Author Topic: 350 or 500?  (Read 1073 times)

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Steve in NZ

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on: March 27, 2019, 03:28:15 AM
Hi all
Forum newbie considering purchase of first RE.
Have test ridden a 350 Classic and a 500 Bullet and found the 350 to generate significantly less vibration. Both bikes had very few kms.
Does the difference in vibration levels continue as bikes accumulate a few kms? Or does the 500 settle down to give a similar  riding experience. Or could it be just the individual bikes I happened to ride?
Appreciate your comments.


Adrian II

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Reply #1 on: March 27, 2019, 10:13:28 AM
Unless some of this forum's Australian members can help, the UCE 350 Bullets are a largely unknown quantity in the USA and Europe, where they have never been official imports.

A.

Grumpy Brit still seeking 500 AVL Bullet perfection! Will let you know if I get anywhere near...


9fingers

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Reply #2 on: March 27, 2019, 10:25:51 AM
AA 350 is always going to have less engine vibration than a 500. If I were travelling at 70mph every day it might be something to consider. But the power difference also would factor into the selection.
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mattsz

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Reply #3 on: March 27, 2019, 12:41:42 PM
As Adrian says, 350's are mostly unknown here in the USA.  But vibration in the 500's is a crapshoot, it's random luck of the draw whether you end up with a smooth runner or one that will shake itself to bits.  If they build the 350 cranks the same way they build the 500's, I suppose the same could be said for the 350's as well?


Richard230

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Reply #4 on: March 27, 2019, 01:03:20 PM
You don't suppose do you, that RE uses the same crank for the 350 as they do for the 500?  ::) Considering how many more 350's they make compared with the 500, I wouldn't be too surprised if either the same crank was used for both engines or if the occasional 350 crank slips into a 500 when they run out of a dedicated 500 crank.  Could that be possible?   ???
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


AmBraCol

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Reply #5 on: March 27, 2019, 01:27:03 PM
Here in Coffee Country they brought the 350's in along with the 500's.  I've ridden both and my take was that I'd rather have the power of the 500.  The weight of the bikes is for all intent and purposes the same. The 350 is a bit lighter, but the 500 has significantly more power to more than make up for the extra weight of the larger displacement engine. 

As for vibration, it's more of an individual thing than it is difference in displacement.  How many kilometers are on the different bikes?  If properly run in they tend to smooth out around 1,500 - 3,000 km or so.  Personally, where there's a choice to be made, I'd opt for the 500 as you can run it slower like a 350 or gun it for those times you need the extra power.  Climbing the Andes on the 500 is no problem, the 350 lacked the guts to do so as nicely.

If you want simplicity, on the other hand, the 350's all use carburetors where as the more recent 500's are all injected.  That is something that some folks take into consideration as well, either in favor of or against the carb vs injector. 

But the vibration?  It's more about the individual bike, how the parts were fitted on assembly and how it was run in and if any adjustments have been made afterwards.  There are posts on here about eliminating some of the vibration by proper methods of loosening and tightening certain bolts while it's idling.
Paul

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Bilgemaster

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Reply #6 on: March 27, 2019, 02:48:32 PM
As others have already pointed out, 350s with the UCE engine are not even sold here in the States. This may be because they were able to sell very few of the old 350 Iron Cylinder models back when they were made available here in the '90s along with the 500s. The vast majority of folks opted for the bigger engine, leaving the 350s to gather cobwebs in showrooms until basically cast off by the dealerships at fire sale prices.

That said, the 350 Classic has its own virtues if you don't mind taking the hit in power. For one thing, it's carburetted, so has less to go wrong. Gravity always works. I have one of the old "Iron Belly" pre-unit model 500s, but it has not escaped my notice that tales of various fuel system problems with the EFI seem to predominate in this forum. The fact that many choose to "upgrade" their EFI to an Amal or other carb, and that Hitchcocks in England sells popular kits for this might tell you something.

