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Author Topic: C5 vs. G5 back to back test rides  (Read 2604 times)

Ducati Scotty

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C5 vs. G5 back to back test rides
« on: July 18, 2010, 05:03:24 AM »
So today I finally got down to Vespa Portland to take both the C5 and the G5 for a ride.  Many thanks to Justin for basically tossing me two sets of keys and recommending a nice twisty road.  Some of this will be a comparison to my Ducati Monster, sorry but I've spent three years on it so it's unavoidable.  I rode a 2010 C5 with about 700 miles first and then a 2010 (I think) G5 with about 150 miles.

A few first impressions:
The nacelle looks just bitchen!
The C5 speedo looks great illuminated in the dark.
A 500 single sounds awesome chuffing along in a tunnel, even with a stock exhaust.

Common traits of both bikes:
On pulling away I have to admit the bike felt a bit 'mopedy' in the power department.  I'm used to more than 3 times that much power and a 9,500 RPM redline and smooth delivery throughout.  I was a bit disappointed at first but after just a few blocks I realized there's not much point in revving the engine much, it just vibrates a lot more when you do.  Take advantage of the low end torque and the bike is very happy and pulls plenty well enough to keep up with in town traffic.  Actually, better than that since I was frustrated being stuck behind a few people lolling along at 35-40.  I pulled over and let them motor on to get some clear road and then set out again.  There was plenty of giddy up to quickly scoot me up into the 50-60 indicated range without any complaints, on a slight uphill.  

Nothing was out of place or awkward.  All the controls are well placed and the seating position is very comfy and upright.  Even so, the wind at 50-60mph was easily tolerable.  I like bikes without shields or fairings so YMMV but I never felt like I was being pushed off the bike.  The front brake is very light, has good feel and modulation, and stops the bike well.  It was so light it took some getting used to.  I'm used to the dual 320mm disks with 6 piston calipers on the Ducati.  The rear brake holds well on a hill and keeps the bike well composed when braking, which is all I expect from a rear brake.  The clutch was amazingly light but also worked very well after a few minutes of getting used to it.  Again, Ducatis (at least pre slipper cltuch era models) are known for very stiff clutches.  The throttle was light and the action was smooth.  It has less rotation from closed to wide open than I've seen on most machines.  

The transmission was amazing!  Smooth, quiet, and sure.  I was pleasantly surprised at how refined it felt.  I guess I was expecting it to feel sort of agricultural.  Not at all.  Shifts were quiet and predictable with no fuss.  There was only one false neutral on the G5 in the upper gears and that bike had the gearshift lever positioned high and I was shifting lazily.  My fault entirely, not the machine.

The mirrors suck.  Don't they all?  The little handle by the seat makes getting it onto the center stand a breeze.

The pegs transmit some vibes, especially in the upper revs where I quickly decided not to be anyway.  They are also fairly wide set and non folding so I caught a boot or leg on them from time to time.  I'm sure it would sort itself out as I got used to the bike.  The bars also transmit some vibes.  Hands and feet were both a little tingly after my two rides totaling maybe 40 minutes.  I bet some better grips would go a long way.  Not sure what to do with the pegs except keep the revs down and get the engine broken in so it smooths out.

At 6' tall with a 34" inseam I expected to feel cramped.  I didn't on either bike.  The seats differed and I preferred the C5 solo seat.  It took me a little while to get used to sitting back on the C5 saddle.  Despite what you think you won't fall off and I was most comfortable at the tail end of it.  A little scoop for reference would be nice.  I didn't really like the springs on the seat.  If I bought one I'd probably add some little black brackets to make the seat fixed but leave the springs for aesthetics.  The G5 seat was a little softer and also less comfortable for me.  I don't think I could spend more than an hour or maybe two on it.

Forgto to mention this at first...
The suspension is just fine.  I weigh 230# and the fork on this bike is notoriously simplisitc but I have to say, both bikes rode just fine.  There was nothing either miraculous or terrible on either, the system is well balanced and suited to the bike.  Like I said about many things, nothing truly ugly rears its head.
End addendum.

Differences:
Ok, so we know they look a little different.  The C5 is a nod to the 50s and the G5 is a nod to the 60s.  I think the C5 is gorgeous.  I don't like the G5 as much.  The seat looks cheap and poorly proportioned.  The chrome tool boxes are awkward and gaudy.  The smooth panels that cover the battery and air cleaner look almost like 80s styling.  In my opinion the panels and tool boxes should be reworked to look more like a rounded oil tank and less flowy.  All that said, I could probably modify it to a configuration I liked.

