Royal Enfield Bullet 500: A Royal Returns

Motoring-wise, back in the 1970s in India, life was fairly simple. If you needed to travel with your family in relative comfort, you chose a scooter (cars were still out of reach for most people).

If you were more free-spirited and not married, a motorcycle it was. Back then, you had two choices: either buy the now phased out Yezdi, or the Royal Enfield Bullet. Most people went for the latter. There was no 100cc bike yet. Traffic jams were still mostly unheard of and noise pollution hadn’t been discovered yet. The thump of a Bullet announced that you have arrived.

In its earlier avatar, we saw the last Bullet 500 roll off the line a decade ago, buried under the weight of increasingly tighter emission norms. Now, Royal Enfield has gone and resurrected the Bullet 500, this time with the same 500cc unit-construction engine (UCE) that does duty in the Classic and the Thunderbird. But unlike those two bikes, the new Bullet 500 gets a carburetor instead of a fuel injector. So there will be a dip in power, but let’s start with the looks.