Is a Royal Enfield motorcycle a good first bike to buy and learn on?

I’m interested in learning to ride a motorcycle. I’ve really looked into the Royal Enfield Bullet 500 (499cc) as a first purchase. I’m looking to get this bike to ride around a very residential area solely for the purpose of the ride. Any thoughts if this bike is a good place to start, or just a little too much bike?

9 Responses to “Is a Royal Enfield motorcycle a good first bike to buy and learn on?”

  • Buster Brown says:

    I’d say no. I am a fan of British bikes, and have owned a lot of them. I have ridden a couple of generations of the modern Enfields, and the best thing to be said about them is, they are a really good imitation of a British bike from the 50s or 60s.

    I have a buddy who rides one. He wears an Avirex flight jacket over a nice Filson wool vest. He looks so good on his Enfield that, if I didn’t know him and his girl friend, I’d say he was gay.

    When I was a lad, we learned on bikes like this because we had to. You don’t have to. Start on something Japanese. Even if it is 20 years old, it will have fewer quirks you have to ride around than a new Enfield.

    In fact, since you are just learning, start out on a dual sport bike. learn to really ride it. Slide around on some loose surfaces and learn how to save a bike that wants to get away from you. Once you know how to ride, knock yourself out with Enfields and Urals and whatever other retro stuff catches your fancy.

  • ken k says:

    what year/early models need work

  • adi says:

    I think its a big bike not fit for residential areas. Also the 500 has a lot of engine issues.

  • CommanderCrusty says:

    What an interesting question. If you are a sensible person who knows how to ride (counter steering, good throttle control, easing on the brakes), the Royal Enfield will make a fine starter bike. If you need to learn to ride, check out a MSF or Rider’s Edge course. These are usually offered at local community colleges and Harley-Davidson Dealerships.

    The modern Royal Enfields are replicas of the OLD Royal Enfields. They are charming motorcycles and often hooked up to sidecars for a cool retro look. While the new fuel injected motors are 499ccs, they make less than 30 horsepower. Even with the light weight chassis and single cylinder motor, that’s not a lot of power. You would be hard pressed to spin a tire or lock up the front brake.

    My only concern is that these Indian bikes may not give the rock solid reliability of a Japanese model. Of course, if you are planning a ride around the neighborhood and the bike won’t start, you can always go later. I’d buy one–not for a commuter–just for fun!

  • magicpsychedelicbiker says:

    not really, probably every bike made nowadays has the same control layout, enfields have the gears and brake foot controls on opposite sides and the gears are upside down. v.confusing…

    i wouldn’t say too much bike though, probably got less power than a modern 250.

    i rode one round india a few years ago (where they are made now) built quality is v.poor too

    i’d go for some thing more modern

  • molitor says:

    It’s a fine choice being well balanced, easy to maneuver, not overly powerful with mild manners. They are very simple with most routine maintenance items easily tackled with a basic tool kit and a manual. You’ll look good on it too!

  • rice chopper says:

    yes, cool bikes, go for it.

  • Pete says:

    It also depends on where you live. If you live in India, then its not a very good idea to start learning on these roads.

  • Butch S says:

    Better off buying any of the 250-650cc Yamahas, Hondas, Kawasakis or Suzukis. Very reliable, relatively inexpensive, and with all the controls configured as "UJM". Stay away from crotch rockets/sport bikes as a beginner. Buy a bike that’s easy to handle and offers a comfortable seating position, which any of the Jap cruisers will offer. And please take the MSF course so you don’t hit the streets as a complete newby!

    (UJM=Universal Japanese Motorcycle)

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