2006 Royal Enfield Bullet Electra X Motorcycle Trader New Zealand

28 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2006 Royal Enfield Bullet Electra X Motorcycle Trader New Zealand
Royal Enfield Bullet Electra X AVL
Royal Enfield Bullet Electra X AVL

2006 Royal Enfield Bullet Electra X

2006 Royal Enfield Bullet Electra X

When did you last see an amp meter on a motorcycle? Grandpa’s bike? Well, the new, 2006 Royal Enfield Bullet Electra X boasts one – mounted on the headlight housing next to the speedo – just like its 1950 ancestors.

It’s even styled like a 1950s meter.

For me, that amp meter encapsulates the appeal of this British reincarnation. It suggests the bike has remained unchanged over the last half-century. And for the most part, that’s true – well, apart from the engine, gearbox, ignition and carburetter – but they’re very discreet changes, and the magic is retained.

First, some background

For the benefit of those who might not know about the reincarnation of a 55-year-old motorcycle, the new Royal Enfields are manufactured in India (and have been for more than half a century). Soon after the end of WWII, with relations between India and Pakistan deteriorating along the Kashmiri border, the Indian government asked Royal Enfield to supply 800 Bullets.

Demand kept growing, so Royal Enfield went into partnership with two Indian businessmen and opened a local factory. A casualty of the British bike industry’s collapse, Royal Enfield’s UK operation closed down in 1970, but production in India continued uninterrupted.

Ironically, the bikes began to be imported back into the UK in 1977. Today, annual production in India is running at around 25,000 units, and they’re exported all over the world.

The Bullet has evolved only in tiny incremental steps over the years – which is why it’s so appealing. For all intents and purposes, you’re still riding a thoroughbred classic.

The greatest changes have come in the last year, when in preparation for looming noise and emission regulations, the Indian manufacturers were forced to completely rethink the 500cc engine. It was handed to the Austrian drive-train specialists AVL for rejuvenation. The brief was tricky: introduce new technology and modern metals, but maintain the plant’s traditional look.

Our test bike was the first of the new 2006 models in Australasia, and we can report that AVL has done a great job. The engine looks identical to its predecessor, but it’s a lean-burn unit. Equipped with electronic ignition, a constant vacuum carburetor and a re-designed, five-speed gearbox, it’s cleaner and far more fuel-efficient, returning in the order of 25-28km per litre.

A longer muffler provides a much quieter engine note (I know, it’s a pity – but purists can evidently fit a more authentic-sounding substitute), but the distinctive, big single, thumper beat still resonates from the engine. It produces 25bhp at 5500rpm, and while acceleration is not up to modern bike standards, it keeps the bike moving along at a crisp pace. Very elegant.

An electric start cranks the engine into life easily, but if you really want to maintain authenticity, you can use the kick-start. And if you think kick-starting a 500cc single sounds like cardiac arrest material, have no fear: there’s a decompression lever fitted to the left-hand grip on the bars.

It’s a stiff but positive ride. Up front there’s a set of redesigned, telescopic forks and a 280mm disc brake. Rear suspension is provided by a swing arm with hydraulic dampers, and the rear brake is a 150mm drum.

All up, the bike weighs in at 160kg, so it’s easy to flick around the urban jungle. The seat height (77cm) will meet all but the shortest riders requirements. One niggle: I found the mirror struts too short – it’s difficult to see past your arms.

Longer mounts are needed to help you keep an eye on the action behind.

The new model’s classical heritage has not been compromised by some cosmetic tweaks: restyled side panels, chrome indicators and tank badges and fresh colour schemes (black, red, silver and British racing green). The speedo console remains minimalist: no oil pressure light or fuel gauge, so you’ll have to get used to monitoring those levels by eye. Everything’s offset against lots of chrome and a classy set of spoke wheels, that long sweeping header and the muffler.

A clever blend of traditional styling and modern design, the bike draws plenty of admiring stares from fellow commuters. With its improved performance, handling and reliability – and of course that frugal fuel consumption – the Royal Enfield Bullet is a serious contender for the most visually-arresting commuter in the bike industry.

Royal Enfield Bullet Electra X AVL
Royal Enfield Bullet Electra X AVL

The Bullet has a recommended retail price of $8,995 including GST, and comes with a full factory warranty.

Did you know. This may come as a surprise, but the Royal Enfield is the world’s longest running production motorcycle, pre-dating even the venerable Harley Davidson by a few years.


Royal Enfield Bullet Electra X (RRP $8995 inc GST)


499cc, four-stroke, single cylinder, OHV

Bore and Stroke: 84mm x 90mm

Horse Power: 25bhp at 5500rpm

Fuel Consumption: approx 80mpg

Electrics 12 volt

Dimensions 2110mm long x 700mm wide x 1067mm high

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