pt. Reyes are amazing on it. Very comfortable. Comparing to my BMW k75, it holds up with the new bike on back roads. The sewing machine bike beats the mine pump on the freeway, but that is what it is meant to do.

    You take the bike for what it is. The new ones are nice, but treat them like a 250. They can handle the freeway, but they don't like it. They are 60-65 mph bikes, and you can cruise all day on them.
    #68
  9. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

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  10. horskjaer

    horskjaer n00b

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    Hm. - just joined - very confused...
    I own an genuine 500 1953 RE "competition" -equipped with a quite rare 1954 "Short Circuit Comp" motor - with a somewhat "free" exhaust, together with a 30 mm Amal carb.
    Its geared "for the road + some greenlaning" - with one toothe more on the outgoing gearbox sprocket.
    Measured by a very precise GPS - this bike shifts at 130 Kmph - in fourth gear, with the motor turning over by 4900 revs.

    Topspeed in the region of 140 Kmph.
    When riding abroad (Swedwen - Germany) I often use "motorways" (speedlimit= 130 Kmph) - not because I like it, just because of convenience...
    My bike can sit at 120 Kmph for hours - no sweat - and it still has the old valves and seats!
    (I use "lead" substitute from "Castrol")

    Gas mileage at "motorway speeds approx 17-18 Kilometer per liter 95 inleaded - at 80 Kmph approx 25 kilometers per litre.
    July 2013 - I go to Italy, to drive in the Dolomite mountains.
    Only planned "mod" - a set of "High powered" oil pumps from Hitchcock" in the UK, together with a valve grind, and a 0.5 mm head gasket, to increase compression a bit...

    This bike has been SUPER reliant - but I hear that some of the Indian produced bikes dont like motorways - burn the valves?
    #70
  11. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    While I have never owned one, I have had some experience with RE. Mostly working on them. The main problem with them is the terrible quality. This applies to both materials and workmanship. The metallurgy is awful. They are made out of what is commonly known as "pot metal" It is very soft. Fasteners are easily broken and stripped. The internal engine parts are no exception, the metal is so soft that pistons can melt under normal operating conditions. The other problem is manufacturing tolerances. They are horrible compared to modern Japanese motorcycles. New ones come with bearing clearances and piston/cylinder clearances that are so far off it's a wonder that they even run. One of the main reasons these engines fail is that they tend to run hot, and when they get hot, the clearances get even worse, causing something to break or seize. I have replaced 3 kickstarters on earlier models, because the gears stripped. I find this simply unacceptable for a motorcycle that costs this much. My Yamaha XT225 will run all day at full throttle with no obvious ill effects. In fact it has done so for over 20,000 miles. It does not burn oil, and compression is still within spec for a new engine. Yes, it has been over maintained, but if I had a RE it would be too. But it wouldn't help much.


    The real shame here is that it doesn't have to be that way. It would be easy to design and build a motorcycle that looked exactly like the RE, but with modern materials and craftsmanship, that would be every bit as reliable as any Japanese bike. Look at the Honda XR650, Suzuki DR650 and S40, all 650cc single cylinder air cooled engines with great reliability. Such an engine could be designed to look almost exactly like the RE engine. You could have your vintage bike, but with modern reliability. You wouldn't even need the FI, none of the above mentioned Japanese bikes have it. I wish Suzuki would build a TU250 styled bike with the S40/Savage engine, and a centerstand. I would buy it. I would also buy a reliable Royal Enfield. But I'm afraid that as long as it is made in India, such a thing will never exist. I would love to see what the Japanese could do with the RE without changing it's appearance.
    #71
  12. horskjaer

    horskjaer n00b

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    Right - the quality (especially some years ago) were terrible...
    But definitely not now - its much, much better to day.
    In India, the RE are considered a quality product, way better than the strange Chinese bikes.
    The REs of to day, endures very rough going, on dirt roads, still holds excellent together - with minimal fettling.
    Very simple motorcycles, well suited to the environment!

    Alternatively - Mr. "metallurguist" - buy one of the old original Redditch built REs - they certainly have been made of high quality metal, and screwed well together - unburstable...
    #72
  13. Madbiker2012

    Madbiker2012 n00b

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    Why would anyone wanna ride something with so little power? Also how does a 500cc bike manage to produce such low power?
    #73
  14. wmax351

    wmax351 Been here awhile

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    6.5:1 compression ratio, low rpm.
    #74
  15. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    You would think that a motor with a compression ratio that low, and a power output that low would be very understressed and last forever. And If it were built right, it probably would. I have not had any experience with the new UCE, I did sit on one at the local dealer. An interesting thing is the salesman told me that if I wanted one, I should buy it soon, as he did not believe they would be selling them much longer. I don't know if that was just a sales pitch, or if they really are giving up on them. Three other local dealers sold RE briefly during the past 10 years of so, but they all gave up on them.

    One thing about Chinese bikes, is that while they are very poor quality, and tend to fall apart fairly quickly, they are also dirt cheap. Not so with RE. When you pay that much money for a motorcycle, you expect quality.


