Sunday, October 10, 2010

Royal Enfield versus Yamaha SR500

I have always been in love with the Royal Enfield motorcycle, the Bullet. I almost bought one instead of the SR500. But alas, choices exclude, and all I can do now is live vicariously - I lurk on an Enfield forum. So when, with a beautiful spring day's riding planned I saw some members on that forum contemplating a ride, I invited them to form a group for the day.

For those who are unfamiliar with Royal Enfields, the basic story is this: Royal Enfield were once one of England's best bike manufacturers. The Indian army starting purchasing their 1954-designed 500cc single, the Bullet, en-mass. They bought so many that Royal Enfield opened first an assembly plant, and then a production plant, in India for the Bullet. When the British home-company collapsed along with the entire British motorcycle industry, the Indian factory simply kept producing the 1954 Bullet for its home market. And it kept on keeping on, so that today you can buy a new 1954 Royal Enfield Bullet.

Remember that my SR500 is a 500cc single. So too is the Bullet. So here on this ride we have a first-class example of both a 1950s, and a 1970s, version of that great motorcycle engine in a classic road-going bike.

It was just the two Enfielders - Norm and Don - and me, heading north in search of back roads.

We stopped at Lake Eppalock for lunch.

Don's bike gave repeated problems.  Which provided great opportunities for laughter and photos....

Notice how lean is the SR, how rounded the Bullet:

As it turned out, not all of Don's problems were the bike's fault! Norm was forced to share some petrol with him, collected with the aid of roadside litter:

We made for Seymour on wonderful roads, hoping that a liter of petrol would get Don there, when we came across something resembling a servo. Appearances deceive, and this turned out to be more a Mad Max experience. There was no petrol, but the owner was very friendly and gave us some fuel from a jerry can. Then he showed us around his dream in progress, a rev-head hang-out garage where bikies could stop for soft-drinks, amidst half-built turbo cars and mad choppers.

He actually rides this thing (below).  Unregistered of course!

We made on to Strath Creek, Whittlesea, down those wonderful sweepers, and on tight, fast, back roads to Hurstbridge. There were more break-downs, but it must yet be said for the Bullets that they made it home on their own steam. Of course, the SR500 started easily and didn't miss a beat.

1 comment:

  1. What about the best of both?

    thanks for the post