Jun 13, 2007

Royal Enfield: Full injection?

Royal Enfield LB500 Lean Burn Machismo 500Brit mobike paper MCN reports that Royal Enfield could finally be ready to meet Euro 3 norms, and end up upgrading their engines to run fuel injection. What a fun! Read the rest here... The bike is reportedly going on sale in Spring 2008. So India launch definitely by... um... December 2010? No, no, I'm just kidding. Indian norms are set to get tight too. If the unit gearbox Enfield prove popular, the next wave of massaged Bullets could feature the unit construction motor, fuel injection across the board. I wouldn't complain. But, then, I'm not a Bullet buyer. Bull lovers, penny for your thoughts?

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

FI on a Bullet, whatever will Royal Enfield think of next? It sorta feels like someone is adding ABS to a Bullet, err, I mean bullock cart! One that is led by oxen, not bullocks to boot.

WW2 motorcycle engines, with fuel injection on them, wow, that has got to be a first. Takes whatever little charm is left away.

I'm one of those people who firmly believe Bullets belong in a museum. Or are to be taken out and ridden in those vintage rallies.

I know I'm probably raising the hackles of some Bullet/RE aficionados, but hey, ask yourselves...would you have bought a RE product if you had any modern, half-decent, largish capacity motorcycles to choose from?

If those motorcycles were available, then RE would be RIP, 'rusting in pieces'. What I'm saying is, at the rate we've progressed motorcycle-wise in the ~60 years since independence, it will probably be forever before we have those half-decent or better products readily available to us.

It is about time RE developed their own motorcycle, they've got half a century (and more if you consider the British parent) of manufacturing experience behind them and this is what they come up with. Or get some technology transfer from anyone worthwhile.

This gets a triple barf rating from me!

Navendu said...

Probably the anonymous poster didn't read "unit gearbox" engined bullets in his excitement to vent out his frustration.

So rearset do you have any info about the power outputs of unit gearbox shod bullets? I have heard some figures, not easy to belive. :-)

rearset said...

@Nav
Look, integrating the gearbox and engine has two primary effects. One is a reduction in cost of manufacturing and the second is a growth in the efficiency of the engine (and its ability to transmit the power it is making to the ground). This is how I understand it. If I am right, this means that the Bullets will become faster, but that may not mean a spec sheet that has more power on it.

As in both pre- and post- unit gearboxes will make 18 bhp, but the latter bikes will be much faster.

Again, my understanding is that an efficient powertrain loses 10 per cent or so in transmission to the rear wheel (100 bhp at the crank equals 90 at the rear wheel). If true, the Bullet should finally receive a fairly noticeable 12-15 bhp at the rear wheel, which is great. From the performance (yes, I'm not too impressed with Bullets in general on purely performance grounds), I can only assume that between the heft of the bike and the rather inefficient powertrain, not much of the 18 bhp a Bullet produces makes it to the road...

If you are hearing that the power outputs have been raised, then AVL or someone like that has been tweaking those engines for performance...

Anonymous said...

Umm.. fuel injection and unit gearbox on a Bullet..looks like RE is going to be dragged kicking and screaming into newer territory.

Honestly, as a Bullet owner I would like to see newer models, but at what cost? Bullets are currently over-priced IMHO.

To answer anonymous, I'd like to think of this .. where would I ride a R6 or ZX-9R in India?

Cheers rearset, your blog is in my list of daily reads.

Yugesh
(non-blogger)

rearset said...

@Yugesh
Thanks for taking the time to come by everyday! I'll try to ensure there is fresh stuff up...

I agree on the price front. I don't think there is a single Bullet model that can actually justify its price tag. It is one of the reasons why I have great hesitation when someone asks me to recommend them a Bullet. If all the various models were about Rs 10-15,000 cheaper, I'd be a heck of lot happier recommending them to people.