The REAL difference:
So the main thing I was really curious about and why I wanted to ride these two bikes back to back was tire/wheel size.  The C5 has 18" wheels, the G5 has 19" wheels.  The frames, forks, and all other mechanical bits are the same.  
Correction:
ScooterBob points out below that the C5 and G5 actually have different frames
End corrrection
The wheel size difference means that the C5 has less trail and less gyroscopic force making it, theoretically, a quicker handler at low speeds but a little less stable at high speeds.  Shouldn't matter that much, right?  And yet I am telling you now these are two very different bikes to ride!

At speeds under 10mph the C5 drops into turns at the slightest suggestion.  It doesn't quite fall into turns the way an old style chopper with bad geometry does but you need to pay attention in low speed turns or it will turn more than you expect.  From 10 to 50 handling is light, very light.  Again, just think where you want to go and the bike is there.  Let your mind wander and the bike will too.  From 50 to 60 mph (fastest I went) the front end feels a little squirrely and you also really start to notice the 'rubber band hinge' feeling in the middle of the bike, especially when changing directions or your line through a turn.  I think GasHouseGorilla is right, this swingarm is too flexy and needs some reinforcement.

The G5 is a totally different story.  From 10mph up it really feels like it's on rails.  Surefooted and planted.  Mid-corner corrections elicit none of the waggling that would come from doing the same thing with a C5.  The handling is not heavy but I was now consciously countersteering the bike and the bars pushed back a little.  Just for giggles I gave the G5 bars a few sharp nudges while going about 55.  I could instantly feel the rubber band hinge in the middle of the bike but it stayed mostly composed and did not wander offline.  The C5 needed some attention at these speeds to keep it where I wanted it.

I could not believe the difference between the two bikes!  The C5 is light and airy and steers with a thought below 50, but takes some attention above that to keep it on course.  It's easily upset at higher speeds by ham fisted input from the rider.  The G5 takes just a bit more effort to steer but handles the speeds from 50-60 without a second thought.  

When I got back Justin asked what I thought about the two bikes.  It turns out we're on the same page.  The C5 looks better but the G5 has that surefooted feeling at higher speeds.  Again, thanks for letting me ride both bikes today Justin.  We're both curious to see what the C5 would do with a 19" front wheel and I'm going to keep following Gorilla's swingarm mod thread.

Just to frame this review for you, a little about me...

I learned to ride when I was 12 on a Honda XR-75 dirt bike.  I had a Puch 50cc moped when I was 16.  I didn't ride much again until I was about 30 and took the MSF course.  I put about 10,000 miles on a Yamaha V-Star 650 one year, and 10,000 more on a Kawasaki ZR-7 the next.  I took a few more years off and then bought a Ducati Monster 800 and put about 10,000 miles on that over the last 3 years.  I studied a little engineering before swtching to computers.  I've worked on all kinds of engines and vehicles since I was 12 and still do most of my own maintenance on everything I own.  My riding stopped abruptly 3 weeks ago when a sweet old lady knocked the Ducati over while it was parked and totaled it.  The damage isn't terrible but it's expensive because it's a Ducati.  So now I'm in the midst of working through the insurance claim and deciding whether to repair the Ducati or get something else, like maybe a nice C5 ;)

Thanks for reading,
Scott
« Last Edit: July 23, 2010, 01:29:26 PM by Ducati Scotty »

Ice

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Re: C5 vs. G5 back to back test rides
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2010, 06:13:00 AM »
Thanks for your honest opinion Br. D.S.

So,,, after you pick up your C5 what next the low restriction exhaust for more giddy up go or a nice passenger pillion ?  ;)
I can break it better,,,,at night, in the rain, on the trail,, 20 miles from nowhere.

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Ice

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Re: C5 vs. G5 back to back test rides
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2010, 06:42:14 AM »

I know there is some vibration in my bike I can see it when my mirrors blur at certain speeds but I don't feel any of it at all.

I'm insulated from it by the seat my boots and gloves.

The Welco work boots have a EVA mid sole, absorbs some shock and stops vibration.
The black leather us army gloves with wool liners do the same thing.
I can break it better,,,,at night, in the rain, on the trail,, 20 miles from nowhere.