The 350s are also less "stressed" by the harsh laws of physics. Less stress will generally result in greater and longer reliability. That said, I think I might miss that moderately torquey "Oompf!" of a 500. But then, I had grown used to the full-on galloping Mongol horde tree stump pulling haul of Norton 750 twins. That said, given my ultra-sedate riding style born of decades of nursing old junk down the road, always giving our Interstate highways a wide berth, I could happily thump around on a 350 Classic. Sure I could.

I expect that your satisfaction with your choice will much depend on your temperament, riding style and the type of roads you're likeliest to travel. Personally, I thoroughly enjoy the mild and pleasant vibes of my old 500. Maybe I just got a good one, since the whole matter of vibes seems to be one of luck of the draw, but I wouldn't bother to so much as turn a screw to reduce them, let alone fuss around with mounting various vibe reduction gear like Carberry anti-vibe plates or bar-end weights as some do. I can see everything just fine in my stock mirrors at all speeds, thank you.

I suppose one could sketch out a 350 vs. 500 decision making flow chart. Here are a few criteria one might find in it:

  • Is fuel mileage or cost to own, operate and insure a major factor? Have you ever used a teabag more than once? [If yes, 350]
  • Are power and top speed important to you? Has a judge or prosecuting attorney ever characterized you as a "menace"? [If yes, then maybe a 650 twin's for you]
  • Do the roads you are likeliest to travel have speed limits in kilometers per hour less than the average IQ of members of the British Cabinet? (or just Boris Johnson in miles per hour)? [If yes, 350]
  • Have you ever said, "Hold my beer and watch this."? [if yes, then 500]


Others here far more knowledgeable than I about the UCE breed may have additional suggestions for determining an optimal decision matrix for the utility of the various models to best suit one's temperament and requirements. In the meantime, you might enjoy "H Sam's" YouTube offering titled, Royal Enfield Classic 350 in-depth review & Why I bought the Classic 350 instead of the Classic 500
« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 12:29:38 AM by Bilgemaster »
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal  in India.


wildbill

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Reply #7 on: March 28, 2019, 03:03:16 AM
well I know some-one who has owned both units...lol tell me exactly what you want to do and I will give you the answer
2011 C5 black/chrome
2012 C5 maroon/chrome 
2013 B5 black
2014  gt
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2016 lagoon blue 500
2016  ash white 350
2017 graphite/chrome 500
2018 gun metal grey 500
2018 C5 Pegasus 500
2017 C5 Redditch 50
2018 C5 gun metal grey
2019 650 interceptor


AmBraCol

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Reply #8 on: March 28, 2019, 03:51:56 AM
well I know some-one who has owned both units...lol tell me exactly what you want to do and I will give you the answer



 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
Paul

2015 Royal Enfield Rumbler 500


GlennF

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Reply #9 on: March 28, 2019, 05:52:23 AM
In theory the 350 should vibrate less as there is less weight being thrown around because the piston is smaller and hence lighter - BUT the 350 has a lot less power so you may find yourself revving it more and staying in the vibrating part of the power band longer.

In practice, I have no idea but Wildbill, having owned both, may be able to fill you in on how they compare.

It is worth noting that the vibration on the 500's seems to reduce a fair bit over the first 5000 or so km.  How the bike is run in will also make a big difference.


wildbill

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Reply #10 on: March 28, 2019, 11:31:54 AM
plus it also depends upon the $$ in hand. new $6500 against $9000
even used 350's I have not seen given away so still wanting around $5000
on another note I might buy a new honda crf250l tomorrow just waiting for it to arrive at the dealer
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wildbill

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Reply #11 on: March 28, 2019, 11:46:00 AM
I will be pretty busy tomorrow with work so will answer this as best I can. first choice would be to go 500 but saying that the 350 does feel a bit smoother to ride.
but bike to bike all 500 ride different anyway
depending on your budget you can go 350 as around town running its pretty close to a 500 in pickup.
it runs out of puff at say 50 mph or 80 kph and that's where the 500 takes over BUT if you put a sports exhaust on the 350 and have it tuned as its a carby job it will then run at 100 kph or 60 mph and perform pretty good.
so in standard form the 350 is a good around town runner but if you want to cruise the open roads above 80 kph or 50 mph and there are hills - you will be holding up traffic and working the gears.
on my white 350 I took it out on the open road in hilly country and at one stage had 5 or 8 cars banked up behind me. if I had been on the 500 maybe not as many...lo

