March 2020 – 2 weeks before lockdown that few of us knew was coming, I found a used Bullet online at Cooperb Motorcycles, Northants. The photos did the bike justice and £3,500 later I arranged to have the bike delivered to my home.
Back in 2014, I had a two week holiday with Blazing Trails on their foothills of the Himalayas tour, this was my previous experience on an Enfield 500 and I developed a soft spot for the earth-shattering performance of the 27bhp air-cooled single.
The Bullet has changed little in the last 50 years or so and was the oldest motorbike in continuous manufacture, however, Euro 5 has meant that RE India has stopped making them as they could not meet the emission requirements. Surely this will mean an appreciation and not depreciation for my Classic.
Little has changed in the development of the Bullet, my version has disc brakes, ABS, electric start and fuel injection. Fortunately, it still has a kick start which has come in very handy when it’s been idle for a few weeks in cold weather.
Like most of us I haven’t had much opportunity for social riding, but being able to continue working during the pandemic (in logistics) meant that I was commuting 13 miles each way to North Acton and using the Bullet on dry days. It’s light and very easy to filter on, the injection is a bit snatchy and Hitchcocks (RE specialist) sell a Power Booster plug which one attaches to the air sensor and this sorts out the low-speed snatchiness. It’s on my wish list.
The brakes are not very good and neither is the suspension, the standard mirrors on stalks magnify the following traffic which is unnerving. I found some lovely classic stainless steel bar-end mirrors, again from Hitchcocks and they really look the part and allow one to judge distances.
It’s a very engaging machine, my one has an aftermarket pipe and the thud of the big single soon becomes addictive. The vibrations are considerable, but for me, that is part of the bike’s character. It’s happiest between 50-60 mph and great fun on our Essex roads, I wouldn’t take it on the M11. I’ve added an open face and pair of goggles to my biking wardrobe, a shame that I can’t grow a decent beard like Angelo to complete the look!
Non-bikers love the style and I’ve had very positive comments when I’m parked up, most believing that I’m riding a 1950’s machine and not one off the assembly line 4 years ago. I’m really pleased with it and looking forward to putting the miles and smiles on when we come out of lockdown.
I’ve still got my Tiger 800, so you won’t see me Observing on it, but you may see me demonstrating slow control at the next Machine Control Day.