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Royal Enfields: Garbage or good buy?


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#31 Ragman

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 02:18 AM

If I had the money, I would buy an Electra, and turn it into whatever I wanted - The military is a nice machine, and can be made out of any of them, for not much money.  I intend to buy the disc brake, next month - this month's spare money has already gone... :wub: but next month. . . .    

Once you have gotten a test ride on an Enfield you will be caught - don't even contemplate it, if there is any doubt.. they are a real bike, and just beg to be ridden.  (I was riding mine on wet grass today, seeing if I could get the rear wheel to slip.. I couldn't.)
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#32 herbie

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 04:19 AM

Just want to set the record straight before yet another "urban myth" becomes estableshed...

Royal Enfield never made guns...the Enfield rifle was made by another firm. Easy to see how the myth was formed though what with "made like a gun", "bullet" and the field gun logo etc.

Messers Eadie and Smith started the company in 18-hundred-and-frozen-to-death by taking over another company making 'cycles. The name Enfield satrted with a change of premises (to Redditch) I believe.

Bit like the mythology surronding the start of Urals really!!

By the way I run a 1954 Royal Enfield (Model "G"). It's bullet proof, if you can excuse the pun! It's also WAY better made than the Indian jobs of even a few years ago. The new enfields are now a very good product (but still not up to the finish of the Japs). I was recently talking to a guy with a newish Lean-Burn job. He leaves it out in all weathers (North East England!!) and it was dirty and rusty in places and used as his only transport. Said it allways starts and runs faultessly - whatever the weather. Can't say fairer than that in my book. As an asside, Iv'e heard somwhere that the Enfield 500 is the top selling 500 in the UK. Nuff said.

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#33 sgtbrown

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 06:50 AM

herbie, on Aug 3 2006, 04:19 AM, said:

Just want to set the record straight before yet another "urban myth" becomes estableshed...

Royal Enfield never made guns...the Enfield rifle was made by another firm. Easy to see how the myth was formed though what with "made like a gun", "bullet" and the field gun logo etc.
(Snipped)


There are/were also Royal Enfield bicycles and Royal Enfield china. Bikes were made in Reddich by the same company as the cycles. China was not. Enfield rifles were named for the arsenal in which they were built and the word "Royal" was not part of their nomenclature.

Been collecting Enfield rifles since LONG before I ever owned a RE cycle. Two factoids: #1.  The No4MkI(T) sniper rifle was considered the best in WWII - and the only one that offered auto-ranging telescopic sights. The US didn't have that till Nam. #2. During trials in the US during the war, the only rifle that could beat the bolt-action Enfield in rate of fire was the semi-auto Garand.

Your trivia for today.

Get the RE Bullet. You'll love it!

Sarge :thumbsup:
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#34 clarkebd

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 09:05 AM

One thing I sure like about Royal Enfield - is how easy it is to shop for parts.

This site is great from the factory - instead of looking at an excel spreadsheet and then calling dealers to find stuff in stock and get a price:

http://www.royalenfi...a.com/index.php
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#35 Ken Ulrich

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 09:17 AM

The RE, and a host of other bikes of the same powerout put, are very sensitive to increased power loading, that is to say when you nearly double the load by adding a side car, and also more than double the aerodynamic drag, you have a dog. You must regear by increasing the final drive ratio. Dneprs and urals move from 3.89 to 4.63 FD ratio....or if my radio shack calculater is right about 17% increase in engine rpm to do the job.  I have here in Alaska my 1986 650 Suzy Savage, a one lung thumper, with a Velorex hack on it.  The Suzy is a very high tourque engine, yet it drops the speed to about 60-62 mph. I can do that with my Dnepr Sweet thang. As the Suzy is belt drive, its pretty difficult to change the ratio's so I spend more time in third gear. Velorex is right up front about the power requirements, saying that 25 hp is about the minimum, to pull a side hack. In Europe there are 350-500 cc bikes pulling side hacks about, but you can bet that the gear ratio has been changed.....Ken

#36 Ragman

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 10:21 AM

Royal Enfield, in Redditch, England, did indeed start as a cycle maker, with a different name, and they did indeed move to a new location, near Enfield, where they made rifle parts, for RSAF in Enfield...

Wikipedia said:

Royal Enfield was the make of the Enfield Cycle Company, an English engineering company. Most famous for producing motorcycles, they also produced, amongst other things, bicycles, lawnmowers, stationary engines and even rifle parts for the Royal Small Arms Factory in Enfield. This legacy of weapons manufacture is reflected in the logo, a cannon, and their motto "built like a gun, goes like a bullet". The original Redditch-based company dissolved in 1970, but the name was acquired by a former licencee based in India and continues to be used today.

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#37 Ragman

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 12:02 PM

sgtbrown, on Aug 3 2006, 06:50 AM, said:

Been collecting Enfield rifles since LONG before I ever owned a RE cycle. Two factoids: #1.  The No4MkI(T) sniper rifle was considered the best in WWII - and the only one that offered auto-ranging telescopic sights. The US didn't have that till Nam. #2. During trials in the US during the war, the only rifle that could beat the bolt-action Enfield in rate of fire was the semi-auto Garand.
I have a good old .303 - № 4 Mk 1 / 3   FTR 1952 It was made when I was... I bought it for $55 in Utah a few years ago.  It is a very accurate weapon, for all it's age.  But then, I still work fine too.
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#38 Charro

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 04:49 PM

Not to mention Royal Enfied has many and great SERVICE MANUALS. The U.S. distributor Classic Motorworks also has great phone tech support. I wish IMWA would follow that lead.

