Bullet C5 Military… A Look Back
A Look Forward
The Royal Enfield Bullet was first introduced in Great Britain in 1949 as a 350cc bike. It incorporated an innovative design element, which at the time was simply a swingarm suspension. This feature, along with its strong single cylinder engine, allowed it to excel as a trials bike.
The 500cc model was introduced in the United Kingdom during the 1950s, winning a multitude of motorcycle races. This brought the Enfield Bullet international recognition and orders came into the Redditch England factory from all over the world.
In 1954, the Indian government placed an order for 800 Bullets for "immediate service" on the Pakistani border. This order placed an incredible burden on the English factory, leading to a decision to set-up a factory in India. The transplanted company incorporated as Enfield India Limited in November 1955.
Today, the Bullet is made in the same manner it was in 1955. However, over the years improved metallurgy, modern machining methods and the passage of time has produced stronger, more durable parts, making the Bullet superior to its forefathers. But, in many ways, it’s the same bike that was made in 1955.
The 2009 Military we rode last year was the unmistakable authentic riding experience. As with the 2010, the bike we tested had the new Unit Construction Engine. The new power plant is designed to offer the traditional appeal of a classic long-stroke big-single engine, but with some added modern technology.
For 2010, the new parts can be found on the entire Bullet line that now boasts hydraulic lifters, a closed-loop electronic fuel injection system (replacing the lean-burn carbs) and a three-stage catalytic converter.
The new 2010 Bullet C5 Military continues Royal Enfield’s long-standing tradition of building mainstream versions of its military contract motorcycles. Disguised by the authentic retro appearance of its ancestors, the Battle Green C5 Military offers a distinctive vintage military aesthetic including colored-matched paint on the body, frame, and wheels.
Unlike other retro-styled modern bikes, the Military is a true throwback. Even with the visible fuel injection unit and front disk brake exposed, onlookers everywhere eyeball, at what they believe is a very expensively restored vintage bike. Perfect for any movie set or for an historic stroll down to your local café, the Bullet is the nostalgic choice for around town cruising.
Wanting to further stretch the legs of the C5 Military, we took a two-up four-hour journey down the freeway. The engine ran strong and was easily powerful enough to keep with traffic. Bobbing and waving our way along, the C5 handled well and was fairly stable at all speeds.
The vintage military style harkens back to WWII in a way that instills a sense of mission and purpose. Mostly I enjoyed the engine note of the classic single-cylinder thumper as we chugged along at top speed (anywhere from 70 to 90 mph, depending upon wind and road incline).
Starting at $6395 with a claimed 85-mpg fuel economy, along with a 2-year unlimited mileage warranty, the Royal Enfield provides a rather economical and sensible alternative to vintage enthusiasts. Listen to our Podcast about Royal Enfield and more.
Engine: Single cylinder, 4-stroke, spark ignition, air cooled, OHV
Cubic Capacity: 499 cc
Engine Output/Torque: 27.5 BHP, 41.3 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Fuel System: Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI)
Electrical: 12V System; Headlamp 60/55W; Tail lamp 21/5W
Transmission: Constant Mesh 5-Speed with Wet Multi-plate Clutch
Suspension: Gas-filled shock absorbers
Brakes – Front: 280mm Disc brake
Brakes – Rear: 152mm Drum brake
Tires – Front: 90 x 90 – 18 in
Tires – Rear: 110 x 80 – 18 in
Dimension: L x W x B – 85in x 32in x 42in
Wheel Base: 54 inches
Weight (Wet): 412 lbs