However, I don't entirely agree on the 'where are the roads to...' front. I believe (and I've a fair bit of experience in this area, I think) that India has some of the best roads in the world. The Europeans and the Americans just like to believe otherwise and have more powerful propaganda machines.

Buy me a ZX6R, R1 or whatever, and follow me on the Bullet, I'll show you roads you won't believe... 8-D

sac said...

india may have some good roads, but it is also populated by all manner of total c***s who make riding a panic-filled and life-threatening affair. going out to ride mentally armed like a battle-tank does not a pleasant sunday ride make. i've ridden loads of indian highways, and also some european ones - the former are great for travel and adventure, the latter are the places for 160bhp.

Anonymous said...

Fuel injected Bullet? Right, and I'll show you my Hindustan Ambassador 1.8 DLXi. With brand new chrome trim, new (baggy) seat covers, new (flappy plastic) full wheel covers, new (cheap plastic) dashboard, new (chromed plastic) front grille, new (retuned leafsprings) rear suspension, new (extra LEDs) instrument cluster and new (the passengers) collision impact absorbers. And, oh, fuel injection too.

sunspot said...

Hi

I guess cost is purely perspective. I mean, you are crazy after a bike, inefficiencies in prodn or a just a greedy seller, might not hit the eyes!

I'd never rode a bullet before. But my LB 500 keeps me quite happy. So any progress (FI/UCE or just better colors!) is not something to be frowned upon

@rearset
I took your advise on the LB 500! Never felt let down yet!

rearset said...

@Sac
Ah come now, 160 bhp on public roads? There's no such thing! 8-D

@anon
New Amby? I think I'll pass (out?)

rearset said...

@sunspot
As my friend Kautilya would remark at this point, 'such is louw'

Anonymous said...

makes me think of the american muscle car owner who still uses 'six-pack' carbs on his newly restored machine, the drag racer who still thinks 'carb is king'.

being a bullet owner, i can't really think i'll spend my cash on a 'new' bullet. i'd rather have it leak oil all over my denim than become envoirnment conscious. but then i guess RE has to sell, to keep going.

fuel injection?? unit construction?? i'll have the 'ancient' cast iron block, oil leaking motorcycle anyday.

old timers i'm sure are'nt ging to like it one bit.

Nyctophobia said...

I like the look and the feel of a bullet. Though I have never ridden one, I’ve had pillion experience that I’ve enjoyed. However, from a personal point of view, anything that makes a bike more reliable (in terms of oil spills and all that) is a good thing.

To be honest, this is something that has been on my mind for sometime now and I thought I’d put it down here. On one hand people mention that the bullet is a good bike for long distances and touring, etc. However, on the other hand, most bulleteers will probably admit to having oil leaks, cable breaks, electrical problem etc (sorry, am not too familiar with all the issues so I might have added / left out something). While I’ll admit that it probably adds to the bike’s character that appeals to bulleteers, I find this PoV a bit contrary. When touring, would you rather not have a bike that had a higher probability of developing these problems?

I’ll also add here that I’ve read stories where seemingly run down repair shops had bullet repairing and part capabilities!

I saw the 500LB review in this month’s issue of Bike India. What I liked however was the bike pictured in the ad in the same issue.

I also agree with Rearset, I feel that the bullet is over-priced.

--xh-- said...

Fi on a bullet, and unified GB..REM needs to sell the bike. As far as I am concerned, No, I wont buy the bike. At any day, I will buy a IronBlock. Now I own a 96 model STD 350 (my third bullet - had a 350 and 500 earlier) which have been restored beautifuly. I ride a bulet for the feel of it - the lazy cruising, the Phut-Phut sound and the 'Feel-the-King-Of-Road' factor. So, I will never go for a 'new' bullet with all the new tech thingies. But on the other hand, I ride a Unicorn @ Bangalore. I love the bike for itz handling, and ride quality, and as a every day workhorse, I prefer a bike which is easy to ride, and easy to maintain.

