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Author Topic: RE as a starter bike  (Read 3815 times)

rural earl

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RE as a starter bike
« on: November 16, 2007, 05:20:39 AM »
What are the good/bad points of buying a Bullet/Electra as my first "real" bike?  I love my Kymco 125 scooter, but I run out of bike before I run out of road, if you get my drift.  I would use the bike primarily for a 10-mile daily commute, on either back roads or interstates, depending on how late I wake up.  I can live with a 65-mph speed limit (hell, I don't drive faster than that!) and I'm OK with regular maintenance and the occasional big wrench job.  I love the traditional look and riding position I anticipate from a Royal Enfield.  My wife will share the riding duties with a similar commute.  The other BIG issue is that I would have to import a bike from out-of-California, but I think I can handle all that entails.  What do you think?

Kiwichick

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Re: RE as a starter bike
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2007, 05:37:01 AM »
My advice - don't even hesitate.

The RE, as a riding experience, is absolutely tops.  And the maintenance - well, I plan to deal with that as it arises, but there sure are a lot of people around to offer advice and support! 

I have only had my Electra a couple of weeks, mind you, but a flawless performance to date!  And oh, what fun. 
Biddy

rural earl

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Re: RE as a starter bike
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2007, 05:54:41 AM »
I've heard the left-hand shift is tricky to get from gear-to-gear and the run-in process must be slow and meticulous or you risk early engine failures.  On the other hand, it's my first bike, so I can get used to anything!  And, I'm willing to put up with a lot of idiosyncrasies from my friends.

Kiwichick

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Re: RE as a starter bike
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2007, 08:09:19 AM »
I've read a bit here and there about the LH shift, about having to get used to the RE gearbox and that shifting (LH or RH) can be tricky.  I personally have had no trouble at all - on my first day I found neutral instead of shifiting up just once, and since then have not done it again.  I find the gear shifting to be quite solid, quite distinct in its feel.  More importantly for me, the clutch isn't too heavy - although I've heard some riders prefer to change things so it is heavier.

Re the running in, if you go to the "Bullet Electra Models" area and look under the thread "New RE 500 rider from India", near the bottom of the second page of posts, Indian48 gave me a really good description of the running in process.  It isn't that tortuous - in fact, I'm rather enjoying it.  It makes for a bit of leisurely riding in the weekend, and I spend a bit of time looking for nice rides where I can vary the speed and not have to contend with too much traffic.  And before long, your speed has built up to a level where you can go out in public!

Anyway, that's my view as a newbie to REs and someone who hasn't owned a bike for the last five years.  This Electra feels so so easy, so right to ride...
Biddy

RagMan

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Re: RE as a starter bike
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2007, 10:30:51 AM »
You say you think you can import an RE from "out of California". If this means you are in California, importing an RE into that state is all but impossible. Before you try buying one, make sure you know the problems that state gives to people trying to import something they don't like.
aka Indiana Bulleteer.
''99 Classic Bullet. '05 Ural Tourist sidecar rig, converted to 2wd. '05 Harley Davidson Sportster.
Jefferson County, WA

Ofcalipka

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Re: RE as a starter bike
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2007, 11:42:02 AM »
If you are trying to import a bike from outside the US to California you may wish to read this thread first:

http://www.enfieldmotorcycles.com/forum/index.php/topic,57.0.html

If you are just trying to import from another state.  I know of three 2005 Royal Enfield Sixty-5's that are still brand new in the show room here in Hawaii at Domenico's Motorcycles.  They would probably part with them for cheap.  I just shipped a bike from San Diego, CA to Honolulu, HI and it cost me about $700 with Pasha Hawaii Shipping.

My experience with the RE is that it is a great first motorcycle.  Only basic mechanic skills and tools are needed for most repairs as it is very simply built.  Its nimble on and off the road and not too fast.  So you'll learn how to handle the bike without it handling you.  However you must follow the break in carefully as it is part of the final machining process for the engine components so patience is a must with the RE.  As far as right hand left hand shifting.  Well if its your first bike this doesn't really matter as you will learn how to operate it properly the more that you ride. 
"There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot." - Steven Wright

2005 Royal Enfeild Bullet 500 Military,
2006 HD Springer softail 1450,
1980 Puch Maxi,
1995 Ural 650
1978 Peugeot 103 SP
2000 BMW R 1150 RT P

Wahiawa,  HI

rural earl

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Re: RE as a starter bike
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2007, 05:42:00 AM »
You say you think you can import an RE from "out of California". If this means you are in California, importing an RE into that state is all but impossible. Before you try buying one, make sure you know the problems that state gives to people trying to import something they don't like.

Yeah, I thought it would be a little dicey, but after a chat with a dealer in a neighboring state, I think it will work.  I can register a used bike in CA if it has sufficient miles on it, not unlike registering a diesel car from out-of-state.  Making a used bike used enough for the DMV seems to be the challenge, especially if it's really (ahem) not "used".  And just to clarify, that's the extent of my "importing" plans...nothing international, although most would agree that California is damn near like being on another planet.

