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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Spy shot: C-5 Royal Enfields bound for U.S.

Spy shot! New Royal Enfield C-5 motorcycles bound for the U.S. are shown undergoing packing at the factory in Chennai, India. The picture was supplied by U.S. importer Kevin Mahoney, who visited India recently. Mahoney describes his travel, complete with lost luggage, on his Buzz Blog.

The dramatically new, yet retro-styled C-5 is officially named the Royal Enfield Bullet Classic 500. When it arrives in the U.S. it probably is going to commonly be called the C-5, however, to distinguish it from the G-5 already on sale here.

Like the G-5, the C-5 uses Royal Enfield's new unit-constructed engine, with fuel injection and maintenance-free hydraulic lifters, improved clutch and a front disk brake. It has an electric starter but, unlike the G-5, no kick starter.

The C-5 is designed to resemble a Royal Enfield of 1951. That makes it even older in appearance than the 1955 model Royal Enfield Bullet built virtually unchanged in India all these years. It is considerably more retro-looking than the G-5, which resembles the '70s-styled Electra model.

Unlike Royal Enfields of previous decades, both UCE models are designed to cruise at 70 mph with a little extra in hand for passing. They remain 500cc machines with long-stroke single cylinder "thumper" engines.

The suggested price for a new C-5 in the U.S. is $6,395, making it Royal Enfield's most expensive model here. That price doesn't include set-up, shipping or tax.

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