Royal Enfield - Since I don't see a recent thread...

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Supernaut1985, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. Supernaut1985

    Supernaut1985 n00b

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    After much searching around this appears to be a form that doesn't have much tolerance for many threads on the same issue.:evil Looking about I don't see any discussing the recent Royal Enfield models.

    I am a new user from Edmonton, AB, Canada interested in the Enfield... one of the classic military style ones to be specific.

    Now I understand in the recent past they were a really low quality horrid machine. I've seen previous advice in years past that your better off with a used Japanese motorcycle for $2500 than a new enfield. Or something to the tune of "The best "$2000 bike that $5000" can buy.

    However my understanding is they have now achieved pretty decent quality levels in the last few years. Also EFI and getting excellent fuel economy (85mpg imp?). They're supposed to be pretty durable to tackle the tough roads and conditions that India can throw at them.

    Any thoughts on this as an adventure bike, or doing some long haul, running down the odd fire trail...etc? I know they only make 27hp or so and have a top speed of 130km/h, but there has been round the world expeditions and such on bikes with similar abilities. I also know they're not designed to be an off road bike per say, but hell, every bike was deemed off road able back in the day (you just have to go slow enough I guess).

    To my knowledge there is a 535cc bore kit one could apply if they mange to burn out that 500, for a little extra boost.

    Are there any users here using one of these in what I'll call the "adventure spirit"?

    I'm also wondering how much the aerodynamics of hard panniers might effect the highway ability of the bike.

    :beer
    #1
  2. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    all made in India... including the bearings. might be better... mebby yes... mebby no.


    changing the blown crank bearing somewhere in northern India...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    the mechanic that accompanied us had the bearing, why??? because it wasnt the first one that need to be replaced 1000 miles from home. the good news is that it was done in a couple hours in a parking lot


    PS... my first bike was an Enfield... 1968. don';t know what year the bike was... it had a bad generator & I had to charge up to ride a couple hours & then scamper home
    #2
  3. Sierra Thumper

    Sierra Thumper Been here awhile

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    I'm just curious....why would you want an Enfield? The nostalgia factor? Fond childhood memories? Masochistic?
    #3
  4. Supernaut1985

    Supernaut1985 n00b

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    I like the classic style of them. I like that its something unique that you don't see around too often. I like that excellent fuel economy they supposedly get. It irritates me that most motorcycles suck (almost) as much fuel as small cars that weigh nearly 3000lbs. People sometimes say to me "I bet you save a lot of gas riding your bike around." And I have to tell them... "Not that much." The fuel economy of a small car isn't going to close my bank account but it just feel like bikes should do better than that. I am well aware this is finally starting to change with EFI becoming more widespread among bikes.

    Back to the Enfield, I guess there is a nostalgia factor but I'm not old enough to remember it, nor am I Indian or even visited there.

    It just seems like a machine of style and purpose, from a time when all machines had to have style, where as the bulk of adventure bikes are all purpose and no style. Unless "Transformers" is a style. Not that I would object to a new Weestrom parked in my driveway. :wink: I wish someone would make a fully functional adventure bike with old school good looks. The Triumph Scrambler I think is a strong step in this direction.

    Whatever bike I end up getting I know its going to be on pavement 90% of the time anyway.

    I'll quit now before this becomes too much more fragmented.
    #4
  5. Goofy1

    Goofy1 Been here awhile

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    #5
  6. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    While quality has improved some, they are very expensive for what you get, and they do not like to be ridden fast as they still vibrate a lot.
    While something like a TU250 does not make as much power, it can be ridden at full throttle and top speed for months without any complaint or oil use, its happy to do it, runs cool, and is smooth at all speeds.

    The Enfield is not my style, but I would like a nice 500 single vintage style street bike.
    #6
  7. Noisymilk

    Noisymilk Run What Ya Brung

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    I ride one as my daily rider. Its old (not in age, but in design)....mind you mine is an 03 which is the oldest engine design. Commonly referred to as the Iron Barrel. There was an intermediate design that had a modified head and alloy jug and improved crank (roughly 06-09 I believe) called the AVL or Lean Burn. Then theres the newest ones (09 and on I believe) called the UCE or unit construction. FI, modern crank, complete bottom up new engine, cases, etc.

    They make a model called the B5 which is the new engine hung in the old frame so lots of the old bolt on accessories still work.

    I like it. Yeah, you gotta turn a wrench on mine. The new ones are closer to a "all you gotta do is change the oil and ride" bike, but still require some love. A guy named Tom Lyons does a hop up kit called the Fireball which is Iron Barrel only. Google it. Him and his partner Chumma have several bikes out there consistently capable of 80 mph all day, 70 mpg, and no over heating. They are working on similar improvements for the UCE (the current model).

    Obviously, I'm a fan of this bike. But I like old weird things. I'm reworking mine into a modest dual sport machine, with the intentions of riding to Anchorage, and possibly Tierra del Fuego.....just to say I did it on an Enfield. :)

    Feel free to read my build thread on the enfield site:
    http://www.enfieldmotorcycles.com/forum/index.php/topic,12951.0.html

    Yeah, it's not a modern bike. Lots of folks around here won't "get it" as far as adv riding goes. But I'm a fan of less is more, and weird and unique journeys and such. Like I said, it's my daily driver and I love it.

    Go ride one, see what you think....
    #7
  8. Noisymilk

    Noisymilk Run What Ya Brung

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    Yeah, known weakness. Ace Engineering (Tom Lyons I referenced above) and others sell a roller bearing replacement and better case bearings that eliminate that issue. And Tom is also working on an improved floating bush (as a budget option) for that for those who don't want to make fire breathing ton up Enfields. :evil
    #8
  9. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    hey milk... look me up when you come to Anchorage.

    what the heck I like wierd things too... heres my latest:

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=845635&page=3

    and Supernaut... you want one go for it. they are kool & fun to ride. but remember they are what they are and they require more work. If I had the older design I would change the crank bearing pretty soon.... and go roller instead of bushing or plain. I used to specialize in BSA... the unit twins had crank bearing issues too, so going roller is the cure.

    also its a right side shifter & the pattern is backwards (unless the export model is different than the home version). the newer unit model is more like a standard bike
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  10. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    Nothing wrong with that.
    I used to ride a 1969 Daytona, 5 years of dual sporting and road trips, 45,000 miles in 5 years, and I suspect a modern Enfield is about the same, use it much and it takes looking after, problems in design, but different ones, very simple, easy to work on, fun to ride.
    I did a LOT of upgrading, 7 plate clutch (still did not work well), rubber mounted coils, rubber mounted headlight, air filters would crack or go missing every so often, as would the rocker box caps, oil leaked over time, gas tank mounts cracked, kick start pawl did not last long, carbs wore out fast, no O ring chain would fit, valves and seats wore out, transmission tended to wear out various parts over (a short) time.

    I rode the bike hard and the motor did not hold up well.

    I threw in the towel when some aftermarket tappet adjusters came apart, ruined the oil pump and trashed the big end bearings. 1st time I ever had a bike towed home in 40 years.

    Does this sound like an Enfield?



    #10
  11. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    a TR100 was a pretty refined piece of work compared to BSA and Enfield of the day which were in many respects, pretty much "blunt objects" by comparison. the "new" pre unit Enfields are the 3rd world translation of that
    #11
  12. Royal Tiger

    Royal Tiger Sd Kfz 182

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    They are the Yugo's of the motorcycle world. Two or three years ago they had Royal Enfield's at the International Motorcycle Show in New York City. The badges didn't even line up on both sides of the tank. This is what worries me with KTM. India is far from being known as a place with high quality control standards. They cost as much or more then far, far better motorcycles. If you don't mind the long list of negatives and have a desire to own one "just because", then go for it. I wish you luck. All that matters is that you are happy with it.
    #12
  13. Noisymilk

    Noisymilk Run What Ya Brung

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    Not entirely like the Enfield. Yes, some parts of antique design do wear. However, I've sorted my oil leaking problems. I'm still on the original starter pawl. And still on my stock carb. about 15k miles at this point. Stock bottom end. Stock and original oil pumps. Stock original chain (although actually thats on the list of things to replace)

    But, I am also a relatively tame rider. Don't have much use for speeds over 70, have a back roads temperament.

