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Author Topic: Electra vs. Standard Bullet  (Read 15761 times)

jdrouin

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Electra vs. Standard Bullet
« on: August 06, 2007, 07:52:02 PM »
As someone new to motorcycling, I'm wondering what the main differences are between owning an Electra and a Classic Bullet ES 5 Speed.

I understand that the Electra engines are generally more reliable, but how much so? The bike would be used for daily commuting (+/- 15 miles each way, rain or shine) and a couple of 500-mile trips in the Summer.

From a maintenance perspective, are the Classic and Electra really all that different?

I would appreciate any insight you might have, especially from anyone who has owned both.

Thanks,

Jeff


Thumper

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Re: Electra vs. Standard Bullet
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2007, 08:08:35 PM »
As someone new to motorcycling, I'm wondering what the main differences are between owning an Electra and a Classic Bullet ES 5 Speed.

I understand that the Electra engines are generally more reliable, but how much so? The bike would be used for daily commuting (+/- 15 miles each way, rain or shine) and a couple of 500-mile trips in the Summer.

From a maintenance perspective, are the Classic and Electra really all that different?

I would appreciate any insight you might have, especially from anyone who has owned both.

Thanks,
Jeff

Jeff:

For a list of differences, see:
http://www.enfieldmotorcycles.com/forum/index.php/topic,47.msg151.html#msg151

Maintenance-wise it's a wash. Both require about the same amount of maintenance. The Electra's intervals are every 3000kms (1864 miles).

Matt

luoma

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Re: Electra vs. Standard Bullet
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2007, 12:02:42 AM »
I bought an Electra becuase they did the AVL engine right. The engineers incorporated the same kinds of improvements that owners have been doing for years.

dewjantim

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Re: Electra vs. Standard Bullet
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2007, 09:10:03 PM »
Its strange that in India the riders prefer the old Iron barrel engine to the new AVL. Seems as though they have a lot of overheating problems on the new engine. The feeling here seems to be that the AVL engine is better. It must be the difference in cruising speeds between the two countries. About 55-65 here in the good ole USA and around 30-35 in India where the roads are more than just a bit primitive. I prefer the old engine, not because it is better, but because it is more true to the original design. Both are good engines. Take your pick, you cant go wrong......Dew.
If it hurts, you're not dead yet!!!!!

RagMan

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Re: Electra vs. Standard Bullet
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2007, 11:30:14 PM »
I will be able to do a comparison side by side, in January, when I will have one of each.
aka Indiana Bulleteer.
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Jefferson County, WA

luoma

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Re: Electra vs. Standard Bullet
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2007, 02:12:27 AM »
Traditionalists will always prefer the old-style engine, but I think they will warm up to the AVL as time goes by. When AVL reengineered the motor, they were careful to incorporate modifications that the RE owners community had been doing to their own machines. I take this a a compliment to the RE faithful. I took several years to decide what RE I wanted, and read the catelog cover to cover, planning what I would want to do to the bike once I got it. When the new engine came out, I was pleased that most of the work was done for me. I added a performance kit, 19-tooth sprocket and solo seat. The bike is now perfect for me. Very little maintenance and loads of fun.

jdrouin

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Re: Electra vs. Standard Bullet
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2007, 01:15:40 PM »
Thanks for all these responses so far. While I understand the mechanical differences between the two models, what I'm really wondering about is how the experience of owning them would differ. In other words, is the Classic motor more likely to break down? To need more daily/weekly/monthly adjustments than the AVL? Are there differences in the types of regular maintenance tasks I would need to perform?

I understand that both models need a fair amount of DIY maintenance -- which is what I want. I was just trying to get an idea of just how much less the AVL might require, which by all accounts doesn't seem to be much less than the Classic (which is fine by me).

