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Old 29th July 2014, 17:00   #1
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Default Enfield Bullet - Standard 350 or 500?

Good day, folks.

Here's a question that I believe Bullet experts on this forum can help with. I did search for similar quesitons on the forum but could not find it, hence this new post.

Basically, I need advice to help decide which Bullet to go for: the STD UCE 350 or 500?

Here's my situation: I have been Motorcyle fan right from my childhood, starting with my brother's Ind-Suzuki 100! Over the years I have owned and ridden various bikes. I currently have a Harley Davidson Superlow XL 1200 (this particular model is not sold in India; I had brought it with me when I relocated from US). But the charm of a Bullet, something that we all had looked up to since our childhood, has been so overpowering that I have now succumbed into planning to get one for myself. Now the question is - which one!

Since I am getting a Bullet for the nostalgia, only the 'Standards' will do. I ruled out the CIs (buy used) because I will have limited time to devote to the bike's maintenance and prefer the supposed reliability of the UCEs. I go occasionally on long rides (the ghats near Pune) and more frequently in the city suburbs (but do not use bikes for commuting).

The main reason I'm considering the STD 350 is the unchanged looks over the generations: Black color with gold stripes.

The STD500 have the advantage of greater power, self-starter and disc-brakes (Anything else I missed out?). However on the 500 model, I miss the gold-stripe on the Black color. I like the gold-stripe on the Green model, but a little ambivalent about the Green color itself. From the forum posts, looks like it is the more popular color.

So the questions are:
1. Will the 350 suffice for my needs? If I go with it, how easy will it be to add the disc brakes and self-starter?
2. If I should go for teh STD500, which color should I choose - the Forest Green or the Black? I know this is subjective, but I'm interested in what you think . Is the Green more likely to fade? Which one will have larger appeal? (Incidentally, when I was shopping for my HD, I had wanted it in Black, but found this in kind of metallic blue that actually looks more like a shade of black. The Forest Green, I read from posts, is very similar in that it mostly looks like a shade of black except under the sun)

Last edited by hsparida : 29th July 2014 at 17:15.
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Old 29th July 2014, 18:43   #2
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Default re: Enfield Bullet - Standard 350 or 500?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hsparida View Post
Good day, folks.

Here's a question that I believe Bullet experts on this forum can help with. I did search for similar quesitons on the forum but could not find it, hence this new post.

Basically, I need advice to help decide which Bullet to go for: the STD UCE 350 or 500?

.....The Forest Green, I read from posts, is very similar in that it mostly looks like a shade of black except under the sun)
I thought I am the only confused person on earth but looks like there are lot of them.

Looks like STD 350 will serve all your needs however "men will be men" and you are going to book Bullet 500 soon.

Answers to your Qs:

1. STD 350 shares crank from 500 so sound and feel is awesome and its real bullet look however adding starter cost more than 20 K as you need to change the wiring harness, battery, add stater motor etc. and that's all in ASC so you guessed right about the reliability.

Disc break will come around 15 K as you need to change front drum and spokes, fork will work as RE supplies custom disc break kit for STD 350 which fits on stock fork.

So the cost is around the cost of Bullet 500 so why not get more 150 CC in same cost.

2. It is forest green if you want golden strips I am also confused here but forest green is almost deep black and it shows different shades and not typical green. Sliver strips do not give legendary looks. Also here you have advantage of 18" rear rim where you have good tyre choice which we miss in STD 350 and 19" rim.

Other than above both bullets are legendary and give same simile on face.

Thanks,
Vishal

Last edited by FlyingSpur : 30th July 2014 at 10:26. Reason: Please refrain from quoting large posts in entirety. It inconveniences our small-screen and mobile readers.
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Old 29th July 2014, 18:50   #3
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Default re: Enfield Bullet - Standard 350 or 500?

Thank you Thar4x4. With the projected additional cost, it seems to be a no-brainer to go for a 500. I'm also getting more inclined towards the Green..have to check it out at a showroom first.

Good luck with your bike decision...and hopefully we get to meet on the roads of Pune some day
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Old 29th July 2014, 19:55   #4
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Default re: Enfield Bullet - Standard 350 or 500?

