I don't know quite what it's about a Royal Enfield Classic 500, that makes people stop, stare and grin when you ride past, but when you ride an Enfield Classic 500 a day in Bangkok, which are standard equipped with an exhaust system that probably just pass the Thai 92dB sound limit you see shoppers, walkers, police, and basically everybody else looking at you.
The attention of police officers made me a bit nervous, while the Enfield Classic 500 is 100% road legal, it was still not outfitted with the required license plates. Something what could cost me 200 THB, but no police officer was interested in giving me a fine – what is remarkable at the end of the month.
The Royal Enfield Classic 500 looks like a real classic bike. Although the kick starter remains, there's a nice little button on the right side of the handlebar that saves you the effort of lifting your leg, and the cleverly concealed ultra-modern Keihin fuel injection, which replaced the AMAL carburetor, does a perfect job of keeping the 499cc single cylinder engine running.
For a classic designed motorcycle the steering is exceptionally light, and with the 19 inch front and 18 inch rear rims, which look a bit skinny if you just get of a modern liter-bike, but they take corners with lightening pace. You only need to be careful not to get over excited leaning to far in the corners, you have not to much ground clearance. Overly excited cornering can result in dragging the exhaust over the tarmac. For brakes the front 280mm single-disc with hydraulic 2-piston caliper and the rear 153mm, internal expanding, drum disc work very well.
The front fork is a standard telescopic type with 35mm forks and 130mm suspension travel, the rear suspension is by twin gas charged shock absorbers with 5-step adjustable preload, 80mm travel.
On fuel consumption, the Royal Enfield Classic 500 could be one of the best fuel economic motorcycles available in Thailand. While doing regular city traffic on the afternoon I was able to get a bit more than 28 kilometers out of a liter gasohol 91.The Enfield Classic 500 EFI is amazingly fuel efficient if you treat it right it will probably do even better.
The Royal Enfield Classic 500 is no motorcycle for anybody with a need-for-speed attitude, but commuting to work on a daily base, knowing Classic 500s fuel efficiency and road handling and very comfortable riding position, you'll be laughing out loud at the pureness of the daily experience. Plus, you'll be wearing a grin, and attracting a lot of positive attention while you're at it, too.