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Enfield 500 BULLET Classic Motorbike Review

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MCN overall verdict rating is 3

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...

Engine

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

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.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 3

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.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 1
Owners' rating rating is 2

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.

Royal Enfield Electra EFI (2008-current)

Detail Value
New price £4,000
Dealer used prices
£3,380 (2011) - £4,600 (2014)
Private used prices
£3,040 (2011) - £4,140 (2014)
  View full used price info
Engine size 500 cc
Power 27.5 bhp
Top speed 82 mph
Insurance group 6 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 3 rating is 3
Engine rating is 2 rating is 3.5
Ride & Handling rating is 2 rating is 3
Equipment rating is 1 rating is 2
Quality & Reliability rating is 2 rating is 2.5
Value rating is 4 rating is 2.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 2.5

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

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 2.5

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

Insurance group: 6 of 17

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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.

Specifications

Top speed 82 mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 27.5 bhp
Max torque 30.5 ft-lb
Weight 160 kg
Seat height 820 mm
Fuel capacity 15.75 litres
Average fuel consumption 87 mpg
Tank range miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 6 of 17
Engine size 500 cc
Engine specification 499cc four-stroke, single cylinder ovh. 84mm bore x 90mm stroke. Fuel injected, five-speed gearbox, chain drive, electric start.
Frame Tubular steel. Telescopic front forks. Twin rear shocks.
Front suspension adjustment none
Rear suspension adjustment none
Front brakes Single 280mm disc.
Rear brake 6inch rear drum
Front tyre size 3.25" x 19"
Rear tyre size 3.5" x 19"

See all Enfield 500 BULLET motorcycles for sale

Enfield
500 BULLET

3600 miles

£1,750

Enfield
500 BULLET

1400 miles

£3,399

Enfield
500 BULLET

12204 miles

£1,850

Enfield
500 BULLET

9750 miles

£1,995

Enfield
500 BULLET

825 miles

£3,495

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 3(3 reviews)

  • Faith restored

    geezerh

    Average rating rating is 3

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

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

    24 October 2011

  • Fury (ious)

    geezerh

    Average rating rating is 2.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    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 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?

    08 August 2011

  • Going back

    geezerh

    Average rating rating is 3

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    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!

    29 July 2011

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burningbush

User's Badge

burningbushsays

A sheer joy!

My Bullet EFI may be lacking half a century of progress but thats why I bought it. The bike is utterly charming and I simply love it. It certainly attracts the old codgers..."I used to have one of them...." I totally understand that some people may turn up their nose, especially if they are race replica lovers, but everyone has their dream bike I guess and I've got mine. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to relive their youth, or in my case my dad's youth! *****

16 July 2009 20:16

Karlasaki

User's Badge

Karlasakisays

Electra EFI

Is it just me that can see myself bend-swinging on a Bullet??? I own a sportsbike, and love it to bits, but the Enfield has such a nostalgic charm that I could really see myself owning one. Reliable, cheap, umpteen miles to the gallon and rear tyres will get to see the London Olympics. And low insurance premiums. And exclusivity... etc etc.... How many Royal Enfield Bullets do you see at your local bike meets? And if I traded in my current bike, I'd have at least £2,000 worth of spare change.... hmmmmm.... No! No! I musn't. Ahem....

26 May 2009 15:16

makegoodtime

makegoodtimesays

royal enfield electra efi

4 years ago I rode from Northamptonshire to the Algarve and back on an indian built enfield 350 T with the old engine -  via the channel tunnel so 3000+ miles - these were built to chug on forever and, if you choose your roads right, they are brilliant for a long ride, so long as you don't expect to do too many overtakes!!

23 May 2009 20:27

makegoodtime

makegoodtimesays

royal enfield electra efi

4 years ago I rode from Northamptonshire to the Algarve and back on an indian built enfield 350 T with the old engine -  via the channel tunnel so 3000+ miles - these were built to chug on forever and, if you choose your roads right, they are brilliant for a long ride, so long as you don't expect to do too many overtakes!!

23 May 2009 20:26

petervoros

User's Badge

petervorossays

No longer such a cheap option

This bike and it's newer brother due in 2009 would have been on my wishlist for a summer fun bike "what's the rush" and all that.  But I'm afraid that they are fast pricing themselves up with the big boys.  The new Bullet Classic is expected to be £4500, the same as the new Divi XJ6 and the current 650 Bandit .  I know which ones most people who are not in the niche market will go for just from a practical and reliability point of view.  I think Royal Enfield need to up their game a bit more and not rely entirely on rose tinted specs before moving into those price brackets especially with the current financial situation forcing some boys to cut down on their toys.

08 November 2008 18:00

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