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Bike Profile - Posted 18th February 2010

2009 Royal Enfield EFI Bullet 500 - Part 2
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Jonathan Roy introduced his new Enfield Bullet to us in an earlier episode. Now he explains what they've been up to during the worst of the winter...

My newly run-in Bullet spent Christmas and New Year under canvas and inside a garage. I did get into my thermal underwear on a couple of occasions in January and ventured out for chilly rides when the roads weren't either like ice rinks and covered in salt and grit or looking more like rivers than roads. I was interested to know how the lean burn engine would run in very cold conditions.

Cheery Red, or Ruby Marray? 2009 Royal Enfield EFI Bullet 500

The dark winter evenings also meant that I had time to read the owner's manual and the best word to describe this handy little book is probably 'comprehensive'. It is enthusiastically written by the 'Royal Enfield Team' in Chennai and, in addition to all the technical data, it even contains sections on the washing procedure (for the bike not the rider). There's a safe and happy riding section, including the advice that: 'the correct sitting posture is a pre-requisite for stable and safe riding; sit straight with your shoulders completely relaxed, keep your elbows close to your body and your toes in a straight ahead direction...'

Joking aside, and ignoring the 1950's writing style, I think the factory really does want the owner to continue to enjoy his or her machine over the long term.

I forgot to mention last time that every Bullet buyer is also provided with a pretty good toolkit, and spare clutch, throttle and brake cables.

Throttle butterfly uses push-pull cables. 2009 Royal Enfield EFI Bullet 500 fuel injection and throttle unit

On the technical front, I now know that the fuel injection unit is made by Keihin of Japan and is a tried and tested item. The five-speed gearbox is derived from the earlier pre-unit engines. The EFi has needle roller main bearings which have a reliable track record. Another detail I noticed whilst implementing the factory washing procedure was that all engine case fasteners are Allen head which has got to be good in the long term.

Protected from water and shielded from vibration. 2009 Royal Enfield EFI Bullet 500 battery and fuses

Returning to my winter rides, I was very pleased that after cranking over a few times (again following the advice from the owners' manual) that the engine started first press without any choke. The make of the battery is 'Exide', a name that sounds familiar; I don't know if this may once have been a British company? But it looks to be a pretty robust item. The line of three fuse boxes are also housed behind the same sidepanel as the battery, inside their own individual rubber enclosures which is good: protected from water and shielded from vibration.

The temperature on both rides was either zero or just under; the engine didn't splutter or hesitate from start up and soon settled into the familiar single cylinder rhythm. The gearchange was a bit notchy for the first couple of miles until the engine and the oil got properly warm, I didn't go far but on a longer straight on the run home did run up to an indicated 75mph for a couple of minutes and nothing felt as though it would fall off, the only low level vibration coming through the handlebars.

Changing down the gearbox from third to second, I noticed for the first time that a firmer foot is sometimes needed to avoid a false neutral. Upchanges are consistently accurate and it may be that the sluggish change was in part due to the cold temperature slowing the flow of the oil down… Once warmer weather arrives, I will have the answer.

Every new Bullet also comes supplied with a free Vic Reeves. See below. 2009 Royal Enfield Bullet toolkit. Free Vic Reeves not shown.
Bullets on :

Cosmetically, I have noticed the exhaust downpipe is yellowing near to the catalytic converter sensor mounting, and some minor pitting will need polishing out on the frame side of the exhaust silencer. There is minor orange rust on some of spoke nipples but this will easily be removed. The paint remains in excellent condition. I did wax it all from new, and have no complaints really.

No nuts or bolts have worked loose or fallen off and all electrical items continue to work properly. I'm now looking forward to the end of winter and hopefully putting some (REal) mileage on the Bullet EFi…

Vice Reeves, yesterday. You didn't believe us, did you?


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