When you think India, you think: Curry, Taj Mahal, Himalayas, Royal Enfield… (if you’re a biker!). Their slogan “Made Like a Gun” does sum up their bikes extremely well – true battlehorses that will take you wherever you need to go. And although they might let you down from time to time – they will always look after you.
India’s Royal Enfield have been creating modern classics since 1902. They are the creators of the world renowned Bullet, Electra, Classic and Thunderbird series. In the early 50’s’s Madras Motors in India received an order from the Indian Army for 300 of the 350cc Bullets. It was due to this order that Royal Enfields and India are synonymous even to this day. The people of India found these bikes ideal for their poor roads and rocky terrain. This led to Royal Enfield Motorcycles being exclusively manufactured and assembled in India. Several design features were added to the Bullet enabling it to withstand the Indian weather for example the hubs were redesigned to enhance the braking thanks to more efficient cooling. The mudguard was also altered due to the wet and muddy terrain during rainy season.
With a real 50’s feel the favourite has to be the 2013 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 B5 EFI launched in India. From a distance you’d be hard pushed to tell the difference between it and the first Bullet from 1955. Brand new but has the same sound and feel of the original. Although it looks retro it does have some modern features such as a one touch electric starter. You wouldn’t say it was fast but its power is up from 22 to 27 bhp. It has a top speed of roughly 85 mph however you should try to avoid riding these things in a rush though as they don’t like high revs! But riding a Bullet has never been about going fast anyway! There is also one little niggle – although an improvement from the older models the braking still isn’t great. The basic Bullet comes in at just under £4,000… whichever way you look at it, that’s a bargain for such a great and fun bike!
The best way to experience this bike is of course: Indian Motorcycle Touring. A country full of diverse landscapes, culture and terrain – there will never be a dull moment cruising around on one of these machines!