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Royal Enfield Classic 500 Test Ride Review

RE Classic 500 Review

Royal Enfield Classic 500 – Click above for picture gallery

Bike tested: 2011 Royal Enfield Classic 500

Price OTR Mumbai: 1,50,600/-

If you delve deep into the history of Indian motorcycling, you are sure to come across the name of one such company that has delivered some of the most iconic and respected motorcycles. It is the “Royal Enfield”. I am sure giving any kind of introduction about this company is absolutely pointless so we come straight to the topic. This company has launched the Classic 500 and the 350 and we decided to test the 500 to check out if this machine has the same vibrancy like the old icons and also does it make sense in the current Indian era.

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Styling – The advent of many Japanese and European motorcycles in India in the past decade has changed the styling game of the industry. Bikes that used to look simple have grown to look mean, fast machines oozing performance from all their recesses and design cues. This bike, the Classic 500 however, is not worried about these changes of time and continues with its same design philosophy. If you have seen the Bullets of the past, then you will agree that one look at this bike, and it looks no different than the earlier ones. The rounded headlamps, large fuel tank, magnificent wheel arches, rounded tail lamp all reflect the same retro design philosophy which can get you into a state of nostalgia (if you are a true bullet fan). So, the point that I am trying to make here is that you don’t start looking at this as a new bike but an evolution that has maintained the same genre of the past with a fusion of the present technology.

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Performance – The Classic 500, as you can guess from the name itself, is propelled by a 499cc petrol engine that churns out 27.2 horses of raw power @ 5250 RPM and a meaty 41.3 Nm of torque @ 4000 RPM. One of the things worth mentioning before talking about performance is the engine. It’s a unique Unit Construction Unit, meaning the entire engine and gearbox is enclosed in one single casing!! This actually reduces the friction between all the movable parts, thus resulting in lower transmission losses. Thumb-up the bike to life and instantly the sound of the low thumping exhaust fills the air around you. It makes your heart do a travel across time with this musical exhaust as the background score. This is due to its big bore (84 mm) and long stroke (90 mm) design and provides you with oodles of grunt.

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Hop on to its single piece saddle and you start to feel like the “King of the Road”. Twist the throttle, rev the engine and you will notice the amazing co-ordination between the throttle and the engine thanks to its Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) system (developed along with Keihin, Japan). It features a 5 speed constant mesh gearbox that is equally smooth both in up-shift and down-shift. You can rev the engine hard and it won’t let you down. But it’s not meant for that. You just take it to your comfortable speed, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride while the bike is there to do the rest. But don’t think it’s a piece of slow machine. It does a 0 to 60 km/h sprint in 4.5 seconds and goes all the way up to 130 km/h. Don’t think it’s a gas guzzler either. It returns a fuel economy average of around 30 kmpl under mixed driving conditions. Now, that is a mind boggling mileage figure for a motorcycle of this stature!!

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Handling – The moment you sit on the bike, you feel something different about this compared to the other Enfields. It’s the saddle height. The seat is positioned at 800 mm. Quite low slung which makes you feel closer to the road and the machine. It has telescopic forks at the front and swing-arm with gas-filled shock absorbers at the rear to give you that classy ride comfort. The shock absorbers take good care of the bumps and potholes omnipresent on the Indian roads. The riding position is also fairly good. It gives you a “lay back and enjoy” kind of feel while driving.

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Along with Vepro of UK and Engines Engineering of Italy the Royal Enfield Engineers have designed a marvellous chassis. It has got the perfect weight distribution and doesn’t feel heavy at all even when you are putting the bike on and off the main-stand. Also, when you corner (not like a MotoGP cornering), the bike is planted on to the road with firm solidity. The bike has a kerb weight of 190 kg and somewhat helps this but at no point feels sluggish or unresponsive. The brakes, 280 mm front disc and a 153 mm drum brake at the rear give you enough stopping power. Enfield Engineers, can we have a disc at the back too??

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Instrument Cluster – The instrument cluster is nothing much to be talked about. No snazzy design or digital revolution here. It’s plain, simple and precise. The speedometer located at the top which comes to your view first occupies most of the area. Below that on the left is the ignition key and on the right is the fuel level indicator and engine malfunction light. The speedo also houses the indicator signals, neutral gear indicator and the high beam light indicator.

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Conclusion – Finally, just for 1.51 lakh, you get so much of good stuff!!! You get a piece of the technology and exquisite design of one of the iconic motorcycles on Indian soil and loads of nostalgia with it. It makes you feel like you have conquered a milestone of your life and you can proudly boast about it for the rest of your life. With more and more stringent norms and consumer demands, it has incorporated many new electronic technologies but that has not changed the very heart and soul with which each bike rolls out from the Tiruvottiyur plant near Chennai.

