ENFIELD TRIALS (2009 - on) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £120
Power: 28 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.5 in / 800 mm)
Weight: Medium (412 lbs / 187 kg)

Prices

New £5,100
Used £4,500

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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 & brakes

Next up: Engine
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
2 out of 5 (2/5)

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 quality

Next up: Value
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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 rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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.

Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

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.

Specs

Engine size 499cc
Engine type Pushrod, 2v air-cooled single. Five gears, fuel injection
Frame type Tubular steel cradle
Fuel capacity 14.5 litres
Seat height 800mm
Bike weight 187kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension None
Front brake 310mm disc, twin-piston sliding caliper
Rear brake Drum
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
New price £5,100
Used price £4,500
Insurance group 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

Model history

New for 2009.

Other versions

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)

2 owners have 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.

Review your ENFIELD TRIALS (2009 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 3.5 out of 5 (3.5/5)
Engine: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Equipment: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £120
4 out of 5 Trials 500/2020
13 September 2021 by Victor

Version: 500 Trials

Year: 2020

I just love everything about her I’m not in a Rush to get anywhere fast. My best mate Rode it and thinks it’s terrible good job we’re not all the same. What you see is what you get I’m old-fashioned I love old things. I’m 60 years old but still young a heart. I’ve owned 21 other motorcycles over the last 40 years Japanese Italian scooters mopeds and of course the famous HondaCub which I learn to ride on when I was 12 One last thing a ride all year round except when it snows obviously P/S It’s heavy but feels solid built to last

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

It’s the most comfortable bike I’ve ever owned you can a go a couple of hours before you need to stop for a cup of coffee or something to eat it’s great all day bike

Engine 4 out of 5

I’m happy the way she is only 1600 miles on the clock and she is getting smoother with every ride

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Built to last she goes out in all weathers no rust still nice and shiny WD40 helps

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Cheap to run seems to take forever to empty the fuel tank does 70 miles + to the gallon

Equipment 4 out of 5

Just love the whole look haven’t had time to make any modifications yet plan to make changes later on as this is probably the last bike I will own unless I win the lottery this bike is definitely a keeper

Buying experience: Dealer £4300 on road week before lockdown 5star experience

5 out of 5 Enfield Trials 500 - Old School British charm for today!
09 April 2021 by Hector Hat

Version: 500cc

Year: 2010

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.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

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.

Engine 4 out of 5

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!

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

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.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

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!

Equipment 4 out of 5

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.

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