Quote:
Since I am getting a Bullet for the nostalgia, only the 'Standards' will do. I ruled out the CIs (buy used) because I will have limited time to devote to the bike's maintenance and prefer the supposed reliability of the UCEs. I go occasionally on long rides (the ghats near Pune) and more frequently in the city suburbs (but do not use bikes for commuting).
I dont want to start an argument but i am not sure how CI's became less reliable than the UCE's. In fact the least maintenance bike i have owned is my CI 500 and the only thing i have to do is ensure it has enough oil for the thrashing i do. The mechanics and electricals are so basic that you may need a couple of days to actually dismantle and assemble the bike to understand how simple the entire system is unlike the UCE ones. Anyway i just wanted to say CI's are not complex but the most simplest of machines to maintain and use. The best part of CI's are its ease to fix issues at any road by any road side mechanics for the concepts are bare and basic.

Coming back to your predicament, the 350 is good but the 500 will have that extra torque and power that will definitely make you smile. I test drove both 350 and 500 and never wanted the 350. This was in 2004. The technology has developed and the new 500 is one of the most powerful bikes on road. The continental GT power delivery is so smooth that i did not feel the beast inside that 550 but the 500 with its single seater is actually scary with a feeling of being thrown out of the bike anytime around.

EFI vs Carb has its own difference but i felt the new EFI engines are rapid and can give some of the faster bikes a run for their money from the stop light .

The forest green is not a bad option and its a carb version. It has enough power and presence.

Since you already have a HD you may find 350 a little slow and you may want to test drive both the 350 and 500 on the same day over some decent stretch to find what will fit your needs.

The extra money you are spending on 500 will never go wasted for my 500 is now close to 10 years old and gives me hardly over 20kmpl and still its my to go bike.

And i have to say the only bike impressed me after the 500 was the KTM390
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Old 29th July 2014, 20:34   #5
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Default re: Enfield Bullet - Standard 350 or 500?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hsparida View Post
Basically, I need advice to help decide which Bullet to go for: the STD UCE 350 or 500?
STD 500 it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hsparida View Post
1. Will the 350 suffice for my needs? If I go with it, how easy will it be to add the disc brakes and self-starter?
It is better if these are factory fit rather than retro fit. Gives you peace of mind and is reliable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hsparida View Post
2. If I should go for the STD500, which color should I choose - the Forest Green or the Black?
Black it is. No thoughts if I was in your place.

All the best and do update the thread with your final decision.

Anurag.
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Old 29th July 2014, 22:53   #6
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Default re: Enfield Bullet - Standard 350 or 500?

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Originally Posted by VW2010 View Post
I dont want to start an argument but i am not sure how CI's became less reliable than the UCE's.
This article will clear the argument or technicals about UCE vs CI.

Uce vs CI vs AVL

Though I also have owned a CI 350 for 10 years and loved every bit of it, its basically how you "use" the bull vs how well you "possess" the bull. Any bike for that matter, if well kept, will serve and outlive its prescribed life.

As you said sir, It clearly shows how much you have loved your bike to keep it in such good shape. Hence your bullet has served you loyally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hsparida View Post
Good day, folks.

Here's a question that I believe Bullet experts on this forum can help with. I did search for similar questions on the forum but could not find it, hence this new post.

Basically, I need advice to help decide which Bullet to go for: the STD UCE 350 or 500?
Go through the ownership and long term experiences of owners who own the CI and UCE ones. You will get your answer. Its really amazing that Team Bhp is one exclusive forum where you get first hand knowledge about people who actually use the bike and update the details of pros and cons in long term km by km. The ownership experience, the service feedback, the niggles and hard bits of quality etc etc...

As far as looks go that's subjective. To me a classic vintage customized ride is bike porn.

Owning a CI 350 means you have to get to the root of the bike and understand it before owning it. Not just cosmetically but also mechanically you will have to be well informed. (And to some extent this applies to the UCE too.) Afterall that's what separates a bullet from the bikes. Its all about the perfect thump here.

If you just want the classic looks then the UCE is for you bro.

Going through your post I could make out that you are already in the right direction and you have your answer.

Cheers !
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Old 30th July 2014, 01:40   #7
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Default re: Enfield Bullet - Standard 350 or 500?

Well from what you said yeah the Standard 500 would make perfect sense.

