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Royal Enfield Reliability

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Royal Enfield Reliability

whttnpl
Hello,

I have a 2008, Electric start, 500cc, classic, Iron head Bullet, which I bought second hand with only 65 miles on the clock. Since buying the bike I have increased the mileage to nearly 800 miles. I have broken the bike in according to the book. The reason I am writing is because I would like to know what type mileage I should expect from this bike before something major has to be done to the engine. I know the Bullets made from 2000 onwards are better made due to improvements in the quality control but what type of reliability can I expect and is there parts than can be fitted to make the bike even more reliable. I know that good single cylinder Velocettes were capable of doing around 70,000 miles before any major work needed doing on the engine. What are the major things that can be replaced and then improve reliability?

Paul (UK)


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Re: Royal Enfield Reliability

Sali Rostami
   Paul, I think longevity is largely dependant on the type of use given to the machine and maintenance. I've always practiced an approach to riding  that does not heavily load the engine. This meaning moderated acceleration and the sensible use of the gear box. Along with not loading the engine, keeping to a moderate road speed is especially essential with the iron-head Bullet. Sustained speeds of 60mph and over will cause over-heating with the resultant loss of dependability. I personally rarely exceed 55mph with my 350.

  Maintenance is extremely important as the Bullet will self-destruct if valve lash and timing are not kept to specification. Also, oil change intervals should be kept short. It's cheap insurance and easily performed. I keep to a 500 mile interval and my bike has reached the 20,000 mile mark with l no evidence wear ---- meaning good compression, fuel mileage, and acceleration.

  I have strong feeling about the inadvisability of engine modifications. In short, don't do it if your goal is dependability! Also, stay with the contact breaker points rather than converting to (the following terms fills me with revulsion) aftermarket electronic ignition. Points are dependable if you keep after the air-gap and problems with them can easily be identified on the road and then remedied ---- you can't say that about the electronic substitutes.

 You've asked what  parts can be replaced to make the bike more dependable. And to this I say, stay with the stock machine. This especially wise if you do not do your own work. parts replaced by a mechanic who attitude is often, "Well, this is not machine so. . ." make for a machine that i often fails on the road. 

   Al in Philadelphia

________________________________
From: whttnpl <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Wed, January 13, 2010 8:15:52 PM
Subject: [Enfield] Royal Enfield Reliability

 
Hello,

I have a 2008, Electric start, 500cc, classic, Iron head Bullet, which I bought second hand with only 65 miles on the clock. Since buying the bike I have increased the mileage to nearly 800 miles. I have broken the bike in according to the book. The reason I am writing is because I would like to know what type mileage I should expect from this bike before something major has to be done to the engine. I know the Bullets made from 2000 onwards are better made due to improvements in the quality control but what type of reliability can I expect and is there parts than can be fitted to make the bike even more reliable. I know that good single cylinder Velocettes were capable of doing around 70,000 miles before any major work needed doing on the engine. What are the major things that can be replaced and then improve reliability?

Paul (UK)





     
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Re: Royal Enfield Reliability

Sali Rostami

 And as usual, I failed to mention something. Break-in does end at the 800 mile point. Most would tell you that it is not until 1500 miles or so that the process is complete. At 800 miles you can begin to increase speed above 35 mph. I would then gradually increase the speed finally reaching 60 mph at the 1500 mile point.

  Al, still in Philadelphia

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Re: Royal Enfield Reliability

Sali Rostami





________________________________
From: k3eax <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Wed, January 13, 2010 9:29:17 PM
Subject: Re: [Enfield] Royal Enfield Reliability

 

And as usual, I failed to mention something. Break-in does NOT end at the 800 mile point. Most would tell you that it is not until 1500 miles or so that the process is complete. At 800 miles you can begin to increase speed above 35 mph. I would then gradually increase the speed finally reaching 60 mph at the 1500 mile point.

Al, still in Philadelphia





     
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Re: Royal Enfield Reliability

john bolton-2
In reply to this post by Sali Rostami
Hi AL , We all know and respect your knowledge and I'm not taking the bait on this because  we all know its uncommon to ride your Bullet in only neighborhoods for 1000 miles+.  JB
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: k3eax<mailto:[hidden email]>
  To: [hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>
  Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 8:29 PM
  Subject: Re: [Enfield] Royal Enfield Reliability



   And as usual, I failed to mention something. Break-in does end at the 800 mile point. Most would tell you that it is not until 1500 miles or so that the process is complete. At 800 miles you can begin to increase speed above 35 mph. I would then gradually increase the speed finally reaching 60 mph at the 1500 mile point.