    I also own an '09 Genuine Stella, made by LML in India. Have had it for 3 years, and put close to 7,000 miles on it. It is a mixed bag. The only failure I have had so far is the starter switch, which failed shortly after buying it new. I just removed it and wired the kill switch to work as a starter switch. The electrical in general is pretty crappy, but there is not much of it, and it can be upgraded. The good part is the body/frame is solid as a rock, probably built better and stronger than the original Vespa. Just like the Enfield, the engine is where it comes up short. Very few Stella engines have made it past 15,000 miles, most average closer to 10,000 miles. But the Stella basically IS a P series Vespa, and Vespa parts fit it. When my engine fails, I'm going to build a new one, using a Malossi crank, Polini top end, and a few other high dollar parts. Performance wise I am keeping it stock to make it last longer. 50 mph is as fast as I need it to go. The Stella will last forever, because it can be rebuilt forever. It has a parts availability almost as good as Harley, and is well supported by the aftermarket.


    The big difference between the Stella and the Royal Enfield is price. I got my Stella brand new for $3000 OTD. My local dealer wants $8000 OTD for a Royal Enfield. Huge difference. There are tons of aftermarket parts for the Stella, because it is basically a Vespa. I am not aware of any aftermarket support for the RE. The parts I have replaced on them had to be ordered from RE. I remember them being very rough looking, not like the finely machined parts in a modern Japanese bike.

    I find it interesting that a Japanese 250cc bike, like the TU250, can run all day long at full throttle, with no ill effects, and cruise at 70+ mph, while the 500cc RE can't. And as the former owner of a couple of Japanese 500cc singles, they never had any reliability issues either. No one is going to question whether a Japanese 650 dual sport can maintain freeway speeds all day. The Suzuki DR650 and S40 are about as simple as big singles get, both still use carbs, and neither have any reliability issues (well, there is that cam chain tensioner problem with the S40, but it is easily fixed) I take that as pretty much proof that RE has a long way to go. If they cost half as much, I'd most likely buy one.


    If someone wants to provide me with one, and come and pick me up when it breaks down, I'll gladly take it out and see how long it will cruise at 70 mph.

    I'm not really putting down RE, I actually would love to have one. The ridiculous price is what I have a problem with. For that kind of money, you should get a LOT more reliability. That is Triumph Bonneville territory.
    #75
  16. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    A few years ago I sold a 1969 Triumph Daytona that I put 50,000 miles on over 5 years.
    That bike had some problems built in, but the really major problem was the vibration.
    At low rpm's and lower speeds it was fine, but that was not where it made its power.
    Things would crack (gas tank mounts, air filters, fenders, coil mounts, zener mount, parts would go missing, bulbs did not last long, mirror was useless.

    A bike that really vibrates will never be trouble free.
    I do not like the style (too old for me) but would love a 500 single, if it was smooth, or even semi smooth.
    I have a buel blast, 500cc single and it also vibrates like a paint shaker.
    Real nice sound and power delivery, but its got to be balanced if its going to last or be nice at speed.

    As dull as the new Bonneville is, its a much better bike then the new Bullet is, and a low mile used one would be cheaper.
    For a little bit more you can get a V7 classic, and have a REALLY cool bike...
    #76
  17. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    Extreme vibration can cause problems, but not like it used to. A motorcycle needs to vibrate some. That's part of the experience. Look at Harley. They vibrate like crazy, but still hold together. Nobody is likely to be afraid to take their new Harley on the freeway. You can take a brand new 883 Sportster (which costs very little more than the Enfield) on the freeway, open it up, and cruise all day long without worries. You might not be able to handle it, but the bike can. Harleys don't require any special maintenance, in fact they are one of the lowest maintenance bikes there is, with their hydraulic valves, spin on oil filter, and belt drive. And just like a used Bonneville, you can get a nice used Sportster for way less than a new Royal Enfield. The Enfield does have looks, I won't argue with that. But to me the looks alone are not worth $8000.
    #77
  18. wmax351

    wmax351 Been here awhile

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    Coming from the iron barrel, 4 speed enfield,(1999) it was pretty solid. Its an old bike. But they will run well. It was smooth too. My triumph had annoying vibration. The enfield doesn't. Even at higher speeds (55-65). Its a well balanced single, that turns nice and slow.

    Honestly, I never had any troubles with it. Just not enough power or brakes for bay area freeways.

    I'm not sure about the newer ones. But you have to keep in mind you are buying a real classic bike, not a "Modern Classic." It may be made now, but its 50 years old.
    #78
  19. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    The newer ones have rubber mounted motors.
    The older ones I had vibrated like crazy and would crack things and have things fall off.
    I still liked them better as they were a lot lighter and made for normal size people.

    The newer ones vibrate at idle, and its not bothersome, and at full speed, and that is bothersome.
    At full throttle and higher rpm's they turn into what feels like the old solid mount bikes.



    #79
  20. NortwestRider

    NortwestRider TRIPOD ADVENTURER !!

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    I'm thinking about getting one next summer..


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #80