Talk me out of a Royal Enfield

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by wannabe1, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. wannabe1

    wannabe1 Been here awhile

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    You know I always wanted a vintage or vintage looking bike. I have had all kinds of modern bikes through the years. I have always done my own basic maintenance. I was out kicking tires at one of my local dealers last week and noticed they had 2 leftover or maybe demo Royal Enfields both with low miles. One was an 07, the other an 04, both were priced less than $3K. I have researched these bikes a little and know they are vibey, low speed, non highway short distance bikes that require a good bit of maintenace to run properly. These are the cast iron barreled carburated bikes. I have read about the sprag clutch issues and know the e-start will not work for very long if used often so I would accept that it is a kick start only bike with the well documented starting procedure. What I don't want is a catastrophic failure of some kind and repair work that requires a dealer or more mechanical skills than I have.

    I have considered Honda CB350s and some other Japanese vintage bikes but they just don't have that classic Brit bike look like the RE bullets have.
    Yes I know I would be much better off with a modern reto like a triumph bonneville, but then the cost factor goes up.

    What does the asylum say?
    #1
  2. Nadgett

    Nadgett Been here awhile

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    I wouldn't mind having one to potter about on but I wouldn't have one as my only bike.

    They do look nice.
    #2
  3. England-Kev

    England-Kev Long timer

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    Buy one, no question.
    Great bike, great fun.

    An American friend came over to visit last year, and we lent him an Enfield 350 of 90's vintage. we then loaded it up with full camping kit and toured Wales for a week, it handled all we threw at it.:clap:clap:clap

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. Nadgett

    Nadgett Been here awhile

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    Those pictures are amazing!
    #4
  5. caponerd

    caponerd Kickstart Enthusiast

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    Look around for a good UK made Royal Enfield like an Interceptor, or one of the US Market variants badged as Indians.


    One of mine in its most recent incarnation.
    [​IMG]


    An original. They're out there, and often, not overly expensive.
    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. bmwhacker

    bmwhacker Still on 3 wheels

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    :lurkI've also been fascinated by the Enfield Singles. I'm always watching for a decent buy on one.
    Camped next to a couple last year in NE. ...the gal was riding an unladen 500 Bullet and they were touring the mid west.
    #6
  7. jeep44

    jeep44 junk collector

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    I have an '07 RE Bullet-I've owned it since new. I was very disappointed with the performance of this bike until I replaced that Indian Mikuni that came on the bike with the 930 Amal Concentric kit that the US supplier sells.The Mikuni was constantly plugging up, and it wouldn't run unless it was on full choke all the time. The bike is transformed now-better acceleration, better running,better idling. Don't expect this machine to be a freeway bike-it's happiest around 45-50 mph. Anything above that is asking for trouble.
    I've had no other trouble with the bike. With the old carb on it, I got lots of kickback on the sprag clutch, especially when shutting it off. Replacing the carb, and perhaps more importantly, a careful resetting of the timing (not an easy thing to do) resulted in a bike that starts instantly with the button, or with the kickstart. I had intended to replace the points ignition with an electronic one (and the hotter Bosch coil), but it's running so well those parts are on the shelf for now. The parts supply for these bikes is excellent, and the US supplier has put together all sorts of useful and practical kits for them. There is a whole array of upgrade and performance parts for these,too.

    Edit: I forgot-these bikes are hard on clutch cables. The forum is full of stories about them breaking, and I had the handlebar end pull off on mine once,too. Fortunately, I was carrying a spare, and changed it out by the side of the road. So, always carry a spare, preferably taped to the one in use, and know how to change it with the tools that you should be carrying in the spacious toolbox (the little factory-supplied toolkit is not sufficient-figure out the wrenches you'll need, and pack them in the kit before you break a cable out in BFE)
    I also upgraded the small factory headlight to a bigger replacement one, sold as a kit,of course. Better light, and better looking,too. Oh, and I added a side stand-I like to set it on the side stand when I get off, and then put it on the center stand.

    last edit: get used to the looks on people's faces when they ask what year your bike is. They are expecting to hear "1955"-not "2007"
    #7
  8. jeep44

    jeep44 junk collector

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    Here's my Enfield, when it still had the Mikuni, and the big, heavy air box on it.

    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. usgser

    usgser Long timer

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    Go for it. Clean used iron barrel 500's are cheap to buy. Learn to live with their minor quirks(nothing serious) they're fun reliable machines and easy to maintain. Lotsa fun for the price. Not a rocket sled by anyones idea but good all around standard motorcycles.
    #9
  10. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Transient

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    "Yes I know I would be much better off with a modern reto like a triumph bonneville, but then the cost factor goes up."

    Have you considered a Kaw W650? Think of it as a Triumph Lite. Everything you wanted in a Triumph without the headaches.

    I've owned vintage Triumphs, love to look at them, hate the electrical problems, oil leaks, being stranded, etc.
    #10
  11. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    I think a TU250 would be faster, lighter, and need nothing for 30,000 miles.
    Price used is about the same ($3000.00 or less).
    #11
  12. bmwhacker

    bmwhacker Still on 3 wheels

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    nice look'in scoot jeep!:clap
    #12
  13. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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    If you understand exactly what you're buying and what it takes to ride it go for it. I always say "if it has two wheels and isn't fun you're doing it wrong."
    #13
  14. Farmwalker

    Farmwalker Been here awhile

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    Have you thought about one of these?
    [​IMG]
    Cleveland Cycle Works Misfit

    I'm not sure if its exactly the style you want, but a brand new one lists for $3,200. It has a 250cc Honda copy engine. Supposed to be a pretty good bike.
    #14
  15. JonnyCash

    JonnyCash turd polisher

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    I agree. I've always thought those TU250s were neat. A friend of mine bought a brand new UCE Enfield, about a year ago. He is mostly happy with it, but he's had quite a few warranty issues, which isn't so bad while the warranty is still in effect, but it's going to suck when it expires. It really is a very lovable bike, but the quality is pretty shaky. Numerous broken fasteners on his bike points to really shitty metallurgy. I rode it for about 10 miles recently, and it has really great torque at low speed, but the fun is all over by about 55 mph. It would be a fun bike to commute around town though. To buy one brand new is over 8K, which seems pretty steep to me.
    #15
  16. pjm204

    pjm204 Long timer

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    I'd recommend against an RE if you ride A LOT. If it is an occasional rider, then go for it. My roommate had a 2009 and puts fairly substantial mileage on his bikes. The RE just didn't hold up like a TU250 would. The performance is also very underwhelming for a 500.
    #16
  17. Old Mule

    Old Mule Been here awhile

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    My buddy Johnboy was riding his Enfield down in Arkansas years ago, it was one of the earlier imports and less reliable that today's. A muffler bracket broke and a nice local girl escorted him to a welding shop. While they were waiting for the job to be finished she said, "There's a motel right across the road there".
    They ended up happily married, still ride the old Enfield.
    So be careful making this decision.
    #17
  18. MagyarMan

    MagyarMan Been here awhile

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    Do yourself a huge favor and get a Suzuki TU250 . It has the vintage look (people always ask what year it is or what a great restoration job I did). It is faster than a RE,handles better,gets super gas mileage,and is bullet proof . There is a ton of folks from all around the world on the TU250RIDERS web site that may convince you.
    #18
  19. jeep44

    jeep44 junk collector

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    That looks vintage to you?
    #19
  20. nick949eldo

    nick949eldo Long timer

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    You're missing the point!

    Nick
    #20