Although since you are getting an Enfield for its old world charm,I feel like a CI would be just right.I mean you're anyway going down powerwise from an HD onto an Enfield.Both the 350 and the 500 would feel underpowered.For a person moving up from the 350,the 500 EFI would be quite a bit faster.Never ridden a carb 500 So I cannot comment on how it feels compared to a carb 350.Not a fan of the forest greens rear end.IMO the tail light from the classic doesn't look nice on it.

A CI in good condition does run quite beautifully.Its quite a nice feeling kick starting an old Enfield,Can tire you out at times though.Give it a thought.
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Old 30th July 2014, 03:00   #8
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Default re: Enfield Bullet - Standard 350 or 500?

Quote:
This article will clear the argument or technicals about UCE vs CI.
The article has no evidence on why one is more reliable than the other. And if the premise of the argument is riding over 120kmph, nothing comes closer to the UCE or the AVL in that aspect. Heck the most troublesome early thunderbirds kicked the 500 stock CI all around the roads many times.

I am just saying maintenance is equally required for both the versions. The power from the newer engines are unmatched which i exactly said before. But the ease of maintenance is far easier in a CI engine.

The UCE or AVL is not the easiest to operate if something goes off. When you talk about reliability, its the chances of the bike failing. All engines are equally reliable.

CI's to me is easy to diagnose and fix while UCE get complex when there is a problem. But that has nothing to do with reliability but more to do with maintenance.

But neither the AVL or the CI will pass some of the worlds emission which UCE will.
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Old 30th July 2014, 06:49   #9
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Default re: Enfield Bullet - Standard 350 or 500?

The STD 500 seems to be unanimous...make my decision much easier
Thank you all!

Now for the color...I guess I'll have to make the wife make that decision for me
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Old 30th July 2014, 11:38   #10
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Default re: Enfield Bullet - Standard 350 or 500?

Good choice hsparida mate, I was about to tell you the same thing to go for the Bullet Standard 500 UCE. You get everything in this one bike i.e. old world charm, classic timeless design, adequate torque and power for our road conditions, etc.

I own and ride two RE Standard Bullet CI 350's and one AVL Thunderbird 350and recently test rode the new Thunderbird 500 EFi, I must say after test riding the new Thunderbird 500 I immediately booked it. I hope you understand why I booked the new Thunderbird 500 just after one test ride inspite of owning two CI Bullet Standard 350 and AVL Thunderbird 350. Ask yourself the same question when you test ride the new Standard UCE Bullet 500 and you will find the answer. Choice of color well it is quite subjective, but if I were you I would go for the Green with golden pinstripes, it looks marvellous on a bright sunny day. Welcome to the world of RE Bullet.

Regards,
navin_v8

Last edited by navin_v8 : 30th July 2014 at 11:41. Reason: grammatical error and additional information.
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Old 30th July 2014, 13:46   #11
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Default re: Enfield Bullet - Standard 350 or 500?

I am in a similar dilemma and had put down my question in one of the threads which is
currently missing.

Anyways, between the 350 and the 500, its hands down the 500. When you test drive
the difference would be so obvious.

I had test drove the Thunderbird 350, Thunderbird 500, Bullet carb 500, Classic 350 and
Classic 500. Its pretty much everything under the RE stable.

In general, I found the 500's to have lesser vibrations and the difference in pulling power in
the 500's is so obvious that is not easy to neglect.

I found the Bullet carb 500 to be the smoothest of the lot I test drove and I test
drove all of them atleast twice at two different places.

Like others have mentioned, the forest green bullet carb 500 looks pretty much like black under all
circumstances except when seen under direct sunlight. And under the direct sunlight, the green actually
looks very good.

My dilemma though is whether to pick a Thunderbird 500 or a Bullet 500 or a Classic Chrome 500.

Bullet 500 is the cheapest 500 (and I found it the smoothest). However I have read elsewhere on this
and other forums that carb versions are for those who like to get their hands dirty and tinker with their
vehicles. I dont know what it means but I want something that I need not fiddle with.

On the other hand, the difference between Bullet carb 500 and Thunderbird 500 is about 22000. For which
I get a projector headlight setup, Fuel Injection, better seating arrangement, Disc brakes on the back,
better ODO with MID, larger tank, more color options, (fatter rear tyres? and higher capacity battery?).

