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Author Topic: New Bullet vs Old Cafe Racer  (Read 1637 times)

sauderkraut

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New Bullet vs Old Cafe Racer
« on: January 07, 2013, 02:22:16 PM »
I'm a new rider looking for a first bike, and have my eye on the G5 Bullet. I'm on the fence right now between getting a new Bullet, or a used Cafe Racer off craigslist. Being a new owner, I thought it'd be best to ask a forum of riders with the Bullet to sell me on getting the Bullet instead. The older ones are appealing because they can be found at half the price, but is the maintenance going to be too much for a new rider who's never worked on a motorcycle before. Or is it just preference? An example of the bike I'm looking at is a listing like this (1972 cb350 cafe racer. 7,017 miles and runs great, $2,000). If I like the aesthetics of both, and the old one is cheaper, is that the way to go? Or is it smarter for a new rider to get something new and learn the maintenance side slowly over time...? Interested in hearing your opinion. Thanks!

AgentX

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Re: New Bullet vs Old Cafe Racer
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2013, 03:15:28 PM »
Buying a "cafe racer" is a dodgy prospect unless you're in person and know exactly what you're buying, IMHO.  Lotta guys chopping up bikes in sketchy ways and putting them on Craigslist under the heading "cafe racer."

The 1972 Honda is likely to be more maintenance-intensive than a G5 and is a more complicated machine to boot.

You can also cafe-racer-out a G5 although it's not going to be the fastest bike around; still, it is in a way a lot more authentic than a Honda "cafe." In the future, a company called Ace (on this board often, ace.cafe) is planning some performance upgrades to the G5 style engine.  However, they also do upgrades on the older bikes, and that makes a real classic hot-rod which is more reliable than the stock machine.

As a new rider, if you have the inclination to do the maintenance, you can learn--I did. Once I bought an older Bullet with some problems, I had to.  But you've got to want to do it and embrace that as part of owning the bike.  The newer models like the G5 are generally much more trouble- and adjustment-free.

I was in a similar position and ended up going for a new-model Enfield, learned to ride on an easy, reliable machine, then sold it and bought the old-school original and began a long project to modify it how I wanted.  (An ongoing effort, but still...)

barenekd

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Re: New Bullet vs Old Cafe Racer
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2013, 05:13:48 PM »
To buy a 40 year old bike, knowing nothing about it, is being taking a chance rife with potential problems. The whole bike could be totally worn out. You could spend a hell of a lot more money than a new bike would cost very easily. Since you admittedly don't know much about mechanics, or motorcycles, I'd suggest you stay well clear of this one. Get a new bike and then you can have a chance to learn as you go ride, not learn as you're rebuilding a basket case sitting in the garage.
The G5s don't require too much work to keep them up and running. Probably less than most of the other bikes out there, and they are much easier to work on than most. Most all of them require chain adjusting and oil changes. Most require valve adjustments. Most people take them to the shops for the work requiring a few hundred dollars to get the work accomplished. No valve adjustments on G5s and oil changes and chain adjustments are pretty easy to accomplish.
Spend your time and money building your own cafe racer.
Bare
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Arizoni

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Re: New Bullet vs Old Cafe Racer
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2013, 12:29:09 AM »
sauderkraut
As this is going to be your first bike, I think you will need something rather docile but with enough power, handling and soul to keep your interest long after your first ride.

I think the Royal Enfields all will meet those requirements.

A quicky about the different Royal Enfields.
The older "Iron Barrels" are little changed from the original 1955 vintage bikes.
They can reach speeds of 70 mph but are happiest at 50 mph.
They are moderately labor intensive needing, in addition to oil/filter changes and chain adjustments, their valve clearance adjusted.
If someone has changed the exhaust they may need the various 'jets' (orifices that control the fuel mixture) changed.
They come with either a 4 speed or 5 speed transmission and the shift lever may be on the right or the left side depending on their age and the country they were sold in.
These are usually in the 2006 and older bikes.

The AVL is a redesign of the Iron Barrel and in doing so they improved the engine design.
It is capable of slightly higher speeds and will cruse at 60 mph.  They usually have an electric starter, although the starting system is prone to breakage.
These are usually in the 2006 to 2009 vintage.

The UCE or new fuel injected engine was completely redesigned and its power was increased.
They are capable of 80 mph but are happiest at speeds of 65 mph or slower.
There is very little maintenance needed except for changing the oil and oil filter and they are proving to be quite reliable.
These are in the 2009-2013 vintage.

All of these Royal Enfields are uncommon in the USA and will bring people from far and near to ask questions and talk about them.
It isn't unusual to see total strangers taking out their cell phones etc. to take pictures of them.

 Happy bike hunting. :)
Jim
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1999 Miata 10th Anniversary

cafeman

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Re: New Bullet vs Old Cafe Racer
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2013, 02:21:16 AM »
The older Bullet (or any older bike) would be a great choice for someone with tools, that is proficient in how to use them, realistically enjoys tinkering, tweaking, tuning, adjusting, fixing, repairing things etc., who has patience.....but also for someone who has the desire to learn some or all of the above. I think the older Bullet would be one of the best bikes for someone who wants to learn how to wrench on their first bike..(a great forum here for all the help one would ever need)
It's one thing to like the looks, feel and sound of a particular bike, to be able to maintain it knowing what one is getting into ahead of time and be able to deal with (even look forward to or find an excuse to work on) and enjoy all that comes with owning it, but quite another to not have been realistic about what they want in a bike, their skills (their willingness to do or learn) only to be left frustrated and dismayed with a nice looking but possibley broken or poorly running old bike sitting in the garage most of the time because it's too much work to keep it running. For a first bike that is going to be an old one, one should really think hard and be realistic..... and then go for it. Or it would be best to look to a newer bike with the old bike look, what ever that bike would be. Just my opinion of course. Your ability and desires (or lack thereof) should steer you in the right direction! :)

AgentX

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Re: New Bullet vs Old Cafe Racer
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2013, 04:10:49 AM »
sauderkraut
As this is going to be your first bike, I think you will need something rather docile but with enough power, handling and soul to keep your interest long after your first ride.

