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Author Topic: AVL vs UCE  (Read 223 times)

AmBraCol

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AVL vs UCE
« on: April 24, 2015, 03:11:25 AM »
I wasn't sure which of the above forums to place this in, so chose the generic Campfire instead.  ;D For a while I've  been wanting to upgrade my motorcycle, but choices here (in my price range) are very few, to say the least.  It was with a lot of interest that I looked upon the news of Royal Enfield's expansion down here.  Years ago, probably around '09 or '10 or so, I stumbled across the lone RE dealer in Colombia, walked around, ooohed and aaahed over the bikes, got some prices and walked out. He was selling them for same price as roughly equivalent Jap "big" bikes - which means that they are out of reach for most folk down here.  But this year I heard about the new campaign and how RE is setting up new stores and brought prices down.  How far down?  That was the question unsettled by internet searches.  Found out that they'd brought them WAY down, close to half what the first dealer was asking way back when. Finally, a "big" bike for a reasonable about of cash!  "Big" is, of course, a relative turn.  Due to the economy of things here, my first bike in country was a Honda CD100, sold it and moved up to a Suzuki GN125H, sold it and moved up to a Honda XL200.  But with me needing to do some longer distance riding the urge to get something a bit more comfortable and with more power to manage the andean roads is getting strong.  So I've got my eye on the Rumbler 500, or possibly a Classic 500, or if can't make the pile of cash big enough then a Rumbler 350 or Classic 350.  And then today I was scanning the national bike add website and find a 2006 Electra with only 2,100 or so original kilometers on it (just over 1,000 miles) BUT I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE AVL ENGINE!  All my research has been on the UCE and the more current bikes.  Still, that little Electra looks sweet.  There's something about the exposed oil lines on the older models that piques my fancy - but this has got to be a head issue, not a heart issue.  With the prices the first dealer was charging, few bikes were sold down here.  Which means few parts available, and those only via the dealers, and so far there are only two (maybe three, I heard the original guy is still in business) across the country - and those came into the game with only UCE bikes.  In other words - it'd probably be madness to get into a bike for which parts would have to be ordered from abroad. Maybe I'm answering my own questions here!

Anyway, what could you tell me about a 2006 Electra?  Were there any in 500 CC, or are they all 350's?  (The adds here on bikes are not clear, the only thing I know from the add is that it's between 250 and 500 CC)  How much power would I be losing over a comparable bike with the UCE engine?  I'm pretty sure it's carb based, so no EFI to worry about (nor the advantages thereof, for that matter).  My brain is telling me "Run!" as a late model UCE is more likely to have parts available from here and abroad for much longer.  But my heart went all twitterpated over the exposed oil lines, plus the AVL Electra just looks "more classic" to my eye than the later UCE bikes.
Paul

ace.cafe

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Re: AVL vs UCE
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2015, 07:48:04 AM »
The UCE is a better choice for you.
The AVL was made in 350 and 500, so it could be either one. Only the 500 was exported to the US. Not many AVL bikes were sold in the US. It was an interim engine between the vintage Iron Barrel Bullet and the UCE.
The strong point of the AVL is the shaft style rockers. The weak point is the non-adjustable TCI ignition timing.

There are some internal similarities with the AVL and UCE

AmBraCol

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Re: AVL vs UCE
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2015, 12:33:15 PM »
The UCE is a better choice for you.
The AVL was made in 350 and 500, so it could be either one. Only the 500 was exported to the US. Not many AVL bikes were sold in the US. It was an interim engine between the vintage Iron Barrel Bullet and the UCE.
The strong point of the AVL is the shaft style rockers. The weak point is the non-adjustable TCI ignition timing.

There are some internal similarities with the AVL and UCE

Thank you, sir!  That's what my head tells me.  Better listen to it.  :)  Reading others adventures in rebuilding, customizing, hotrodding, etc speaks to a certain part of my innate nature - but my circumstances don't allow for such extravagance (extravagance referring to my situation, not to others who choose those routes). I wasn't sure about the ignition differences, thanks for mentioning it.  The U.S. market sure has been different from third world markets.  I understand that the 350 from any vintage is a rare bird up there, whereas it seems to be Royal Enfield's bread and butter bike in most of the rest of the world.  The Rumbler 350 I test rode in Medellin last month seemed like a pretty decent ride for our roads down here, but it's definitely not the fire breathing Interstate highway machine US riders expect.
Paul

Adrian II

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Re: AVL vs UCE
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2015, 04:38:35 PM »
Quote
Anyway, what could you tell me about a 2006 Electra?  Were there any in 500 CC, or are they all 350's?

Just to confuse things, the 500 Electra-X (produced for export) and the 350 Indian home market Electra were very different bikes. The 500 was indeed an AVL engine, but the 350 had a modified version of the classic engine with the cast iron cylinder barrel. The 350 AVLs were the Thunderbird (which has a UCE successor) and the Machismo (which does not).

