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PHOTOS: How Royal Enfield made the Bullet sexy again

June 10, 2013 12:39 IST

PHOTOS: How Royal Enfield made the Bullet sexy again

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Royal Enfield has brought back the powerful Bullet in a new avatar and everyone seems to love it.

After capturing the heart of bikers across the world with its simple yet rugged looks, Royal Enfield has taken out a new, improved and powerful Bullet 500 which is styled on the motorbike's vintage 1955 looks, recalling bad boy Marlon Brando in The Wild One. Enfield's aim is to differentiate itself from the boy-toy bikes in the market with a real man's machine. One other idea Enfield has got spot on is the new colour option of Forest Green, though many traditionalists may stick with the emblematic black.


Photographs: Courtesy Royalenfield.com

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Heart of the matter

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The first thing that catches your eye in the new Bullet is the 499cc engine the bike is powered by. The chrome twin-spark covers reveal that the classic motorcycle has come of age having adopted new-age technology. The iron cast and troublesome 346cc engine have been given the boot. This unit construction engine is a major achievement for the company. The previous engine was not integrated with the gearbox, and, as a result, it was crude and literally required a kick for gear shifting. But now, being a single unit, it is an effortless experience. This engine is the same as the one that drives the Classic 500 and Thunderbird 500, but its power output is 1BHP less. The torque too is marginally less. The reason for this is that the Bullet 500 uses a carburettor with a throttle-position sensor instead of electronic fuel injection employed in the Classic and Thunderbird. This also makes the Bullet 500 slightly more affordable than its other avatars.

Press the starter button and the 500 roars alive. Twist the throttle and the Bullet responds immediately. This 193-kg bike is no slouch in the traffic. The 5-speed constant-mesh gearbox's ratios are synchronised in such a way that riding in the city is a breeze.


Photographs: Courtesy Royalenfield.com
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Ride quality

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The seating posture makes you feel like the king of the urban jungle with a feet-forward stance. The traditional seat keeps you comfortable as you enjoy a long-distance ride. Contrary to its design, this thumper happily tames dangerous curves and turns, but we suggest you don't go overboard or the foot pegs will scrape the road. The huge front telescopic suspensions manage to carry out their responsibilities but it's the rear, twin gas-charged shock absorbers that deserve all the credit. They make sure that the ride quality is not a bone-jarring nightmare.

Despite the massive 280-mm front disc with twin calipers and 153-mm rear drum brakes, the Bullet 500's stopping powers are still spongy and poor. Vibration levels can also be unnerving. Cruising in the region of 60-80 kmph is fine, but anywhere near the three-figure mark and the handlebar and footrests start to jig.


Photographs: Courtesy Royalenfield.com
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Final word

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We love the winged Royal Enfield badging on the side of the fuel tank and the new Forest Green colour. The seating stance and the cushioning saddle get a thumbs up too, but the retro chrome rear-view mirrors are useless and are decorative pieces at best. A fuel meter would have certainly been helpful. It is a great lifestyle machine and a practical bike for urban conditions. Available for Rs 1.53 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), it is expensive but then it commands respect like no other bikes does.


Photographs: Courtesy Royalenfield.com

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