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Enfield WOODSMAN Classic Motorbike Review

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Royal Enfield Woodsman - rolling antique
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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

Retro trailie style meets roiling museum exhibit Enfield – and it works a treat. For us the ergonomic mix of pegs and bars, fruity pipe and overall style hit the mark more than any other Electra. You may concur, or you may prefer any one of the many Clubman, Army, Sportsman, Trials etc variants Enfield offers these days. They’re still quirky oddballs of course, with limited performance. But then, that’s the whole point: they’re a refreshing change, with tempting prices/residuals and now a whole lot more ‘cool’ than anyone would’ve guessed just a few years ago…


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 0

The antiquated push-road single struggles into life off the button, but then willingly thunders on to a refreshingly legal yet invigorating 70mph. The gearbox manages to be barely run-in sticky and old school sloppy all at once. And there’s no getting away from the fact that all Enfields, irrespective of being modernised in recent years with electric start, five-speed gearbox, disc front brake and modern switchgear, remain quirky, rolling antiques.  But accept all that, recalibrate your expectations, target a destination 30 rather than 300 miles away and you may find yourself revelling in all that metal, alloy, 65mph ‘rhummm-baaaa-ness’ and living out some kind of Heartbeat fantasy.  

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 0

There’s nothing special here. Basic, old fashioned teles and twin shocks and a meagre single front disc don’t add up to something to get excited about but the handling on those skinny tyres is more than OK and much lighter than its metal-ness suggests. The proof of the pudding is that, for what it is, the Woodsman all works together very nicely indeed.


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 0

The Royal Enfield Woodsman is a UK model adapted from the stock 500cc, all-alloy, five speed, electric-start Electra-X by importers Watsonian-Squire. Accordingly, it has a distinctive, ‘Scrambler-style’ high level exhaust; wide, braced trials style handlebars; a solo seat (with rack behind) and a fairly solid-looking bash plate. There are also ‘Clubman’ style semi-rearsets, plus, due to the new exhaust route, a new left-hand side-panel which doubles as a heat shield. It’s what you expect, and nothing more. Electronics? Sophistication? Dunno what you’re talking about…

Royal Enfield Woodsman (2008-current)

Detail Value
New price £5,100
Engine size 499 cc
Power 27.5 bhp
Top speed 70 mph
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 0
Engine rating is 3 rating is 0
Ride & Handling rating is 3 rating is 0
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 0
Quality & Reliability rating is 3 rating is 0
Value rating is 3 rating is 0

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 0

Better than you might expect. Although, thanks to their Indian origins, Enfields definitely at the ‘rugged’ end of the spectrum, UK influence and modification means paint and chrome is decent and durable and reliability issues are few.


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 0

Depends how you look at it. Nigh-on £4000 for an old-fashioned 500 that barely busts 65mph whereas you can near-as-damnit get a Suzuki SV650 for that money which will run rings round it, is almost comical. On the other hand, the Enfield proposition is unique, residuals are fairly good and the Woodsman is one of Enfield’s best. Find a Royal Enfield 500 for sale.


Insurance group: n/a

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Model History

2008: model introduced

Other Versions


Top speed 70 mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 27.5 bhp
Max torque ft-lb
Weight 167 kg
Seat height 820 mm
Fuel capacity 14.5 litres
Average fuel consumption 70 mpg
Tank range 200 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group of 17
Engine size 499 cc
Engine specification Air-cooled ohv single, 5 gears
Frame Steel tube cradle
Front suspension adjustment Telescopic forks, no adjust
Rear suspension adjustment Twin shocks, preload adjust
Front brakes 280mm disc
Rear brake Six-inch drum
Front tyre size 90/90 x 18
Rear tyre size 110/90 x 18

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 0(0 reviews)

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