    I did modify the gear box to run on gear oil instead of that grease sludge it came with stock. Pretty easy to just replace the bearings with sealed. Took about 2 hours.

    I am working towards using a CVK32 I got for a song from a guy that took it off his klr250. I just put on the Ace 535 kit (piston and alloy barrel), but on stock bottom end so I gotta be careful until I can get that part rectified. Truthfully, it appears the greatest weakness of the old bikes was in the cases. Crank bearing and case bearings. Replace those and put it together right, and it's a very strong foundation to build upon. The Fireball kit approaches 40 hp rear wheel.

    But I don't need that. Keep in mind, you're talking to the guy who rode a snorting raging raw unadultered 8 horse power from Mesa to Banff. :D I like a different pace.

    And yeah, there are more reliable or more powerful bikes for less. But none with the unique looks and interesting history. And such a simple machine, I can get it running again with gaff tape and a hammer.

    By the way, I'm a big fan of all stuff you have tried with your TU. Nearly bought one myself. And am also intending on owning a TW200 in the end, ala Macadam Drifter (RIP).

    Be safe all.
    #13
  14. Noisymilk

    Noisymilk Run What Ya Brung

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    Export models have been left shift for years. It is kind of a bodge, and most people switch it back to right shift. :D

    Would love to look you up in Anchorage. I am hoping to go in 2014 at this point. Have my 5th child on the way this summer....so gotta stay home for that.

    By the way, are you the guy who wrote the RR about a Royal Piece of .....? That was a funny report, and sadly indicative of what lots of people experience with Enfields.

    Be safe.
    #14
  15. Rango

    Rango Phaneropter

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    Oh dear, here they go again. Is there any other mark out there that will sprout so much nonsense as Royal Enfield? I dare you. It must definitely be a compliment. A bike must really be sturdy and competent to survive that much slur and abuse.:rofl

    All bikes before 60 are per definition adventure bikes. What were the roads? Mud, dirt, sand, gravel, cobblestones... Highways? Rare and covered in concrete slabs, not fun riding either. Of those motorcycles Enfield was by far the best. The Bullet was the leading bike in the six day enduro trials, making mince meat of the competition, being Ariel, Matchless, AJS. Others were nowhere, still aren't. Today's Bullet is way better prepared for dirt, forest tracks and narrow winding roads: ECU, hydraulic valve lifters, disc brake, EFI and some other stuff required by emission regulation. That's the one you're talking about, yes?

    That one will take you on long hauls, in demanding conditions like cold and precipitation, with all your gear and equipment, through the wild places. It is mapped up to 16,000 feet. No rejetting required going up and down the mountain; no need to switch front sprockets, it has all the torque you need. Official fuel consumption is 78.2mpg(us), which is correct when used normally. Left hand shift, right hand brake: here, there and everywhere: it's the law...:deal


    If you come from a contemporary bike you'll must make room for adapting. It took me at least a year. Maintenance is way more relaxed: one still does what's needed when's needed but it doesn't have to be so strict. I've heard say it is the kalashnikov among motorcycles: undestructable, will work anytime anywhere anyhow. Some people have a problem with that.

    Will hard panniers affect its highway behaviour? What highway? It was not designed for highway, just as a Honda Cub was not designed for a RTW trip. You can do it, and then you deal with it. Your biggest problem will be the hard panniers. You don't want a spill with hard panniers, do you?

    A Danish critic famous for his biting reviews was once asked for his recipe. He kept scorpions and he would put two of them on an orange and watch how they would stab the innocent fruit with venom again and again. Then he would dip his pen and start writing.
    Hereby I laid my orange on the table...
    :lol3
    #15
  16. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    sorry.... the bikes of the day for off road racing like hound & hare, and enduros were Matchless and AJS, (same bike, different name), BSA, FN and a few others.... not Enfield. on the other hand the Enfield was a good tourer

    http://www.mxbikes.com/vintage/bikes50.php

    " Is there any other mark out there that will sprout so much nonsense as Royal Enfield? ".... yep, I own a KLR :rofl

    yo milk... stay in touch. I might be going back to Oz in 14 for a few months. timing is everything.