    Al, still in Philadelphia



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Re: Royal Enfield Reliability

Matt Law-2
OK...I'll take the bait on this one...my 2002 Iron Barrel 500ES had 161 miles on it when I bought it,November 1st of 2009...today,it rolled over 1000 miles (1018,to be exact),and I've only ridden it around the neighborhood,and to and from work,for an average of 10-20 miles a day...I live about five miles from work,and no matter HOW cold it is,if it's not raining,I ride it every day...the last couple of weeks,it's been around 30 degrees at 6 in the morning,unusually chilly for NorthWest Florida (right,John?)...but,I dress warm,and drive from coffee cup to coffee cup...I didn't drive it over 35mph until it had 500 on the clock,no 45mph until 750 on the clock,and now that she's over 1000,I did have her up to 55mph briefly today...and it was FROSTY...this machine runs GOOD in cold weather...she just wants another gear...I can't wait until summer,when I've got 2000 miles on the clock,and can cruise at 45/50 for an hour or so at a time...no reliability issues
 so far,although this left foot shifter bodge is a bit vexing...I'll all work out,I'm sure...she hasn't just left me beside the road yet,which is more than I can say for my last bike (HD)... one of the reasons that I bought the Enfield is the "bulletproof" reputation that these things have,although most of that was earned in India,on 350's,which the beat like a rented mule...AND...the sheer volume of parts that are readily available,on eBay,from CMW,etc...try THAT with your average Triumph,Norton,BSA,Ariel,Vincent,AJS,JAP,Velocette,Sunbeam,etc,etc...AND...the brotherhood of dedicated Royal Enfield maniacs out there (like you and I),busily typing away,offering their advice,assistance,expertise,wisdom,spare parts,experience,etc...to total strangers,all for the love of an apparently obsolete bit of technology that has been around since 1939 in the 350 design,and since 1955 in the 500 design...sorry...I'm rambling...I love this motorcycle...according to my
 wife,"it's the bike that I never knew I always wanted"...it's lusty "thump-thump-thump/clack-clack-clack" scratches an itch that I didn't even know that I had...Happy Motoring,Matt Law/Bullethead63~ 

--- On Wed, 1/13/10, john bolton <[hidden email]> wrote:


From: john bolton <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [Enfield] Royal Enfield Reliability
To: [hidden email]
Date: Wednesday, January 13, 2010, 9:41 PM


 





Hi AL , We all know and respect your knowledge and I'm not taking the bait on this because  we all know its uncommon to ride your Bullet in only neighborhoods for 1000 miles+.  JB

----- Original Message -----
From: k3eax
To: royalenfield@ yahoogroups. com
Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 8:29 PM
Subject: Re: [Enfield] Royal Enfield Reliability


 And as usual, I failed to mention something. Break-in does end at the 800 mile point. Most would tell you that it is not until 1500 miles or so that the process is complete. At 800 miles you can begin to increase speed above 35 mph. I would then gradually increase the speed finally reaching 60 mph at the 1500 mile point.

  Al, still in Philadelphia



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Re: Royal Enfield Reliability

el_bora_cho
Why, oh why? Why did you have to say all those words? It's like falling in love all over again for the first time, isn't it?

:-)

I have a 2003 350 and a 1965 STD 350 as well. And a Yamaha 350 as well, but nothing quite like the thump of the Bullet! Amen!


>I love this motorcycle...according to my
>  wife,"it's the bike that I never knew I always wanted"...it's lusty "thump-thump-thump/clack-clack-clack" scratches an itch that I didn't even know that I had...Happy Motoring,Matt Law/Bullethead63~ 
>


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Re: Royal Enfield Reliability

tooseevee
In reply to this post by Matt Law-2
Matt,
  Can you elaborate a little on the left foot shifter?  Do you mean you're just not used to shifting with your left foot?

  George


        I can't wait until summer,when I've got 2000 miles on the clock,and can cruise at 45/50 for an hour or so at a time...no reliability issues so far,although this left foot shifter bodge is a bit vexing...
        Matt Law
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Re: Royal Enfield Reliability

Matt Law-2
George,it's just a bit sloppy...it was crisp/stiff when new,but now it's a bit sloppy...I have to be a bit more deliberate/agressive,and jerk or stomp it...probably just an adjustment issue that I'll be addressing during my 1000 mile service procedure,which will come for me @ 1166 miles...when I bought it,it had 166 on the clock,and the owner had just changed the oil for me,so I did my 500 mile service at 666 miles...eek...so 1000 miles will come @ 1166...it's still (for all intents and purposes) a brand new,eight year old motorcycle...I'll probably get the Classic Motor Works bushing kit;it's only like $24.95,and it's supposed to take all of the slop out of it...if that doesn't do it,I'll switch to the Right Foot Shift Kit...of course,it's like $249 for the kit (ouch),but it does put the shifter on the proper (English) side,and moves the brake lever to the left side...I grew up with BSA's & Triumph's,which were RF shift,but my '73 HD 350 Sprint single
 was LF shift,so it's not a big deal either way...

--- On Thu, 1/14/10, tooseevee <[hidden email]> wrote:


From: tooseevee <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [Enfield] Royal Enfield Reliability
To: [hidden email]
Date: Thursday, January 14, 2010, 7:50 AM


 




Matt,

Can you elaborate a little on the left foot shifter?  Do you mean you're just not used to shifting with your left foot?
 
