Author Topic: Royal Enfield review article  (Read 1000 times)

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  • Grand Gearhead
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on: November 30, 2017, 12:30:33 pm
A friend of mine, John Joss, is a freelance motorcycle tester. A few years ago he published this interesting review of a Royal Enfield C5 (I think) that he rode in India.  It seems like he hit all of the basics in his article:

I have, perhaps unwisely, pre-arranged to road test and write about India’s best-known motorcycle, the Royal Enfield, over the weekend. How could I not pass up on the opportunity to indulge my motorcycling and freelancing habit? If, that is, I can survive the roads and traffic. But Royal Enfield is a motorcycle name from my youth in England. I should at least try.
   How did the marque endure and thrive? Royal Enfield is the world’s oldest motorcycle brand still in production, with the longest record of continuous manufacture—no other marque comes within decades. India has acquired full production rights.
   First, it is perhaps one of the simplest and most technically honest machines extant: a basic motorcycle, form following function, built to a price, embodying new technology only in rational matters such as metallurgy, fuel injection, brakes and electric starter. Second, it is built in India, with low labour costs, where these basic customer virtues apply. This is a market where simple, inexpensive and serviceable suits the users. Third, it works as designed, with rare economy. In any language, on any continent, at any time, these are recipes for success.
   All the basics are present. It’s just your fundamental motorcycle. The familiar 1950s styling cues are intact; controls fall readily to hand and foot; the instruments convey all the essential data.  Suddenly it’s 1950, and no bad thing. The solo, coil-sprung seat provides an acceptably comfortable, nostalgic perch. The riding position suits my average, 5-9 height. The big 499-cc jug fires instantly, the cable-operated clutch engages smoothly, the gears mesh as they should.
   With twenty-eight claimed horsepower from that 84 x 90mm cylinder, progress is stately. Recall Rolls-Royce’s apocryphal response when asked about its cars’ power: “Sufficient.” Same, here. But low power output equates to reliability and longevity.
   Without expecting dazzling performance, one returns to one’s riding roots, to concentrate on motorcycling’s basic joys. Ride quality is pleasant on smooth surfaces, the handling light and precise, but at these prices you don’t get top-level suspenders. On rough roads, ride deteriorates to choppy, verging on uncomfortable, but remains acceptable considering the power output. You could tweak fork springs and valving vs. personal preferences but it’s unnecessary at the bike’s rates of progress.
   That big cylinder doesn’t want to rev beyond ~5,000 RPM but in traffic it handles cagers easily. Vibration? It’s a single. Out of town, away from the truly terrifying traffic, cruising is pleasant. This is no speedster: an indicated 60-65 mph is its comfort zone, an estimated ~4,000rpm. You could thrash it to go faster, but why? The SPCM (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Motorcycles) would object and yank your license.
   Indeed, don’t try to hurry, despite the sporting fifty-four-inch wheelbase. Calm down. Rushing is not its thing. The hydraulic front 280-mm, twin-pot disk brake matches the non-rushing task. Dial in your meditative Indian ‘Ommm’ and accept the power, handling and brakes for what they are: just right.  Enjoy the economy, almost scooteroid: an astounding, measured 72 MPG, riding moderately, vs. Royal Enfield’s 85 MPG claims (“your mileage may vary”).
2011 Royal Enfield B5 500, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph Bonneville T-100, 2002 Yamaha FZ1


  • Grand Gearhead
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Reply #1 on: November 30, 2017, 06:22:31 pm
I think that is the first write-up on the Royal Enfields I've read that I agree with everything he said.

Well written and, thanks for posting it Richard.
2011 G5 Deluxe
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Bill Harris

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Reply #2 on: November 30, 2017, 09:01:16 pm
Good read, thanks.

Royal Enfield people are good people



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Reply #3 on: December 02, 2017, 06:00:24 am
"technically honest"
"form follows function"
"built to a price"
"low power output equates to longevity and reliability"

   I could go on, but it's obvious he "gets it".

   Love the writeup, and thanks for sharing!  ;D
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Reply #4 on: December 02, 2017, 11:57:30 am
The writer sounds like a well adjusted human being.
Unlike some of the hacks who compare our bikes to the latest £20k Superbike or fully loaded tourer with electronics abound.
Nice sensible review. Thanks for posting. :)

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