REA #136

"TIMEX", the '06 Iron Barrel Military that takes me everywhere I want to go... and some places I shouldn't.

WillW

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Re: C5 vs. G5 back to back test rides
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2010, 08:29:21 AM »
Interesting comparison Scott, and great report. Thanks.
I have the G5 but have ridden the C5 several hundred miles and my preferences are the exact opposite of yours. With me it's mainly aesthetic - I'm hooked on that sixties look, although I also find the G5 seat way more comfortable. I spend hours on my bike realtively unscathed, apart from neck and shoulder tension, but that's just my bad habits. Three hours on the C5 left me with a paralyzed arse! But the C5 I rode had a lot more vibration than my own bike. Don't know whether this is generally so, I don't see why it would be. But I'm not sure I'd take out those seat springs.....
I don't have your riding experience, this my first bike for decades, so can't comment on the differences in handling. It'd be interesting to have another go on the C5 now that I've put 4500 miles on my G5 just to see. But bear in mind that these two bikes come with different tyres - I'm assuming that's so in the USA? Here in UK the C5 has Avon AM26 RoadRiders, but the G5 has Avon Speedmasters. Skidmaster more like. The front tyre is way too keen to track along road surface irregularities and at any sort of speed above fifty can feel very unstable on anything but flat tarmac. I'm getting rid of em and have ordered the RoadRiders which I expect any day now.

Hard to figure why they left the kicker off and put the more modern looking tyres on the more retro looking bike aint it??  ???

I don't get vibration discomfort through the pegs, a little through the grips at speed, and the mirrors are just a blur at certain speeds! I regularly cruise at 60, and since I fitted the Goldie exhaust I'm much more inclined to run at 70/75 on stretches of dual carriageway. The engine feels way less pushed at those speeds than with the stock exhaust, and is perkier right through the range. A bit anti social in town though.
I guess these were demo bikes with not much mileage? The engine frees up significantly as it breaks in. After 500 miles it's very noticeable, way smoother, and more so up to around 1500.
Just my couple of bobs worth. I hope your insurance company doesn't give you the run around for too long. Could you find a used tank for the Ducati somewhere online? I don't mean keep the Ducati instead of the Bullet - I mean have BOTH..... ;)
« Last Edit: July 18, 2010, 08:34:10 AM by WillW »
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Maturin

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Re: C5 vs. G5 back to back test rides
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2010, 11:20:33 AM »
Hi Scotty!
I just traded my old ´93 Duc 750 SS for a G5. I was looking for a bike thats fun at lower speeds, becaus the signorinas voice (*faster, faster*) was always present and I considered that to be not healthy on the long run.
After a lot of kms with stronger bikes I am surprised how little I miss the horses, the torque seems to have a soothing effect I really enjoy to the full.
The roadholding of the C5 just as G5 is a somewhat odd story. I have never driven a motorcycle with so mediocre working fork and rear suspension thats chassis worked so well together as in my G5. Coming from Ducati everything feels a bit wobbly, but after a few hours I won great confidence. Despite a tough reacting fork and a rear suspension with a lot of clearance everything miraculously creates stable cornering ability and a good stability up to 110 km/h.
Apparently there is much room for improvement. Better fork oil (I suspect the Indians use tea instead), better rear bumpers, tires and so on could change the roadholding from (surprisingly) good to exellent. At this point I should mention the german "Heidenau" tires, at least thats a recomendation from the german Enfield-forum. I am still using the original Avons although my impression is that they create no adhesion at all in wet condition.
So I´m afraid the accessory industry will make profitable business with me. Best regards
Maturin
2010 G5
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Ducati Scotty

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Re: C5 vs. G5 back to back test rides
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2010, 02:36:22 PM »
Ice, I'd do some grips, bar end mirrors, maybe different bars.  Not sure I'd get the pillion until I sorted out the rider's seat.  Not a big fan of loud exhausts, I like my neighbors and I tend to tune my bikes in the driveway Sunday mornings ;)  I also like the cleaner emissions the cat provides.  Doing my bit for the rest of the world.

WillW, yes, a seat is a very personal choice as are aesthetics.  Thanks for pointing out that most of this is just my opinion, though the handling differences are there for sure.  I tired to provide objective info along with my opinion, I'm sure I failed in places ;)  They do also have different tires, not just sizes.  SM on the G5, AM26 on the C5.  A lot could probably be done with just getting different tires with different profiles but the stark difference in handling is still undeniable and I think is due more to size than style of tire.  Oh, and the flexy swingarm.  Personally I'm not a fan of the SM front.  That's a tire designed to follow bad pavement.  I think it should only be used on a period appropriate show bike.

