5 Jun 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Bullet
Royal Enfield Bullet 350 Army


Enfield Bullet 1996, made in India. This India made Enfield Bullet is not a remake or a retro bike, but a genuine Royal Enfield Bullet model 1954 made forever since in the Indian factory.

In 1954 a factory was founded in India to assemble Royal Enfields for the Indian governement. Later in 1956 the production machinery for the old 1954 motorcycle was transported from Redditch England to the Madras factory, where they produced an average of 15000 bikes per year. This production went on after the British factory closed down at the end of the 1960’s.

Since 1999 the Royal Enfield brand name was aquired by the Indian factory and since the beginning of the 21st century the Enfields made in India are Royal Enfields again. Until that time they were called Enfield India.

The Bullet 350 cc is the longest produced single model ever.

I ordered the Enfield Bullet 500 Classic in the winter of 1995/1996 at an Enfield dealer in Badhoevedorp near Amsterdam, just after I had a run on his army Bullet show model.

It took him a few weeks to get the bike, get it prepared and registered for road-use. On a freezing day in January me, my wife and daughter rode down in the car to the dealer’s to fetch the bike so I could ride it home. It took me 3 hours to get home, because I had to ride about 50 km/h and stop every half hour to get my fingers and other bodyparts moving again. But I enjoyed it immensely.

The smile froze on my face and it is still there. The next few months I managed every day after work to make enough distance to break the Bullet and I can tell you it was not easy with only 50 and later 70 km/h, but I learned to know every country lane in the neighbourhood! I never met a traffic-jam, because I allways was at the head of it :-). So back to the dealer for the first service.

Since then very few problems. Only the clutch-cable, the speedo-cable and the inlet-rubber (between cylinder and carb) broke down. Replacement followed within the guarantee period.

After that nothing spectacular happened and with the normal yearly maintenance I managed to keep the Bullet flying.

Small changes in appearance were made, like the replacement of the large taillight with a Lucas style one, the removal of the traficator lights, adding old style traficators in the handlebar (Bull’s eyes), replacing the buddyseat with a solo saddle and adding a heavy duty luggage rack of my own design. On the rack I could strap a leather covered rubber seat on which my daughter managed a lot of bike tours until she had her own bike – a 1981 Moto Guzzi V35 Imola.

After a couple of years I saw at Vehikel, a large indoor classic bike fair in the Netherlands, a sixties streamline fixed on a Bullet. I liked what I saw, so when I located a similar one I bought it. It took me a while to get it fixed, because I had to find a way to get the exhaust through without damaging the airflow.

I did this with a polyester car repair kit with which I made a connection around the exhaust pipe. The structure of the airflow allowed a connection to the frame with just 4 bolts, so I can remove the flow in a jiffy. Speaking of which, this had to be removed, because it would be inside the flow.

Royal Enfield Bullet 350 Army

In 2000 I took the bike through Belgium to Luxemburg and we encountered a lot of rain, but with the Airflow it didn’t bother me. I didn’t even had to put my rain protectors on. It was great. Later on I lifted the screen about 10 cm’s because the air flowed just against the top of my helmet and those 10 cm’s helped a lot. Perhaps later on I’ll make a whole new larger screen.

I use the bike as a touring bike and a travel mule on various Enfield happenings here in Holland or abroad.

I never plan to sell the bike (but you’ll never know) as it will grow into a classic just of its own and I like to look at peoples faces when I tell them it’s a 1996 bike, because they all think the bike is much older; which it actually is – a model 1954. I like the story of the Enfields, not a remake, but a continuous manufacturing up until 2009 of a 1954 model from 1956 on with only a few justified modifications. After that the engine had to be upgraded and in 2013 a completely new (retro) engine had to be designed due to new regulations.

It’s a nice bike.

In October 2004 I bought a single wheel trailer, the Freebird. The Freebird is still in production since the late 1970’s. It’s capacity is 50 liters/50 kgs, so I can put all my camping stuf in.

A single wheel trailer has a universal joint, that only moves in two directions: up-down and left-right. They say the Freebird is tested for speeds up to 180 km/h – all I need now is a faster Enfield! I plan to use the Freebird behind all my Enfields for an easy touring to rallies etc.

Because I needed space in the garage for my Canterbury side car I sold the Freebord in March 2013. I only ever pulled it with the Bullet as the hard tail bikes didn’t like the towing of the trailer. At speeds over 70 kmh it swerved and bounced, probably due to a worn bearing.

But it has served its purpose (camping mule) and I hope the side car and the J2 will do the same.

Royal Enfield Bullet 350 Army
Royal Enfield Bullet 350 Army
Royal Enfield Bullet 350 Army
Royal Enfield Bullet 350 Army

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