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MouthShut Score

92%
4.14 

Mileage:

Comfort:

Reliability:

Road Grip:

Appeal:

Rs. 1,78,016 (Ex-Showroom)

Royal Enfield

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Green Monster --- Classic 500 (Part 1)
May 10, 2011 07:47 PM 24336 Views
(Updated May 10, 2011 07:48 PM)

Mileage:

Comfort:

Reliability:

Road Grip:

Appeal:

Acquired the Royal Enfield Classic 500 (Teal Green) bike in Nov '10 and after having used it for 6 months a review is surely due. Hopefully it will help those who are planning on buying one; as also those who are proud owners of one.


I’ve owned the Bullet 500 (my other bike apart from the RD 350 and RX 100) since 1998 and so am fairly well acquainted with Bullets. First though, let me assert here that the Classic 500 is not a Bullet, nor is it a Royal Enfield bike. It is an entirely new offering from RE; and though the resemblance to the Bullets of yesteryear is obvious and intended, that is where the comparisons end. Since every other aspect of the bike; from the UCE engine to fuel injection to front disc brakes to gears on the left side; all aspects are "anti-bullet" or alien to any previous RE bike. Comparisons to the Electra, Thunderbird etc are also going to be misleading and so I am going to treat the bike as an entirely new entity. So on with this short review.


LOOKS: Are arguably the best among all the bikes available in India. The retro styling is stunning and draws stares of appreciation and longing right from bystanders to fellow bike owners and even riders on the old Bullets never fail to give it a once over. The colours of the Classic 500 are chosen well and this is the best paint job I have ever seen RE come up with. Quality of the paint is top notch, and the tank stickers are simply glorious and complement the thigh pads very well.


The single bycycle style seat is wide and comfortable, though the pillion seat is narrow and proves uncomfortable on longer rides. However, both seats give the bike a good look. The full mudguards with stays, round toolbox further enhance the bikes looks. The teal green colour is unique to the Classic 500 --- other colours are black and maroon. The Classic 350 comes in black, maroon and silver. Chrome jobs on the bike is top notch as well.


RIDE / HANDLING / PERFORMANCE: Also the best among any other bike in the RE stable. I took delivery of my bike from Chennai and rode 600 kms to my residence in Coonoor. It was a long ride (14 hrs) and tiring; because I took the opportunity to do the running in on this route. Was riding conservatively at between 40-60 Kms for 1-2 hrs, then stopping for 15 mins to cool down the engine and so on. Got a good feel of the bike on this long ride and relised that the comfort levels were high. The front shocks and gas rear shocks give it a good ride and even encountering bad roads did not unsettle the stability of the bike. The front disc brakes are superlative and give you so much of confidence, stopping power also the best among all the other Bullets. However, I was a bit disappointed with the rear brakes and feel RE could have done more with these. If you use only the rear brakes, they feel soggy and dont inspire confidence at all. Rear shoks can be adjusted (5 settings) for your personal preference.


Handling is surprisingly nimble for a 187 kg bike and the credit goes to the choice of tyres (19 inch MRF nylogrippers.) They offer very good grip and after getting warmed up and nice and sticky on the twisties. I would never dare to throw my other 500 around the Nilgiri hills as I can do with the Classic. Subsequenltly, I have been on a 200kms round trip (to Coimbatore) for the bikes first servicing and found straight line stability very good.So basically, 4 stars for Ride and Handling for the Classic 500.


Riding posture is good and the position of the handles is ideal. The seat is low enough, so that even short riders can plant both feet on the ground.


The negative is that on low right hand turns, the rear brake angle (which is routed below the silencer) scrapes the road and this can be unsettling. The situation in compounded if you press down on the brake on sharp right turns --- this reduces the ground clearance even more. However, once this happens a couple of times, it gives you an idea when it will happen and subsequently you need to control the lean angle to compensate. I had the scaping situation happen just once on left handed turns and it was probably the centre stand fulcrum. On hard braking the bike slows / stops quite authoritatively. You need to use both brakes together for good stopping. Though the bike can be thrown about a bit, one has to remember these issues and of course it depends on the individuals riding style. I must confess I ride the bike fairly conservatively and dont cross my self imposed limits --- the manouevers and turns which are possible on the RD 350 and the RX100 cannot be replicated on this bike.


MILEAGE: Frankly, I’ve never felt this to be an issue with a bike of this class. It is not a commuter bike; and those desiring good mileage need to look elsewhere. I'm getting between 30-36kms/l but am waiting for the bike to complete about 10, 000 or at least 5000 kms before I take a good check. Mind you, the bike has mostly been used in the hills and riders on the plains can expect better figures, though not that much better.


ENGINE / TRANSMISSION: Beats the old 22 bhp 500 hollow and miles ahead of the 350cc standard which puts out a measly 18bhp. The torque on offer is amazing and the gear (one down, 4 up) ratios are well thought of for easy cruising. However, should you want to rev her up the 27.5 BHP engine is game. And I have scared the pants off of many a street bike / commuter bike / old Bullets with its quick acceleration. Very few expext a Bullet to give such scorching performance. Occasional spurts of speed apart; the engine is content when it is cruising at betweel 80-100 and the miles just melt comfortably behind you.


The transmission is smooth, gears are slick and do not feel bullet like even though there is a false neutral between 2nd and 3rd. Clutch action is smooth and light; again a first for RE bikes. Oil seals do their job well and gone are the days when you could look at oil drips on the ground and deduce correctly that a Bullet had been parked there recently ! I have not noticed even one drop of oil in the last 6 months under the bike, at the spot where I normally park the bike overnight.


(Continued, see Part 2)


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