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Whats Cool

* Retro Styling
* Torque
* Ride Quality
* Seat
* Engine Sound

Whats Not So Cool

* Basic Instrumentation
* Inconsistent Quality
* Price

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Royal Enfield Classic 500 Specifications : -

* Engine – 499cc, Single Cylinder, 4 Stroke, OHV, SI Engine, Air cooled
* Ignition- Electronic Fuel Ignition
* Compression Ratio – 8.5 : 1
* Power – 27.2 bhp @ 5250 rpm
* Torque – 41.3 Nm @ 4000 rpm
* Transmission – 5-speed
* Top Speed – 130 km/hr
* Air Cleaner – Paper Element
* Engine Oil Grade / Qty – 15W 50 API, SL Grade JASO MA
* Tyres – 90/90/19 (Front), 120/80/18 (Rear)
* Brakes – 280mm Hydraulic Disc Brake (Front), 153 mm Single Lead Internal Expanding (Rear)
* Suspension – Telescopic, Hydraulic Damping, Stroke 130 mm (Front), Swing Arm With Gas Shock Absorbers, Stroke 80 mm (Rear)
* Electrical System – 12 Volts – DC
* Head lamp – 60 W / 55 W, HALOGEN
* Battery – 14 AH
* Tail Lamp – 21/5 W
* E-Start Starter Motor – 0.9 KW, DENSO

Royal Enfield Classic 500 Dimensions : -

* Width – 800 mm
* Wheel Base – 1370 mm
* Length – 2130 mm
* Height – 1050 mm
* Seat Height/ Saddle Height – 800 mm
* Ground Clearance – 140 mm
* Weight (Kerb) – 187 Kg (with 90% fuel and oil)
* Fuel Tank Capacity – 13.5 liters

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{ 40 comments… add one }

  • robinyatesph June 6, 2011, 12:21 pm

    the last time I saw one of these was late 1960′s. The Jap bikes were arriving in the UK so who wanted a Royal Enfield ?However I can quite understand why they will continue to sell well in India. Solidly built, low revving and good on fuel,, a winner indeed

  • vijay June 6, 2011, 3:01 pm

    awesome review of an awesome bike. now only if re become as awesome to launch a more awesome machine like the classic 500, twin cylinders please… thank you

  • rahul June 6, 2011, 4:07 pm

    The Classic is a design master piece. its a clear example of how to get it very very right.

  • vivek June 6, 2011, 5:54 pm

    wel the price of 150000 + sure looks to huge.But just recall that its 500cc bike at just 150000+. compare any bike of 500cc with claSSIC STYLING AND GENES LIKE ENFIELD . AT THE SAID PRICE IS A SURE A GREAT PICK.

    • vijay June 6, 2011, 6:18 pm


      • Amish November 23, 2011, 5:23 am

        hey mate.. Enfields are never made for pick-up.. they for pure pleasure biking experience.. you can’t compare differently designed bikes.. try to find a Harley at 1.5 lacs.. cheapest harley starts at 5.5 ex showroom..

  • Paddy June 6, 2011, 7:11 pm

    CBR does 0-60 in 3.8seconds & is great to ride in city and on bad roads.bullets only make big noise & try to get your attention forcefully.

    • rahul June 6, 2011, 8:29 pm

      have u driven the c500 before making such a comment. cbr250r is a good bike but take it on the highway and you know the bullets wille eat it up.

    • Subbu November 27, 2012, 8:19 pm

      First of all CBR is a sports bike….U should not Compare with C500. CBR built by fiber body.
      There is no resale value for CBR…..If u compare with RE. As well as the cost of CBR 250 is More than 2 Lks…and it is not worth as well…………. If u Ride RE u feel the the ride and get Good Experience……….

    • Ravi August 3, 2013, 3:14 pm

      C500 is gives u a classy feeling. Well its motoo is enough to describe it. “Made Like a Gun Goes Like a Bullet”. Driving it gives u a pride. Not Just CBR no other bike can give u a feel of King of Roads.

  • jay June 6, 2011, 7:42 pm

    get the chrome edition bike classic here and price it at even rs 2 lacs, many will buy it.

