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Enfield Bullet EFI as an all-year-round commuter? bad idea?

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alex965
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PostPosted: 18:21 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Enfield Bullet EFI as an all-year-round commuter? bad idea? Reply with quote

Hello all,

Basically as above.

Seeing as I'm no longer a student and I have a half-decent job I'm in a position to save up over the next few months (I don't want to go down the finance route) and get the bike I've wanted for the best part of ten years - an Enflied Bullet (EFI version for reliability).

I don't have a car so my motorbike is my every day transport - it's perfect for my job as I can cut through traffic and I don't have to worry about parking.

I don't have a garage so the bike has to be stored on the drive - although I'm looking into getting one of those motorbike shelter/tent things.

My question is: is it a terrible idea to buy an Enfield to use in this way?

I've heard good things about reliability but I have no idea how the finish would stand up to all year riding. Is it likely to disintegrate over the winter?

Or would it be a case of wasting it in acf-50 every few days and it being alright?

Any input appreciated.

Cheers.
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Last edited by alex965 on 18:33 - 18 Aug 2017; edited 1 time in total
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Paddy.
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PostPosted: 18:31 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

As my only means of transport.... No Laughing
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Bodyguard
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PostPosted: 18:39 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paddy. wrote:
As my only means of transport.... No Laughing

I agree with this post.

Your fantasy will turn into a nightmare.
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alex965
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PostPosted: 18:43 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fazer The Bastard wrote:
Paddy. wrote:
As my only means of transport.... No Laughing

I agree with this post.

Your fantasy will turn into a nightmare.


Are you saying it's likely to be unreliable?
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pepperami
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PostPosted: 18:52 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ask Shaggy, he owns/ed an Enfield Bullet , he will tell you from real experiance.
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arry
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PostPosted: 19:13 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had mine ~5 months now I think, and obviously only through the delights of summer. It's done ~800 miles with me.

Let's go all Tef and get FIRST THINGS FIRST out of the way. What does your commute actually look like? Why? Well:
It's not built for speed. Sitting at 55mph indicated on a dual carriageway will have your hands going numb from the buzzing pretty quick. You do have to take the back routes to avoid that. I mean, even ~4 miles of dual carriageway at 60 the other night did me no favours at all.
It's not particularly comfortable; 150 miles on a Bullet is about tops you'd manage, TBH. After that the vibes get a bit too much and you become tired.
It's not particularly dynamic - the brakes, especially the front, are just about passable, and suspension wise it's pretty primitive, so 'going fast' isn't really going fast at all, it just feels it.

However, on it's plus side, it's:
Economical - I haven't done the MPG but it's laughably good on fuel and as a result has a good tank range.
Got a good turning circle - U turns are a doddle.
Fun to 50 - which is all you need on a commute most of the time.


Finish wise - I've not had any marking coming up on mine and everything is holding together, but it's only been out in the rain a couple of times really. I am not obsessive about cleaning bikes, however. The standard exhaust picked up some surface rust early doors though - but you wouldn't be keeping 'The Log' anyway.

Reliability wise - I've had no issues at all. It's been bob on but I've hardly got any mileage under it to suggest what it'd be like long term. The only issue I've had is bits falling off of it Laughing The bolts rattle loose a lot - so you do have to go back through the bike with a bit of loctite and some patience.

I really, really like mine. I'm glad I bought it, and don't see me getting rid any time soon.
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alex965
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PostPosted: 19:26 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

arry wrote:
I've had mine ~5 months now I think, and obviously only through the delights of summer. It's done ~800 miles with me.

Let's go all Tef and get FIRST THINGS FIRST out of the way. What does your commute actually look like? Why? Well:
It's not built for speed. Sitting at 55mph indicated on a dual carriageway will have your hands going numb from the buzzing pretty quick. You do have to take the back routes to avoid that. I mean, even ~4 miles of dual carriageway at 60 the other night did me no favours at all.
It's not particularly comfortable; 150 miles on a Bullet is about tops you'd manage, TBH. After that the vibes get a bit too much and you become tired.
It's not particularly dynamic - the brakes, especially the front, are just about passable, and suspension wise it's pretty primitive, so 'going fast' isn't really going fast at all, it just feels it.

