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Author Topic: 4 spd vs. 5 spd  (Read 3659 times)

greekxj

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4 spd vs. 5 spd
« on: January 29, 2008, 09:36:46 PM »
Hey guys, i think i am pretty much having the idea to buy a new bullet but i guess i wouldn't toss out the idea of buying a used one assuming it was well cared for. I came across an 02 with 3400 miles on it, lots of extras too. I contacted the owner via email and he is very knowledgeable about the bike and had his mechanic keep it maintained on a regular basis.  In other words he isn't the typical clueless owner who buys this bike thinking it doesn't need upkeep etc. Anyway, i noticed the bullets from a few years ago are listed with the 4 speed. When did they start the 5 speed models? What can you guys tell me about this transmission? Is it pretty reliable, smooth shifting etc? Does it do anything with performance or cruising speed rpm's? Should i just look for one with a 5 speed? The price for the bike isn't bad so it has me thinking, but i figured i would get your opinions first. Thanks guys.

Vince

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Re: 4 spd vs. 5 spd
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2008, 11:13:20 PM »
I just answered this. this same question for Juggernaut. Go to the Electra models and click on  "Choices". To specifically answer your questions about the transmissions: I sold my first 5-speed in 2004. It is a tremendous improvement. Acceleration is a moot point with these bikes. You can't "cruise"  with an Enfield. Stay off the freeway and keep your speed to a 50mph AVERAGE. Most Enfield riders are more mature and savvy than most other riders, so the seller is probably fine. But anyone can be sincere, but still mistaken. I always recommend that you have a used vehicle of any type checked out by a pro. Good luck!

deejay

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Re: 4 spd vs. 5 spd
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2008, 03:38:16 PM »
Hey guys, i think i am pretty much having the idea to buy a new bullet but i guess i wouldn't toss out the idea of buying a used one assuming it was well cared for. I came across an 02 with 3400 miles on it, lots of extras too. I contacted the owner via email and he is very knowledgeable about the bike and had his mechanic keep it maintained on a regular basis.  In other words he isn't the typical clueless owner who buys this bike thinking it doesn't need upkeep etc. Anyway, i noticed the bullets from a few years ago are listed with the 4 speed. When did they start the 5 speed models? What can you guys tell me about this transmission? Is it pretty reliable, smooth shifting etc? Does it do anything with performance or cruising speed rpm's? Should i just look for one with a 5 speed? The price for the bike isn't bad so it has me thinking, but i figured i would get your opinions first. Thanks guys.

I may be of some assistance here, since I own a 2006 5-speed Bullet and my father owns a 2002 4-speed. Lets say you have a choice between 2 identical bikes for the same price, one with a 5-speed and the other with a 4-speed. It is without question my advise would be to go for the 5-speed bike. I have never had a problem with my gearbox, it shifts as easy as my old 2005 Triumph Bonneville and the gears are evenly spaced. My father however, always seems to be messing with his gearbox, trying to find neutral, tinkering, etc. He also has showed some frustration with the rather large gap in gearing between 3rd and 4th gear. Problems with the 4-speed box seem to be fixed (except for the gap between 3rd and 4th) with converting it back to right side shift.

Can you live with a right hand shift bike? If so then I would completely ignore the reported problems with the 4-speed box, except for the gap between 3rd and 4th. Another issue, which is not strictly gearbox related is that 2002 is the year that bullets switched from Witworth to Metric, so you may need to buy new tools considering what type of bolts are holding the bike together. Oddly enough, my father's 2002 has BOTH.

With all of this information I would still have trouble deciding between a new bike and a well cared for 2002. The warranty on a new bike is great, but if your local dealer isn't very experienced you may be s.o.l. when a problem arises. A lot of Bullet owners (myself included) become so attached to their bikes, that they would NEVER dream of leaving it with a mechanic, and instead get a shop manual and fix it themselves... in this situation the warranty has less value.

The information I have given you may not help your decision, but it is all useful.

What is the asking price of the 2002?

« Last Edit: January 30, 2008, 03:40:00 PM by deejay »

David R

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Re: 4 spd vs. 5 spd
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2008, 04:15:13 PM »
I'll just throw in my 2 worth...the five speed is a pretty sweet unit. The gears are nicely spaced, and I rarely hit a false neutral. Mine likes gentle treatment and has a nice feel to it. Good luck!!

greekxj

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Re: 4 spd vs. 5 spd
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2008, 07:53:42 PM »
I just answered this. this same question for Juggernaut. Go to the Electra models and click on  "Choices". To specifically answer your questions about the transmissions: I sold my first 5-speed in 2004. It is a tremendous improvement. Acceleration is a moot point with these bikes. You can't "cruise"  with an Enfield. Stay off the freeway and keep your speed to a 50mph AVERAGE. Most Enfield riders are more mature and savvy than most other riders, so the seller is probably fine. But anyone can be sincere, but still mistaken. I always recommend that you have a used vehicle of any type checked out by a pro. Good luck!