The C5 had 700 miles, the G5 just 150.  There was no denying the vibration if you opened the throttle but I'm sure they'll both be very different bikes in 2000 miles.  Also, despite the modernization and quality efforts these are still hand assembled air cooled singles.  Each has its own character and probably will even after break in.

I got a letter of value from the local Ducati dealer yesterday.  I hope that brings the ins settlement up a bit but it's already in the right ballpark.  Used tanks with dents and leaks are still $500.  I could live with the ding and the other scuffs and just fix the structural stuff but I've been thinking about getting out of the speed game for a year or so and I joined this forum before all this happened.  This all came together at a very convenient time.  I don't want two bikes and the amount of money involved for that is more than I can afford right now anyway.  When I have two one never gets ridden.  I'm  a monogoamist :D

Maturis, great to hear from another Ducatisti!  Especially after the manager of the dealership looked at the bike and said, "That's it?  Fix it back up.  Who cares about the salvage title?"  That really made me think.  But I am slave to the same siren song.  Faster, always looking for just the right entry and apex at every turn, just the right body english.  Can I slip the rear a little out of this corner?  Time to slow it down and enjoy the ride.  Also, I've got some back problems and even the relatively mild seating position of the Monster isn't comfortable some days.  Still, the drop in power was startling at first and I do need a bike that can get on the freeway every now and then.  I think with some tweaks the C5 could do.

I guess I forgot to mention the suspension, again, because there was nothing out of place.  I expected the fork to stick out like a sore thumb but it didn't.  And the rear worked fine for my 230 pounds.  It's modest but well suited to the bike.  Like a VW Beetle it's all balanced to work well together.  As you said, fork oil and an appropriate spring can make a world fo difference.  I'll add a note on the suspension above.

Scott

ace.cafe

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Re: C5 vs. G5 back to back test rides
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2010, 03:16:48 PM »
FWIW, I have owned 3 Ducati twins, all from the 1970s, and I find the Bullet to be a fine ride that I enjoy just as much, but in a little different way.
I have also owned a Benelli SEI and a Laverda triple.
It's amazing how the Bullet can offer so much of its own character, to happily attract riders from much more powerful marques, and still please in its own ways.
Riding it is the only way to really understand what it is.

I enjoyed your test ride report very much, and it brings a lot of insight and clarity into these 2 new machines.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2010, 03:18:54 PM by ace.cafe »
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r80rt

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Re: C5 vs. G5 back to back test rides
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2010, 05:26:51 PM »
After you've ridden one long enough that you no longer compare it to anything, and just ride it for what a bullet is, you'll find it's an amazing motorcycle. The Royal Enfield gives me what I want and more importantly, it gives me what I need.
On the eighth day God created the C5, and it was better looking than anything on the planet.
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Re: C5 vs. G5 back to back test rides
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2010, 02:40:01 AM »
Scotty - I believe you have hit the nail on the head with your very honest assessment of the bikes. I like the looks of the C5 - but if it came down to ONE bike (perish the thought!) I'd have to go with the G5 for the handling and truck-like sturdiness that ti seems to exude. This is due in a large part to the Classic geometry that the frame retains. It's made for traveling over roads that aren't really roads - and that isn't a bad thing. I TOTALLY agree with you on the chrome "hot dog dishes" on the sides of the bike ..... the flat black ones are a BUNCH better visually - but really - WHAT were they thinking?? This is just minor gripe for a really nice package, overall, I think .... Thanks for that input - it validates what I'VE been thinking! hahaha!  ;)
Spare the pig iron - spoil the part!