However, on it's plus side, it's:
Economical - I haven't done the MPG but it's laughably good on fuel and as a result has a good tank range.
Got a good turning circle - U turns are a doddle.
Fun to 50 - which is all you need on a commute most of the time.


Finish wise - I've not had any marking coming up on mine and everything is holding together, but it's only been out in the rain a couple of times really. I am not obsessive about cleaning bikes, however. The standard exhaust picked up some surface rust early doors though - but you wouldn't be keeping 'The Log' anyway.

Reliability wise - I've had no issues at all. It's been bob on but I've hardly got any mileage under it to suggest what it'd be like long term. The only issue I've had is bits falling off of it Laughing The bolts rattle loose a lot - so you do have to go back through the bike with a bit of loctite and some patience.

I really, really like mine. I'm glad I bought it, and don't see me getting rid any time soon.


Thanks for the reply, really useful.

Standard commute is eight miles each way, mostly over fairly quiet county 50mph roads and then about a mile or two through town.

Every few days I have to do a 16 mile each way journey into a neighbouring town - that's again mostly over country 50mph roads with a stretch of duel carriageway which most people only do about 60 on.

Outside that I'd be looking to chug to Wales and back (about 130 miles each way) for the odd weekend camping.

I'm not that fussed about speed, although the vibrations you talked about make it sound like it would be hell doing a long motorway trip on.

Cheers.
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arry
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PostPosted: 19:38 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, they do open up a bit and lose some of the vibes towards 1200 miles but I wouldn't want to do motorway miles at all.

It'll fit your commute fine.

From what I've seen reliability isn't too much of a concern and Hitchcocks are bloody amazing at shipping parts next day - and everything is available from them.

I don't think it's a terrible idea.
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RhynoCZ
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PostPosted: 19:52 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Put the AA number on your speed dial in your phone. Razz
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andyscooter
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PostPosted: 20:12 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ex bullet owner
As an every day I thing no

As a toy no to the 350 IMO

May have a 500 in the future though
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linuxyeti
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PostPosted: 20:14 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Enfieid Bullet 350, was very reliable, never let me down, and I even used it on a few motorway runs as well.

I can still me being very tempted to get another in the future. Now, wouldn't it be cool, if they could somehow replicate it's character, but with an electric motor Smile
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alex965
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PostPosted: 20:20 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the replies.

I take it I'm right in assuming then that the non-EFI Enfields would be no good for every day use?

I'd love one of the carbed 500s but the impression I got was that they are the sort of thing you keep in the garage and work on/ride as a hobby.
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Rogerborg
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PostPosted: 20:33 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

In 3 years and ~5,500 miles of ownership (many bikes, cuz), the sum total of problems on my 2008, 9,500 mile AVL carbed bike have been:

One snapped clutch cable (pinched under the tank).
One detached clutch cable end (fixed with pliers at the roadside)
One snapped throttle cable.
One very small oil leak from the e-start housing.
One cracked pushrod tappet adjuster cover from over-zealous over-tightening. Replaced with a piece of wood until a cover came from India (10 delivered). Not an issue on the EFI because self adjusting hydraulic tappets.
One fragged e-start sprag clutch. The AVLs all do that, not an issue on the fully redesigned EFIs. When replacing it (20.25 delivered from India) I sorted the oil leak.

So, random issues that could hit any bike, or not relevant to an EFI.

Other than that, no problems. When I stop fooling with the fuelling, it starts with a surprisingly short kick, no rituals required. The EFIs even have an auto-decompressor if you want to kick them.

As for riding, it's just as arry said. Fun up to 50, and they'll go higher but that's not what they're for. Fuel economy on mine is 80mpg+ and well beyond 200 miles from a tankful. I frequently bottle it because I can't believe it's gone so far between fuel stops, and am then surprised by how little it needs. The turning circle is indeed excellent and they make fine filterers, like a torquey 125. Mine's at the back of the garage, not because it's my least favourite bike (quite the opposite) but because it's by far the easiest to manoeuvre.

The suspension and brakes are... fitted to it. Plan ahead.

Parts are cheap from India, or fast from Hitchcocks, and they stock pretty much everything down to the smallest part, and are likely to do so for a few centuries to come. Servicing is cheap and simple, and the EFIs need even less.