Dewjantim's comment on the AVL overheating at low speeds, if true, tells me that the Classic motor might actually be better suited to what the majority of my riding style will be. I live in Brooklyn, NY, where I commute to places in Brooklyn and Manhattan by bicycle just about every day. I'm almost always traveling faster than vehicle traffic (which rarely exceeds 25 mph), and in fact it's quicker for me to bike to any given place than to take public transportation. The motorcycle is more for fun and recreation (and the reward for finishing my dissertation), though it will occasionally be used for practical commuting and traveling to Summer conferences.

And hey, if it's got the romance of drum brakes and a carburator, I can live with that.

I'm curious as to how aesthetically authentic this new unit construction Enfield will be. If it turns out to be a modern fuel injected engine in a G model (or similar) body, as suggested once by Kevin, that would be pretty amazing, but it would also be more "forced," since the G hasn't been in continual production like the Bullet. That's where the Bullet has its authenticity in the face of other brands that simply resurrect or try to approximate a past style for nostalgiac (or marketing) reasons. I can't wait for the reports of the Birmingham bike show this Fall.

Thumper

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Re: Electra vs. Standard Bullet
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2007, 03:28:21 PM »
Thanks for all these responses so far. While I understand the mechanical differences between the two models, what I'm really wondering about is how the experience of owning them would differ. In other words, is the Classic motor more likely to break down? To need more daily/weekly/monthly adjustments than the AVL? Are there differences in the types of regular maintenance tasks I would need to perform?

I understand that both models need a fair amount of DIY maintenance -- which is what I want. I was just trying to get an idea of just how much less the AVL might require, which by all accounts doesn't seem to be much less than the Classic (which is fine by me).

Dewjantim's comment on the AVL overheating at low speeds, if true, tells me that the Classic motor might actually be better suited to what the majority of my riding style will be. I live in Brooklyn, NY, where I commute to places in Brooklyn and Manhattan by bicycle just about every day. I'm almost always traveling faster than vehicle traffic (which rarely exceeds 25 mph), and in fact it's quicker for me to bike to any given place than to take public transportation. The motorcycle is more for fun and recreation (and the reward for finishing my dissertation), though it will occasionally be used for practical commuting and traveling to Summer conferences.

And hey, if it's got the romance of drum brakes and a carburator, I can live with that.

I'm curious as to how aesthetically authentic this new unit construction Enfield will be. If it turns out to be a modern fuel injected engine in a G model (or similar) body, as suggested once by Kevin, that would be pretty amazing, but it would also be more "forced," since the G hasn't been in continual production like the Bullet. That's where the Bullet has its authenticity in the face of other brands that simply resurrect or try to approximate a past style for nostalgiac (or marketing) reasons. I can't wait for the reports of the Birmingham bike show this Fall.

Maintenance will be comparable between the models.

In stock form my AVL LB engine, here in Virginia, ran fine in the summer heat. Not a single sign of distress. With a performance kit installed it runs cooler (due to a richer fuel mixture). Based on my experience with the AVL LB engine in stock form, I'd have to say that you don't have anymore to worry about, in terms of overheating, than any other air-cooled engine.

You might consider the future of the AVL LB engine however. The Classic has been around forever and there is a wealth of aftermarket and OEM parts available. With Euro 3 standards and our own US EPA standards, it is unclear to me the future of the AVL LB engine. I understand that the unit construction engine will have to replace the Classic and AVL LB engines in Europe because even the AVL LB engine won't meet the Euro 3 standards. Will this new AVL LB engine continue to be sold in the US for any length of time? Will it possibly replace the Classic here in the US, or will it be overtaken by our own EPA regulations? Unless the AVL LB engine has a strong market somewhere in the motorcycling world (like India), the parts supply will drop off fast for it. As an owner, this concerns me.

Matt
« Last Edit: August 11, 2007, 12:24:53 AM by Thumper »

luoma

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Re: Electra vs. Standard Bullet
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2007, 10:50:46 PM »
Except for adjusting points on the classic, the two should be the same. Please don't confuse maintenance with repairs. These are tough bikes. They are made to handle some of the worst riding conditions in the world, and have been doing it for a long time. If you are prone to looking after your machine, the amount of fiddling needed will not seem like much.

deejay

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Re: Electra vs. Standard Bullet
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2007, 12:52:23 PM »
The feeling here seems to be that the AVL engine is better.