Now, if any half decent 500cc or 650 cc bikes are avilable in India, I wills urely get one - as soon as my financial status allows me. But still, I will have a old bullet in my garage - in itz prime condition.
It is not the speed of efficeny or economics - it is just the feeling. I own a bullet coz i love it. So, as long as there are people who love the bullet are there, Bullet will never RIP.
But all the bull owners are not hard core lovers like me. I have friedns who needs a ES, and what all new convinience factor they can, on a bullet. So, things like FI and integrated GB will be a boon for them.
Wont it be a good idea to build a more efficent new engine from ground up, and keep a seperate line? So that they can have the cake and eat it? Easier said than done, I know...

Anonymous said...


Read the March 2009 Cycle World. There's a 6- page article about the unit Bullet G-5.Another one about the pre-unit too. Adding electronic FI, etc. is good for polluted India anyway.

Looks like it would be useful/fun around town. It would appeal to some guys sorta like me who grew up on English Iron.But not me, I prefer fast motorcycles.

On the open road it would leave you wanting no doubt. Cage traffic is brutal, somtimes ya just gotta go!

They say $5995.00. Too mmuch.
For close to that $$ I could buy a Kaw. ER6n,(any of their current 650lineup, the Versus is more$ for good reason.)
Suzook SV650 , Gladius would work too.
If I could, I'd up the ante up to one of BMW's 800twins, they look pretty good. So does the Benelli 750 twin, based on their rowdy 3 cyl motors.

The Enfield is made to look and feel nostalgic, but the f.i. and other changes have made an unreliable, limited use, niche bike (except in India), into a reliable, limited use, niche bike.

I'm a small guy, now disabled.
I grew up on Norton, BSA, & Triumphs.
I have no desire for a litre bike when I recover, but I want something that can get out of it's own way NOW, if I need it.
Unfortunatly, the BE's, as pretty as they are, just don't have enuf go-go for me.

Too damn bad Kenny Dreer couldn't get the buks to produce his beautiful updated Norton Commando.
All aluminum engine, still pushrod-2 valves per cgamber.900-ish cc's, great frame, fork, brakes etc. It was to produce 80+ torquey HP, with it's light weight (and optional CF wheels). The test riders in the story had nothing but good things to say about it's power delivery,chassis,handling
,brakes.

They beat the crap out of that test bike, nothing broke or got loose. And it was a not-quite ready for production bike, only some cosmetics/castings had to be cleaned up.
It looked ready to me, all black & gold.It has a 270deg crank, rather than the unual 180deg. Reports are it sounds great, with a racy bark on the overrun.

4 models planned, from single-seat cafe' racers to a 2-up model. Nice aluminum wheels are standard on all but the Limited model. But CF wheels can be had for any model. Or could have been anyway...

Ok, I reaveled my dream bike I can never have lol. I'll just have to set my sights lower, And ome of thr nimble 650-800cc scoots sure seem like they'll do the trick for me. Sorry so long, i;ll prob. never post again, unless I get a reply, of course. Peace,

jrn

vishnu said...

listen ppl, il tell you this,i do not think that the bullet is over priced at all....if you go by the price of bullets in european marke....it is damn cheap in india...also picture this... people pay for two bikes instead of one when they buy an r1 or any imported bike for that matter....when importing a bike why do you pay double the price to buy one bike...you can get two bikes for that cost if you are in the domestic market....but still ppl buy it for their pleasure...when ppl can spend double the amount of money for an imported bike why cant you buy a bike for a small premium over other bikes which is made in india and also the only indian made bike(in current times)that has a cult following around the world.....just like the brand harley davidson.....there are umpteen other bikes in the market that are way better and far advanced than harleys...comparitively harleys are outrageously priced....but still the enthusiast buys them ...why? the same reason for which ppl buy the bullet....PASSION....it is the passion that matters and not criticism.and remember 1 thing royal enfield is the only bike maker in india that has achieved a cult status across the world.