There are bikes that bring back that retro feel and give you an old school look. There are plenty of such examples from the stables of Triumph or even Kawasaki. There are few bikes, however, from the golden era of British motorcycling. These brands not only capture that old school charm, but are actually be old school. The Royal Enfield company is a thorough bred British brand that shifted to Southern India in the mid 70's. The thing about this brand is, that they have kept everything as is. The Royal Enfield Bullet for example, has stayed the same since the 1950's. Till early 2010, even the engine retained a cast iron shell!
The Royal Enfield Bullet is available in two engine trims, 500 and 350. The classic 500 is a bike that is straight out of the history books. As far as looks go, there are few bikes in the world today that are as genuine looking as the classic 500. It is beyond stylish and will make heads turn where ever you go and holds itself well among larger, more powerful and modern bikes.
But if you want a machine that can kill you with just its speed, or want a nimble little thing that can take you comfortably through traffic, this is not for you.
The Royal Enfield Bullet is far from perfect. It is low, so making those steep bends may be an issue. The rear drums require a bit of stomping before they bite; the bike has no ABS. It also has a top speed of 85 mph and starts to vibrate at those speeds.
What the Royal Enfield Bullet lacks in technological upgrades like most of those retro looking bikes, is the charm of a good ride. Build up a steady pace, settle down into cruise mode and the bike will give you a glimpse into heaven.
The Royal Enfield Bullet is beautiful, sharing the chassis from the other Bullets and looking as it did when it first rolled out of the production lines in the 50's. The engine has seen a few upgrades, thanks to EU norms but it can still deliver a healthy 85mpg.
Apart from being economical to run, the Bullet is also economical to own. A new one comes in at less than £5000. The reason for this is, it is all made in the South Indian City of Chennai, and has been for the last 40 years. When biking as a culture saw a downswing in the 70's the demand just started to rise in India and it moved there.
The bike, the engine, the chassis, and the general fit and finish is robust and built to last forever. The lower end revs output a good amount of torque and that only adds to the charm of this bike. It's rugged nature, borne out of the road conditions in India, make it a perfect commuter bike in the UK.
Buy the Royal Enfield Classic 500 for good times, a level of style and class, and for the simple joy of riding, not for the performance, speed or power.
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