Prototype of new Royal Enfield 500cc single spied testing
The Bullet is the mainstay of the Indian brand, having been in continuous production since 1948. The new version was spotted undergoing testing in India and, although retaining its classic style, has inevitably been modernised and appears to take some clear 'learnings' from its recent 650 twins.
For a start, the engine is brand new, with an external appearance much closer to that of the 650 twin.
Given the company's requirements for smaller displacement machines, particularly for the vast domestic Indian market, we imagine capacity has remained at 500cc but it’s likely the new single will be oil-cooled just like the twins.
The bottom end of the new engine also appears to be brand new with the final drive now on the left suggesting it’s a complete redesign rather than an update of the existing engine. While another change that will upset some is the lack of a kick starter.
The decision to design a new engine has in part been driven by the upcoming Euro 5 emissions regulations as well as India’s Bharat Stage VI, which are actually even tighter than European standards.
Cradling the new engine is a brand new frame that again appears to take heavily from the new twins. This appears to be a double cradle, rather than the old single tube frame, which should be significantly stiffer. The rear of the chassis, including twin shocks, appears to be largely unchanged.
The old Bullet 500 shared its frame, engine and running gear with numerous other models, as it still does in India, although in the UK we now just get the Bullet, Classic 500 and Trials Replica. We expect Royal Enfield will unveil the new model later this year with the finished bike on sale in 2020.
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