I think the Royal Enfields all will meet those requirements.

A quicky about the different Royal Enfields.
The older "Iron Barrels" are little changed from the original 1955 vintage bikes.
They can reach speeds of 70 mph but are happiest at 50 mph.
They are moderately labor intensive needing, in addition to oil/filter changes and chain adjustments, their valve clearance adjusted.
If someone has changed the exhaust they may need the various 'jets' (orifices that control the fuel mixture) changed.
They come with either a 4 speed or 5 speed transmission and the shift lever may be on the right or the left side depending on their age and the country they were sold in.
These are usually in the 2006 and older bikes.

The AVL is a redesign of the Iron Barrel and in doing so they improved the engine design.
It is capable of slightly higher speeds and will cruse at 60 mph.  They usually have an electric starter, although the starting system is prone to breakage.
These are usually in the 2006 to 2009 vintage.

The UCE or new fuel injected engine was completely redesigned and its power was increased.
They are capable of 80 mph but are happiest at speeds of 65 mph or slower.
There is very little maintenance needed except for changing the oil and oil filter and they are proving to be quite reliable.
These are in the 2009-2013 vintage.

All of these Royal Enfields are uncommon in the USA and will bring people from far and near to ask questions and talk about them.
It isn't unusual to see total strangers taking out their cell phones etc. to take pictures of them.

 Happy bike hunting. :)

I think I've made virtually the same "model run-down" post before, to the best of my relatively meager knowledge.  I really think a definitive version might be a great sticky or other forum-wide reference for newcomers...

sauderkraut

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Re: New Bullet vs Old Cafe Racer
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2013, 04:18:16 AM »
This is all very helpful info. Thanks for the comments and insights. I'm leaning even more towards going for the Bullet now. I do like the idea of learning how to work on and maintain a bike, but think I'd like to have a fairly maintenance free bike to start on, and gradually learn that side of it. It's good to know that there's a helpful forum community for Royal Enfields. If you know of any good resources for learning how to do general maintenance, let me know. I'm guessing that the bike manual has good instructional advice if I were to buy one.

Thanks again for the comments. They are very appreciated.

sauderkraut

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Re: New Bullet vs Old Cafe Racer
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2013, 01:02:34 PM »
One more question...Now I've got my eye on the new RE Cafe Racer 2014. Would you worry about buying a first generation of this new model? Or go for it, since it's built on a classic foundation.
http://www.motorcycledaily.com/2012/12/royal-enfield-unveils-2014-cafe-racer/

single

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Re: New Bullet vs Old Cafe Racer
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2013, 02:16:41 AM »
Any old bike will be high maintenance.
Mostly,you will be on your own.
But if you get a Bullet,you also get US.
What ever you get,make sure the modifications do not adversly affect handling.There are plenty of hacked up bikes out there,evil handling can kill.

Lwt Big Cheese

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Re: New Bullet vs Old Cafe Racer
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2013, 01:51:42 PM »
Quote
They are moderately labor intensive needing, in addition to oil/filter changes and chain adjustments, their valve clearance adjusted.

C'mon who you kidding. With the mileages some of you do, what would that mean in real terms? 30 minutes every couple of years! And if you do the mileage Bare does you would be able to do it in your sleep anyway!
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sauderkraut

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Re: New Bullet vs Old Cafe Racer
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2013, 12:41:48 AM »
I think I'm set on going with a new Royal Enfield Cafe Racer 2014. I contacted a local dealer and had them reserve one for me. I don't know what it is about it, but I really dig the style of those. They should be out this July. That gives me time to get my permit and license and get a motorcycle class in.

Any thoughts on the new Cafe Racer that they recently announced?
http://www.motorcycledaily.com/2012/12/royal-enfield-unveils-2014-cafe-racer/

Merrill

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Re: New Bullet vs Old Cafe Racer
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2013, 03:00:50 AM »
well sauderkraut,  personally i think the cafe offering is the best looking bike
in enfields line up,, shoot i think its the best looking bike in any manufactures
line up.  I plan on selling my bmw RT (low miles LTW) in order to purchase one.  I'm not worried about the first model offering.,  more worried about the line at the dealership.   who is your dealer?   i do wish it was carbureted tho

Lwt Big Cheese

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Re: New Bullet vs Old Cafe Racer
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2013, 09:35:38 AM »
I want your RT !!!
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Merrill

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Re: New Bullet vs Old Cafe Racer
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2013, 09:42:04 PM »
Lwt. you are geographically unfit.

Lwt Big Cheese

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Re: New Bullet vs Old Cafe Racer
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2013, 09:36:25 AM »
Lol.

I still hanker after one though. The RE is brilliant at what it does and I love it.

However once a week I work in Bristol and to ride here on the 350 would take the two days that I have! Its about 140 miles on the Motorway each way.
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