Dont get me wrong I love my Urals, but I'm looking very close at a 500 Bullet to add to my stable.

Andy
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#39 Baxter's driver

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 07:28 PM

Just to be clear, I'd run the RE as a solo; the only hack in the stable would the Ural.  I've bumped into Jay Dauntless a couple of times at sidecar shingdings and he's always after me to hang a hack off of my GS.  

The hard part is explaining to the Finance Minister that really three bikes makes sense.  A year-rounder foul-weather special in the Ural, a long-distance, high-speed multi-day road (paved or gravel) tripper in the GS, and an in-town commuter that could do light touring, such as half-day or overnighters in an RE.

Gosh, who could refute that logical position.  (Of course when outlining this theory to my Dad, he just fixed me with a look and then asked, "then what's the Jeep for?")   :D
Once you go hack, you'll never go back.

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#40 ChuckofTahoe

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Posted 04 August 2006 - 09:22 PM

Does anyone know how a RE setup with sidecar would work?  Cost etc?  I gather it would be very underpowered at best.

No reverse gear or option to drive the second wheel?

The reason I ask is there is a RE dealer in the Reno area.  Nearest Ural dealer is in the valley Sacramento area.

Chuck

#41 Baxter's driver

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Posted 04 August 2006 - 09:33 PM

Check the RE website, they list hacks as accessories.
Once you go hack, you'll never go back.

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#42 Ragman

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Posted 04 August 2006 - 10:23 PM

It would be unwise to make such a choice based on distance from a dealer - the RE is a superb solo machine.. It behaves marginally with a sidecar.  To adapt the machine to have a sidecar would cost money, making the machine cost much the same, or more than a Tourist, which is a superb combination machine, that does not do good as a solo.

Urals are built as sidecar rigs, Enfields are not.  Urals come with leading link forks, Enfields do not.  Urals also have a torque hauling 750 twin, Enfields do not.

If I could only have one solo bike, I would keep my RE bullet.  If I could only have one bike, and it have a sidecar, I would keep the Ural.

Being miles away from a dealer makes not much difference - If you do not feel comfortable working on the bike -  -  -  DO NOT BUY IT. both Urals, and Enfields do not do well if you cannot do the necessary regular servicing, that involves turning a wrench, and doing adjustments.   If you want a bike that you turn the key, and take to the dealer, you really do not want either of the bikes...  

Converting a Royal Enfield to run sidecar, or buying the rig equipped, has a tag of at least $8900, possibly more nowadays - it was early last year that I saw one and enquired.
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#43 Leon

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Posted 05 August 2006 - 12:20 AM

What does underpowered mean really?  In the Philippines, the Royal Enfield Bullet 500 at 28bhp would be considered quite powerful for a sidecar rig.  Even the 350 would be regarded with awe.  

We have thousands of sidecar rigs serving as short range everyday public transportation all over the islands.  Called tricycles, these are usually Japanese machines with displacements normally ranging from 125 to 200ccs paired with a metal sidecar that features a metal roof for both passengers, pillion and driver.  Power would range between 10 and 18 bhp depending on the make, condition and displacement of the motorcycle.  These can take 5 small adults plus hand carried baggage.   Tricycles operate like taxis between minor transportation hubs and final neighborhood destinations.  The trips would normally be around 2 to three kilometers.  Normal operating speeds go up to 45 kmh.  That is plenty enough to get them where they are going without spilling their cargo.

The tricycle drivers of the Philippines are a proud bunch and adorn their rigs with chrome bits,  colorful streamers pinstriping, decals and lettering proclaiming "Macho Man", "American Gigolo" and other machoisms picked up from showbiz, just as Russian Iron drivers dub their machines with similarly boastful Russian or American monickers.

The appreciation of power is relative to what"s available it seems.  Of course the tricycle drivers do not attempt to enter the freeways neither climb steep hills nor wander off road into the jungle (although I've seen them operate in muddy potholed roads where four wheelers fear to tread).  But they enjoy their rigs just the same.

#44 Ragman

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Posted 05 August 2006 - 09:00 AM

Those trikes are amazing - I could imagine Chicago with hordes of them clogging the streets...
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#45 Baxter's driver

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Posted 05 August 2006 - 11:30 AM

Leon, those are good points you made.

Underpowered or adequate power depends on where you are going to run a rig.  Where I live in Central Oregon the mainline speed on our two-lane highways is posted at 55mph but most folks are running at 65-70.  We Webfoots are a proud, lead-footed bunch.   :blush:

Posted speed for most arterial streets in American cities are in the 35-45 mph range.  Having an RE-sidecar with a cruising speed of the mid- to upper 30s is not a rig I'd want to take into urban traffic.

Also, such a rig would be citybound.  Even if you did decide to take off to the next town on a rig that was going to be traveling at half the speed of everyone else (truly a bad idea) it would take forever to get anywhere.  Where I live the distance to the next urban center is almost 100 miles in any direction save north.  NW Nevada is even worse.  And that's not even taking into account the terrain of the American West.

I love the looks of the RE sidecar outfits I've seen, but to me they are more a novelty than a serious outfit.  I'll stick with my Ural and its massive 42 horses.  :lol:
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