The Essential Buyer’s Guide: Royal Enfield Bullet Review
Royal Enfield is one of the oldest motorcycle brands in the world, having built its first production motorcycles in 1901. With the recent establishment of Royal Enfield's North American headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisc., earlier this year, the brand's footprint on this side of the Atlantic is certain to grow.
When sales of new motorcycles of a given brand increase, so do the sales of used motorcycles. Buying any used motorcycle can be tricky business, but it is particularly true when vintage or unfamiliar models are being considered. That is where the Essential Buyer’s Guides from Veloce Publishing come in.
Written by motorcycle experts with experience in the brands and models covered, the series has already sold more the 100,000 copies and is designed to give the buyer an edge in avoiding problems and to provide expert advice on what to look for—and what to look out for.
The latest in the series is The Essential Buyer’s Guide Royal Enfield Bullet, All Indian 350, 500 and 535 Singles, 1977-2015 by Peter Henshaw.
The Buyer’s Guides are at once user-friendly and reassuring while being brutally honest, disclosing any common weaknesses or problem areas certain models are known to have. They share a common format; only about 64 pages in length and pocket-sized at 5.5” x 7.75.” They are written with an emphasis on clarity and are well-illustrated with dozens of clear color images and include key specifications.
In the first three chapters of the Royal Enfield buyer’s guide, Henshaw follows the format of other guides discussing bike factors such as repair, restoration and operating costs, rider factors such as physical size, rider readiness to accept the foibles and limits of these bikes and owner capabilities for sustaining rigorous maintenance and technically challenging restoration and repair work on the older models. He also discusses key advantages and features, as well, with helpful insight into the characteristics of vintage vs. late model Enfields.
Chapters four through nine cover relative values, what to look for in a used Royal Enfield and how to look for it, from the various features found on the oldest four speed Bullets to the five speed Bullets with carburetors up to the modern five speed fuel-injected models. Henshaw includes some valuable detail on the Continental GT and the diesel models that came on line in the early 1990s. He provides detail about condition evaluation, how to do a detailed top-to-bottom inspection and road test of the machine.
Similar to other buyer’s guides in the series, chapters ten through twelve deal with the details of the purchase itself, including buying at auction. Chapters thirteen through fifteen get into restoration (to do or not to do), paint issues and problems that arise from non-use of the bike.
Chapter sixteen is a valuable resource list—the Community— for potential buyers/owners and chapter seventeen provides technical specification data by operating system and model year, using three representative models: the 1978 350 Standard; 2004 500 Electra X and the 2015 Continental GT.
Whether you’re considering an early Royal Enfield or late model, Henshaw provides some sage advice that could help ensure the best bike for the best price and avoid potentially expensive—and disappointing—problems.
For a look at the other Veloce Essential Buyer’s Guides we’ve reviewed, see:
- The Essential Buyer’s Guide Triumph 350 & 500 Unit Twins
- The Essential Buyer’s Guide BSA 350, 441 & 500 Singles
- The Essential Buyer’s Guide Triumph Bonneville 1959-1988
- The Essential Buyer’s Guide Moto Guzzi 2-Valve Big Twins
- Title: The Essential Buyer’s Guide Royal Enfield Bullet
- Author: Peter Henshaw
- Published: 2016 Paperback. 64 pages. Measures 5.5” x 7.75.”
- Publisher: Veloce Publishing, Parkway Farm Business Park, Middle Farm Way, Poundbury, Dorchester, DT1 3AR, England
- ISBN: 978-1-845849-40-5 MSRP: U.S. $25.00 U.K. £12.99 CAN $34.00