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Friday, November 13, 2009

Royal Enfield C5 gets a kickstart in India


New Royal Enfild Classic motorcycles sold in India will have kickstarters, according to Royal Enfield's press release on the new bikes. The text of the press kit specifies both electric and kick start, and the press kit picture shows a Classic 500 (usually called the C5 in the U.S.) with a kickstart lever.

C5s sold here so far have only the electric start. Many Royal Enfield fans consider having a kick start lever part of the appeal, even if some admit they rarely use it. Owners of original Royal Enfield Bullets use nothing else, of course, since kick starting was all they had.

It takes a bit of technique to do it right, and that is seen as part of the fun (occasionally the frustration) of owning a Royal Enfield motorcycle.

Electric start is standard now on all new Bullets in the United States, but only the C5 drops the kickstart entirely.

Adding kickstart parts to a C5 without one would be no simple matter, since the mechanism is well inside the unit constructed engine and transmission. In contrast, the electric starter parts are easily reached. You can see the thinking of the engineers here: the kick start mechanism in fact is a liability; losing it eliminates one more thing that can go wrong in an expensive way.

Still, there it is, in the press kit picture. I am indebted to my sharp eyed reader Andrew Marsh for spotting this (it also has received attention on the Classic Motorworks Forum). Andrew is the fellow blogging about the decisions he faces in his quest to own a Royal Enfield motorcycle. Check out his Quest for a Royal Enfield blog.

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