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Royal Enfields: Garbage or good buy?


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#1 Baxter's driver

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 12:17 PM

Obviously, if I have a Ural I have a soft spot for oddball bikes.  I like the looks fo the military version of the Royal Enfield, but I was wondering if Urals look like Hondas next to Enfields?   :surprise:
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#2 Rich Maund

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 12:22 PM

My experience with my buddy's 2000 RE is that the '03 Ural I have is better. If he tries to keep up with me at 60-65mph the vibes put his arms to sleep and after a 250 mile ride like that, the bike needed a valve adjustment. But if he keeps it at 50 mph or less it cruises very nicely. I've read that the newer ones are made even better. Much like Urals have improved over the years. They're cool bikes, easy to care for and to maintain. They sound great too. But they should be owned only by skinny people who are their own good mechanics IMO.
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#3 Ragman

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 01:35 PM

That is strange - I am most definitely not skinny, and have no trouble at all riding up to 70 on my Enfield.   Compared to the Urals, it holds it's own. I have had no vibration issues with the Enfield - in fact, I can see far better in the Enfield mirrors, than I can in the Ural -  The only downside to my Enfield is the kick start, which I had addressed a couple of months ago - and it starts better now.  I would like a new one, not for better quality - they just aren't any better, but for the Electric start.    Even the Electra, with it's new lean burn engine, and lighter weight is not particularly modern honda quality, but then, most certainly the ural isn't either.  I have a 2005 Sportster which I do not ride - it is too soft, too cushy, and too comfy - I ride the Ural, and wish to continue doing so - compared to the HD, both bikes are ridiculously out dated, uncomfortable, and cranky.
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#4 sgtbrown

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 02:59 PM

RE is kind of in the same boat as Ural in that the bikes they first brought here were junk and they are still living down the bad rap. The BIG change in RE came when Eischer Co bought them out a few years back. Since then the change in the bikes is dramatic. I own a 1999 Military and love the bike dearly. Fact is, however, it is a total piece of junk compared to what they build today. NO COMPARISON WHATSOEVER!! Fit and finish of 2005 and 1006 RE's is a quantum leap over ones made only a few years before. Also, I recently read where Classic Motorworks (US importer) has seen something like an 80% decrease in warranty claims over the past five years.

A little aside concerning the Eischer buy-out somewhat illustrates the situation. Prior to that, workers were not allowed to leave the factory until they were "frisked" by security people. Eischer put an immediate stop to that policy and the workforce didn't know what to think - they had been mistrusted for so long!

As far as top end and even cruise, my Bullet will run rings around my 2004 Retro rig. Does it vibrate? Find even a Jap single cylinder that doesn't, especially an older one. Remember, even a 2006 Bullet is still a 1953 design.

Oh yeah, after break-in, "The Holy Cow" went to 9000 miles before it needed its first tune-up!

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#5 JohnBG

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 03:57 PM

I don't know much about RE's but I know a few folks that have them.  I would say they're pretty much in the same class as Urals.  A few years ago they were really crappy but the've been getting better.  They need regular wrenching and TLC.  The RE guys are pretty much two wheeled foilheads.    ;)
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#6 Bill

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 07:01 PM

Hmmm,

I have been looking inot a Royal Enfield myself. It seems to make sence that Russain bike owners would be attracted to these machines as well. I was going to see about an older one without electic start (I am a purest), but maybe I would be happier with a newer one. I have two flat head bikes so maybe I could go a little faster with the Royal Enfield.

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#7 Jack Falls

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 08:15 PM

I thought real hard about getting a Royal Enfield before I finally decided on getting a vintage Commie bike. The RE Military model was pretty neat and seemed fairly well put together. The bike was a bit small for me, but it definately had charm. If I had to money and space, I'd love to add one to the stable.
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#8 csbdr

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 08:28 PM

I have the 2002 Military and love the bike.  There is something about a thumper. You can almost feel each thump of the piston throwing you a little further down the road.  I have made some mods to make it more reliable, like a Boyer electronic ignition, different main sprocket (moved up a couple teeth), upgraded the carb to 32 mm, Goldstar pipes and put the shift back on the right where it belongs.  Now it actually runs and accellerates well, and shifts great! Much better performance than the stock bike.  You have to approach these like a Ural; with low expectations ;) and the willingness to futz with it alot to get a very unique ride!  Like a Ural, if you went into it expecting modern performance, fit , and finish, you'd be REALLY disappointed.  :cry:
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#9 Jimmy

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 08:30 PM

I think if I can find a kick start only Enfield around here (NJ) for a good price I might pick one up. I'm looking for a late sixtys BSA Victor 441 thumper too.  I'm trying to relive my misspent youth  B) Getting old sucks >:(

#10 ypantom

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 09:03 PM

Classic Bike ran an article a few years back, where someone had modified one, and it did 117 MPH! Not too shabby...
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#11 Baxter's driver

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 10:49 PM

Thanks for the input, guys.

I may have to wander over to Raceway in Salem and take a look at one as Jim carries both Urals and Enfields.  I realize for about a grand more I could get a KLR 650, but who needs something low maintenance.   :lol:

Being 6'1" and 205, I might not be of the appropriate dimensions for an Enfield.  While I'd love a Retro solo, I can't justify the $$ to the Finance Officer.
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#12 evcman

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 08:51 AM

I have an '03 Tourist, and an '01 Enfield, both done up total "military". If you are competent in caring for your Ural, you will be competent in caring for an Enfield. There is much on-line support for them on Yahoo groups and parts and accessories are easy to get on-line thru Classic motorworks.
They are out of the same mould really, both are old motorcycles produced new through a quirk of fate. Both Urals and Enfields are modernizing quickly, I really hope they are able to maintain their special vintage flavor while doing so.
Just imagine, UDF and EDF. My favorite: I was getting gas in the Enfield, a fellow walks up to me and says "Hey man, I'll give you my wife and kids for that bike."
As far as reliability, again very comparable to the Ural. There is a fellow in Virginia who for several years in a row has ridden his Enfield to the RE family reunion ralley in central Missouri. They are simple machines to maintain, only one of everything, 1 spark plug, 1 carb, 1 set of valves to adjust, etc.

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#13 csbdr

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 09:29 AM

I'm 5'11" and 205, and fit fine on the Enfield
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#14 ChuckofTahoe

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 09:51 AM

I think one other thing to note in terms of a company and business is that RE is much higher volume in terms of units produced and sold.

Ural only sells 3,000 or so machines per year with maybe 6-7 hundred being sold in the U.S.  Maybe RE does not sell so many bikes in the US either but they sell a ton of bikes in India where they are made.  I think total worldwide production of RE is in the 30,000 range per year.  Basically about ten times the volume of URAL.  Basically RE is almost the size of Triumph in terms of units sold.

#15 Rich Maund

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 10:54 AM

David
I've met that "fellow" who rides his RE to the homecoming Rallys. He's not just from Va. He's from the Eastern Shore of Va. So he rides the long ways around to get there. Pretty impressive!
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