Bullet Classic C5 Review
Out of the dark corner of the Ultimate MotorCycling garage, we wheeled out the brand new 2010 Royal Enfield Bullet Classic C5 EFI. This classically styled motorcycle from India is vintage “British” on two wheels from circa 1955. Not too dissimilar in appearance from a beach cruiser bike with a mechanical engine, lights and footpegs, I was immediately a nostalgic motorcyclist.
With a few exceptions like electronic fuel injection, (contributing to its claimed 85 mpg), electric start, and updated emissions control to meet modern standards, the Bullet C5 still clearly maintains its styling integrity from their earliest 1950s motorcycles.
I began to envision myself as someone like T.E. Lawrence or James Dean as I cruised the Classic C5 on local canyon roads homeward, under the cover of night. As I relished my newfound role of ’50s American Icon hero, the unwavering pulsation of the 27.5 horsepower, single-cylinder, 4-stroke, 499cc motor echoed through the night and cast a lull over me that relaxed me further into the scene of my new Royal Enfield reality.
My trance was quickly broken as I took to the ride. While the round speedometer, (no tach), reads 100 mph top speed, I found that motoring beyond 65 mph is ill-advised, as the Bullet responds with a healthy dose of headshake and vibration, cementing the sensation of living on the edge–which all heroes routinely do, so I wasn’t overly concerned.
The Bullet’s EFI power delivery is adequate and predictable, though certainly not anything to write home about it takes you back into classic motorcycling time.
Handling was more impressive than I expected from a motorcycle of the Bullet Classic C5 EFI’s stature. It was surprisingly nimble and light on its feet, which made the canyon turns more of a pleasure than a burden. The narrow tires (18″ rims at each end) gripped well, while the gas filled shocks and springs under the single saddle seat subtly came in to play over the occasional bumps in the road, leaving me comfortable and refreshed.
Finding myself just off the modern Ninja sportbike, I found that braking technology has come leaps and bounds since the 1950s. I quickly came to attention under braking, as I found the sensation of stopping the Royal Enfield akin to watching a grainy black and white film vs. the High Def quality of the ZX-6R. Again, being the hero of the night, I adapted swiftly without consequence to the Enfield Classic.
When all was said and done, I caught the bad guy and saved the girl. I parked the Royal Enfield with a big grin on my face. While the 2010 Bullet Classic C5 EFI is definitely not a bike for everyone, I knew I had something special when a complete stranger walked up to me and said that I had just made his day by rolling up and allowing him to bask in its vintage C5 glory.
2010 Classic Motorcycle Riding Style
Helmet: Shoei RJ-Platinum R
Jacket: Alpinestars ATL
Gloves: Tour Master
Pants: Levi’s 527
Footwear: Red Wing Boots 979
Photos by Don Williams