RagMan

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Re: RE as a starter bike
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2007, 12:26:31 PM »
It seem a lot easier to import an RE into any other country, except Canada, than it is to import one into California. They have very strange ideas
aka Indiana Bulleteer.
''99 Classic Bullet. '05 Ural Tourist sidecar rig, converted to 2wd. '05 Harley Davidson Sportster.
Jefferson County, WA

Ofcalipka

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Re: RE as a starter bike
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2007, 06:58:05 PM »
I was always amused at how the California Government started off making mistakes from the very beginning and then making like they meant to do it that way to cover up their error.  Check out http://www.snopes.com/lost/bearflag.asp for the story on how the California state flag was made with an error in the 1800's that is still on the flag to this day.   ;D
"There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot." - Steven Wright

2005 Royal Enfeild Bullet 500 Military,
2006 HD Springer softail 1450,
1980 Puch Maxi,
1995 Ural 650
1978 Peugeot 103 SP
2000 BMW R 1150 RT P

Wahiawa,  HI

Thumper

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Re: RE as a starter bike
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2007, 09:05:10 PM »
What are the good/bad points of buying a Bullet/Electra as my first "real" bike?  I love my Kymco 125 scooter, but I run out of bike before I run out of road, if you get my drift.  I would use the bike primarily for a 10-mile daily commute, on either back roads or interstates, depending on how late I wake up.  I can live with a 65-mph speed limit (hell, I don't drive faster than that!) and I'm OK with regular maintenance and the occasional big wrench job.  I love the traditional look and riding position I anticipate from a Royal Enfield.  My wife will share the riding duties with a similar commute.  The other BIG issue is that I would have to import a bike from out-of-California, but I think I can handle all that entails.  What do you think?

Good Points:
- the Electra X will handle the commute that you describe
- it's a thumper! They sound great and look great
- I'm only at 3000 miles - but I've had no problems with my bike (at least not that I was not directly responsible for during my 'learning curve'). The Electra X seems solid and reliable to me.
- They are light and nimble and handle great.
- Front disc brake on the Electra X
- stock was giving me consistent low 70's mpg; with the performance kit I still get 65mpg

Bad Points:
- Probably not the best bike for a sustained 65mph cruise.
- Forget trying to run quick errands. You'll have to stop and talk to people... ;)

Matt

rural earl

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Re: RE as a starter bike
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2007, 04:24:14 AM »
Good Points:
- the Electra X will handle the commute that you describe
- it's a thumper! They sound great and look great
- I'm only at 3000 miles - but I've had no problems with my bike (at least not that I was not directly responsible for during my 'learning curve'). The Electra X seems solid and reliable to me.
- They are light and nimble and handle great.
- Front disc brake on the Electra X
- stock was giving me consistent low 70's mpg; with the performance kit I still get 65mpg

Bad Points:
- Probably not the best bike for a sustained 65mph cruise.
- Forget trying to run quick errands. You'll have to stop and talk to people... ;)

Matt

[/quote]

I really like the "light & nimble", and the way traffic runs on the interstates around here, "sustained 65mph cruises" are probably fantasy anyway.  I guess I'll have to be careful about keeping the registration current, since the cops will probably want to be among the people I have to stop and talk to!  Thanks, all!

bulletsixty5

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Re: RE as a starter bike
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2008, 09:41:00 PM »
the RE is my first starter bike. had a 150 cc scooter before, which could do 60, but was a little sketchy. i took the MC training class, then bought the enfield, definately take the class if you arent expereienced with riding. even if you are, its not a bad idea to take an advanced class too.  i've been riding it ever since. love it. good small size bike to learn on, although shifting maybe not as smooth as a japanese bike.
Deano
2004 Bullet 500 Sixty-5
2006 MazdaSpeed6 (turbo AWD 6sp)
2004 TN'G Baja 150

geoffbaker

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Re: RE as a starter bike
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2008, 03:51:50 PM »
My 2000 RE military (now diesel) was my starter bike, unless you count a brief flirtation with an old BSA back in the seventies;

This is the first bike I've ever worked on, and there is no bike on the market that is EASIER to work on.

But it is older technology which means you have to read the manuals and do the maintenance - religiously - or you will find yourself in trouble.

Actually, you're going to find yourself in trouble anyway :) But that's part of the joy (?) of owning an RE.

And it won't go fast...

hobocos

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Re: RE as a starter bike
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2008, 09:09:56 PM »
in order to get a re into california it has to have something like 7800 miles on it.  I got mine by calling Guy at sunvalley service center in nevada.  i said i want rt side shift.  kick start only.  he had one there and it had a front disc break.  now i have one of the nicest bikes in fresno and it was easy to get here.  you just have to work with someone that knows how to do it