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8 Reasons Why We Love The Royal Enfield Bullet (2 Reasons Why We'd Never Buy One)

HotCars logo HotCars 6/15/2022 Luke Zietsman
© Provided by HotCars

Retro-themed bikes are really in fashion at the moment, every manufacturer has something on offer, but only one manufacturer can claim to be retro to the core.


Royal Enfield recently celebrated 120 years of uninterrupted production, and out of those 120 years, they have been making the Bullet for 90 of them. With modern emissions getting implemented, the Bullet was eventually discontinued in most international markets but lives on in its native India.

It is incredible that this design has persisted, and its sister, the Classic 350, has also become a global success. The appetite for retro motorcycles seems to be insatiable, and if you drew a silhouette of a classic motorcycle, you would most likely be drawing a Bullet.

Love: History

The first Bullet rolled off the production line in the UK way back in 1931, 91 years ago, by 1955 production shifted to India, and they continue to be made there up until today, retaining much of the original design.

As you might imagine, they were pretty advanced for the 30s but were already outdated and outgunned by the 60s when Royal Enfield hit the weeds and effectively sold all operations to their Indian partner, making it a fully-fledged Indian company by the early 70s.

Love: Classic Looks

It is part of the reason the Indian market loved the bike so much and flourished there, but it would take years before the international market welcomed the old bike back.

By the early 2000s, retro-themed bikes were cropping up here and there, so the market for the Bullet gradually grew and so did Royal Enfield’s profits.

Related: 10 Things Every Motorcycle Enthusiast Should Know About The 2022 Royal Enfield Meteor 350

Love: Simple Engines

One of the bike’s key attributes is its engines, the 350 (above) is only good for a paltry 20 horsepower, and the 500 has a marginally better 27 horsepower.

But their simple air-cooled engines are not built for power, they are built to be as simplistic as possible, and they are easy to work on, even for novice mechanics.

Love: Cheap

Everything about the Bullet centers around one key element, and that is affordability. Costs are cut all over the place to keep the base price as low as possible.

It is the main reason it has stayed unchanged for so long as any development will cost money, parts are also plentiful and affordable thanks to that long production run.

Related: The Royal Enfield Meteor 350 Is The Cheapest Cruiser Motorcycle You Can Buy In The US

Love: Approachable

The low horsepower is accompanied by a low 31.5-inch seat height, which makes this a very approachable motorcycle.

At around 420 pounds it isn’t the lightest bike though, so maneuvering it around might prove to be a little tricky at low speed, but most retro bikes aren’t exactly light.

Love: Different

In a world where we are seeing all the latest technology incorporated in motorcycles, the Bullet is something of a relic.

Today even base model motorcycles get TFT displays, but the Bullet stays true to its roots and retro enthusiasts will love it for that.

Related: 10 Facts Most Riders Don't Know About Royal Enfield Motorcycles

Love: Fuel Efficient

The 500 will get you around 70 MPG, a solid return for a bike that weighs as much as this, and the little single is very fuel-efficient all things considered.

Sadly, it only scraped through the Euro3 emissions test, so it was forced off most international markets by 2016.

Love: Trendy

There are a number of reasons why you might want to get the Bullet, but we think the main reason most people will buy it is that it is very much in fashion at the moment.

We are in the middle of a retro fad and this is one of the most affordable newish retro bikes you will get your hands on.

Related: This Modified Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 Is Gorgeous And Ready For The Racetrack

Never Buy: Woeful Build Quality

Unfortunately, even though the bike is being made in the 21st century, it continued the time-honored British tradition of awful built quality.

Royal Enfield has come a long way in this department, but their advancements are reserved for other models, this still has a range of issues and will lead the bike to gradually fall apart in front of you.

Never Buy: Incredibly Slow

This is a motorcycle that will not appeal to anyone in any sort of hurry, neither the 350 nor the more powerful 500 are happy at highway speed.

70 mph is possible, but the vibrations at that speed are horrendous and will chase you off the highway in short order. It is better off on the back roads, or exploring the cafés of the urban jungle, but not necessarily exploring the country.


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