Plenty... I hopped mine up with a big bore kit and hotter cams, 32mm amul carb... Went from 12.8hp up to 26 +/-... Fun bike, requires attention but not a difficult bike to work on and keep in tune. I sold it to my friend a few years back, he's thinking of selling it (around 2300 bucks, very reasonable with two seats and three exhausts), contact me if you are in chicagoland area. For your first bike, you might want to concentrate on riding though, something with decent brakes (it's got drums front and rear). I'd look into a new triumph bonneville or thruxton if you really like this kind of bike... Older style, but modern technology. But if you don't mind occasionally wrenching, the RE bullet is a fun bike... Good luck!
Well, actually I can completely understand why someone would "focus on the...worst PoS available in the market".
I think they are really fun in that all-to-real, retro styling.
Only problem is, they are really unreliable. I've read a large number of nightmare reviews about everything breaking on them. I've also heard it is a bit of a mistake to buy one unless you are REALLY good with a wrench.
But I've also read a few reviews from owners saying that the bike was somewhat trouble free.
Pretty much, if you buy one, it will be like buying a tiumph/norton/BSA from the 60's. It will most likely need a lot of attention. If you're good with a wrench and don't mind spending "a bit more time" in the garage with your bike than go for it.
Otherwise, go for a new Triumph if you want the retro look with reliability.
If it is your first ever motorcycle, then... no, don't. Really.
If you really like the look of bikes from the 1950's and 60's, get one of the modern bikes that shares that look. Triumph's Bonneville has to be a top choice, otherwise it's the Kawasaki W650, although the Bonneville is a better bike.
The Enfield isn't so much a modern bike styled to look like a 1950's clunker as a genuine 1950's klunker with the barest minimum of updates applied over the last 50 years to allow it to still be sold.
It's horrible to ride, unless you are on a masochistic nostalgia trip, slow and gutless in the extreme, bits will vibrate themselves loose and fall off if you do long trips on it or fail to go round it tightening everything up once a week. The brakes barely work by modern standards, the gearbox redefines klunky, etc etc.
If you want a bike to gas and ride,this aint it. if you want a fast bike or a reliable weekend tourer,this aint it. if you are a vintage bike type of guy who likes tinkering with stuff and want to use it to cruise around the local two lane...go for it. An aquaintance of mine (who races and wrenches vintage race bikes) had one. He had an article from somewhere that outlined some fixes you should do immediately. I believe he changed ignition and carb. the bike was stone reliable by vintage standards. Basically,like any vintage bike,you need to adjust and tighten constantly(and always remember "Locktite is your friend).
To summarize: If you want a modern bike,this aint it If you want a vintage bike this is an easy,cheap and relatively carefree way to get into it.
India might become an economic powerhouse but as long as they are making Enfields I think we can conclude that manufacturing isn't where they are going to compete with us.
The genesis of this bike is insane. Import the decrepit tools and tooling of a defunct factory and then make the same piece of ***** product for FIFTY YEARS. (I always try to avoid web shouting but in this case I wish I could use 1000 point type)
The whole thing makes me proud, as an American, of Harley, and that takes some doing.
I do not think it would be wise to get one for a first bike, unless you are a trained mechanic or an extremely fast learner. I'm not speaking from experience with Enfields, but I had a finicky Honda grey-market 400 in my second season and I nearly lost my mind trying to keep it on the road (it was a Honda for chrissake, they aren't exactly unreliable). I've learned a lot since then, but diving into the whole 'arm deep in grease' masochistic experience from day one doesn't seem particularly wise. You may get turned off from the start because you picked a finicky bike, and never return to the sport. That would be the worst tragedy.
First off. As a first bike (ever) No. Don't do it. I'm an avid vintage bike guy but I still own a modern ride for days I can't be bothered with reliability issues. If you already have a good solid reliable bike and have a desire to own a british classic (and want a dealer network to go with it) then this a a great bike. It doesn't look like and old bike. It is an old bike. With 50 years of production and tons of parts and upgrades.
To those of you who dismiss it as just an old POS (so why bother), I can't change your mind and won't try. Much as I hate this phrase I think it's appropriate in this case... "You just don't get it".
Believe it or not there is more to bikes than reliability and top speed and mileage. The best thing about motorcycling is that it's ultimately a personal experience. There is room for track addicts, Iron Butt maniacs, MotoX or even Orange County Choppers (well maybe not OCC), I don't understand their motivation though I get do the passion.
Re: Wow. Are there some narrow minded folks on here.
Hmmm.. If you´d rather want to spend time riding the bike instead of fixing it, this is clearly not for you. And then, if you are really into dirty hands, you´d still be much better off with pretty much any other well worn used bike.
Why? Because however bad, the others have at least potential. This is pure crap from the shelf and it will remain so whatever you do.
But hey, where are the "its not the bike, its the rider"-folks when we need them?
I just wanted to thank everyone who has replied so far, and answer a few questions.
The reasons I am interested in one are that I like classic styling and that standard bikes seem to fit me well. I would probably want to use the bike as a commuter and for in-town riding, as well as for practicing and building up the confidence to ride something faster. And I've got some decent wrenching skills, having worked on a couple old cars.
A Bonneville might be interesting, but I can't afford a new one just yet (In fact, the Royal Enfield is a bit of a stretch right now.). It might be a good option for a second bike if I have some time to save up for one. Used Bonnevilles are hard but not impossible to find, and I have real trouble finding a used W650 where I live.
I probably won't make up my mind until I pass the MSF and get an uncertain job situation squared away, anyway.
I think if you have to ask if you should buy one you're not the right buyer. I'd love to have one, but they aren't sold here in CA. But, I have exhaustive experience with Triumphs and Nortons from the '60s. Unless you are one of us old Brit bike nuts I'd suggest you pass on this Royal Oilfield and consider it after you get a few motorbike miles under your belt. There's lots of good used Jap bikes out there.
The Royal Enfield is for Brit bike enthusiasts who want the experience of buying a brand new, original, old British motorcycle.
If you like retro stuff,this is the bike to own.You can still buy new factory parts.
One thing to always remember about the Enfield. On long rides make sure to take along the following items, a bottle off engine oil,a ball of string ,a roll of tie wire,a shifting spanner,pair of pliers,tube of gasket goo,roll of duct tape and a bag of spare nuts and bolts.Oh,I forgot the screwdrivers.If you follow my advice you can ride the bike just about anywhere and feel like you've been transported back to the 1950's.
A guy aound the corner from me bought one for his wife. They love it. It does require a little more attantion than other bikes, but it is old tech and easy to work on. His other bike is an old Norton Dominator. He looks down his nose at my wretched collection of Japanese and European bikes that are ONLY 25-30 years old.
Now that I have read the other replies, I would agree. This bike is not for you. If you like classic styling and a standard riding position, may I suggest getting a well preserved older Japanes bike? The earlier Yamaha XS650s were somewhat classicly styled, and they were manufactured in abundance. You can get VERY well preserved examples much cheaper than a new Enfield.
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