Thanks vince. yeah i had read that  earlier but was kinda looking for a little more detail on the whole setup etc. I see i have a couple more replies below that definitely add to what you said. Thanks!

greekxj

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Re: 4 spd vs. 5 spd
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2008, 08:02:08 PM »
Thanks! Thats kinda what i was looking for. I thought i had read before about bad shifting and not being as smooth as the newer 5 speed. Plus you answered the question of how the bike performs with one less gear, hence the weird spot between 3rd and 4th. Isn't it setup with linkages instead of a total opposite setup? That would explain why it might be kinda quirky.

I also am very personal with my v star and it hasn't been touched by a mechanic once. The only exception is when i bring the rims in to get the tires mounted and balanced. They don't get my bike though!

I would also like the warranty "just in case" something big breaks. But i bet for small stuff i wouldn't even bother.

The asking price for the 02 is 2900, which might be high now that i think about it. It does have some extras like a windshield, bags, exhaust. For maintenance stuff it has a new battery with a battery tender, he had the rear wheel re laced with better spokes as he said the stock ones would break occasionally, and a few small other things.He actually trailered it to Sturgis a couple years ago and put 900 miles on the bike in one week. The spokes were the only issue.  BUT, if the new 5 speed ones have better driveability i think i would go that route. Thanks so much for your comments and if you have anymore keep em coming ;D

Hey guys, i think i am pretty much having the idea to buy a new bullet but i guess i wouldn't toss out the idea of buying a used one assuming it was well cared for. I came across an 02 with 3400 miles on it, lots of extras too. I contacted the owner via email and he is very knowledgeable about the bike and had his mechanic keep it maintained on a regular basis.  In other words he isn't the typical clueless owner who buys this bike thinking it doesn't need upkeep etc. Anyway, i noticed the bullets from a few years ago are listed with the 4 speed. When did they start the 5 speed models? What can you guys tell me about this transmission? Is it pretty reliable, smooth shifting etc? Does it do anything with performance or cruising speed rpm's? Should i just look for one with a 5 speed? The price for the bike isn't bad so it has me thinking, but i figured i would get your opinions first. Thanks guys.

I may be of some assistance here, since I own a 2006 5-speed Bullet and my father owns a 2002 4-speed. Lets say you have a choice between 2 identical bikes for the same price, one with a 5-speed and the other with a 4-speed. It is without question my advise would be to go for the 5-speed bike. I have never had a problem with my gearbox, it shifts as easy as my old 2005 Triumph Bonneville and the gears are evenly spaced. My father however, always seems to be messing with his gearbox, trying to find neutral, tinkering, etc. He also has showed some frustration with the rather large gap in gearing between 3rd and 4th gear. Problems with the 4-speed box seem to be fixed (except for the gap between 3rd and 4th) with converting it back to right side shift.

Can you live with a right hand shift bike? If so then I would completely ignore the reported problems with the 4-speed box, except for the gap between 3rd and 4th. Another issue, which is not strictly gearbox related is that 2002 is the year that bullets switched from Witworth to Metric, so you may need to buy new tools considering what type of bolts are holding the bike together. Oddly enough, my father's 2002 has BOTH.

With all of this information I would still have trouble deciding between a new bike and a well cared for 2002. The warranty on a new bike is great, but if your local dealer isn't very experienced you may be s.o.l. when a problem arises. A lot of Bullet owners (myself included) become so attached to their bikes, that they would NEVER dream of leaving it with a mechanic, and instead get a shop manual and fix it themselves... in this situation the warranty has less value.

The information I have given you may not help your decision, but it is all useful.

What is the asking price of the 2002?



greekxj

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Re: 4 spd vs. 5 spd
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2008, 08:04:08 PM »
I'll just throw in my 2 worth...the five speed is a pretty sweet unit. The gears are nicely spaced, and I rarely hit a false neutral. Mine likes gentle treatment and has a nice feel to it. Good luck!!

