Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Royal Enfeild bullet 500

The Royal Enfield Bullet is an anomaly among motorcycles. The bullet is a single cylinder production bike that has remained relatively unchanged since the 1950's. this model along with the Continental GT were Enfield's greats and among the bikes considered to be some of the original cafe racers. Enfield, like many of the British motorcycle manufacturers, started out as a rifle maker, in fact, their tag line for the bikes was "Made like a gun, goes like a bullet". They produced precision firearms and the motorcycles that they produced during early years were of equal quality. The story goes, that the Indian government ordered such large amounts of the Bullet that Enfield set up a factory in India to meet the demand. Production continued there while in 1971, the Enfield company folded in response to the rise of the Japanese bike blitzkrieg. By this time, an Indian company was the majority shareholder of Enfield's Indian production arm. The tooling and rights to the Bullet were purchased for a song and they've been in production ever since. All that, makes the Bullet the longest motorcycle production run of all time...Lesson complete.

Extra credit:

This brings us to Russ's 1995 Bullet 500. Russ, my friend and appreciator of all things cafe, decided on a Bullet for his first bike. He's made limited modifications so far, but what he's done has made a huge difference. So far for looks, he hid the normally exposed electrics, put on a new tank off eBay, a seat and clubman bars off the Enfield gear site. Go fast parts are currently limited to a new mikuni carb to replace the garbage original and a reverse megaphone muffler. Plans for the future include new sticky tires and a stock triumph style seat. I'll keep posting pictures as the bike evolves.

Here's the bike on a sunny, 70 degree December day here in Austin...

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