ENFIELD 500 BULLET ELECTRA EFI (2008-on) Review

Published: 23 September 2008

"It features an all new unit construction engine with fuel-injection"

ENFIELD 500 BULLET ELECTRA EFI (2008-on)

"It features an all new unit construction engine with fuel-injection"

  • At a glance
  • 500cc  -  27.5 bhp
  • 87 mpg  -  87 miles range
  • Medium seat height (820mm)
  • Suitable for A2 licence
  • £4,000

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

This new version of the Enfield Electra may look the same, and to be fair in alot of ways that count it is, but in fact it features an all new unit construction engine with fuel-injection, dragging it kicking and screaming into this century to meet Euro 3 emission laws. This is a motorcycle with alot of charisma- a throwback from a bygone era. It's endearingly different to modern bikes, which can be a positive thing if you're looking for something different. Warm to it's character and you'll have a massive grin on your face as you thud gently around the back lanes. But you can't help getting the feeling that motorcycles have advanced for a reason, and maybe some things should stay in the past...

Ride Quality & Brakes 2 out of 5

The brakes aren't up to much, with a single disc on the front and a drum brake (how quaint) on the back, so it's a good thing the engine's only packing 27.5bhp. It's relatively comfy, until you get up to speed and the vibes start to kick in. It's definitely not a bike for long journeys or sustained top speed. Compared to the competition, like the Kawasaki W650 or the Triumph Bonneville, handling and suspension lack quality.

Engine 2 out of 5

Royal Enfield have tried hard to meet new Euro 3 emission laws without ruining the feel of their classic 500cc single, and it's worked. The all-new unit-construction lump is fuel-injected yet still feels like an Enfield, mostly because it still has the 84mm bore, 90mm stroke and heavy crank of the old Electra. It may be made in India but it's a traditional British push-rod single. Rubber strips between fins are there to reduce engine noise, but sat on top of you're still treated to a nice classic sound that should endear the bike to old-fashioned purists. It's still a lazy little engine, but it accelerates slightly quicker than the old model and has a touch more top end too.

Build Quality & Reliability 2 out of 5

Reliability with Enfield's is patchy at best, with poor electrics. They’re very easy to work on though and there's nothing that can’t be put right with a little patience and a Haynes manual. Finish is poor and goes off quickly if not cared for. These bikes are built in India so if you're used to Japanese standards of build quality, you could be in for a shock.

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

Enfield claim 87mph for the Electra EFI, so with today's fuel prices it could make alot fo sense as a cheap commuter. These bikes are so simple servicing can be done at home- in fact it's probably a big part of the fun for alot of owners. The cost for a new one is very low and used bikes can be picked up at rock bottom prices. Find a Royal Enfield Bullet 500 for sale.

Insurance group: 6 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 1 out of 5

One look at the pictures should tell you that there's no on-board computer or digital tyre-pressure sensors here! The Enfiled aims to recreate biking from a simpler time. 2 wheels and an engine are about all you get for your money, but if you're here reading this and considering one of these bikes, that probably forms a big part of the appeal.

Owners' Reviews

4 owners have reviewed their ENFIELD 500 BULLET ELECTRA EFI (2008-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 3.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3.5 out of 5
Engine 3.8 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.3 out of 5
Equipment 2.5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Fun and Practical

08 October 2014 by Anonymous

I have owned my Electra EFI for a year now and in that time have added 10,000 miles to the 2,000 miles it came with at 3 years old. I use it to commute 75 miles round trip twice a week all year round and for the 400 mile round trip to my head... Read more office every couple of weeks. On A roads, dual carriageway and city -it is perfectly up to the job. Not broken down, nothing fallen off, just routine servicing every 3750 miles (which is the same as a Suzuki)which is dead easy, even for a numpty like me. The valves are self-adjusting, so there is no expensive valve clearance check either. 78 mpg gives a tank range of well over 200 miles. Back tyre was chnaged at 9,000 miles, front looks like it won't need to be changed at least until next time I do the back one. It cruises confortably at 60-65, with enough power left for a quick spurt up to 70 and a bit when you need to pull out to overtake. That is all the speed you can actually use on the A1! It is fast enough to have fun on country lanes and fast enought to get past the lines of traffic following trucks on single carriageway A roads. You are aware of the engine working, but the vibration is not intrusive. Mine has trials bars, a small screen and a single seat (not the sprung type) and is comfortable enough for a 6 hour journey. It puts a smile on my face. I look forward to riding it and (occasionally) sprucing it up with a quick wash. I often gets thumbs up from other road users. Strangers (and police officers) come over to chat. Don't dismiss the Enfield as a perfectly practical, usable and fun bike to ride. I keep looking at what I might replace it with when the time comes - but most other bikes suffer from one or more of being designed by the same people who design trainers and robot toys, stupid fuel consumption, stupidly small fuel tanks, origami riding positions, ridiculous service costs or they require purpose made luggage that costs more than my bike did. So I think it will probably be another Enfield - or I'll just rebuild this one.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Faith restored

