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Author Topic: Test rode a G5 today  (Read 1464 times)

Fox

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Test rode a G5 today
« on: February 19, 2011, 08:34:38 PM »
Hi All,

Seeing as this is my first thread, I figure I might as well start off with an introduction.

I'm 23, and I've been riding for about 8 months. Since starting, I've clocked about 8,000 miles, mostly from commuting 40 miles a day into and out of Philadelphia. I've been doing this on a gnarly 2000 KLR650 that would have just turned over 20k this week had it not been for the speedo hub drive disintegrating last week.

Today, I took a blustery (crazy wind gusts) 40-mile jaunt over the river to Lenihan Auto in Marlton, NJ, where I test-rode a G5 deluxe. I figured I'd share my impressions of the Enfields I looked at today. Some of these will resonate in particular with dualsport riders, if there are any here that haven't met an RE face-to-face yet.

The thing that first struck me was how incredibly small these bikes are. You don't really appreciate it until you're sitting on one, but stepping off of a KLR, which has a 21" front wheel and takes a 38" inseam to flat-foot, the difference is huge. At the same time the weight is still noticeable, and just sits low. I guess the only comparison I can make here is that the Kawasaki is the SUV to the RE's small sports car.

The videos on youtube don't do the engine sound justice, not by miles. The bike I tested had the stock straight silencer, but both standing next to it and sitting atop it, it sounded very deep and throaty, and not anemic and puttery as it sounded in some of the clips I've seen.

Clutch engagement was fine, and the engine pulls well in first gear with no strain. Shifting was okay, but the engagement didn't feel as positive as it does on my KLR. The KLR has a very obvious 'clack' into first gear, and you can feel with your foot when you're in it, because it will not push down again once engaged. The Enfield, when in 1st gear, has a spongy dead zone you can push the shifter back into. I'm sure this is something that I could get used to, but it felt weird. Winding first gear up made the bike blat in protest, so I didn't bother trying it again. A quicker shift to second would prove that the engine produces more than enough torque to keep the party jumping without much hesitation. I have no sportbike comparison to make here, since I've never ridden anything with more than one cylinder.

As I zipped around the dealer lot (they either couldn't find a tag to put on it, or didn't want me taking it out), I noticed how very nimble it is. It seems to want to fall easily into a clean, effortless lean. I'm sure the relatively small wheels and low-slung stance contribute greatly to this - I had none of the 'I'm on a horse, and this horse is going to topple over' feeling that I used to get taking slow corners on the KLR. I'm interested in seeing how this will translate to 60-70mph highway cruising, but again I was not given this opportunity.  The knee pads on the G5 deluxe stick out too far, and felt uncomfortable and unnecessary. The ones on the C5 seem more fitting.

General fit and finish were both okay. On the C5 I looked at a bit more thoroughly, I noticed some spotty looking mottling of the chrome finish where what looked like the O2 sensor was installed. Some of the paint on the underside seam of the tank had a rough runny appearance to it, and the engine casing wasn't quite as shiny and uniform as the stock photos would have you believe. The clutch lever on that bike squeaked, but I guess it's hard to fault it for that, considering that it had been sitting on the showroom floor for many winter months without being touched.

I have been enamored for years with the styling of these bikes. After checking them out in person, my impression was mostly positive. At this point, I think I've narrowed down my choices to the following bikes:

- RE C5
- Moto Guzzi V7 Classic
- Ural Solo sT

These comprise my group of rag-tag standard champions that actually have character, unlike what I see in the endless, soulless parade of Harleys and sportbikes - two extremes which in my opinion are totally unnecessary and totally impractical.

If the C5 gets a kicker in the next few months, I'm going to give it some serious consideration.

One question for the more-informed: What's the dealer warranty support like, as far as not living near the dealership goes? I work a 60-hour week and live 40 miles (and in another state) from Marlton. If something were to crap out that I couldn't kludge up a quick fix for, I would be in a bind.

Also, I know this might be a slight breach of etiquette given that this forum is run by the importer, but does anyone have a rough idea of how much haggling I can do based on the price? If I go for a brand new bike, I would like to forgo dealer prep, and opt instead to have it shipped directly to my apartment. This would allow me to avoid paying extra for something that I can handle myself, since I will be doing my due diligence in fully inspecting it myself before I hop on it. It's nothing personal, but I don't trust a Jeep dealer to set up a motorcycle when it isn't their primary business.

