Have had a 1991 350 for 4 years. Have burnt out 3 exhaust valves despite using a lead replacement additive in the petrol. Prev. owner had fitted wild cams, which give improved low end, but not much at the top end.
Starts easily and is very easy to work on. Have had the engine out of the frame, completely dismantled, reassembled and back in the frame in less than 8 hours.
Good conversation piece. Attracts people who comment on what a great restoration you've done on the bike :-)
I consider these bikes to be a conversation piece, and that's it.
I highly recommend that casual riders avoid these things like the plague, as even infrequent, low impact riding requires some level of mechanical aptitude to keep the thing running at bare minimum.
On the other hand, if you're like many people I know and you LOVE to tinker with things and getting your hands dirty every single weekend, any Royal Enfield might be just what you're looking for.
Owned a Bullet 500 in the Sultanate of Oman. Rode it through the desert Masirah Island to Muscat! Great retro looks, great fun tinkering with and maintaining, and so easy to do! Very good spares and other bits website such as "Hitchcock's Motorcycles" based in UK.
I fitted high capacity oil pumps and better quality UK made rockers to try to silence the notorious Enfield tappet noise! Rode to work on it in South Africa, very good economy with original "110" size carb' jet.
Lovely 500 single "thumper" noise, now living in Aus, and very tempted to get another!
I am of the opinion that these bikes are not the best option for a daily commute. They are maintenance intensive, however, the maintenance is fairly straightforward. I had a lot of trouble with the reliability of the bike and made any number of improvements to try and improve on the poor quality of the components. I finally snapped the crankshaft on my (mildly modified) bike, and called it quits after that.
Buy as a weekend bike only!
ALL motorcycles require maintaining and the Royal Enfield is no different.
Maintenance is required more frequently than on my XJ600, but is a very much simpler (check all bolts are tight at least once a week).
I have an Amal carb and K&N filter fitted (carb jets modified as appropriate) and find my 350 Bullet to be a breeze to start, 3 kicks was the worst it ever required.
Fuel consumption has been fantastic - again compared to the XJ600, although performance from 17 BHP single is quite limited, especially since it has a sidecar fitted!
I really find it difficult to find fault with. Just remember it is not a sports bike, treat it with mechanical sympathy, and it will just keep on plodding.
Great to tinker with, or befriend your local bike bloke, most love them. I think they might rekindle fond memories of dad etc. My 500 just chortles and turns heads. Hanging out for a "peashooter " exhaust to increase the thump and burble, and riding on a sprung solo seat is rewarding- now effectively a "double-sprung" aft end.
Too much weekend fun for baby boomers, but wouldn't really recommend as a "commuter", but great if you want to spend the rest of the week digging out the grease from under the nails. If you are thinking of getting one - just do it!
Cheers to all Enfield lovers. This is a fantastic bike if you clean the air filter at regular intervals as prescribed by the manufacturer. Regular maintenance of battery is also very important.
Very comfortable for slow riding as that is important in conditions like Indian traffic. Overall a superb bike.
The greatest bike I have ever ridden is bullet 500cc. I am a proud owner of 500cc 1991 model. Modified version looks very smart.
I have owned a Bullet 500 Classic for five years now. Modified from standard by retro fitting 1950's headlamp, alloy top yolk, BSA style single seat, alloy rear mudguard, Ace bars and rear-sets. Looks just like 1950's Enfield should.
Mods are 19t gearbox sprocket, 389 Amal Monoblock carb, larger valves in a ported head, swept-back pipe with straight through Gold Star silencer that "Twitters" I use the term silencer very loosely though.
What's gone wrong, the coil packed up, and I had cylinder head problems, but that was due to running on lead free without knowing that the head was leaded. The only parts that have worn out and been replaced are the rear chain and tyres.
As for having to spend week-ends on maintenance, never have! First few weeks of ownership I tended to check points gap, tappet clearance chain tension etc... Found that nothing needed resetting, even after covering on average 300 miles per week.
Starts first kick and just goes and goes.
This is a very beautiful bike...
I bought a 350cc Bullet Electra5s 6 months ago, and it is going great guns till now. I have not yet faced any problems with it..
It needs regular servicing and constant care.. and when this is done, this bike will not give you a single problem.
My uncle has a 350STD and it is running without any difficulty, and guess what, it is more than 25 years old..
They say the Bullet is underpowered, but the great torque of the bike generally makes up for the lack of power..
I also want to get my hands on a 500cc; I am just waiting for it.. It is said only a strong hearted man can ride a Royal Enfield Bullet...
I have now owned a Royal Enfield 500 Classic Deluxe (2005 model). Bought it second hand with about 4,000km on the odometer, and have now done nearly another 3,000km on top of that.
I have had some minor issues, but nothing that was hard to fix. I have also spent a bit of time and money getting the bike just the way I want it, and it now has a solo spring seat, straight through megaphone silencer with a fishtail exit, chrome metal blinkers, chrome mirrors, chrome luggage rack. I have also removed the air cleaner from the tool box and retrofitted the older rectangular filter assembly.
I have not done any other modifications since the bike is running just fine as is. It is a great fun ride, and a great conversation piece. It is hard to stop anywhere without getting positive comments.
Humberto, Melbourne - Australia
I have a 1998 Bullet that I bought on Ebay. It only had 400 miles on it, but was a mess. My friend fixed it (spent a lot of time working on it) and it runs good now. There are not many here in California so I get a lot of stares from folks when I ride it. A few months ago a guy who works at the local Harley shop said "you have a real motorcycle, I like it a lot better than Harleys" :)
I have a 2003 350 classic, quite good fun, but much slower than the originals: only get 100 kph as per the manual. This is due to the restrictive exhaust and small main jet.
With an original specification exhaust and bigger main jet, it accelerates well and has a reliable top speed of 120 kph.
It now cruises at 100 kph and the sound turns heads. I always end up with a smile on my face when I ride it, and that's after owning Harley 1200 sportsters and BMW k series.
Pete, Essex. UK.