Royal Enfield has a new Bullet, the Bullet Classic C5, and unless you’re familiar with these bikes you might miss the changes at first, but they’re substantial. This brand new Bullet, arriving next month in the U.S., looks pretty good and, more amazing, it looks even more retro than before.
The old Bullet 500 has been pretty much unchanged since 1955, model years didn’t mean a lot since minor refinements were the rule and visual changes were minimal. The Bullet Classic C5 takes its styling from a slightly older era, about 1951, but the engine moves into the modern era with unit construction, fuel injection, hydraulic lifters, no kick start, a smooth shifting 5 speed transmission, … it’s a brand new motorcycle, it just looks like a perfectly restored 60 year old bike.
Royal Enfields have always appealed to many older riders who like to tinker with their bikes, weekend maintenance is part of the experience, while the new Bullet gives you all of the retro look with low maintenance, smooth operation and increased performance required by a new generation, though I have a hunch it will be welcomed by all.
The new engine enables the higher sustained cruising speeds found in the U.S., more passing power and torque from the fuel injected 500 pushrod single, and, as required today, very low emissions.
Styling was something they wanted to get right so they set up an in house design group and looked everywhere for additional expertise, Xenophya Design took part and the in-house designers made multiple visits to the British National Motorcycle Museum for inspiration and to ensure the look was historically correct.
Royal Enfield points out the C5 includes:
* Post-World War II styling with authentic fuel tank graphics
* Body-colored frame, color-keyed to match the fuel tank and fenders
* Sprung saddle, with special bushings for smoothness of action and isolation of
* Era-correct stitching, texture and finish on the seat cover for period-perfect style
* Black-painted alloy cylinder, emulating the cast-iron cylinders common in the
The bike weighs in at 412 pounds, with 27 hp and 30 foot pounds of torque, perfectly capable of delivering a fun ride. Brakes are a 280mm disc up front with a 152mm drum out back. Don’t forget, 85 miles per gallon, too!
The C5 is expected to be available for purchase in the U.S. in June 2009 retailing for $6,395, not a bad price for a brand new classic, especially when it performs like a modern bike fully capable of everyday use.
The new unit engine is also being used for the new Bullet G5. It looks the same as the old Bullet 500, available in standard, deluxe and military versions as always, but now powered by the modern engine, that still looks very retro itself. The Bullet G5 starts at $5995.
This could be an excellent bike for a more leisurely ride, fun for beginners, fun for anyone who appreciates classic style without the headaches. I think Royal Enfield may expand their market with this one, I like it. Stop by your Royal Enfield dealer next month to check it out.
Link: Classic Motorworks