ENFIELD TRIALS (2009 - on) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£120|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Royal Enfield Bullet Trials EFI is rubbish and brilliant at the same time. Rubbish because it’s slow, under-braked and ill-handling – but brilliant because it offers a unique, charming, easy-going ride you won’t get with any other bike less than 30 years old.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Modern bikes chase chassis rigidity – the Enfield’s steel tube design merely holds the components together and might as well be made of rope. Even riding slowly you can feel the chassis flex as the engine loads and unloads the rear wheel.
Saying that, taking smooth lines, make your inputs progressive and accelerating through bends helps maintain momentum. The knobbly tyres are soft, so leaning over gently doesn’t stress them too much – it’s possible to scrape the centrestand and rear brake pedal.
The ride is a little bouncy – exacerbated by the sprung saddle. It will go off-road – but only gentle green lanes and fields unless you want to bash it in to pieces. It’s a style thing.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Rating the Royal Enfield Trials’ engine is a subjective issue – base the score on performance, and it comes out low. It’s slow revving and is uncomfortable much past 65. But it has chunky single-cylinder torque right from tickover, and although it’s vibey they’re part of the character. As long as you don’t ride for hours flat-out, it’s part of the appeal.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
It's A 50 year-old design produced in India (converted to trial spec in the UK), so it’s fairly crude up close. It’s solid though – the motor is a piece of cake to home-service, everything is simple and accessible and it’s a tough old beast.
It remains to be seen how the fuel injection will holdup under long-term ownership – it’s the only thing you might ever need to trouble a dealer to sort out.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Just under £4500 buys you a Suzuki Gladius or a Kawsaki ER-6n – both more practical and better performing. But Enfield buyers are unique – it’s an ownership experience rather than a purchase you rationalise too much.
It’s also the sort of bike you could keep for life – you won’t get the same feeling with the Jap bikes. As long as you truly know what you’re getting, it’s a great authentic experience of classic motorcycling – except with better backup, reliability and a lower price than you might pay for a ‘real’ classic bike.
Centrestand, a rear luggage rack, a fuel light and an electric start are the only real luxuries. But they do mean it’s surprisingly utilitarian – it’ll happily commute across town every day, where the tight turning circle and narrow width is useful. But remember: real men learn to use the kickstart, even if the fuel injection makes it slightly easier.
|Engine type||Pushrod, 2v air-cooled single. Five gears, fuel injection|
|Frame type||Tubular steel cradle|
|Fuel capacity||14.5 litres|
|Front brake||310mm disc, twin-piston sliding caliper|
|Front tyre size||100/90x19|
|Rear tyre size||100/90x19|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||55 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£69|
|Annual service cost||£120|
6 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||28 bhp|
|Max torque||30.5 ft-lb|
|Top speed||75 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||150 miles|
Model history & versions
New for 2009.
Royal Enfield Bullet Classic: Same basic running gear, but with dual seats, road tyres and road-bike styling.
Royal Enfield Woodsman: New for 2010, the Woodsman sits between the Trials and the Classic. Off-road looks come from unique controls and a high-level exhaust, but it has road tyres. Could be a better bet than the Trials unless you want to hit some gentle green lanes.
Owners' reviews for the ENFIELD TRIALS (2009 - on)
1 owner has reviewed their ENFIELD TRIALS (2009 - 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£120|
Annual servicing cost: £120
It does exactly what is it supposed to do, chug around the lanes feeling, sounding & looking like it's from the 1950s - brilliant! It's very simplicity is its greatest strength. I have ridden for 40 years on everything from 250 dirt bikes, sports 750s to 1 litre tourers, I also own a Bonneville & the big Triumph Tiger but it is this little 500 single which I ride the most - it's just great.
Brakes are basic, single disc front & drum rear, but perfectly adequate, this bike is ridden at 20-50mph & the brakes are fine at this speed, never had any problems in wet or dry. However, the rear suspension is poor & I am looking to upgrade it or change to a sprung seat.
Sounds great from the moment you kick it over & it thumps into life, the engine sound turns heads everywhere it goes. Enough performance for pottering about the lanes, plenty of torque, even enough power for two up pottering taking the wife for a coffee! It also happily chugs along at 50-60 mph along A roads to get me home at the end of a day of green lanes, which is plenty fast enough. It vibrates a bit, of course it does, but it doesn't detract from the charm of the bike on a winter's day on Dartmoor or chugging along the seafront in the sunshine!
It's pretty solid & robust, I've ridden it over numerous green lanes here in rural Devon & it's coped perfectly well & without breaking. Some of the bolts & screws need tightening occasionally, but then so might any bike given the same use. It has never let me down in all weathers, on a very wide variety of terrain & over long & short rides. So, it deserves 4 out of 5 for being so robust & reliable given the mixed terrain & weather it has encountered over the last couple of years.
It's very easy to service & maintain, all you need is a couple of spanners, screwdrivers & pliers - plus oil, grease & rags - that's it. This is one of it's best features, no electronics at all - simple. You can also mend a puncture 'in the field' with an adjustable spanner & tyre levers, although I've not done it - yet! Add in 70-80 mpg & purchase price of under £2.5k & it's 5 out of 5 value for money!
One of the Enfield's strengths is it has enough equipment to do the job & no more, it's this very simplicity which makes it score so highly. You don't need TFT screens or 'info' when you are out exploring the British countryside, nor ABS nor TC etc - just a strong, reliable bike which is understated & easy to control, which turns heads, people want to talk about it & it sounds like a 'proper' bike - these are it's best features - so that's a 4 out of 5 for equipment - losing 1 because I know it's not everyone's cup of tea - my son (CBR600) says it's rubbish, yet often asks if he can take it out for a spin!
Buying experience: Bought it privately, after a 6 year nationwide search, found this one for sale in the next village! Paid the asking price of £2300 & was very happy with that, it's immaculate.