Indian takeaway; HARRIET RIDLEY takes to the road on the Royal Enfield Bullet Electra Clubman. This is her verdict.
Byline: HARRIET RIDLEY
THE Royal Enfield Royal Enfield was the brand of the Enfield Cycle Company, an English engineering company. Most famous for producing motorcycles, they also produced, amongst other things, bicycles, lawnmowers, stationary engines, and even rifle parts for the Royal Small Arms Factory in Enfield. Bullet has quite a history, appearing for the first time in its current 350cc and 500cc forms in 1949.
In 1955, the marque established a satellite factory in India to help meet demand from the army there. Then, in 1970, the UK factory closed, putting an end to the original British version of this motorcycling legend.
However, production roared ahead in India – where the Royal Enfield continues to be THE bike to have.
In 1999, Watsonian Squire began importing Royal Enfields back to the UK, as well as working with the factory in Chennai to develop different versions of the bike for the UK market. Enter the Royal Enfield Bullet Electra Clubman club·man
A man who is a member of a club or clubs, especially one who is active in club life. – an authentic-looking machine developed in Watsonian Squire’s factory in the Heart of England. It’s bang on bang on – (Or pound on). To stress-test a piece of hardware or software: I banged on the new version of the simulator all day yesterday and it didn’t crash once.
I guess it is ready for release. the retro trend, combining the look and sound of the 60s cafe racers, with the reliability and economy of a modern lean burn Lean burn is an internal combustion of lean air-fuel mixtures. It happens at very high air-fuel ratios (up to 65:1), so the mixture has considerably less amount of fuel in comparison to stoichiometric combustion ratio (14.7 for petrol). engine, and the heritage of the Royal Enfield badge.
The Clubman is powered by the aluminium 500cc single cylinder Electra engine, brought up to date at the start of the new millennium to meet emissions laws.
Compared with the base-model Electra, the Clubman gets a polished alloy tank, fibreglass seat, Ace bars (that’s the cafe racer-style clip-on handlebars), an upswept Gold Star-type silencer that lets the engine breathe more freely, and discreet indicators, chrome mudguards and a more compact tail light assembly.
I was invited to Oxfordshire to test the bike and if it’s awesome performance and practicality you’re looking for, this isn’t the bike for you. But if its nostalgia and retro you want it’s ideal.
The Clubman looks great with its shiny tank and ton-up attitude – although it doesn’t manage the ton. It reaches 87mph to match the 87mpg. Despite the sporty cafe-racer extras, the riding style is comfortable, although with a few miles under your belt the seat foam compresses until you feel like you’ve sunk through it.
The seat also slopes back. The throttle gave me a chuckle. It’s the opposite of quick-action as you have to twist it all the way round to go flat out.
With just 27.5bhp on tap, power’s not the name of the game.
But the Clubman’s an entertaining ride that attracts plenty of admiring glances.
The bike’s sedate se·date
To administer a sedative to; calm or relieve by means of a sedative drug. power and lack of weight contribute to a fun and agile handling.
The rear shocks work well, although the front suspension could do with some damping. Ground clearance again had me smiling as I attempted a cool cornering shot, the rear brake pedal decked out, lifting the back wheel off the floor – which almost had me high-side a 27.5bhp machine! The pedal bent as a result and the back drum brake stuck on.
On the subject of brakes, the modern front hydraulic disc system works a treat.
The Electra is endearing, although I wouldn’t be gagging to regularly commute on one as it’s not the smoothest in all gears and at all revs. However, the Clubman would be the business for popping up to the Ace Cafe for a greasy breakfast on a Sunday morning Sunday Morning may refer to:
Sunday Morning (radio program), a Canadian radio program formerly aired on CBC Radio One
CBS News Sunday Morning . a television news program on CBS in the United States
Sunday Morning (TBS TV series)
. looking good.
Some decades back, a 500 single was a real man’s bike – the equivalent of today’s GSX-R1000. And there are plenty of nostalgics who love to escape modern life.
These are the ones who’ll spend pounds 4,500 on a new Electra Clubman. Royal Enfield builds 33,000 bikes a year, 600 of which were sold in the UK in 2006 – and sales are up 45% from this time last year. Royal Enfield offers a quirky outlook that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Facts and figures
Make: Royal Enfield
Electra Clubman Engine: 499cc four-stroke, carburettor
Power: 27.5bhp @ 5,500rpm
Fuel consumption: 87mpg
Fuel tank capacity: 4.5 gallons
Ignition: electronic TCI ( T rustworthy C omputing I nitiative) An umbrella term from Microsoft for its efforts to improve security in Windows. TCI was announced in 2002 after viruses such as Code Red and Nimda had succeeded in attacking numerous Windows computers.
Starter: electric and kick Transmission: 5speed constant mesh
Brakes: (F) single 280mm disc (B) 6-inch drum
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