Thanks ! I am getting a little hyped to get one but also feel some pressure now as the old iron motors are going bye bye. I wish i got into these a year ago so i had more time to look . But im sure they're still out there i just have to keep looking hard. I also called another dealer and he has 2 deluxes, red and black.

deejay

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Re: 4 spd vs. 5 spd
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2008, 09:23:09 PM »
Isn't it setup with linkages instead of a total opposite setup? That would explain why it might be kinda quirky.

The asking price for the 02 is 2900, which might be high now that i think about it.

Yes the linkages are crap on the 4-speeds. For reference purposes, my father got his 2002 used for $2500 last year. It had under 3,000 miles on it, british exhaust system, pancake filter, single seat.

baird4444

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Re: 4 spd vs. 5 spd
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2008, 10:42:00 PM »
A lot of people talk about the space between 3rd and 4th...   yea, it's there. IF you've got the 18 tooth primary gear it puts the shift points closer to being convenient with todays speed limits. Otherwise you'll be wanting to up shift and then lugging in town...
The Dan Holmes bushing kit is an improvement.
THEY ARE NOT JAPCO AND WILL NEVER SHIFT LIKE ONE.
Having said that; after getting the clutch setup and adjusted correctly these things shift like a 1950's farm implement!!  Hell - that's part of the fun of it all. It's not really that bad and don't let the 4 speed scare you away from a good deal. It's not really a problem with the design or bike...   IT'S THE RIDER!!
              - Mike
                     2003 Bullet ES, 23,000 miles, 4 speed LH shift
"You can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning!! "
        -Cody Baird
'My dear you are ugly,
 but tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be ugly'
 - Winston Churchill

cyrusb

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Re: 4 spd vs. 5 spd
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2008, 11:00:58 PM »
The five speed is not perfect either. The big gap between first and second is weird. I'm 140 lbs and don't even need 1st on flt roads. But habit puts you there anyway, It must be for sidecar use, or offroad.

GreenMachine

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Re: 4 spd vs. 5 spd
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2008, 11:23:03 PM »
baird 4444...yes sometimes  I thought the same thing..felt like i was on a tractor while on the bullet..npt all the tme but sometimes...go figure..
Oh Magoo you done it again

baird4444

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Re: 4 spd vs. 5 spd
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2008, 12:24:49 AM »
baird 4444...yes sometimes  I thought the same thing..felt like i was on a tractor while on the bullet..npt all the tme but sometimes...go figure..
YUP... driving one of these is a lot like cruz'n the country lanes on an
 old International Farmall for Amish chicks!!
Super low tech...
Not real fast...
will outlast the 'NEW" and improved models...
will always start and always get you home!!
- Mike
"You can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning!! "
        -Cody Baird
'My dear you are ugly,
 but tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be ugly'
 - Winston Churchill

cyrusb

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Re: 4 spd vs. 5 spd
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2008, 01:10:17 AM »
Ive never ridden a 500 four speed but I would be willing to bet It is smoother off the line. According to Dr Snides manual the first second ratios are 13.93:1 and 9.22:1 As opposed to the five speeds 15.337 and 10.079. The five speed starts out lower and has a huge jump to second, I guess that would be travel gear to you farmall fans out there.

t120rbullet

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Re: 4 spd vs. 5 spd
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2008, 02:26:44 AM »
Ive never ridden a 500 four speed but I would be willing to bet It is smoother off the line. According to Dr Snides manual the first second ratios are 13.93:1 and 9.22:1 As opposed to the five speeds 15.337 and 10.079. The five speed starts out lower and has a huge jump to second, I guess that would be travel gear to you farmall fans out there.

The 5 speed sounds like a perfect candidate for a larger countershaft sprocket.
On the 4 speed with the stock countershaft sprocket (17t)  just about the time you let the clutch out on 1st it's time to shift into 2nd.
With a larger countershaft sprocket (19t or 20t) it's kinda like a 3 speed with OD.
With the stock countershaft sprocket it's like a 3 speed with a creeper 1st, like my old dump truck.
If your stuck on left shift go with the 5 speed.
If you can handle rt shift the 4 speed with the neutral finder is a sweet / time tested little unit.
CJ
1999 Enfield 500 Black Deluxe "Silver"
2012 Concours 14 (no name yet)
2013 Royal Star Venture S  "Jelly Roll"

birdmove

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Re: 4 spd vs. 5 spd
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2008, 05:37:33 AM »
    I have taken off in 2nd gear a couple of times by accident(thought I was in 1st) from a stop and the bike did it.I'm sure it could pull a little bit taller gearing than stock and still pull okay from a stop.

    jon
Jon in Keaau, Hawaii