The only thing I lose out is the retro looks but I gain so much more for the extra money spent.

On the same thought, though Fuel Injection is better tech, I have read that the replacement costs are high
(in case of failure), though the ODO/MID is better, it hardly works the way it is supposed to (read instances
of fuel level shown incorrectly, time not displayed correctly etc), the supposedly disc brakes on the rear of
Thunderbird does not show any significant improvement in braking bite when compared to its drum counterparts.
So do I really get value for the extra money spent?.

Also, while my son likes the looks of Thunderbird, my wife likes the looks of Classic chrome (which does not have
the best of the seating). For the last couple of months, I could not take a decision and I have decided to wait
until everybody including myself comes to an agreement.

Last edited by drvhplyevraftr : 30th July 2014 at 13:47.
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Old 30th July 2014, 14:59   #12
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Default Re: Feedback to decide which Bullet - STD 350 or STD 500?

Quote:
Originally Posted by VW2010 View Post
The article has no evidence on why one is more reliable than the other. And if the premise of the argument is riding over 120kmph, nothing comes closer to the UCE or the AVL in that aspect. Heck the most troublesome early thunderbirds kicked the 500 stock CI all around the roads many times.

I am just saying maintenance is equally required for both the versions. The power from the newer engines are unmatched which i exactly said before. But the ease of maintenance is far easier in a CI engine.

The UCE or AVL is not the easiest to operate if something goes off. When you talk about reliability, its the chances of the bike failing. All engines are equally reliable.

CI's to me is easy to diagnose and fix while UCE get complex when there is a problem. But that has nothing to do with reliability but more to do with maintenance.

But neither the AVL or the CI will pass some of the worlds emission which UCE will.
I wrote that article sir. So, I thought I'll butt in and explain. Coming to evidence, please look at the factory warranty for the CI and AVL, vs the UCE. That should be enough to gauge the manufacturer's own faith in CI and AVL, leave alone that of the customer's.

I have actually "thrashed" CIs, AVLs and UCEs through similar roads, across reasonably long distances. Both CIs and AVLs begin losing performance (push rods become loose) if pushed hard for longer. The UCEs with their hydraulic lifters are much better bets for more consistent performance.

Talking of maintenance, hydraulic lifters don't require attention while the pushrods on CIs and AVLs require constant attention if you're a stickler for consistent performance.

Accessing the Cams for adjustment (Yes the UCEs also develop backlash) on the UCE is as easy/difficult as that on the CI/AVLs.

The only area which is easier on a CI/AVL is perhaps the fueling, which is controlled by a carburetor (easier to work). Even here, the UCE rules imho as the latest crop's fueling is well sorted. If things go wrong here, you need to head to the authorized workshops and that's one fear owners have. But failure rate is much lower than improper jetting on the CIs/AVLs due to emission issues. My LB500 (which I don't own anymore) came with a UCAL BS32 with 115 mains.

Roadside mechanics will always prefer a CI/AVL as the infrastructure required to service a Bullet with the Pre-UCE engines is easier to set up and cheaper. Also, you won't be visiting the mechanic as often for engine work on the UCE in the first place, which again means slower earnings for the mechanic.

Talking electricals, even the CIs and AVLs jumped onto the TCI ignition units. So, trouble shooting is as easy or as messy on the carbed UCEs. The fuel injected ones add some more complications but they are usually quite reliable rolling out of Denso Corp.

Finally, having a stronger oil pump is like having a stronger heart. The floating bush on your CI500's bottom end is reliable as long as there is oil supply. But you ride a little hard and once your piston type oil pump begins to struggle, the floating bush will pack up first. Then you have the issue of oil starvation once the pump gets weak. This is why there are so many Bullets coming back with shot pistons after high speed runs. Cure? Moving to the AVL spindle type pump, but adapting one to the CI is another headache. When you have readymade solution in the form of the UCE, why live with a CI? For the soulful thump? Perfect, as long as you are content chugging along at 80 Kph. If you demand more from your motorcycle, the UCE is the way to go.

Quoting a line I like from the Animal Farm,

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than the others."

The UCE in this case belongs to the "some animal" category.

