The Bullet 500 and the Distinguished Gentlemen
With the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride coming up in September, it is perhaps time to consider joining the ranks of the better dressed and more socially aware men and indeed women who ride a more dapper style of bike in and around the city on a regular basis.
While many of us ride out on dirt bikes during the season and revert to some of the faster bits of kit when the roads and tracks beckon, one should keep to the forefront of one’s mind that sometimes a genteel riding experience is to be enjoyed.
It’s not necessary to administer a roostering to a newbie or grind a knee slider into the inside of a corner to enjoy motorcycling, as any happy rider of Royal Enfield motorcycles can testify.
This great marque is one of the oldest in the world, having started out in the early 1900s in England. These days the company is based in India where the Eicher Group, one of India’s larger auto groups, manufactures four core models. All are available from Raceway as part of the company’s new bike range and are more than attractive for a number of reasons, not least of which is that they all qualify for the Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme.
The Bullet 500 is perhaps the one we associate most with the bygone era of brilliant British Motorcycles. A solid 500cc ‘Unit Construction Engine’ powers the iconic motorcycle. It now comes as standard with a Twin spark ignition, which keeps it clean as well as managing a better mile per gallon rate. One of the side effects of this type of ignition is a better, stronger delivery of power.
The styling does it for us every time, however. The original Bullet was ridden by everyone from Lawrence of Arabia to James Dean, and the new bike does its legacy justice. Indeed, the new machine is finished with the same handcrafted attention to detail as the older models were back in the day, but with several improvements. There are no oil leaks on the new Royal Enfields and the 500cc units are fuel-injected with an electric start.
Getting its name from the Enfield company’s history of making weapons – they were responsible for the Enfield rifle – the Bullet has the honour of being in continuous production longer than any other model of motorcycle. They were first made in 1931 in ‘good old Blighty’. The really cool thing about the new bike is that it’s been re-engineered to meet the demands of modern riders as well as the stringent standards of the western world’s environmental laws, while still having the same hand-finished pin striping on the body as the original more than 80 years ago.
So while the bike has rideability, novice friendliness and more than enough to attract a seasoned rider to its style and charm, they are still cool enough to steal the limelight at your local Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride next month. So polish your boots, wear a tweed suit and learn how to knot a real bow tie. It’s all for a wonderful cause, fighting prostate cancer and depression in men. While it’s called the DGR, it is important to note that the ladies are more than welcome. Go get yourself a tin of moustache wax and we’ll see you there