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Royal Enfield Bullet 500            

Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Motorcycle On Mulholland Right Side

I bought this 2001 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic Motorcycle in 2009 after selling my BSA, realizing I'd never have time to get it running. As with just about every used bike I've bought, it ran great on the test drive and then I couldn't get it started after I got it home. It had a bad ground, it was wet sumped, and also it really didn't like starting when it's cold. That was mostly due to me not knowing how to properly kick start the motorcycle or work the Amal 930 Concentric carburetor. Now that I've cleaned the Amal and learned how it works, it starts easily on the first or second kick, cold, warm, or hot. It's a beautiful bike, and I was thrilled to find it for sale here in California because before 2010 Royal Enfield motorcycles were not sold here before that for emissions reasons. The only way to bring them here was to buy the bike out of state, license it there, put 7,500 miles on it, then bring it into California and title it. If you live in California and want a new Royal Enfield Motorcycle, click this link to find a dealer:  http://www.enfieldmotorcycles.com/california.html  The new models have hydraulic lifters, electronic fuel injection, and electronic ignition, which is either really nice, or takes all the fun out of it, depending on your perspective.  Either way, they are more reliable and have a higher top speed than the older models.

Royal Enfield Bullet 500

If you're looking for a Royal Enfield for sale, or if you just bought one and don't know much about them, here are some quick tips for a new Royal Enfield Bullet owner.  These tips pertain to the older carbureted 4-speed Bullet Classic models. 
1) Sustained speeds over 50 mph can cause permanent damage to the engine from overheating.  Slow down and go easy with it. 
2)  When you park the bike, make sure you kick the piston into starting position, just past top dead center to keep the engine from wet sumping while it is parked.  See my Royal Enfield kick start video below to see how to get the piston to top dead center. 
3)  The motorcycle has to be in motion when you shift gears.  If you try to shift gears when the motorcycle isn't moving, it will be difficult to do.  Do your shifting when the bike is in motion. 
4)  Learn how to kick start it properly before you hurt yourself doing it wrong.  Watch my video below. 
5)  Get a good manual and read it.  The best one I've found is by Pete Snidall.  He's very active on the Royal Enfield forums, and he wrote his own manual, which is more detailed than the factory manual.  You can get it at http://www.enfield.20m.com/buynowb2.htm

I replaced the gaskets in the Amal 930 carb and it leaked when I turned the gas on. I took it apart and put it back together 6 times, and it still leaked. Then I tried using 2 bowl gaskets stacked on top of each other, and it works fine and doesn't leak. I guess the top of the carb was stopping the float from closing the needle, and the extra gasket provides the necessary clearance. I also had to shave the gaskets down a little with scissors around the edges to get a good fit. Here's a video of exactly how to kick start the Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Motorcycle when cold, if you have an Amal 930 Concentric Carburetor. In case you need written instructions, they are below the video.  If you have the stock carburetor on your bike, the start procedure is the same, except for pressing the tickler valve, which your carburetor won't have.

To kick start your Royal Enfield Bullet Classic 500 Motorcycle:
1) With the gas and ignition turned off, and the compression release held open, kick the kicker 10 times to build up some compression and get the oil moving.
2) Turn the gas and ignition switch on.
3) Turn the choke all the way on and push down on the ticker button gently for about half a second to flood the carb and give the engine a little extra gas to work with. If you overtickle it, you will flood it and it won't want to start.
4) Without using the compression release lever, kick the motor over slowly until the kicker level stops and the ammeter is pointing to the left.
5) Press on the motorcycle's compression release lever and push down on the kicker gently, moving it a tiny bit until you hear a hiss and see the ammeter needle go back to center position.
6) Let go of the compression release lever and give it a good kick, and it should start. You don't need to stomp too hard on it to get the bike started.

The bike had a sidecar rear tire when I bought it. I replaced it with a 110/90 x 19 Avon Roadrider, which works great. Here's a video of how to change the rear tire on a Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic Motorcycle. The scariest part is tilting the bike over on the sidestand with one hand while removing and replacing the tire with the other hand. Put some 2x4s under the centerstand for extra clearance, and it's easy, quick, and not too dangerous.

Here's a video I made showing how to do a valve adjustment on the motorcycle.  Valve clearance at TDC is zero, which makes adjusting the valves easy.  You don't even have to remove the valve covers.  Just adjust the pushrods by removing the inspection cover on the side of the engine.  You can be done in 15 minutes and don't need to replace any gaskets.


I thought about buying an electronic ignition kit for the Bullet, as they're relatively cheap, but after reading comments in various Royal Enfield forums, I'm sticking with the points system.  Everyone says the points are reliable and just fine for the job.  I put 10,000 miles on my Moto-Guzzi and only adjusted the points once, and it ran fine, so I'll keep the Bullet simple and run it the old-school way.

My Royal Enfield Bullet 500 has the stock crankcase breather condenser oil tank on it, which needs to be drained regularly.  The crankcase is vented into the breather condenser box, and along with the air, there's a little bit of oil that gets vented into the box.  Over time, the box gets full of oil.  On a motorcycle with a stock airbox, the oil would get sucked into the airbox and gum everything up.  My bike has the breather tank vented to the atmosphere, so the oil won't get sucked into the carb, but it's still a good idea to drain the crankcase breather condenser oil tank regularly so it doesn't get clogged with oil.  Here's a video showing how to do it. 

Here's a video on how to replace the primary chain and clutch on a Royal Enfield Bullet classic 4-speed.  My bike has 22,000 miles on it, and the clutch hub was ruined and needed to be replaced, and the primary chain had a bunch of broken rollers.  I recommend you check your primary chain for broken rollers whenever you adjust it.  The whole process is pretty simple.  Be careful with the stator, as it is easy to ruin it by breaking a wire or two.  The clutch plates can be replaced without removing the primary chain, and it is a simple job to do.  See how it all fits together in the video below.

If your clutch is fine and you just want to adjust the primary chain on your Royal Enfield Bullet, watch this video: 

Royal Enfield England stopped building motorcycles in England back in the 50's, but they had a factory in India, which produced motorcycles for the Indian market, and they are still making new ones. Recently the design has been updated, and they have added a 5-speed transmission, and even fuel injection. My bike was made before those changes, and it's a real dinosaur, but it's great fun to ride, and it sounds better than any bike I've ever heard.

Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Left Side

My bike has some custom parts on it, including the taillight, mini turn signals, Le Pera sprung solo saddle (which is pretty comfortable), Classic Exhaust System (which is a lot louder than stock, but not too loud), Amal 930 carburetor, Uni air filter, and classic front-fender number plate. I figure the previous owner put $500 - $1,000 into the bike. You can get all of these things in the U.S. at http://store.royalenfieldusa.com/mods-kits or you can find most of them for sale on eBay, shipped directly from India.

Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Front

Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Amal Concentric Carb