  • vikram June 7, 2011, 2:27 pm

    the classic is a very good bike but i cant buy one. not because of the price but because of the attitude of the company. i went to book one and they tell me 8 months waiting!!! even the cbr250r (which by the way is a new product) has a waiting of just 4 months. y does it take re to expand capacity and meet customer response, when they launched the c500 more than a year ago. this is just laid back attitude, i am forced to settle for a ninja 250r, whereas my heart says the classic 500 efi…

    • Subbu November 27, 2012, 8:24 pm

      Hi Vikram,
      Better U can go for Used RE classic 500 EFI that Saves the cost….Around1.25 to 1.4lks U will get the 2010 and above models…U search good one and Go for it…..If U like the vehicle…Keep it wt U…Otherwise U sell it out….

  • akshay June 7, 2011, 3:37 pm

    i heard that rear seat is optional? is it true?

    • vikram June 7, 2011, 4:35 pm

      yeah buddy, its true.

  • k72 Racing Team June 7, 2011, 7:35 pm

    Legendary Machine…. Good Review

    • rajeev June 7, 2011, 9:24 pm

      how does it compare with your R15?

    • saurab June 9, 2011, 12:11 pm

      this bike is so full of problems, overheating and the engine has so many issues.

  • k72 Racing Team June 8, 2011, 10:15 am

    @rajeev : We cant Compare with R15….. Classic 500 is an extraordinary machine , and it does not falls on super sports bike track. Classic 500 is hand crafted machine in india and no other machine has the cruise feeling like this machine do.

    • rajeev June 8, 2011, 10:19 am

      @ k72 : but don’t u think that the classic could be better. hand crafted is not always better. plus u have to give the cbr250r credit for the cruise feeling.

  • k72 Racing Team June 8, 2011, 1:20 pm

    @rajeev : u can get the true heart beat from classic 500 , where as in CBR250R is not possible. Classic 500 is a true cruise machine , while comparing honda CBR250R

    • rajeev June 8, 2011, 1:43 pm

      Heart beat? LOLZ, i think honda can teach RE a thing or two abt making motorcycle engine!

  • k72 Racing Team June 8, 2011, 1:55 pm

    @fas: whether the top speed is 130km/hr….?. i think its more than tat

    • fas June 8, 2011, 8:12 pm

      k72, top speed is 130 kmph only. After 110 kmph, the bike starts vibrating alot.

  • Sajjad Alam June 20, 2011, 5:36 pm

    I own a Classic 350cc, the fuel consumption given is the review is not correct. I am getting 35Kmpl, whereas a Classic 500 gives around 25 to 30 KMPL

    • fas June 20, 2011, 7:51 pm

      Thanks Sajjad. There was an error. We have corrected it now.

  • adi September 17, 2011, 8:58 pm

    put more power and this bike can challenge superlow and st7s of the world!!

  • shreyas September 21, 2011, 6:44 pm

    give us a twin cylinder unit with this 500cc

  • taimq November 15, 2012, 5:46 pm

    I am intent to get a new bullet 500cc, but I don’t have much confident on it, it rare in Singapore road, another things is I don’t know how relaible of it. whether is easy to get the spare parts in Singapore.
    I’m just hoping to get a trouble free bike, that’s all.
    Thank you

    • Faisal Khan November 17, 2012, 2:17 am

      Taimq, any other option in Singapore?

  • SrK December 18, 2012, 8:52 am

    Boys ride toys, MENS ride BULLET

  • Dolores April 11, 2013, 4:08 pm

    Hello Faisal, writing you from France :-)
    I’ve just tried this model, that I found really fun. Unfortunately the seller just told me there is NO way of adding an extra seat, was just single seat, where I can see in your picture that you have added one.
    What options do I have?
    Thanks for your help!

    • Faisal Khan April 11, 2013, 4:09 pm

      Hey Dolores, the bike does come with a single seat but the rear seat is an optional extra sold by the company itself.

      • prabhat April 14, 2013, 12:17 am

        I booked a Classic Chrome and the dealer told me that the rear seat comes with the bike, there is no extra charge for that. By the way can any one help me with the design of the front suspension , because i have seen some bikes have straight one and other had curved ( where the front wheel is attached.)

  • marshall July 23, 2013, 10:30 am

    My machine will reach me by december. . .No second thought,booked classic 500 black to have the same classic look. . Mens Ride Bullet cheerz!!!

  • nithish September 8, 2013, 8:49 pm

    hii faisal which is better among all royal enfields bullet or classic or electra

  • nithish September 8, 2013, 9:07 pm

    thank you faisal for your reply but i don’t like thundrebird because it’s styling is different from remaining all royal enfield bikes so please tell me which one is better from the above mentioned three bikes in terms of perfomance and handling in 350cc segment and also please mention which one gives more mileage

    • Faisal Khan September 8, 2013, 9:17 pm

      Classic best. All give similar mileage, around 32-35 km/l.

  • nithish September 8, 2013, 9:33 pm

    thank you faisal for your reply


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