More reliable? Maybe, just maybe. Better? I would have to disagree. Nothing beats the classic engine in my book.

No. 5

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Re: Electra vs. Standard Bullet
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2007, 01:36:45 PM »
Having just made the decision myself, here's my $.02. Reliability and maintenance were not an issue. I wasn't buying a bike just to ride it. What mattered to me as a new rider was the front disc brake and how it looked. I went with the Electra. But as I look through the catalog at seats, exhaust, luggage carriers, tanks, etc, You can do much more with the classic. In the end you always wish you'd bought the other one.  ;D I'll have to get both (don't tell my wife)

luoma

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Re: Electra vs. Standard Bullet
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2007, 02:53:13 PM »
I think you will be happy with your decision, but you will wonder what it would be like to own the classic, I do. As for the looks, I still think the classic delux is the best looking. The main problem with the Electra's styling is that the seat doesn't look right. I installed a tan solo and pad on my green bike and it looks perfect. When the new model comes out, I'll begin to drool again.

hutch

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Re: Electra vs. Standard Bullet
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2007, 03:24:25 PM »
In 2005 I bought a Classic because the lean burn was unproven and I wanted something that had a history of sucess. I also had looked through the parts book and saw how few parts were available at the time. In 2006 I bought a Suzuki Savage 650 single for the same reason as the Classic, it had a 20 year history of dependabillity. Kevin has stated that more parts will become available for the Electra in the future and that sounds great. After hearing of all the good things about the Electra Lean Burn I was hoping to buy one next year. That would give me the '67 Interceptor,a Classic and the Electra, which I planned on putting a Watsonian Trials kit on from the UK. It would be a disapointment to say the least if the lean burn were to be discontinued so soon. As Matt said, parts could be a problem. Most people believe the Savage will no longer be able to meet EPA standards and it will also be phased out. I often wonder what the EPA standards are on all these space shuttles that burn a hole right through the ozone. It burns my butt that  they pick on a little single cyclinder motorcycle, but big companies and big Government get away with doing what they want. I now do not know weather to grab up an Electra quick, or not, because of possible parts problems in the future. RE has been continuosly building bikes longer than any other company in the world, and I would hate to see them go under or quit importing again, just when they are getting a good share of the US market. That would be sad indeed. I have been following RE since 1965 and there is just something bout the name and the look of the bike that hit a chord with me. Maybe it is that with the last name of Hutchinson my English roots run real deep. In my family history, my ancestors actually moved to Canada during the Revolutionary War, and were faithful to the king of England.Unfortunately they quit importing  RE's to the US when I was ready to buy. I was so glad when they came back to the US market, I would rather have a garage full of RE's than any other bikes. If all my other bikes get sold, that just might be the case. I still would love to find a 50's Indian RE or a 1953 Meteor in that beautiful Bronze color. I just love RE's         Hutch
« Last Edit: August 11, 2007, 04:04:41 PM by hutch »
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prof_stack

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Re: Electra vs. Standard Bullet
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2007, 03:39:49 PM »
Yesterday I talked on the phone with the closest RE dealership, some 60 miles away.  The owner, who drives a Classic, said he has sold two Electras and a lot of earlier versions of RE.  His shop has been honored by RE in the past as a top dealership.

When I asked him "Electra vs Standard Bullet" he said that for most people style of riding the Classic holds up as well as the Electra.  His BIG CONCERN about the bikes is to make sure the running in (break-in) is done absolutely correctly.  Then he said that over 90% of the problems RE owners have are owner induced (i.e. improper maintenance).

Finally, he said that I should buy one and that he has a sale coming up but he'll give me first dibs this coming week.   ::)   (Yeah, my wife rolled her eyes at that one!   ;D)

luoma

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Re: Electra vs. Standard Bullet
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2007, 09:33:12 PM »
You really can't go wrong with which ever RE you end up choosing.