gashousegorilla

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Re: C5 vs. G5 back to back test rides
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2010, 03:56:12 AM »
Boy Scotty, do I miss my Puch Maxi, I lived on that bike. Army jacket, construction boots, concert Tee on, Called ourselves" HELL's  PEDS", LOL!!  What a dreadful sight we must have been with our motorized Girl's bikes with that threatening Horn. But they where the S%$! back then. At least That's what we thought. And that is how you cut your Teeth.
 Thanks Scott, for taking the time to compare for us the differences between the two bikes. You have gone a long way in answering the questions for us, who own one or the other of these bikes. You have gone through the process very thoughtfully and thoroughly Like a true engineer should ;) I appreciate it. ;) This review you did, is from someone who's Mollers are in and ready for another filling.
 Maybe scooter bob can answer this. I like Scott, believe the the c-5 and g-5 share the same frame. But I have read somewhere that the G-5 has the old Electra Frame?
 I agree from my personal opinion, that the C-5 is a nicer looking bike. Perhaps Scott, you may want to get the G-5 and tweak it's appearances instead of tweaking the C-5's  Handling? Hay, just an idea, check it out, it may be less aggravation and money?
Sprung seat, pedestrian slicer, avon's ,etc . The upfront cost of the G-5 is still cheaper I believe? But I bet you've already have had those thoughts haven't  you? ::)
 Good luck Scotty, either decision will be a good one.
 Dan.
An thaibhsí atá rattling ag an doras agus tá sé an diabhal sa chathaoir.

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Re: C5 vs. G5 back to back test rides
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2010, 04:00:25 AM »
And I will due my utmost to get that 19" wheel together and on the bike this week. ;)
An thaibhsí atá rattling ag an doras agus tá sé an diabhal sa chathaoir.

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Re: C5 vs. G5 back to back test rides
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2010, 04:33:52 AM »
I agree completely on the tool box and side panel of the electra / g5. I can see the styling team at RE now.

"Maybe if we make it look more modern they will like it better".


IMHO the old Enfield was styling gold.

  If they made one that looked like this with a UCE,

http://www.royalenfield.com/images/Products/bullet-350-landing.jpg

I would buy 2, one to ride and one to put in a glass case in my living room.
 

Ducati Scotty

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Re: C5 vs. G5 back to back test rides
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2010, 05:09:51 AM »
Well, I only get to have one bike right now.  I also plan to add a sidecar later which makes the C5 a better choice.  One of the reasons I started looking at the Enfields was because you could add a sidecar for the price of the new Earles front end you'd need on almost any other bike you put a hack on.  Ok, it's a small sidecar but I looked at the Urals and at that point, I'd rather drive, too much machine.  The Enfield can add and remove the sidecar without much else needing to be done.

The Monster is pretty minimal.  When I bought that I was also looking at the Suzuki Savage/S40, the Triumph Bonnevilles, the SV650 (unfaired model), the Ninja 250, and even some scooters.  What was the least bike I could have that would be enough?  I only landed the Monster because a friend of mine bought it three years earlier and never rode it, so I got it cheap and she gave me an interest free loan.  I'm now looking for even more minimal and the Enfield has the most character and versatility of the choices I see.

Bob, Gorilla,
Yeah the tool boxes are a minor gripe but if you can't go into the garage and just stare at your bike for a half hour, you bought the wrong one.  I could take the saved money and swap the tool boxes and seat but I'd still be missing the fender struts front and back, and they are way cool.  Oh, and I'd at least have to ditch the front SM tire too.

Holodeck,
If I could just swap the squarish rear fender and rails on that 350 for the round one on the C5 I'd say it'd be perfect!

I'm thinking the C5 is the one I want.  Still need to check a few other bikes but it's tops right now.  I'll take it for a 60mph spin down a straight road just to be sure.  I don't mind lacing up a 19" front and getting a little Gorilla brace welded into the swingarm.

Scott

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Re: C5 vs. G5 back to back test rides
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2010, 05:41:21 AM »
  the Enfield has the most character and versatility of the choices I see.

Brother you nailed it right there.


Out corners a Harley and out classes a Ninja.

 Looks good buffed to a shine outside the opera house and covered in mud at the camp sight .

Getting to work and getting away from it all.

The one bike that can take you everywhere and anywhere.
I can break it better,,,,at night, in the rain, on the trail,, 20 miles from nowhere.

REA #136

"TIMEX", the '06 Iron Barrel Military that takes me everywhere I want to go... and some places I shouldn't.

gus

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Re: C5 vs. G5 back to back test rides
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2010, 09:32:03 AM »
great comparison,on the different models,I have a G5 here in Western Australia,and love the bike.As I only weigh 165 lbs found the C5 seat way too hard,recently rode 200 kms comfortably on the G5.Added a windscreen some time ago,and am still experimenting with different angles,find wind noise quite intrusive.                                   Gus