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Old 06-26-2009, 09:33 PM   #1
bikeosaurus2000 OP
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'08 Royal Enfields - Are They Reliable?

It seems like the older I get, the less impressed I am with big, fancy, hi-tech do-it-all bikes, and the more I miss the smaller, simpler bikes of my youth. With that in mind, lately I've been eyeing a couple of brand new '08 model Royal Enfields. It's important to note that, while I'm ready and eager to learn, I know next to nothing about wrenching at this point.

So just how reliable is an '08 Royal Enfield? Is it something that's best left to around town commuting, or might I be able to do some out-of-state touring now and then? Speed and flash I do not need. Slow and easy works just great. But it's the reliability issue I'm concerned about.

Thanks in advance, everyone!
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Old 06-26-2009, 09:50 PM   #2
Brtp4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikeosaurus2000
It seems like the older I get, the less impressed I am with big, fancy, hi-tech do-it-all bikes, and the more I miss the smaller, simpler bikes of my youth. With that in mind, lately I've been eyeing a couple of brand new '08 model Royal Enfields. It's important to note that, while I'm ready and eager to learn, I know next to nothing about wrenching at this point.

So just how reliable is an '08 Royal Enfield? Is it something that's best left to around town commuting, or might I be able to do some out-of-state touring now and then? Speed and flash I do not need. Slow and easy works just great. But it's the reliability issue I'm concerned about.

Thanks in advance, everyone!
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Old 06-27-2009, 06:30 AM   #3
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I've heard they are very reliable, low compression and HP helps with that. Heard bolts come lose from time to time, but Harleys do that to.
I would like to get the military model with the metal saddle bags, I use that bike on my PS3 game Motorstorm, and they have caricter that would go well with our 1980 Wanderlodge bus.
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Old 06-27-2009, 11:50 AM   #4
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A search of this site will yield quite a few threads discussing the Royal Enfield. It was my interest in these bikes that got me back into motorcycling after a long hiatus. I've been to India many times over the years and always enjoyed looking and listening to these wonderful bikes. From what I've read, the older pre unit construction models were not very reliable. They required a lot work so you had better enjoy wrenching if you own one. The newer UC models have yet to be tested for reliability but the new owners state that they are committed to building such. There's a few very enthusiastic owners here on ADV, so look around.

Good RE ride report

RE thread

RE thread
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Old 06-28-2009, 08:56 PM   #5
bikeosaurus2000 OP
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Thanks, Everyone

I'm enjoying those threads and I plan to do more reading over at the official Royal Enfield forum. So far it's looking pretty good.

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Old 06-28-2009, 10:46 PM   #6
Thumper500
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I love my Bullet...

Hi bikeosuarus2000, I bought a new 500 Classic back in June of '03. I can honestly tell you I have had more fun on this bike than any other I have owned, and there have been a few.

It was shipped to me in the original crate from a dealer in Indiana (no local dealer). It really ran rough when I first started it up, but I broke in the engine just like the manual explained to do. I have over 3700 miles on it now and it runs waaaay smoother. Setting the valves was a constant chore for the first 1000 miles or so. Every time I filled the tank I would set the valves. The valve train was just seating itself and they got pretty clattery if you let them go too long. Got good at it quick though. Start to finish it was easily done in 5-10 minutes.

The bike has never left me stranded. The only repairs have been a broken spot weld on the chain guard and faulty ground on the tail light. Both were pretty easy fixes.

I take it out occasionally on the local dirt trails in the Black Hills (SD) and I don't feel worried that it will let me down.



The pic is after a ride of several hours on said dirt roads.

That is my experience with my '03. I can only guess that the '08's are even better, but to me this may equate to less charm and eccentricity.
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Old 06-29-2009, 02:45 AM   #7
Rich Dubbya
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The new G5s are supposed to be awesome . No break in needed ( so they say), self adjusting valves , EFI ( that can get yanked out if desired ) and Brembo disc brakes . And the still get 70+MPG . Plus they're capable of up to 85-90mph top speed with a sprocket kit and air box removal so you won't get ran over on the interstate if needed to take.
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Old 06-30-2009, 12:16 AM   #8
dharmaracer
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Just a few thoughts to share on the Bullets (as they are called)..