The 500 AVL has a number of weak points, though the fixed ignition isn't the first one on my list!

As ACE says, get one with the UCE engine, spare parts coverage should be better for more recent models.

A.
Grumpy Brit still seeking 500 AVL Bullet perfection! Will let you know if I get anywhere near...

singhg5

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Re: AVL vs UCE
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2015, 04:49:14 PM »
+1 for UCE as ACE and Adrian II have said.
1970's Jawa /  Yezdi
2006 Honda Nighthawk
2009 Royal Enfield Black G5

REpozer

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Re: AVL vs UCE
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2015, 04:54:20 PM »
If the price is right....
My AVL 500 is dependable. I get most of my parts from Nfield. Hitchcocks UK is a source. Then eBay Royal Spares (India). I don't live near a dealer.

Yes the UCE engine is in current production and more popular.
2008 AVL Classic Bullet in British Racing Green
REA # 84 ( the first time)

AmBraCol

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Re: AVL vs UCE
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2015, 06:47:21 PM »
Thanks for the feedback, guys.  Here's the link to the bike:

http://articulo.tumoto.com.co/MCO-415062417-royal-enfield-bullet500-251-cc-500-cc-_JM

He's asking 9,000,000 (negotiable) which is not that much of a savings over a Classic 350 or Bullet 350 of more recent manufacture - with factory warranty.  What caught my eye is that it's the first pre-UCE bike I've seen down here. I'd no idea they had brought them in that far back.  It's marked Electra, not ElectraX, by the way. My guess (and it'll stay that way as I'm not going to call on a bike I'm not ready to dicker on) is that it's a 350 version.  If I were able to swap my current '06 XL200 straight across for it, I'd jump at the chance.  But at his asking price I'd have to come up with some extra $$$ and that ain't going to happen right now.

Anyway, thanks again for the feedback.
Paul

Adrian II

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Re: AVL vs UCE
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2015, 02:08:01 AM »
Guess again, that **is** the 500 Electra-X, sometimes the little round "X" sticker below the Electra decal wasn't always added, but that does not mean it isn't the "X" Like I said, the 350 Electra has the old-style engine with the cast iron cylinder barrel.

If this is the one that really does it for you, fine - despite what I advised you I do love the AVL engine, I ride a modified Electra-X and a custom RE based on an Electra-X hybrid engine in a 1960 English Royal Enfield frame. With a bit of tuning work they can go really well. Yes, there are some known weak spots, primarily the sprag clutch on the Electric starter, the cam followers whose stems can snap and occasional crankpins where the hardening flakes off. But that doesn't happen to every Electra-X, so if the seller ever does drop the price, you need to make your best judgment about whether this is a suitable machine for you. You can of course risk it and set aside money for repairs when something breaks.

A.
Grumpy Brit still seeking 500 AVL Bullet perfection! Will let you know if I get anywhere near...

Arizoni

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Re: AVL vs UCE
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2015, 04:44:31 AM »
ABC:
As you've already decided against getting the AVL I guess this is academic but here's what my memory is saying about the AVL.

It changed several things to improve them over the Iron Barrel.

The cylinder was changed to a sleeved aluminum design with the idea of eliminating the overheating and possible seizing problems common to the cast iron cylinder.

The outside of the cylinder head was redesigned to provide more cooling fins.

The oil pump was redesigned to get rid of the low pressure piston pump.  It was replaced by a gear pump.  Unfortunately, they kept the worm drive design used by the IB.  Worm drives are easily overloaded and the gear teeth on drive pinion and the cross-shaft worm teeth will be damaged when this happens.

The rocker arms were changed to ride on a shaft rather than to have a smaller outside diameter journal running in a hole machined in a split block of aluminum.  This allows a much larger more robust bearing area to take the loads imposed by the valve springs.

The "floating bushing" on the big end of the connecting rod was replaced by roller bearings.  Also, the aluminum connecting rod was replaced with a cast steel rod.

The decompression valve in the IB was removed and replaced with a new design that holds the exhaust valve open.  This is located above the exhaust valve lifter under the small side cover.
The valve lifters are the old fashioned design that require periodic adjustment.

The old points and condenser were eliminated and replaced with a more modern pickup coil to trigger the ignition.

An unsuccessful attempt to improve the reliability of the electric starter motor sprag clutch was made. (Engine crankshaft rotation reversal due to cylinder pressure during shutdown if the decompresser is not used to stop the engine can still wipe out the clutch.)

IMO, it was a step in the right direction and some of its improved features were incorporated into the UCE engine.

I'm sure I forgot something but I think I got most of them.

If I had the choice of spending a little less money for the AVL vs spending more I would hold out for the UCE.
It's proving to be a very reliable engine.
Jim
2011 G5 Deluxe
1999 Miata 10th Anniversary

Adrian II

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Re: AVL vs UCE
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2015, 01:21:43 PM »
Yep, they tried hard with the AVL engine (and as far as I can tell the less-stressed 350 AVL Machismo & Thunderbird models were very successful). There's quite a short list of things the factory could have done easily and produced a very fine bike indeed.

