The good old
Enfield paints the venerable Bullet in nostalgic tones
It feels odd when you’re riding a new bike and the only people who notice are
people on other Enfields. One gentleman rode half-a-kilometre on the wrong side of the road to find out if my resting wheels were indeed the new Machismo.
The white-faced speedo takes pride of place. The dial integrates a neutral light, turn signal and high-beam indicators. You also get new grips with CBZ rubber and effective bar-end dampers that pass on mere murmurs long after your toes have blurred out.The fabled electric start has not made its appearance and one heavy kick is enough to wake the Thunderbird engine, even without decomp switch twiddling. The engine is a joy compared to older Bullets, revving quicker. As usual, the torque game is the one to play and the left-side shifter offers five gears with positive and slick shifts, but longish shifter
travel is still a niggle. Finding neutral is a breeze though, and the light is visible even in bright sunlight. Performance is slightly better than the T’bird and fuel economy should be in the region of 38 kpl.
The Machismo also provided us the opportunity to experience the new engine in the old chassis. But only after we sorted the overtly-tight steering head and snagging throttle cable. Pushing on the grip will start a the leaning process and the bike will hold a line roughly with a heavy, stable poise. But go too far over and the ultra-wide footpegs leave black strakes behind. Cornering clearance is not enough and restricts the chassis. The disc is optional, but the drum is not very
effective. It only compresses the front forks and retardation is sixties style. The disc is where the buck stops, and the good-looking unit will add lots of pizzazz to the Machismo’s looks.
Which brings us to the selling point of the bike – looks. The tank gleams with two chrome ovals separated by a
gold-lined strip of black or ‘alberto green’. Polished engine cases,super-long exhaust and chrome front fender add more shine. We’re surprised that the rear fender isn’t the slimline chrome unit that would’ve looked sleek.Need more jazz? Better have a heavy wallet. Enfield is offering accessories and the bit we like the most is the Rs 2,099 twin seat with sprung rider saddle and a stubby pillion seat. If the fender had been chrome, we’d have chucked the pillion pad and added immeasurable élan to the single-seat look. The second item is made by Hidesign for Enfield and for Rs 5,790(!) you can get yourself genuine leather saddle bags, with an easy mounting system, shoulder straps for off-bike use and unfortunately, no locks. But, isn’t that very expensive?
The third item isn’t perfect either. The Lexan windshield is tall and should have been good down the highway. Road testers tell us that that the Rs 3,799 handlebar-mounted shield does not cause instability at speed but makes for enough wind resistance to dampen performance.
As far as the gentleman goes, he eventually asked the “Is it worth it” question. Bullet enthusiasts will nod automatic yesses
and Rs 76,830 on-road B’lore with the disc isn’t a bad price tag. But, its hard not to consider that the Hero Honda Karizma will cost you just another 6,000 more. Though if it must be a Bullet, the Machismo is probably it.
The good old