    I don't think I wrote whatever "RR" you referenced.
    #16
  17. Rango

    Rango Phaneropter

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    Don't be sorry,:evil

    The Bullet won the international six day trial enduro in 1948, 1952 and 1953.

    It was the supremacy in severe contests like these that made India choose the Bullet as the vehicle par excellence for its domestic roads.
    For the sportive side look under Johnny Brittain, famous enduro rider of the period. Still a legend in the UK.


    For an excellent summary report on RE and comparison to AJS18/Matchless G80 and Ariel VH Hunter check out:

    http://www.motorcycleclassics.com/classic-british-motorcycles/royal-enfield-bullet-500-under-the-radar.aspx

    Nice pictures too. I particularly like the exhaust on the Bullet.


    Bottom line: Bullet is a worthy element in the field, as the KLR is, and if they must sit in the same corner, so be it.
    Let's ride.
    :freaky
    #17
  18. Noisymilk

    Noisymilk Run What Ya Brung

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    And there are an awful lot of amazing things you can do with the platform. My current favorite is this one from Sam Simons:
    [​IMG]

    It's actually what inspired me to try and turn mine into a dual sport, rather than ditching it for one of the venerable thumpers so many others drive (KLR, DR, DRZ, WR, etc). I at one point tried to sell the bike, but the gods stepped in and made the bike never sell, and my 8 year old daughter told me she liked it and didn't want it to go, and I decided it was mine for good.

    Now, mine will never be as nice as the above.....but improved shocks and engine internals, mefo tires, and a good speedo with trials bars on risers ought to do the trick. Mines gonna be more of a ratrod look, because I don't want it to get stolen when I'm traveling. Keeping the points ignition, gonna do improved stator and some good lights and stuff.

    Point being, with a handful of upgrades, I believe my bike will be as rock solid as any out there. I got mine for 1500 bucks in 09, and will have around 3500 total into it when I'm done. I like that. It still gets 70 or so mpg. I might put a big ol tank on it (they make ones that are 35 litre). It won't ever do Sibirsky Extreme at the pace Colebatch and company did it at, but it will do what I want to do.

    I consider it a compliment to put KLR's and my Enfield in the same category. :norton

    Be safe.
    #18
  19. Rango

    Rango Phaneropter

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    Well, ain't she sweet.

    Noisymilk, right up my alley.
    Mine's slowly turning rat. Adding whatever I feel will improve the experience. When it's functional it should be good looking too, I guess. After all, it's the ride.

    Have to find some solution against branches getting stuck between exhaust and brake rod. At one time I was eagerly looking out for that lovely bbq smell only to find a pine branch being toasted on the exhaust. :rofl

    As the OP stated in his first post kindred spirits in this particular field are seemingly rare. And I am still in the prepping and try out phase.
    #19
  20. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    right you are... Enfield was part of winning teams

    1948: TROPHY TEAM A. Jefferies, Capt. 498 Triumph.
    V.N. Brittain, 346 Royal Enfield.
    C.N. Rogers, 346 Royal Enfield.
    B.H. Viney, 498 AJS.
    J. Williams, 499 Norton.


    from FIM in 1952...
    https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=2a3e06ab8f42e1a5&id=2A3E06AB8F42E1A5!163


    and http://speedtracktales.wordpress.com/index-of-isdt-events/isdt-1952-austria/


    looks like Maico was the big winner. there is a Enfield 750 twin in the pix.... I thought that bike was much later... I lusted for an Interceptor in the 60s, but too much bucks.


    '53... same story... a mix of bikes


    [​IMG]

    Photo of the GB Trophy Team (L to R.) Jim Alves (Triumph, Hugh Viney – captain (AJS) Johnny Brittain (Royal Enfield), Jack Stocker (Royal Enfield) and Bob Manns (Matchless). With the exception of Brittain all are veteran Trophy teamsters. Standing is team manager Len Heath. ISDT 1953
    #20