The come in both the 350 and 500 version (in India). The 500 version is what is sold in the US.

The 500's that is being sold now have sorted out quite a few of the problems that plagued the earlier models. More importantly the quality of the machines exported to USA/Europe/UK etc are much better than what is sold in India (the indians can live with the poor quality:-))

Technically these machines are no great shakes. The technology in them is still from back then. The valves are operated using a tappet rod mechanism as opposed to modern bikes with cam chains and other high tech stuff.

From a riding standpoint, it entirely depends on what you want the bike for. If you are doing normal cruising/riding on paved and even broken tarmac/gravel etc the bikes are great. cushy ride,enough low end torque to get you out of sticky situations.

But if you plan to rev the hell out of it, be prepared for some tappet adjustment (wrenching), possible seizures or worse. The bike isn't built for hard revs as you work the gears..

From my experience of riding these bikes for the last countless years they have been a great riding machine. I have taken them to the Himalayas year on year and have had great experiences, all with saddle bags and tons of luggage..I did take part in the Raid-de-Himalaya on a 500 and it obviously packed up. (bottom end bearing gone)

The new 500 EFI Classic are built on what RE calls a integrated unit and I believe these are quite reliable. Yet to launch in India but the news from Europe is that its a good machine.

Anand
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Old 06-30-2009, 01:21 AM   #9
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Yesssss, the bottom end bearing.... I was in Bhutan on tour with the older 500's & one of them packed it in. The mechanic traveling along with the group had the spare parts & changed them out in a parking lot.... not the first one either.



So all new engine... I'm told the unit design engines have different bearings than the the older one... is that true? More important I think is why do they fail... is it a design problem or a bearing manufacturer problem. I do not know.
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Old 06-30-2009, 08:57 AM   #10
dharmaracer
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I could chalk that up to an advantage..being able to fix a bullet anywhere..esp in India and if you can't fix it. lean it on the nearest wall and catch a ride to the nearest town, village etc...

..you cant do that with a beemer...:-)

i think the bottom end going wrong is a combination of both old tech-engineering and bad quality bearings....

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Old 06-30-2009, 09:38 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Augie
I've heard they are very reliable, low compression and HP helps with that. Heard bolts come lose from time to time, but Harleys do that to.
.
It's not 1974 and Harley's don't do that. I put over 40,000 miles on an '04 Ultra and never had a bolt come lose. I thought the subject was Royal Enfields.
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Old 06-30-2009, 01:07 PM   #12
kdxkawboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lfmn
and Harley's don't do that. I put over 40,000 miles on an '04 Ultra and never had a bolt come lose. .
Umhh ... got a friend with a '07 Sportster and the vibration caused a bolt to saw through a wiring harness.
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Old 06-30-2009, 04:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lfmn
It's not 1974 and Harley's don't do that. I put over 40,000 miles on an '04 Ultra and never had a bolt come lose. I thought the subject was Royal Enfields.
Sorry lfmn, that wasn't really a cut on Harley's.
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdxkawboy
Umhh ... got a friend with a '07 Sportster and the vibration caused a bolt to saw through a wiring harness.
umhh I had a Valkyrie and the bolt on the windshield bracket came loose so I guess Hondas have the same problem.

lfmn screwed with this post 06-30-2009 at 06:34 PM
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:34 PM   #15
lfmn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Augie
Sorry lfmn, that wasn't really a cut on Harley's.
It doesn't sound like a compliment, but this is a forum where people are free to post what they want. On an Adventure bike forum dominated by BMW I don't expect to win this battle. I'm not sure why I'm fighting the battle since I don't even have a Harley anymore.

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