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Bike Profile - Posted 16th June 2010

Royal Enfield EFI Bullet 500, Part 4
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Jonathan Roy has now clocked up nearly 2000 miles on his 500cc single. 70mph and 80mpg seem to be the order of the day…...

'Ruby' as my 2009 Royal Enfield 500 is now affectionately known, has now covered the best part of 1800 trouble-free miles. I have gradually been using more revs and exploring the torque and acceleration characteristics of the unit construction, lean-burn engine. 60mph in fifth (top) gear is a very relaxed cruising speed on A-roads and bypasses. Dropping down into fourth will get the Enfield moving faster for overtaking; mainly good for passing lorries, buses or the occasional Morris Minor !

Nice daffs... 2009 Royal Enfield EFI Bullet 500

Since there is no rev counter I cannot give readers accurate engine speed through the gears but getting to 60/70 doesn't seem to take long. The first four cogs seem nicely spaced and fifth is a good 'overdrive' which can be used from 50mph upwards without complaint. My wife enjoyed the pillion experience and the Bullet coped well with our combined weight on the 30-odd mile run we enjoyed on a sunnier afternoon recently. In fact, I thought that the rear suspension felt more responsive than it does with just me on the bike. As I have said before, the shocks do seem stiff even when on the lowest setting. Perhaps they are just going to need a lot of mileage to 'break in' or perhaps I just prefer a softer ride as I get older.

There has been no oil use or leaks and my local Royal Enfield dealer, Chris at C&C Motorcycles, says that the 15W/50 semi-synthetic won't need changing until 3000 miles. The engine does seem to get very hot and the silencer 'pings' for a long time after a ride. The downpipe is yellowing near the sensor mounting and I think this is due to the engine producing more exhaust heat than the earlier iron barrel Bullets.

Efi motor probably runs lean, too... 2009 Royal Enfield EFI Bullet 500 - Pipe yellowing near sensor

I have only recently noticed another connector or sensor that goes into the back of the barrel and leads back to the fuel injection unit. This may explain why the engine sometimes ticks over at a high rpm once it's warm; blipping the throttle doesn't help as it has done with some of my previous motorcycles. This is hopefully not harmful but a bit annoying at traffic lights, etc. I wonder if other EFI owners have noticed this?

A new experience for me was adjusting the chain using the old fashioned (British?) rotating cam device instead of the Japanese-style 'concentric' ones. The two nuts that have to be loosened first were also A/F sizes and I ended up having to get help from a local bike shop since I didn't have the 24mm and 30mm sockets which were the nearest match to do the job. (So thanks Darren at Coombe Valley Motorcycles!). I have to say that I prefer the more modern set up which seems less fiddly and more precise than the one on the Enfield. Perhaps this will be a future upgrade? Chain wear does not seem heavy; there's plenty of life left in it yet. I have been greasing the drive chain regularly but surface rust does appear on the outer links if I don't use the bike for a week.

Visiting a petrol station is a rare event. I seem to put £5 in the tank which lasts for longer than I thought it would and having the low fuel warning light is always extra reassurance that running out altogether should never happen.

Nothing has failed, not even a blown bulb and the Enfield always starts easily. Perhaps 'Reliable Enfield' is another meaning for the 'RE' on the engine cases! One rider on a modern cruiser even asked me if I had restored the bike and was genuinely surprised when I told him it was new.

Another member of the RE Owners' Club (Mick Connely) organised a run-out local to where we live; seven or eight bikes came along and there were very few critical comments of the EFI (but perhaps they were being polite?). The rider behind me said that he'd enjoyed listening to the exhaust note changing as I went up and down the gearbox.

False neutrals have been getting fewer as the mileage has increased or perhaps my changing technique has got better as I've become used to the Enfield experience.

So are there any changes that I might consider for the future? I may look at different rear shock absorbers; Hagons seem a popular choice with Bullet owners. In the very long term the exhaust system could be upgraded but this could be complicated because of the catalytic converter and fuel injection combination. Alternatively, I could just leave well alone and buy a cheap pre-unit Bullet to play with.

Bullets on Right Now......

I'm off out to enjoy the dry roads and sunshine. I will write another update after the 3000 mile service which is now only 1000 miles away…


Details of your local branch of the Royal Enfield Owners' Club can be found at: The REOC welcome owners of modern and ancient Enfield alike.

Info on the full range of fuel-injected, unit construction Royal Enfield models is available from:

A bike of light and shade? 2009 Royal Enfield EFI Bullet 500


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