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Old 10-22-2013, 08:15 AM   #1
wannabe1 OP
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Joined: Oct 2006
Oddometer: 546
Talk me out of a Royal Enfield

You know I always wanted a vintage or vintage looking bike. I have had all kinds of modern bikes through the years. I have always done my own basic maintenance. I was out kicking tires at one of my local dealers last week and noticed they had 2 leftover or maybe demo Royal Enfields both with low miles. One was an 07, the other an 04, both were priced less than $3K. I have researched these bikes a little and know they are vibey, low speed, non highway short distance bikes that require a good bit of maintenace to run properly. These are the cast iron barreled carburated bikes. I have read about the sprag clutch issues and know the e-start will not work for very long if used often so I would accept that it is a kick start only bike with the well documented starting procedure. What I don't want is a catastrophic failure of some kind and repair work that requires a dealer or more mechanical skills than I have.

I have considered Honda CB350s and some other Japanese vintage bikes but they just don't have that classic Brit bike look like the RE bullets have.
Yes I know I would be much better off with a modern reto like a triumph bonneville, but then the cost factor goes up.

What does the asylum say?
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Old 10-22-2013, 09:18 AM   #2
Nadgett
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I wouldn't mind having one to potter about on but I wouldn't have one as my only bike.

They do look nice.

Nadgett screwed with this post 10-22-2013 at 09:23 AM
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Old 10-22-2013, 09:20 AM   #3
England-Kev
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Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Berkshire, England. Just off the Beaten Track!
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Buy one, no question.
Great bike, great fun.

An American friend came over to visit last year, and we lent him an Enfield 350 of 90's vintage. we then loaded it up with full camping kit and toured Wales for a week, it handled all we threw at it.



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Old 10-22-2013, 09:24 AM   #4
Nadgett
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Those pictures are amazing!
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Old 10-22-2013, 10:02 AM   #5
caponerd
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Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Halfway between Munich and Redditch.
Oddometer: 1,970
Look around for a good UK made Royal Enfield like an Interceptor, or one of the US Market variants badged as Indians.


One of mine in its most recent incarnation.



An original. They're out there, and often, not overly expensive.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:20 AM   #6
bmwhacker
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Location: MONTANA NATIVE from NATIVE MONTANA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wannabe1 View Post
You know I always wanted a vintage or vintage looking bike. I have had all kinds of modern bikes through the years. I have always done my own basic maintenance. I was out kicking tires at one of my local dealers last week and noticed they had 2 leftover or maybe demo Royal Enfields both with low miles. One was an 07, the other an 04, both were priced less than $3K. I have researched these bikes a little and know they are vibey, low speed, non highway short distance bikes that require a good bit of maintenace to run properly. These are the cast iron barreled carburated bikes. I have read about the sprag clutch issues and know the e-start will not work for very long if used often so I would accept that it is a kick start only bike with the well documented starting procedure. What I don't want is a catastrophic failure of some kind and repair work that requires a dealer or more mechanical skills than I have.

I have considered Honda CB350s and some other Japanese vintage bikes but they just don't have that classic Brit bike look like the RE bullets have.
Yes I know I would be much better off with a modern reto like a triumph bonneville, but then the cost factor goes up.

What does the asylum say?

I've also been fascinated by the Enfield Singles. I'm always watching for a decent buy on one.
Camped next to a couple last year in NE. ...the gal was riding an unladen 500 Bullet and they were touring the mid west.
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Old 10-22-2013, 02:13 PM   #7
jeep44
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Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Canton,Michigan
Oddometer: 1,926
I have an '07 RE Bullet-I've owned it since new. I was very disappointed with the performance of this bike until I replaced that Indian Mikuni that came on the bike with the 930 Amal Concentric kit that the US supplier sells.The Mikuni was constantly plugging up, and it wouldn't run unless it was on full choke all the time. The bike is transformed now-better acceleration, better running,better idling. Don't expect this machine to be a freeway bike-it's happiest around 45-50 mph. Anything above that is asking for trouble.
I've had no other trouble with the bike. With the old carb on it, I got lots of kickback on the sprag clutch, especially when shutting it off. Replacing the carb, and perhaps more importantly, a careful resetting of the timing (not an easy thing to do) resulted in a bike that starts instantly with the button, or with the kickstart. I had intended to replace the points ignition with an electronic one (and the hotter Bosch coil), but it's running so well those parts are on the shelf for now. The parts supply for these bikes is excellent, and the US supplier has put together all sorts of useful and practical kits for them. There is a whole array of upgrade and performance parts for these,too.