George




I can't wait until summer,when I've got 2000 miles on the clock,and can cruise at 45/50 for an hour or so at a time...no reliability issues so far,although this left foot shifter bodge is a bit vexing...
Matt Law







     
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Re: Royal Enfield Reliability

Pete Snidal
In reply to this post by tooseevee

>Can you elaborate a little on the left foot shifter?  Do you mean
>you're just not used to shifting with your left foot?

Irrelevant on the 5-speed (your expected bike is an AVL,
yeah?).  Designed from go to be LS.
The 4-speeds were designed as RS, and the bodge crossover linkage has
to be seen to be believed!  The fact that some people have managed to
stroke them to the point where they work amazes me.


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Re: Royal Enfield Reliability

tooseevee
In reply to this post by Matt Law-2
If I made that shifter mod like you plan on doing, I would be downshifting for two weeks without a clutch every time I wanted to hit the rear brake ;>)

George
Wakefield RI
USA
PS: I still have not heard from my seller that my check has cleared. I'm getting very twitchy.

        George,it's just a bit sloppy...it was crisp/stiff when new,but now it's a bit sloppy...I have to be a bit more deliberate/agressive,and jerk or stomp it...probably just an adjustment issue that I'll be addressing during my 1000 mile service procedure,which will come for me @ 1166 miles...when I bought it,it had 166 on the clock,and the owner had just changed the oil for me,so I did my 500 mile service at 666 miles...eek...so 1000 miles will come @ 1166...it's still (for all intents and purposes) a brand new,eight year old motorcycle...I'll probably get the Classic Motor Works bushing kit;it's only like $24.95,and it's supposed to take all of the slop out of it...if that doesn't do it,I'll switch to the Right Foot Shift Kit...of course,it's like $249 for the kit (ouch),but it does put the shifter on the proper (English) side,and moves the brake lever to the left side...I grew up with BSA's & Triumph's,which were RF shift,but my '73 HD 350 Sprint single was LF shift,so it's not a big deal either way...

        ---

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Re: Royal Enfield Reliability

Matt Law-2
In reply to this post by Pete Snidal
HAH! So,basically,what you're saying is,you don't really LIKE the left-foot shifter bodge?Don't sugar-coat it,Pete...say what you mean!

--- On Thu, 1/14/10, Pete Snidal <[hidden email]> wrote:


From: Pete Snidal <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [Enfield] Royal Enfield Reliability
To: [hidden email]
Date: Thursday, January 14, 2010, 12:31 PM


 






Can you elaborate a little on the left foot shifter?  Do you mean you're just not used to shifting with your left foot?

Irrelevant on the 5-speed (your expected bike is an AVL, yeah?).  Designed from go to be LS.
The 4-speeds were designed as RS, and the bodge crossover linkage has to be seen to be believed!  The fact that some people have managed to stroke them to the point where they work amazes me.











     
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Re: Royal Enfield Reliability

tooseevee
In reply to this post by Pete Snidal
It's good to hear that the 5-speed was designed as left side from the start.

I hope to have your book soon.

George
Wakefield Rhode Island
USA
      Can you elaborate a little on the left foot shifter?  Do you mean you're just not used to shifting with your left foot?

  Irrelevant on the 5-speed (your expected bike is an AVL, yeah?).  Designed from go to be LS.
  The 4-speeds were designed as RS, and the bodge crossover linkage has to be seen to be believed!  The fact that some people have managed to stroke them to the point where they work amazes me.


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Re: Royal Enfield Reliability

Pete Snidal
In reply to this post by Matt Law-2

>HAH! So,basically,what you're saying is,you don't really LIKE the
>left-foot shifter bodge?Don't sugar-coat it,Pete...say what you mean!

I'm surprised that any of them still exist - if indeed they
do!  First project as I was finishing my manual was to get one into
my shop and change it over - for the experience and pictures. The
retrofit, imo, is a complete necessity.  And completely covered in
the manual - right down to re-programming your feet if you've been a
LS-only boy up till then.

No necessary in the 5-speeds, though.  65 and AVL AOK!  And of course UCE..



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Re: Royal Enfield Reliability

shinerxl


Speaking personally (and not wishing any disrespect to how any body else wants to ride) I just don't get the Left-Shift conversion.  I mean, if you are going to choose to ride a 70+ year old design of bike with all of the compromises and sheer difference that it entails, why make one small bit of it "like a modern bike".  I want the whole experience of riding a classic British motorcycle.  My first bike was a 56 BSA but I have had all sorts since.  
The fact that the conversion is such a Heath-Robinson affair seems to bear me out.
Anyway, each to their own but that is why I change gear and hit the breaks "as nature intended" on my right-shift 500 Bullet.
Shiner. Orkney.

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