A.
Grumpy Brit still seeking 500 AVL Bullet perfection! Will let you know if I get anywhere near...

AmBraCol

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Re: AVL vs UCE
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2015, 02:13:17 PM »
Guess again, that **is** the 500 Electra-X, sometimes the little round "X" sticker below the Electra decal wasn't always added, but that does not mean it isn't the "X" Like I said, the 350 Electra has the old-style engine with the cast iron cylinder barrel.


Thanks, I'm still learning about these bikes and my eye is far from trained in discerning the differences.  If it ain't badged, it ain't obvious to MY eye! :-D

Quote
If this is the one that really does it for you, fine - despite what I advised you I do love the AVL engine, I ride a modified Electra-X and a custom RE based on an Electra-X hybrid engine in a 1960 English Royal Enfield frame. With a bit of tuning work they can go really well. Yes, there are some known weak spots, primarily the sprag clutch on the Electric starter, the cam followers whose stems can snap and occasional crankpins where the hardening flakes off. But that doesn't happen to every Electra-X, so if the seller ever does drop the price, you need to make your best judgment about whether this is a suitable machine for you. You can of course risk it and set aside money for repairs when something breaks.

Thank you, sir.  If it were a hobby bike, I'd be VERY interested.  But I'm saving up for something more capable of handling some of the long distance travel I need to do, in which case the greater probable reliability of the UCE is what logic dictates.  We tend to get distracted by "shiny!" and "cool!" - which is why I tend to over analyze and second guess and re-analyze and think through decisions over a period of time instead of just jumping in with both feet.  Doing so keeps the buyer's remorse to a minimum. :-D

ABC:
As you've already decided against getting the AVL I guess this is academic but here's what my memory is saying about the AVL.


Just call me Paul. :)  Academic is good.  Storing away info for possible future reference leaves one prepared to make better decisions in the future.

Quote

The oil pump was redesigned to get rid of the low pressure piston pump.  It was replaced by a gear pump.  Unfortunately, they kept the worm drive design used by the IB.  Worm drives are easily overloaded and the gear teeth on drive pinion and the cross-shaft worm teeth will be damaged when this happens.


Lubrication is a big thing for me. In my experience, if one keeps an engine well lubed it runs cooler and lasts longer.  Somewhere I saw a comparison video between the CI, AVL and UCE engines and the amount of oil moved by their respective oil pumps.  I was skeptical of the Musket until I read where he beefed up the lubrication system. But for personal use, the UCE has the better system - in my lowly opinion.

Quote

The old points and condenser were eliminated and replaced with a more modern pickup coil to trigger the ignition.

I'm not sure exactly what this means - but recall becoming quite proficient with setting the points in the old Jeep we used to run on the back roads of Brazil.  I always carried a set of new points, an old set well sanded and serviceable, a bit of sand paper and a feeler gauge - which in later times I didn't even bother to use as my "eye gauge" got so good at judging proper gap.  "Fun" is where you find it, but having to reset the points on the road under a hot tropical sun is not very high up on my list of "fun" things to do!  [/quote]

Quote

If I had the choice of spending a little less money for the AVL vs spending more I would hold out for the UCE.
It's proving to be a very reliable engine.

Thank you, sir.  That's pretty much the conclusion I've come to as well.  Yesterday I put a portion of the funds necessary into a six month CD. We'll be leaving for the U.S. in a few weeks and won't be back 'til a month before the CD matures.  We'll see if we can save up the difference between now and then to pick up a Rumbler or ??? Haven't made up my mind what a logical second choice would be - there's plenty of time to do so.

Again, thanks to all for the input, and especially for the education on the differences. 
Paul

Adrian II

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Re: AVL vs UCE
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2015, 12:34:26 AM »
Paul,

we just hope you get to ride something that you really enjoy. There's a wealth of discussion and experience on the UCE section of the forum which will give you some idea of what to expect, if that's your preference. These models have been around for a few years now and have quite a devoted following in their own right.

A.
Grumpy Brit still seeking 500 AVL Bullet perfection! Will let you know if I get anywhere near...

AmBraCol

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Re: AVL vs UCE
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2015, 03:25:17 AM »
Thanks, Adrian.  I enjoy learning about the diverse versions of the RE bikes.  And I'm looking forward to giving my personal perspective on what ever comes my way when the time comes. :)  It's great to find a community like this one dedicated to sharing about these bikes.
Paul

mattsz

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Re: AVL vs UCE
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2015, 06:16:47 PM »
It's great to find a community like this one dedicated to sharing about these bikes.

This forum will be your most valuable tool...

AmBraCol

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Re: AVL vs UCE
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2015, 08:26:02 PM »
This forum will be your most valuable tool...

It already is - and I don't even have the bike yet!  ;D
Paul