As for longevity, I can't really speak to that, as it's the only bike that I've coddled and not let see too much road salt. Embarassed A few flakes on the fork coating, and the chrome wants a rub down with tin foil and vinegar every so often, is the damage so far.

I reckon you could use one all year round if you throw on a screen and some muffs. I'm not saying that I would, but stinkwheel abuses the hell out of his 350. I'd be emotionally prepared to kiss goodbye to the shiny if you're going to do it, but mechanically it shouldn't be an issue, especially an EFI.

Worst case, you'll get some stories out of it.
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Last edited by Rogerborg on 20:36 - 18 Aug 2017; edited 2 times in total
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The Shaggy D.A.
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PostPosted: 20:34 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm now on my 4th Enfield, 5th if you include the 350 I bought for my ex, and I would say no, if it were your only bike and you have to rely on it. It's part of the reason I had the YBR at the same time. I'd say yes, if you were prepared to actually keep on top of the maintenance, instead of paying it lip service. Maintenance is quick and easy, you just can't be lazy about it.

I've only had the EFI for two weeks, in which time I've done 350 miles - it's similar in performance and feel to the Electra (once it was sorted), but I can't comment on longevity and reliability yet. It's quite vibey at the moment, but all signs point to that calming down significantly by the time there's 1500+ miles under its belt. I intend to commute on it unless there's ice/snow/I'm stuck under a duvet, so we'll see how it fares this winter.

On the other hand, just go for it. YOLO, and all that.
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Bonnie Lad
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PostPosted: 20:38 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

linuxyeti wrote:
My Enfieid Bullet 350, was very reliable, never let me down, and I even used it on a few motorway runs as well.

I can still me being very tempted to get another in the future. Now, wouldn't it be cool, if they could somehow replicate it's character, but with an electric motor Smile


They could replace the motor with a block of cheese and you'd still be on here telling us how reliable and amazing handling it is
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Polarbear
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PostPosted: 21:11 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bonnie Lad wrote:
linuxyeti wrote:
My Enfieid Bullet 350, was very reliable, never let me down, and I even used it on a few motorway runs as well.

I can still me being very tempted to get another in the future. Now, wouldn't it be cool, if they could somehow replicate it's character, but with an electric motor Smile


They could replace the motor with a block of cheese and you'd still be on here telling us how reliable and amazing handling it is


Laughing The Chinese do, and he does!!! Wink
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linuxyeti
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PostPosted: 21:12 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bonnie Lad wrote:

They could replace the motor with a block of cheese and you'd still be on here telling us how reliable and amazing handling it is


... but but it's not chinese ? Laughing Laughing Laughing

Strangely enough, pretty much any bike will be reliable, if you maintain it properly...

As I've before, of the bikes I've owned, the Diversion, was awful, performance wise & reliability wise was the biggest disappointment, closely followed by the America, again, with this it was corrosion, and the fact it kept cutting out randomly when slowing down coming off motorway slip roads, and roundabouts on quickish roads , oh, and not forgetting the time I had fix the loom, and I had this from new !!

Best of the bikes I've owned, are VTX1300, Enfield, Mash & CF650TR. I'm also quite enjoying my ST7 as well Smile

I am now actively watching the Zero SR, and once the range is up to comfortably handling my 120 mile commute, via motorways or A5, without requiring a recharge, then that, or something similar is on my list of bikes to buy.
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alex965
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PostPosted: 21:37 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

...I'm really tempted to go full 'yolo' and seek out a carbed model now. Ooops.

I know they're the kind of bike you have to 'look after' more than a 'modern' machine.

But, and I'm guessing this is a 'how long is a piece of string' question, but with the carbed model, doing about 200-300 miles a week - would an hour or two every Saturday be the kind of maintenance that would stand a good chance of keeping it healthy?

I'm guessing there's lots of info online with regards to what preventative maintenance to do and when to do it.

I've also heard they are a lot easier to work on than modern machines?

Thanks all.
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Mawsley
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PostPosted: 22:18 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Re: Enfield Bullet EFI as an all-year-round commuter? bad id Reply with quote

alex965 wrote:
I'm no longer a student and I have a half-decent job


And that's as good as it gets, right kids?

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Arts/Arts_/Pictures/2013/7/10/1373479105677/Ben-Elton-010.jpg?w=300&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=af428ef8315637056b2f147120acab95
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Rogerborg
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PostPosted: 22:27 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

alex965 wrote:
...I'm really tempted to go full 'yolo' and seek out a carbed model now. Ooops.