2011 C5 black/chrome
2012 C5 maroon/chrome 
2013 B5 black
2014  gt
2014 C5 tan
2015 black/chrome
2015 dispatch
2016 lagoon blue 500
2016  ash white 350
2017 graphite/chrome 500
2018 gun metal grey 500
2018 C5 Pegasus 500
2017 C5 Redditch 50
2018 C5 gun metal grey
2019 650 interceptor


beagle

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Reply #12 on: March 30, 2019, 05:30:27 AM
I've got a 350 classic UCE and although its very smooth around the 35 to 55mph (60 to 85 kph) range it can get a bit buzzy at 65 to 70mph ( 100 to 115 kph) where its absolutely wringing its tits off. The vibes are a buzz in the seat and grips, not the bone shaking type that some 500's get.  The 500 injected motor is a lot quicker off the mark but some can vibrate either at certain revs or thru the whole range...it depends on the bike. Its a bit like a older HD ...you take pot luck....  In hindsight, I should have gone with the 500, as it would handle the flogging it gets a bit better.  The 350 is excellent for flat terrain, cruising at around 80 to 85 kph and it will do it all day. A steep hill or strong headwind will slow it considerably as it simply doesn't have the torque of its bigger sibling.  I can update if I want to, but I am still liking it even with my whinging about it. The 500 has the capacity to increase the primary sprocket a tooth to lower the revs at hi way speeds, the 350 would struggle even more in top with hills, although it sometime feels like it could do with another gear.  Hope that gives you an owners insight. By the way, with the hills over there, I'd look closer at a UCE 500...lol...
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ringoism

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Reply #13 on: March 30, 2019, 06:24:25 PM
As Adrian says, 350's are mostly unknown here in the USA.  But vibration in the 500's is a crapshoot, it's random luck of the draw whether you end up with a smooth runner or one that will shake itself to bits.  If they build the 350 cranks the same way they build the 500's, I suppose the same could be said for the 350's as well?

I'd say so.  Here in India I considered buying a new CL350 in 2013, the vibrations on the one I test rode then were harsh and really put me off, as did the rather anemic power output (granted it was very fresh).  Rode two others in the past month, a 2016 and '18, that were better in both power and vibes.  It is claimed here that the 350 standard uses a heavier crankshaft than the CL's, I don't know if that's hearsay or documentable fact, I the parts book would tell the real story. 

Right about the 500's - I've ridden several of the UCE 500's, three of them vibed bad, two others didn't feel objectionable to me.  This is the modern age but RE seems to still be making them just like in the old days in this respect. 

If I was going to buy a new one of either, I'd purchase it off the showroom floor after a test ride, I would not be inclined to order one and be forced to just receive whatever happens to turn up. 

The 500's are surprisingly fuel-efficient (30-35kmpl on Indian roads) for a 500, and have a lot more power than the 350's.  That said, the 350's are ridiculously efficient (45-50kmpl). 

-Eric


Relic

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Reply #14 on: March 31, 2019, 04:06:06 AM
I agree with the above comments. I`ve owned my Classic 350 since 2016 and while primarily used as a daily commuter bike I have spent a fair bit of time on NZ`s open highways on camping trips. My commute is a mixture of urban / expressway, so it gets along at 90-95kph (~55-60mph) on a daily basis. The 350 does lack the torque of the 500, and on the highway this is felt on long hills or into strong head winds, or a combination of both which can be patience inducing. If neither of these are present then the bike gets along in traffic just great. I have only ridden a couple of 500's, and in comparison my 350 was a much smoother beastie. I guess I got lucky.
As has been said earlier there are no guarantees. When I bought my bike the dealer said there was variation of smoothness / vibration with both 350's and 500's, so on that basis I can only reiterate the excellent advice from ringoism; if possible ride the bike you intend to purchase.
2016 Classic 350