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Discussion Starter #1
I always complain that there are so few choices here between the Rebel/VStar 250 "learner" bikes and something larger - as in, you need to go much, much larger. The 500 cc Royal Enfield has only recently become available in California and had I known about it I might have looked at one.
Fuel injected and single cylinder like the CBR but cruiser style and a little more weight (412 pounds). Claimed fuel economy is 85 mpg US probably because the riding style is slower than the CBR.
Anyone know anyone with one of these? They're made in India and I know we have a lot of Indian members here. There's very little info out about them; I can't even find a full spec sheet, even from the manufacturer (seat height?). They claim very low maintenance. Belt driven I believe.
 

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I just about bought a burgundy C5 but the financing fell through, so I ordered the CBR instead. They are very nice! Salesperson said everyone will come up and tell you how well your restored bike looks!

Maybe someday I will want one again!

 

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Initial impressions after searching around more is that they appear more trouble-prone and support is certainly much more limited than the Honda brand. Still it's nice to see someone adapting the single cylinder fuel injected concept to a small street bike/cruiser. I'd love a more relaxed riding position - I bought my CBR because of the combination of features; I wasn't looking for a sporter style. And after my cold natured and somewhat unwieldy Nighthawk 750 I do miss looking at metal as oppose to looking at plastic.
 

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Appears Jay Leno has a few of them, probably some of the vintage ones too.

Cafe Racer magazine crew has one that they are modding too.
Big two page ad in the cover of the mag with the army green C5.
 

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It would be neat to own one.

I'm guessing not so neat to actually ride it very far :)

A cool video of a craftsman painting the pin stripes on a tank:


 

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Discussion Starter #9
It would be neat to own one.

I'm guessing not so neat to actually ride it very far :)

A cool video of a craftsman painting the pin stripes on a tank:


Hand Pinstriping a Royal Enfield Tank
All I can say is.....****......

The advert in a local cycle mag says "Outstanding reliability and low maintenance." I'd like to believe it but the only RE message board I could find suggests otherwise.
 

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I almost bought one to. The rear drum brake was a bit of-putting, parts are much harder to get parts for than the Honda,(in Australia anyway) not many aftermarket parts, although they do look great cafe racer style. Cost did it in the end $2500 more for the Enfield than the Honda.
India has been making Enfield since the end of the WW2, so they should be reliable. Before the end of WW2 they were made in England, that's probably what Leno has.
 

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New ones should be reliable. The transmission is redesigned and obviously they are fuel injected now.

Leno has two of the new ones.
 

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Ya wouldnt wanna be too worried about engine rattles with that one lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Pete, I dot know where you are in calif, but Noho scooters has one or two on the showroom floor. That would be No. Hollywood.
NOHO SCOOTERS | Los Angeles New Scooters : Certified Pre-Owned : Rentals : Parts : Service : Accessories
I'm in the SF Bay Area. A Santa Cruz dealer has them but that's still a ways to go if I need service - and that seems likely from what I've read.
One of the upsides of this bike is that if it gets tapped in a parking lot or knocked over I'll bet you don't have nearly the mess you might with a CBR. Some scratches to be buffed out and a little fresh paint maybe. I still might consider it once there's a little more information out there about the new models.
 

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Comparing a cbr250 to an enfield is like comparing a Civic to a Mahindra Jeep.

But Ive always thought theyd be a good bike to get.. fully strip down and then blueprint & build to reliable standards.
(Like we had to do with Husqvarna's and Husabergs 15 yrs ago)

They are made in India of a 1930's design.
It was my dads first bike back in the 1950's



Royal Enfield Cafe Racer Kit - Custom Conversion Kit for the Classic British Motorcycle
 

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The new EFI engine is a complete new design from scratch. It's a UCE (unit construction engine) with the transmission in the same cases as the crank like modern mills. The parts count is FAR lower, it's fresh tooling so the tolerances are better. I've ridden a couple on demo and they are a fun machine. The 500 is a torquer and tuned VERY mild, the baby blade will have no problem running away from one. Handling was decent, they have to frame setups being offered, I actually preferred the longer, 'lazier' handling one as it was more predictable to me.

Dunno about long term reliability, the old generation had some serious wiring issues and design flaws, I don't know for certain all of them have been sorted.
 

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Cafe racers are cool looking bikes. I like the retro styling and they look like a fun bike to take out for a burn somewhere....maybe a "show and shine". Would get lots of comments for sure. I'd own one to add to my stable of bikes but not as a primary ride.

PS What DOESN'T Leno own????lol:D
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I just hope the years to come bring more interesting choices in a range of non-sporter bikes at or under 400 pounds. It doesn't help living in California where I believe even Suzuki's 250 can't be sold. And here the RE is $300 more due to some kali nonsense. Been living in this state since '69 and I'd guess I'll need to be here 5 more years due to family issues (aging parent with Parkinson's). It's not just vehicles - heck our Aussie members might be amused to know you can't even legally own a pair of kangaroo hide gloves in this state. Or a ferret. Catching lizards or snakes and allowing them to breed is also a crime (and enforced). And don't even get me started on the gun laws.....only good thing left is the riding opportunities. No sure where I'll make my great escape to. The North Georgia/Tennessee area, near where the Appalachia's end, looks inviting.
 

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I always complain that there are so few choices here between the Rebel/VStar 250 "learner" bikes and something larger - as in, you need to go much, much larger. The 500 cc Royal Enfield has only recently become available in California and had I known about it I might have looked at one.
Fuel injected and single cylinder like the CBR but cruiser style and a little more weight (412 pounds). Claimed fuel economy is 85 mpg US probably because the riding style is slower than the CBR.
Anyone know anyone with one of these? They're made in India and I know we have a lot of Indian members here. There's very little info out about them; I can't even find a full spec sheet, even from the manufacturer (seat height?). They claim very low maintenance. Belt driven I believe.
In India, these cost about 3000$, marginally cheaper than the CBR which is about 300$ or so more.

Enfield maintains a higher level of workmanship with the bikes they export and that may account very slightly for the difference in cost (anti pollution requirements are pretty similar to Ca standards), as to whether the 100% markup is justified, though, you'll have to decide. From the standpoint of support, parts for this bike are the most difficult to get as compared to it's siblings, though this varies from market to market, so I really cannot comment about parts availability in your dealer.

The CBR simply licks it in all performance aspects, and by a pretty large margin at that. If you ride a CBR like an enfield, you'll probably get better economy as well. Maintenance - there is no doubt that the CL500 with fuel injection and a unitary construction engine is far superior - to other enfields. Unfortunately, if ridden even with the least bit of aggression, the enfields are the most maintenance intensive bikes in India, with problems ranging from fried clutch plates to bent valves and failed main bearings.

You won't get belt final drive, you'll get a chain. Though you can easily get an O ring chain, the OE will not have any. (http://classicspareparts.com/new-heavy-duty-royal-enfield-rear-chain-rolon-112212.html)

Bottomline: You want an "affordable classic" to ride around in slowly and don't mind watching everything on the road fill up your mirrors and move ahead, love it when people ignore bikes costing twice as much to swoon over that pretty bike you have, and are prepared to spend a lot of time doing things like polishing chrome bits and maintenance which the manufacturer could have made easier but did not bother to, this bike is for you.

If you need something for your fast daily commute, prefer something which handles and brakes sharply and requires only oil water and filter changes at infrequent intervals by way of maintenance....just what do you expect from a vintage bike, which was mediocre even in it's day half a century ago?
 
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