24 October 2011 by geezerh

I have put just over 1k miles on the bike now, all niggles sorted, fitted heated grips for the winter. Read more

Overall Rating 3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
3 out of 5

Fury (ious)

08 August 2011 by geezerh

Been riding this machine for a couple of weeks now. Found sideways play on the rear wheel after 150 miles had to have the swing arm replaced, then after first service (350 miles) battery acid leaked all over the exhaust after being over filled! it... Read more also peppered my jeans leg! got the exhaust replaced under warranty but decided to ditch the battery for a dry cell type at my cost, now at 550 miles oil filter cover is leaking oil, awaiting this to be sorted. Well that's 3 things in quick succession. Hoping that's it?

Overall Rating 3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 2 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
4 out of 5

Going back

29 July 2011 by geezerh

Just bought a Fury, not listed as a seperate model as yet. Bought it for the looks & old world charm I have a 1200RT for serious work, best at 50-60 along winding A roads, still smiling! Read more

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 2 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
Read all 4 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2008
Year discontinued -
New price £4,000
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 6 of 17
Annual road tax £58
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 27.5 bhp
Max torque 30.5 ft-lb
Top speed 82 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 87 mpg
Tank range 87 miles
Specification
Engine size 500cc
Engine type 499cc four-stroke, single cylinder ovh. 84mm bore x 90mm stroke. Fuel injected, five-speed gearbox, chain drive, electric start.
Frame type Tubular steel. Telescopic front forks. Twin rear shocks.
Fuel capacity 15.75 litres
Seat height 820mm
Bike weight 160kg
Front suspension none
Rear suspension none
Front brake Single 280mm disc.
Rear brake 6inch rear drum
Front tyre size 3.25" x 19"
Rear tyre size 3.5" x 19"

History & Versions

Model history

1949: The Bullet goes into production at the British Royal Enfield company.
2002: First electric start Bullet introduced.
2004: Bullet Electra X introduced along with conventional  left foot gear shift/right foot brake set-up.
2008: Electra EFI model released with fuel-injected and all-new unit construction engine.

Other versions

Bullet Trials: Alloy mudguards, wide bars, a solo seat, different sub-frame, alloy bash plate, enduro-style tyres and upswept exhaust.
Bullet Electra Sportsman: Rear sets, clip-ons add up to a saucy café racer style.
Bullet Classic: Has a chrome-sided tank and matching chrome mudguards. There’s a Classic Solo, too, with a single seat and luggage rack.

Photo Gallery

  • ENFIELD 500 BULLET ELECTRA EFI (2008-on)
  • ENFIELD 500 BULLET ELECTRA EFI (2008-on)
  • ENFIELD 500 BULLET ELECTRA EFI (2008-on)
  • ENFIELD 500 BULLET ELECTRA EFI (2008-on)
  • ENFIELD 500 BULLET ELECTRA EFI (2008-on)
  • ENFIELD 500 BULLET ELECTRA EFI (2008-on)
  • ENFIELD 500 BULLET ELECTRA EFI (2008-on)
  • ENFIELD 500 BULLET ELECTRA EFI (2008-on)
  • ENFIELD 500 BULLET ELECTRA EFI (2008-on)
  • ENFIELD 500 BULLET ELECTRA EFI (2008-on)
  • ENFIELD 500 BULLET ELECTRA EFI (2008-on)
  • ENFIELD 500 BULLET ELECTRA EFI (2008-on)
  • ENFIELD 500 BULLET ELECTRA EFI (2008-on)
  • ENFIELD 500 BULLET ELECTRA EFI (2008-on)
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