If you actively enjoy servicing and tinkering, yes.

If you want to ride every day, I'd go EFI. It's very close to being not entirely unlike a modern motorcycle in some ways.


alex965 wrote:
would an hour or two every Saturday be the kind of maintenance that would stand a good chance of keeping it healthy?

Not even that much, really. You'll find things to fiddle with and over-optimise to fill out the available time. Whistle


alex965 wrote:
I've also heard they are a lot easier to work on than modern machines?

Some things are.

Fork oil, for example. Drain screws on the bottom of the forks, caps on the top, slop in some 10W40 - done in minutes. Or the rear wheel, which comes out while the sprocket and carrier stay in place - gone in 60 seconds. Tappets can be adjusted in minutes, start to finish (not an issue for the EFI).

But then on the pre-EFIs, a "full" oil change is three drain plugs, a springy-outy oil filter, taking off the primary cover, putting them back in (good luck getting the stack of filter components back in the right order) and then refilling with engine oil, separate gear oil, and then whatever you fancy chancing in the primary - engine oil, automatic transmission fluid, Vimto.

The EFI is (I believe) one plug, one oil for the engine, and the primary is doubtless easier too. The oil pump flow is much higher, it's a safer bet in almost every way. The only issue I know of is that the hydraulic tappets can get clattery, but it doesn't seem to harm them.
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alex965
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PostPosted: 22:30 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Re: Enfield Bullet EFI as an all-year-round commuter? bad id Reply with quote

Mawsley wrote:


I was just joking. I have the job I've studied for and wanted to do for years - I know a lot of people don't get that chance, so I feel lucky Thumbs Up
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alex965
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PostPosted: 22:37 - 18 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rogerborg wrote:
alex965 wrote:
...I'm really tempted to go full 'yolo' and seek out a carbed model now. Ooops.

If you actively enjoy servicing and tinkering, yes.

If you want to ride every day, I'd go EFI. It's very close to being not entirely unlike a modern motorcycle in some ways.


alex965 wrote:
would an hour or two every Saturday be the kind of maintenance that would stand a good chance of keeping it healthy?

Not even that much, really. You'll find things to fiddle with and over-optimise to fill out the available time. Whistle


alex965 wrote:
I've also heard they are a lot easier to work on than modern machines?

Some things are.

Fork oil, for example. Drain screws on the bottom of the forks, caps on the top, slop in some 10W40 - done in minutes. Or the rear wheel, which comes out while the sprocket and carrier stay in place - gone in 60 seconds. Tappets can be adjusted in minutes, start to finish (not an issue for the EFI).

But then on the pre-EFIs, a "full" oil change is three drain plugs, a springy-outy oil filter, taking off the primary cover, putting them back in (good luck getting the stack of filter components back in the right order) and then refilling with engine oil, separate gear oil, and then whatever you fancy chancing in the primary - engine oil, automatic transmission fluid, Vimto.

The EFI is (I believe) one plug, one oil for the engine, and the primary is doubtless easier too. The oil pump flow is much higher, it's a safer bet in almost every way. The only issue I know of is that the hydraulic tappets can get clattery, but it doesn't seem to harm them.



Thanks for the reply. I'll have a good few weeks to think about what to go for - which is probably for the best.

Carbed is tempting, when it seems you can get a tidy one for around 2k, and the whole "it's like a proper old bike" thing...

But the EFI sounds like the better option for what I'd need.
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The Shaggy D.A.
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PostPosted: 09:10 - 19 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was torn whether to go EFI or not when I was buying my latest one, but what swung it for me wasn't the fact it was EFI, but more that the unit construction engine doesn't wet sump, so you can leave it on the side stand.
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Rogerborg
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PostPosted: 13:58 - 19 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

True, but it's hardly a huge imposition to put it on the centre stand. The only time mine ever goes on the side stand is for a few seconds when I'm closing the garage door.

I'm still saying get an EFI though.
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The Shaggy D.A.
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PostPosted: 14:04 - 19 Aug 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aye, it's easy enough to put on the centre stand, but when you're stuck for space, putting the sidestand down then pushing the bike from the rear is sometimes the only way you'd win at garage Tetris Smile
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