Edit: I forgot-these bikes are hard on clutch cables. The forum is full of stories about them breaking, and I had the handlebar end pull off on mine once,too. Fortunately, I was carrying a spare, and changed it out by the side of the road. So, always carry a spare, preferably taped to the one in use, and know how to change it with the tools that you should be carrying in the spacious toolbox (the little factory-supplied toolkit is not sufficient-figure out the wrenches you'll need, and pack them in the kit before you break a cable out in BFE)
I also upgraded the small factory headlight to a bigger replacement one, sold as a kit,of course. Better light, and better looking,too. Oh, and I added a side stand-I like to set it on the side stand when I get off, and then put it on the center stand.

last edit: get used to the looks on people's faces when they ask what year your bike is. They are expecting to hear "1955"-not "2007"

jeep44 screwed with this post 10-22-2013 at 02:30 PM
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Old 10-22-2013, 02:54 PM   #8
jeep44
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Here's my Enfield, when it still had the Mikuni, and the big, heavy air box on it.

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Old 10-22-2013, 04:13 PM   #9
usgser
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Location: Westside WA
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Go for it. Clean used iron barrel 500's are cheap to buy. Learn to live with their minor quirks(nothing serious) they're fun reliable machines and easy to maintain. Lotsa fun for the price. Not a rocket sled by anyones idea but good all around standard motorcycles.
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Old 10-22-2013, 05:44 PM   #10
Speedo66
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"Yes I know I would be much better off with a modern reto like a triumph bonneville, but then the cost factor goes up."

Have you considered a Kaw W650? Think of it as a Triumph Lite. Everything you wanted in a Triumph without the headaches.

I've owned vintage Triumphs, love to look at them, hate the electrical problems, oil leaks, being stranded, etc.
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Old 10-22-2013, 09:02 PM   #11
bmwhacker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeep44 View Post
Here's my Enfield, when it still had the Mikuni, and the big, heavy air box on it.

nice look'in scoot jeep!
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Old 10-23-2013, 05:36 AM   #12
anotherguy
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If you understand exactly what you're buying and what it takes to ride it go for it. I always say "if it has two wheels and isn't fun you're doing it wrong."
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:07 AM   #13
Farmwalker
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Joined: Sep 2013
Location: Southern WI
Oddometer: 40
Have you thought about one of these?

Cleveland Cycle Works Misfit

I'm not sure if its exactly the style you want, but a brand new one lists for $3,200. It has a 250cc Honda copy engine. Supposed to be a pretty good bike.
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Old 10-24-2013, 07:33 PM   #14
HapHazard
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Location: Central CT
Oddometer: 2,152
Quote:
Originally Posted by wannabe1 View Post
You know I always wanted a vintage or vintage looking bike. I have had all kinds of modern bikes through the years. I have always done my own basic maintenance. I was out kicking tires at one of my local dealers last week and noticed they had 2 leftover or maybe demo Royal Enfields both with low miles. One was an 07, the other an 04, both were priced less than $3K. I have researched these bikes a little and know they are vibey, low speed, non highway short distance bikes that require a good bit of maintenace to run properly. These are the cast iron barreled carburated bikes. I have read about the sprag clutch issues and know the e-start will not work for very long if used often so I would accept that it is a kick start only bike with the well documented starting procedure. What I don't want is a catastrophic failure of some kind and repair work that requires a dealer or more mechanical skills than I have.

I have considered Honda CB350s and some other Japanese vintage bikes but they just don't have that classic Brit bike look like the RE bullets have.
Yes I know I would be much better off with a modern reto like a triumph bonneville, but then the cost factor goes up.

What does the asylum say?
Did you ride one of these Enfields? If you just plan to look at a bike and not ride it, I'd say the Enfield would be perfect.

Seriously, though if it's just a "vintage look" and you want something to ride with no reliability headaches, the Suzuki TU250 fits the bill. But ride one of those, too.

I'd make a suggestion of a Bonneville, too.

The oil-in-frame Meriden 750 from 1974 (shifts on the "wrong side" for real vintage appeal) or 1975 up (shifts on the "right side" and has an electric leg). It's vintage enough, has good power, very good handling and some vintage maintenance to perform. Again, ride one.



The asylum has spoken, what do you think, OP?
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Old 10-24-2013, 09:23 PM   #15
PJay
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Oddometer: 464
Ah, my 2003 350 Bullet and its girlfriend:



With its sisters:



And my 1951 350 Bullet racer, in 2 guises:





And my 500 Bullet with friends:



Yeah, I like them well enough...
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