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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Royal Enfield not only retro single on way

Suzuki's styling is more '70s than '50s, but it's still retro.

Royal Enfield's new Bullet Classic 500 will face competition when it reaches the United States. I lamented indications that Honda may abandon its simple CB250 Nighthawk in 2009. But the Royal Enfield will not be the only clean, upright, standard motorcycle on the market with retro appeal.

Reader Prof. Stack alerted me to Suzuki's plan to bring its TU250 (above) to America in 2009. It has been available and has many fans elsewhere in the world. It will reach the U.S. in March and may be coming at just the right time.

"I’d like to tell you what it was like to sit on, but it was kind of the star of the show as well as the show stealer. The thing was continually surrounded by a crowd of curious dealers," reports Pete Brissette. He covered the Suzuki dealer meeting for Motorcycle.com The TU250 is much racier in his photo than in the Suzuki catalog artwork. He comments:

"I’ll venture a guess, though, that if the current state of economics in the U.S persists, Suzuki may have another high-demand model on their hands, and this time the dealers will know better than to not have enough of this bike on hand. The people will vote with their dollars. Cheng Shin tire-shod or not, the TU250X looks like a deal maker! Just not in California, yet."

Pete Brissette Photo
The Suzuki TU250 has a single-cylinder, single-overhead camshaft engine with fuel injection and electronic ignition. It has a five-speed transmission and front disk brake. It comes in red. Compared to the Royal Enfield Bullet, the Suzuki's styling is more '70s than '50s. It is no substitue. Still, you can practically see the suggestion of single-seat and pillion pad.

Suggested retail price is $3,499, according to Suzuki's web site. It will save money and gas and will bring back memories for many people. As for heritage, this is what Suzuki motorcycles looked like once upon a time.

Here's what I think: the TU250 will appeal to the many people who want to travel cheaply and comfortably through space. The Royal Enfield Bullet will continue to appeal to the smaller number who also want to travel through time.

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