Enfield Bullet in red

Royal Enfield Bullet 500 first ride

Author: Alun Davies

That was a nice surprise. This morning I checked the Triumph Sprint into Arden Motorcycles in Alcester to have a new chain and sprocket set fitted. The plan was that my son would pick me up and drop me back at the office in Stratford upon Avon, a drive of around 10 miles.

As I dropped off the bike, I got talking to Simon, one of the owners, who asked if I’d like to borrow a Royal Enfield Bullet? Would I coco! So this morning I’ve been tootling around the lanes of South Warwickshire on a 500cc Bullet and what a ride into the past it’s been.

The Enfield in question is one of the new models with engine and gearbox as one but the feel, style and ride of the machine had me wandering back to the first days I slipped a leg over a chunk of metal on two wheels.

I’ve only had a couple of hours in the saddle but it was wide smile fun, even in the wet. The bike looks like something I’d enjoy taking apart and fixing myself, there’s just nothing to be intimidated by, simplicity is the word – though it does come with fuel injection these days – and for that reason I can see why lots of folk tour on these blasts from the past.

The engine ‘putts’ into life, it clanks into first and you’re in top (five gears) before 30mph. Acceleration is not a strong point, though who cares on a machine like this. I found 50mph a comfortable spot, anything above and the buzzing from the big single started to work it’s way through to the bone and at 70mph it was like sitting on a washing machine during the spin cycle.

I’d better do some work now or I’ll be getting the other bullet.