Anyway, I'm glad this forum is around, and I look forward to lurking and posting.

- Fox
2000 KLR650 - Clack Clack the Sorry Green Bastard
2009 Royal Enfield G5 Deluxe

Ducati Scotty

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Re: Test rode a G5 today
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2011, 09:02:57 PM »
Yup, you got it spot on.  I would recommend you ride the C5 before plunking down some money.  It feels different from the G5, a little more nimble due to a different frame and smaller wheels. 

They're not that small but the stand over height is low, especially compared to a KLR ;)  And they are heavy and planted feeling :)  The bike will grunt and groan if you really twist the throttle, as you noticed.  Once it breaks in (1000-2000 miles) this goes away and it is MUCH smoother. 

You mention 60-70mph.  Is that your normal commute speed?  If so, you might want to consider one of the other bikes.  These bikes will do about 80-85 absolute tops, will cruise pretty well at 60 to maybe 65.  But if you're planning on 40 miles a day of 65-70 sustained speed I think you need a bit more power and would be happier with one of your other choices.  I'm sure others will chime in with their opinions on this as well.  Also, at 60 or above you may want to get a windscreen.  The upright seating position makes the wind a little tiring for long bouts at those speeds.

Most dealers are pretty good about service, this is a niche bike and most people carrying it are enthusiasts.  If your dealer is excited talking about it they're probably a good one.  Discuss any warranty questions with them so you know what to expect.  Any trouble with your dealer, call the importer.  Our hosts are very good at working with the dealers to make sure people are treated well.  And expect to tighten some nuts and bolts for the first few weeks, big singles just rattle things loose until they settle in.

The chrome, yeah.  What you are probably seeing is silver paint over a weld on chrome.  They do this a lot, chrome the part, then weld, then silver paint over the weld.  Most other people weld then chrome.  Part and parcel for the bike, probably lowers manufacturing costs or something.  The chrome is actually very good.  Some of the welds are a bit sloppy.  All the welds are done by hand, most Japanese and Euro bikes are all robot welded.  Think of it as hand crafted character because it is.

All that said, we welcome you as an enthusiast whether you buy one or not.  Let us know if we can help with anything else.

Scott

olhogrider

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Re: Test rode a G5 today
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2011, 09:14:03 PM »
Fox, thanks for the report. I am also getting off a KLR. My dealer can't keep the R Es in stock long enough for a test ride. I think the Bullet is less prone to hooliganism. For some reason the front wheel on the KLR won't stay on the ground.
I'm not going to wIt for the return of the kickstart. Bump starting should be easy on the rare occasion that it may be required. I haven't seen the G5 in person so the comment on knee pads surprises me. I thoughf they had the same tank.

Ducati Scotty

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Re: Test rode a G5 today
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2011, 09:18:47 PM »
I think the Bullet is less prone to hooliganism.

That's why I got rid of my Monster ;)  And if you do get a little heavy on the throttle, it feels faster but is actually slower.  It's a safer envelope for an old guy like me with no self control  ;D

Scott

Ice

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Re: Test rode a G5 today
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2011, 09:34:06 PM »
I think the Bullet is less prone to hooliganism.


SHHhhhh,,,don't let my Bullet hear you.
 I have it convinced that grinding the foot pegs in turns and tip toes the cow trail are normal. ;)  ;D
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...it takes me everywhere I want to go... and some places I shouldn't.

Fox

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Re: Test rode a G5 today
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2011, 10:07:56 PM »
Well hey, people say it's more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow(er?).

My commute is the worst kind - about 10 miles of jam-packed 55mph, and then another 10 of heavy city. There are no less than 100 lighted intersections on the way, and it takes about an hour to go that 20 miles. As you might imagine, I can predict traffic patterns and pre-judge poor or distracted drivers the way that day traders would hope to predict market growth and stocks to short-sell. I got the picture pretty early, and I'm glad because if I hadn't, I'd probably be dead. It keeps me sharp at work though, and it beats the hell out of the train.

60-70 MPH would likely be an exceptional case, and one I might reserve for the KLR if I keep it. One thing's for sure though - I'll be going back up a tooth or two in countersprocket. The stock 15 I switched to when I replaced the chain last week is causing me to hot-dog a little more than I am comfortable with, and it makes me glad that I didn't choose something faster to start out with.

