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Royal Enfield renews the myth of the Bullet... And we get on it in India

Legends always have a special reception among fans of two wheels.

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Royal Enfield renews the myth of the Bullet... And we get on it in India

Legends always have a special reception among fans of two wheels. Brands like Honda with its Africa Twin and the recent Transalp or Yamaha with the Ténéré, to give a few examples, have not been able to resist recovering brands that marked an era and that are back on the market with force. Others like Harley-Davidson with its Sportster (completely renovated a couple of years ago) or Vespa with its incombustible models, perpetuate the legacy of their brand and, above all, the image that society has of it. But among all of them, there is no doubt that the Royal Enfield Bullet is the queen in this regard. The longest-lived production model in history maintains its character as a durable motorcycle almost intact, for day-to-day use, even for traveling slowly but surely... Nine decades after its launch!

A few days ago, in Chennai, at the imposing Royal Enfield factory, the brand presented the new generation of the Bullet and with which the model confidently heads into its century of existence, something unprecedented, not just in the world of two wheels. , but of the entire range of the motor world. Unidad Editorial was expressly invited at the time and EXPANSIÓN was an exceptional witness of the departure of the first units from the production line and was able to get on it, in a first contact with the Tamil Nadu races.

For B Govindarajan, Chairman and CEO of Royal Enfield, there is no doubt: "For me, the Bullet has been an undeniable symbol of enduring engineering and aesthetics. It has withstood times of war and peace with unwavering reliability and has been an ally throughout more than 90 years for the bravest". Elegant and handcrafted by three generations of artisans, the Bullet has retained its regal appearance without subjecting itself to fashions and whims, "the simplicity of its uncluttered form contrasts sharply with its reliability and resistance, its mettle and its character," he noted. "We have specifically planned to retain the essence of the Royal Enfield Bullet's legacy as it is ready to transition into a new form and incarnation, to be driven resolutely for at least a century."

Although the previous generation was updated, this 2023 version has been intensely renewed, but keeping its aura intact, no radical changes in its essence, and clearly on a premium step never seen before in a Royal Enfield model so much in presence as in its finishes.

The new 2023 Bullet 350 arrives powered by the 349 cc air-oil-cooled single-cylinder engine that also successfully powers the Meteor, Classic and HNTR models. With 20.48 HP at 6100 rpm and a torque of 27 Nm at 4000 rpm, at the front, it has a 41 mm fork that keeps the tire firm with a 100/90-19 chamber size and a 300 mm disc brake for the braking The rear tire (also with a tube) is a 120/80-18 and the disc is 270 mm with ByBre (Brembo) floating calipers in both cases, double piston and single piston, respectively, and dual-channel ABS. Both wheels are spoked.

The chassis is also new, redesigned by the Harris Performance subsidiary in steel to improve handling and maneuverability while gaining in rigidity compared to the previous Bullet and which is double cradle, abandoning the previous single down tube.

The new Bullet stands out for having gained presence. In the case of the version we tested, the Black Gold, the presence of black fills the look of the person in front of it. The traditional dome that fits so well on the Classic 350 in matte black of the Dark Stealth Black version is added to the Bullet, which now houses a new headlight along with the already emblematic tiger-eye lights present in the brand since 1954. This finish matte is present in the engine (as in some other model of the brand), in the exhaust pipes, in the fenders that have also been touched up in their design (especially the later one that was too retro) and in the teardrop tank .

In this case, the finish was given only on a part of it, based on glossy black paint, in a laborious seven-step process (I had never seen it on another motorcycle, not even on Harley-Davidson) and with the two rose gold lines hand-painted, one by one, and in the center, in the shiny area, the Royal Enfield emblem in copper and rose gold shines like never before. It is shocking to miss the omnipresent starter leg since the beginning of its birth, but with the solvency of today's technology it becomes absolutely unnecessary. It's a natural step.

Up on it, the seat is a trademark, there is no doubt, comfortable like few others and that maintains the classic look of the previous model, but with a much higher level of comfort and finish. At 805 mm from the ground, it is perfect for enjoying driving with a well-balanced leg arch and plenty of room for the passenger, something in which it beats the Classic, which only has one seat. The handlebar is classic cut, shoulder width and is slightly raised to favor the posture which is very natural and designed both for the daily grind and for taking on a trip if necessary thanks to the aforementioned length of the seat.

The switches on the levers maintain the retro appearance, have improved in their finish and fit and offer a balanced and very aesthetic set with the new instrument panel in combination of digital and analogue with LCD information panel and a USB charging point mounted under the handlebar.

When starting it, the sound of the engine has gained in loudness, it is softer, while the unmistakable rur-rru-rru of the exhaust pipes has slightly gained in severity, increasing the desire to dance the wrist and open the gas at each exit of the engine. stopped and end of the curves.

The Bullet is a motorcycle that is easy to ride and has a pleasant feel in the curves with its 1,390 mm wheelbase (it shares almost all the measurements of the Classic) and a weight of 195 kilograms that has gained a lot in the turns thanks to to the rigidity of the new chassis. The bike enters with a couple of points more comfort than the Classic and the previous version and if it is not pressed into a sporting nonsense, the Bullet, comes out with astonishing calm whether the road is good or bad... because that is other. The Bullet is designed to travel, to travel and ride in India, on bad roads and even without roads, on the road if necessary. Both the response of the fork and its adjustment (130 mm of travel) and the pair of rear shock absorbers (preload adjustable in 6 positions) allow the Bullet to leave the asphalt and face a track and even potholes (some considerable), the stones and the occasional small rut without any hesitation. I assure you. I don't even want to think what result it would have with a mixed tire instead of the solvent and functional CEAT Zoom that it mounts.

To many it will seem that the power is somewhat fair, there is no doubt, and around 35CV it would gain a lot, but of course, it would no longer be a Bullet. For those looking for more power in that motorcycle profile, they already have the Interceptor, the Bullet is a motorcycle designed to be global, to be sold in all markets, but it has to work in India and there, this power is more than enough. It is enough to drive as we did on its roads to realize that, in this case, more does not mean better... although it is hard to believe.

Perhaps this increase in power would be more correct for the European profile, but it is also true that, for example, the Hntr has the same dedication when sharing an engine and it is one of the great joys of the brand in the Old Continent, especially in the United Kingdom.

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