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.
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.
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.
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.
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…