I think it'll be a tough choice on which bike to use for the commute. The KLR is absolutely awesome to be able to see over traffic. If I'm behind a pickup truck, I can stand on the footpegs and tell what's going on, far ahead. When I'm in my car -  a VW Golf - I can only guess what's going on ahead of me. It's also pretty fast, and can shrug off the potholed and horrible stretch of Market street which literally destroyed the poor little Chinese scooter I used to own. I guess it really comes down to whether the fuel economy is that much better. 85MPG seems to be a figure that was computed with imperial gallons, downhill, and in a vacuum. The killer can manage to eke out the high 40's to low 50's in commuter battle-cry mode. With miles as high as it has, I consider every additional mile I get out of it without a major issue to be a blessing. Still, the time for a valve adjustment is nigh.

Anyway, to stem this flow of consciousness before it becomes a rambling mess, I will finish off by saying that my favorite kind of riding is the slow, meditative 25-35MPH sort, through scenic backroads where I'm not dodging donks, flipping birds, and throwing old spark plugs. I think this is the sort of riding that the Enfield is truly made for, and I expect that's where I would find its zen.
2000 KLR650 - Clack Clack the Sorry Green Bastard
2009 Royal Enfield G5 Deluxe

singhg5

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Re: Test rode a G5 today
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2011, 10:44:01 PM »
I will finish off by saying that my favorite kind of riding is the slow, meditative 25-35MPH sort, through scenic backroads where I'm not dodging donks, flipping birds, and throwing old spark plugs. I think this is the sort of riding that the Enfield is truly made for, and I expect that's where I would find its zen.
.
@Fox:

Welcome to the Forum.  

Whether you buy an Enfield or not, it is a pleasure to read your review.  You hit the nail on head in your last line.  RE is the Zen master that provides you an unmatched experience for riding 35 mph in scenic backroads.  There is absolutely no other bike that can match that.

@Olhogrider

G5 deluxe has knee pads but G5 classic does not, so its tank is not obtrusive to knees.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2011, 10:46:49 PM by singhg5 »
1970's Jawa /  Yezdi
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2009 Royal Enfield Black G5

Ducati Scotty

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Re: Test rode a G5 today
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2011, 12:08:32 AM »
With that kind of commute you'd do just fine on an Enfield.  It has a very light clutch and good slow speed manners, good fro traffic.  Keep the KLR if you can, then you always have a spare if one bike is down for service.

Scott

Re: Test rode a G5 today
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2011, 06:47:35 AM »
I too am considering RE for commuting.  The main highway I would need to use in the summer  is officialy posted 90 kmh but everyone drives 100-110.  This would be a 45 minute stretch each  way.  I would never have reason to use limited access"4" series highways , and a lot of my riding would be on even smaller rural roads. 
In the "shoulder months " (April May,   Oct Nov) IF I used it to commute it would be the same highway but coming from the south instead of my place in the north, and this would be a 6 plus hour trip one wayfour times permonth    (twice up twice back)  in which case the posted sections are lots of 100 km/h =60 mph :  Anywhere that it is 100 km/h the highway is dual carriagway two lane in each direction so there is a passing lane.  If I used it for this longer trip (which I am the first to adnit is not a pleasure ride just a gruenliing commute by car or bike, so I mignt just drive) I would also have to carry quite a lot of gear. 
So I am a bit confused between the owner comments given in response here and the makers stated UCE objectice:.  "Cruise at 72 mph/max speed 85 mph"     I would never need 70 mph cruise. I doubt that I would ever expolre the max speed.  I understand that the machine is HAPPIEST (and the rider most cotemplative) at 55 mph (and for leisre I have lots of use for this too)  , but realistically ,for work,  I would need to cruise 60-65 mph just to flow with traffic all open road no traffic signals and not that busy.  So , UCE owners and rider, is this a realistic expectation of this bike?  Thanks, Nigel

P. Schraub

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Re: Test rode a G5 today
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2011, 07:14:43 AM »
Welcome ! I am the proud owner of the G5 Deluxe and love it , especially on the back roads. If you get one, the most important change I would recommend is an upgrade from the stock 17 tooth countershaft sprocket, to the 18 tooth. This made all the difference in the world. The bike is quite happy at 60 - 70 mph, and can hit 85 tops. Your commute should be just fine.