PS: My article talks about engines and not about cycle parts or electricals. While I concede that cycle parts and electricals are still weak areas on current-gen Royal Enfields, they weren't great shakes on the pre-UCE Bullets to begin with.

Cheers,

Jay

Last edited by JayPrashanth : 30th July 2014 at 15:02. Reason: Added my favorite line from the Animal Farm
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Old 30th July 2014, 15:01   #13
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Default Re: Enfield Bullet - Standard 350 or 500?

Although this may be off topic now since the OP has made his decision, let me post my thoughts anyway.

Comparing a CI to a UCE , regarding reliability, efficiency, power etc is not relevant since both are different breed of motor from the same company.

When AVL was first launched and I had my Electra CI and was getting to know what an Enfield was all about, my reaction to AVL was like how some hardcore H-D riders react to the Street 750 today.

Saying the UCE is more reliable than the CI cannot be generalized. Even today, it depends on how good the motor is when it rolls out from the factory and it was the same years back when only CI engines were available.
I have seen brand new UCE engines stripped open for some issue or the other . Maintenance of these bikes are crucial on how reliable they are going to be.
Coming to hard riding and how good the engine keeps up to that, Enfields are not race bikes, except for the GT which has some changes made to its engine for that specific reason itself.

The UCE engine is a move forwards by RE because for obvious reasons, they could not continue with the old technology and with that new engine came associated advantages like power, efficiency, hydraulic tappets etc. which doesn't mean the older ones were un-reliable.

The only difference that I can see, on the CI engines, the first 20-30k kms was crucial and resulted in a lot of visits to the garage, but the rest of the life of the engine, could be worked hard, given only the regular service and nothing would go wrong with it.
And on the UCE, I guess that initial nursing is not required.

Not that I am anti-UCE, I am just waiting for the right time to plonk my money on the GT, for me that is the top bike in terms of technology for RE.

Have a nice trip with the STD 500, hsparida

Last edited by tharian : 30th July 2014 at 15:09.
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Old 30th July 2014, 16:09   #14
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Default Re: Enfield Bullet - Standard 350 or 500?

Gentlemen, I think we are deviating from the topic here, we are not comparing the old CI, AVL and UCE here. The OP was asking our opinion aout the new Standard 350 and 500 "UCE". The debate about CI, AVL and UCE is never going to end, so let's just stick to the topic here.

drvhplyevraftr mate among the motorcyles you have shortlisted my vote goes to the Thunderbird 500 EFi, the reason being it gives the maximum bang for the buck in terms of HID projector headlamps, Super cool LED ring in front headlight and rear LED tail lights, MID instrument cluster, front and rear disc brake, huge 20 ltr fuel tank, supremely comfortable and awesome handler thanks to beefier front forks and redesigned rear swingarm, fatter rear tyres will open a plethora of options while changing tyres, awesome seats and riding posture for long rides, infact the Thunderbird 500 can double up as a decent city bike too. I too am a sucker for carbed Bullets but EFi is the way to go and supposedly more reliable. But all of what I have mentioned about the Thunderbird 500 would be meaningless if you want to get yourself the timeless classic Bullet Standard 500. Think hard and then make a decision. For me the decision making was simpler as I already own two CI 350's.

Last edited by navin_v8 : 30th July 2014 at 16:12. Reason: additional information
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Old 30th July 2014, 16:49   #15
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Default Re: Enfield Bullet - Standard 350 or 500?

I would go for the 500 over the 350.

The term "standard" for any Bulleteer will always mean the CI engined 350 and the 500. So yes, I was initially confused till I read the thread further.

Its like the new Bonneville and the original Bonneville. They only look the same.

I agree with both VW and tharian on the standard being a sweet bike. In my own experience, having owned and ridden all three 500s, the standard, the LB and the UCE, I still maintain that the standard was the most rugged and robust and the one with the unmatched feel and aural and riding pleasure, the LB the one with the most punch (marginally to the standard - the 5 speed gearbox and revised clutch helping greatly in ghats, sprinting and climbing) The UCE, no offence, but it just did not do it for me.

Of the 3, I've still kept my standard, and have sold the LB and the UCE.

But yes, a new bike is a new bike. So from what is available now, I say go for the 500.

Last edited by ebonho : 30th July 2014 at 17:18.
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