Sunday, January 4, 2009

How to buy a used Royal Enfield in India

Jean-Paul van Buul has produced a useful blog about how to buy a used Royal Enfield when in India. He takes a hard-nosed and opinionated view of the pleasures and (mostly) pitfalls of dealing with buying, registering and riding a Bullet in a country that often confounds foreign travellers.

You know you are getting straight-from-the-shoulder tips when van Buul opens his blog with: "I would highly recommend a Honda." This guy is not misty eyed about the delights of a vintage thumper. Enfields are over-priced, over-rated and unreliable, he says.

But, then, you have to realize, van Buul is talking about riding in some pretty drastic conditions. This statement, for instance: "However the Big issue I had with the drum brake was when I was coming down from the Himalayas." Yeah, coming down from the Himalayas on primitive roads could be an acid test.

I disagree with van Buul on a couple things. He thinks points ignition is a problem because it never can be set perfectly. I would argue that, well, it doesn't have to be perfect, and you don't need a strobe light to come close enough to ride.

But much of his advice is probably right on target. One thing that surprised me was that he suggested paying more for a newer bike, even though India is capable of restoring anything. He is a colorful guy and his blog is worth a look. I especially like that he links to my own WikiHow article on how to buy a used Enfield in the United States.

Below is van Buul's video of himself crossing a river in the Himalayas.


  1. I run a royal enfield workshop.I totally disagree with the theory that you can never set the ignition timing on a cb point system accuarately.if you buy anything second hand and dont service and check things correctly it can and will breakdown.

    The Enfield is not rocket science but even simplicity needs a certain ammount of Tlc to work correctly.

    the main problem with foreigners buying a second hand bike in india is they saddly get conned into buying from the wrong people.

    My advice is if you are not into old or classic(english)bikes dont even try it!

    if you are the kind of person who wants to experience something new, dont have too many deadlines to meet and are looking to free your mind the Enfield is the ideal motorcycle for me i know!

    get on one , you will know what i am talking about!

  2. Kunal, that is a great comment. Thank you.

  3. Anonymous2/24/2013

    I would like to know if there's a royal enfield dealership in California or u.s.a??

    1. Plenty of dealers in U.S., even in California. Here's the list.


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