Classic Motorworks, the Minnesota-based exclusive U.S. distributor of Royal Enfield motorcycles, expects to offer two new models in coming months: The Bullet Classic C5 and the Bullet G5.
Both models were designed to operate like a modern day motorcycle, with all of the technological amenities motorcyclists expect, but without compromising the iconic design of the original Royal Enfield Bullet.
For the first time in Royal Enfield's history, the company set-up its own design group, and sought the expertise of consulting firms from all over the world for engine and chassis design, as well as for testing. Plus, the in-house designers made multiple visits to the British National Motorcycle Museum for styling inspiration and to ensure the look was historically correct.
"These bikes cater to the new generation of cycle enthusiasts, with one important distinction – very low maintenance and no need to 'tinker'," says Kevin Mahoney, president, Classic Motorworks. Another benefit for Mahoney: These new fuel-injected bikes are California-legal, opening a large new market for the brand.
The Bullet Classic C5
Dealernews first revealed the C5 in October 2008 as the "new Bullet 500 Classic." The bike is a completely retro-looking model, channeling 1951 styling, but with a newly designed, modernized Unit Construction Engine (UCE) — and Royal Enfield's first electronic fuel injection (EFI). A close look reveals the unit to be a complete departure from Royal Enfield's existing models but with the essence, look and feel of the original Bullet.
The folks at Royal Enfield say the basic goals for designing the new engine included increased reliability and low maintenance, the ability to sustain the higher cruising speeds found in the U.S., and the extra passing power, torque, and lower emissions associated with an EFI-equipped single cylinder, pushrod engine.
The Bullet G5
The updated G5 model now also embodies the new UCE engine with EFI while retaining its 1955 image and style.
Enhancements include the UCE engine with 5-speed transmission, increased fuel economy and lower emissions, an improved suspension, higher cruising speeds and better handling, Avon Speedmaster Mk. II tires and a front disc brake.
The Classic G5, Deluxe G5 and the Military (MSRP starting at $5,995) are already available, the C5 (MSRP: $6,395) is expected to be available for purchase in the U.S. in June. Both come with a two-year, unlimited-mileage manufacturer warranty and a host of optional extras, like the popular Café Racer, Continental and Scrambler/Trials kits (MSRP: $1,896-$3,196).
Royal Enfield & Classic Motorworks
The Royal Enfield brand was founded in Redditch, England, but has been manufactured and headquartered in Chennai, India since 1955.
Classic Motorworks' 100 Royal Enfield dealers in the U.S. sell about 500 units per year. Mahoney says Royal Enfield demand in the U.S. warrants perhaps only up to 200 dealers, and says many of those likely will be found now that the brand can enter California.
While Classic Motorworks has its headquarters in Faribault, Minn., the bikes from India get shipped to Norfolk, Va., where they are warehoused and distributed to dealers across the nation. The company holds about 100 bikes at a time in the Norfolk warehouse and about $600,000 worth of Royal Enfield parts at the headquarters warehouse in Minnesota.
Now that California is an open market for Royal Enfield, Mahoney plans to open a West Coast warehouse, hire a national sales rep to keep a line of communication open with dealers, and hire a few more folks at the Minnesota headquarters facility to fulfill other business needs.
—Submitted by Guido Ebert