Royal Enfield has been on a hot streak – the launch of their new 650 twins is still fresh in everyone’s minds. And it seems that they have no plans to slow down, given they have just launched another model – the ‘Trials’ version of the legendary Bullet.
It's only been a few months since the launch of the brilliant new 650 Twins from RE, and they seem to be doing very well in terms of gaining global recognition. The world has fallen in love with the Interceptor 650 and the GT, and the RE brand is stronger than ever. Without wasting any time, the oldest bike manufacturer in the world has just launched another model – the Trials 500.
We were invited to take part in a ‘trials race’ on their brand-new Bullet Trials motorcycle. A ‘trials race’ is basically a race where riders must complete a course ridden with obstacles without putting their feet on the ground. It’s easier than it seems until you do it yourself, and that’s exactly what I found out. The Trials edition of the Bullet is simply a newly designed motorcycle that pays homage to RE’s legacy of winning trials racing.
Well, this Trials version of the bike is essentially still a Bullet 500. It’s based on the legendary Bullet, but with a few design changes. The bike we rode had a bunch of accessories on it. The stock bike only gets a few design changes which are quite noticeable. It has an upswept exhaust, new knobby tyres designed especially for this bike and a new subframe. The entire frame of the 500 is painted green, while that of the 350 is painted red. The rear mudguard is raised up, and there’s a brace on the front mudguard. The fuel tank is chrome with the old-school RE badging. There are also rubber protectors on the front suspension. Everything else is exactly the same as the bullet. There’s also only a single seat option available, with a luggage rack behind it. The accessories we had on our bike included an engine guard and sump guard, a headlight protector, a racing number and padding on the handlebar. The engine is also the same 499cc single-cylinder unit with 27bhp and 41.3Nm of torque.
How does it ride?
Again, this is still a Bullet, and it rides exactly like it. It borrows a lot from the bullet, including the rear springs and front forks, seating position, engine and transmission and ergonomics. Overall, it’s a comfortable ride that’s suitable for all riders. If you want to stand up, though, it can be a bit awkward, especially for taller riders – something that significantly affected my trials scoring during the race. The engine still thumps pretty nicely and has a nice torquey punch. The throttle, though, is a bit lazy, but you get nice power delivery at the low-end. For off-road riding, the bike is quite nice, as you would expect, but there still remains a few quality issues and the overall design still needs to be looked at too. The rear brake pedal is quite low and is attached under the exhaust, so it keeps scraping when you ride off-road. It still is a fun bike to ride though. We rode it for an entire day on some very challenging terrain, and the bike handled and performed admirably.
Should you buy it?
If you are an off-road enthusiast, the Bullet Trials is a nice affordable option and offers plenty of fun. What I really like about the bike is the way it looks, which is simply unique. And if you are a fan of classic designs, then you too are going to like it. The available accessories, of course, make it look even better. The stock version of the 500 is priced at Rs 2.07 lakh, and adding accessories you see here would cost you another 10 –15 grand. The 350 is priced at Rs 1.64 lakh and is the more affordable option of the two, but it looks exactly the same except for the colour, and it performs very well off-road too. Of course, it does have a few quality concerns, as this bike is nowhere close to the 650 Twins. But overall, it’s an affordable, good-looking machine that you can take anywhere without a fuss. If you are a serious off-roader, however, you might want to opt for the Himalayan, or spend a little more money and get something else.