Sometime earlier this year Royal Enfield launched a new variant of the oldest motorcycle in continuous production, the Bullet. The Bullet series has been in production in India since 1955 when Redditch company partnered with Madras Motors in India to form ‘Enfield India’ to produce the 350 CC Royal Enfield Bullet.
The Bullet motorcycles have had a very old connection with me, from the times I would wait to hear the thump of my father’s Standard Bullet 350 when he came to pick me up after school to my uncle’s ex-armed forces G2 Bullet which he picked from the army disposal auction at Panagarh.
Last March they launched the Bullet Trials Works Replica 350 & 500 motorcycles in India. The question that popped in my mind, ‘Another Bullet! Why?’
I managed to take a spin on the 500 variant last week and this is what I found. The motorcycle is based on Bullet 500, which essentially means there is no change to the engine. This engine is the tried and tested 499 CC air-cooled fuel injected unit doing its job in the older variants of the Bullet. Oodles of low-end torque from the word go makes it an easy to manage motorcycle, in traffic or trails alike. Yes, trails and Yes, the motorcycle is called the Trials.
Back in 1948, the Trials Bullet was the first production motorcycle to feature a swinging arm suspension. And, the Trials Replica is a homage to the motorcycling legend, Johnny Brittain. He, as a young 18-year-old had great success at the International Six Days’ Trials with the Royal Enfield Factory Team.
The motorcycle has a stripped-down look, with a luggage rack where the pillion seat should have been. Maintaining an old school charm with a dash of bright coloured frames. Functional, with higher handlebars, raised mudguards and knobby tires to make it more capable off-road. An upswept exhaust to tackle deep water crossings without any worry. Though, personally, I would have loved slightly taller handlebars. With all these old-school and functional bits, Royal Enfield also ensured modern dual-channel ABS working in tandem with the block pattern tires to provide all the grip and stopping power you would need across varied terrains. Add to this a bunch of classy accessories to make the motorcycle look butch.
I have said this before and will say this again, Royal Enfield knows how to integrate a bullet motorcycle in your lifestyle. Did we really need another bullet or even a function-specific trials motorcycle? Maybe, Not. But they DO make it desirable. And that is what sets this motorcycle apart, with history and legacy from an armed forces work-horse to a lifestyle statement today and a fabulous service network across the country, Royal Enfield knows how to sell a lifestyle.