Re: Test rode a G5 today
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2011, 08:08:58 AM »
Thanks for the response.  Two questions (or three actually)
1)  Where did you get the replacement sprocket?
2) What did the exchange cost you in performance terms (no free lunch)  Poorer lowe speed acceleration?  Harder starting in low gears?  Does this drop the RPMs at higher speeds  ?
3) (OK I guess that is actually 4) Why doesnt the manufacturer supply them that way?   Thanks, Nigel. 

Maturin

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Re: Test rode a G5 today
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2011, 08:11:18 AM »
Hi Fox!
Just as Singh I too enjoyed your postings a lot. I guess your favored way of riding a bike would fit quite well to an RE UCE.
Due to the relatively small amount of horses turnig your crank itīs an issue for almost any potential buyer if this odd vehicle can catch up with modern traffic. Itīs not only the engine that seems to be obsolete - no matter if UCE or not - but itīs the framework and equippment aswell thatīs left over from the last century.
If we overlook the experiences of the owners in this forum we can see  that experiencing problems with this bike is rare. There are some weak spots in the construction, but even these only cause trouble to a minority whereas the engineīs core parts seem to be largly indestructible.
Yet if you need all your horses to get along a fast road it seems to be safe - after a proper break-in-period -  to make use of them all.
Maybe Iīm a little more hardened in this question for my Precious has to do Autobahn quite frequently, where you are overtaken by unknown deep flying objects with 250 km/h sometimes. Even so it works, although it should be clear that it is more comfortable to travel at higher speeds with bikes with more power. But you can do it without having to fear that the engine will go bang.
In contrast to Autobahnen or similar adventures itīs just unbeatable to steer a Bullet along a secondary road. Here the lesser power turnes to be an advantage. The handling, a little lighweight over 120 km/h, is very neutral up to 110 km/h what creates the impression of effortlessness. Great fun. Always. Canīt wait for spring...*sigh*
There are new models for 2011 - maybe you can tinker on the prices if you take a 2010 model. Warranty in the US is different from Europe so I canīt advise anything here.
But I recommend strongly not do the first inspection on your own. That should be done by an experienced dealer. As I mentioned above these bikes are not fault-prone, but there are produced in India in a non-robotic factory, which is different from most other vehicles you can get on the market. Itīs necessary to try to understand that. Saying that I have to add that I dinīt even found a loose screw in 6000 km.
So go īn get one. You are going to get a permanent grin stamped in your face  ;D
 
2010 G5
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When acellerating the tears of emotion must flow off horizontally to the ears.
Walter Röhrl

Re: Test rode a G5 today
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2011, 08:32:57 AM »
The string is a little out of sequence, and looking back now I am not usre if P Schraub was repying to me or tho the original string, but thanks anyway.  Maturin's (hello again) latest post highlights my confusion:   Here, on the autobahn of all places he seems to indicate that he is regularly doing 110 to 120 without issue (which more than meets my needs) in stock form I assume, but above, Scot ("Ducati Scotty" ) suggests that sustained ( 40 miles ) at 65 to 70 calls for a bigger bike.  Is this just a reflection of personal comfort, or confidence in the machine?  i cannot imagine that the autobahn is more forgiving than any American highway.   
So I will restate my question:   60-65 miles per hour (about 100-110 km/h)  long drives Yea or nay?   No one doubts that the platform excells many bigger bikes on slower curvy roads, or that the pleasure factor in riding it at these lower speeds, but will it happliy to the above as well?   
On the sprockets, for the mechanically ignorant among us , is the countershaft sprocket the rear sprocket ?  Does more teeth mean bigger diameter or same diameter with smaller teeth?   And, come to think of it, in the earlier discussions on the thread "40 hp Bulllet " I don't think the issue of sprocket came up.   So which wuold get the highway performance better:  Changning power by intake /exhaust and fuel mapping mods, , or changing final drive ratio with same power by sprocket change..(?Warranty issues?)  And what about both?    But according to Maturin, does it really need to be changed at all.    The basic engine seems pretty indestructable , so if it doesn't overheat at 65 mph, and if the frame /steering configuration isn't skittish (G 5 I mean)   well then, if it anin't broke , why fix it?   Nigel

r80rt

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Re: Test rode a G5 today
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2011, 08:34:47 AM »
A realistic cruise speed is about 75% of max.
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