OVERRIDING ROYALTY: ROYAL ENFIELD CLASSIC 500 TRIALS WORKS REPLICA | In this issue | Quick Spin
It might be old and flawed against anything modern, but there’s still something charming, disarming and genuinely appealing about Royal Enfield’s Trials Works Replica
Royal Enfield’s classic singles aren’t for everybody, and that’s very much part of their appeal. Take the Bullet 500, for example. With the title of longest production run of any motorcycle, the Bullet has been unashamedly rudimentary for almost a century – and it’s still with us essentially unchanged – so of course it’s old and flawed against anything modern. But that’s not its reason for being now, is it?
A distilled explanation could perhaps be akin to riding a piece of motorcycling history where comparative flaws become charms. Rugged, simple and honest, it’ll happily chug along all day encouraging you to short shift your modern mindset from speed to tweed. Do that and just try not to smile.
Turns out not everybody seeks envelope-pushing performance and technology in their motorcycle, which explains the Indian brand’s recent resurgence in the western world. People are going back to basics.
Now we have the final shipment of the Classic 500 Trials Works Replica, a limited-edition model based on the Bullet 500 with a rideaway price of $9190. As its name suggests, the Trials Works Replica is no Toni Bou-esque competition rock-hopper. In fact, differences from the regular Bullet 500 are purely aesthetic, with touches of added ruggedness, an upswept exhaust, a rear rack replacing a pillion perch and the choice of a red or green frame for an overall look to mimic its spiritual predecessors. The closest it gets to the balanced world of trials are in its name and Ceat-branded universal trials tyres.
So what you’re looking at here is a tribute model that pays homage to Royal Enfield’s dominance at the Scottish and International Six Day Trial competitions between 1948 and 1953. The only differences with today’s iteration is the inclusion of EFI and Euro-4 emissions compliance, a disc brake up front and ABS, electric start (there’s still a kickstarter) and laws stipulating the wearing of an approved motorcycle helmet instead of a pudding bowl or a Peaky Blinders-style flat cap and goggles. Other than that, she’s pretty much the same machine the late Johnny Brittain rode to countless victories.
Grab a copy of the latest issue for the full test on the Enfield plus much much more.