Dark cus­tomer

Royal En­field Clas­sic 500 Stealth Euro 4

Old Bike Australasia - - SUITABLE PARTNERS - Ride im­pres­sions by Clyde Ikin Pho­tos Royal En­field and Jim Scays­brook

Royal En­field’s lat­est ver­sion of their ven­er­a­ble sin­gle has been booted into the mod­ern mix to com­ply with the strin­gent Euro 4 spec­i­fi­ca­tion. That’s not a sim­ple task with a big sin­gle, but it has been achieved ad­mirably.

I picked up the bike from Bur­wood (Syd­ney) and headed out into the in­ces­sant traf­fic of Par­ra­matta Road, but this is a very easy bike to ride in traf­fic and a pleas­ant bike to ride around ru­ral North West Syd­ney. I also took it for a spin up the Putty Road where it mo­tored along hap­pily. All up did over 400 kilo­me­ters, and through twisty stuff like Gal­ston Gorge and Berowra wa­ters the sus­pen­sion proved very ca­pa­ble – a joy to ride. Forks are 35mm (same size as the iconic CB750!) and the rear has piggy back shocks with preload ad­just­ment. The swing arm has been up­dated from a cir­cu­lar sec­tion to an oval sec­tion shape and to­gether with good qual­ity Avon tyres proved a good pack­age. Both brakes are ex­cel­lent as they now have a disc brake rear to com­ple­ment the front disc and this new Euro 4 model has the oblig­a­tory ABS. The light weight (190kg fu­elled) is ev­i­dent when cor­ner­ing and also when putting the bike on the cen­tre stand – there’s a side stand as well. Good qual­ity equip­ment in­cludes Kei­hin elec­tronic fuel in­jec­tion and a Denso starter mo­tor. The switch gear, in­di­ca­tors and lights (head­light 60/55W halo­gen) all worked fault­lessly. The bat­tery is a large 14AH (again the same size as the CB750). In­stru­men­ta­tion is ba­sic, with only a speedo, odome­ter and warn­ing lights for oil, in­di­ca­tor, neu­tral, ABS and high beam, and I found the speedo hard to read in cer­tain light con­di­tions. One in­ter­est­ing fea­ture is that there are key locks for the air fil­ter cover,

bat­tery cover and tool­box (which in­cludes a small tool kit). The seat looked like it was go­ing to be less than av­er­age, but turned out to be quite com­fort­able. The Stealth in­cludes a pil­lion seat as stan­dard, but I was not game to ask the bride to try it out, as she only likes Gold­wings! The mo­tor shows its her­itage and feels like a good English 500cc sin­gle from the ‘six­ties. How­ever that is the only sim­i­lar­ity, as it has dig­i­tal fuel in­jec­tion matched to a mod­ern gear­box and clutch which are on a par with sim­i­lar Ja­panese mod­els. There is no point in revving the engine through the gears – just short shift into 5th around 50-55km/h and the engine pulls cleanly up to 110. The mo­tor sits sweetly at 80-85, but above that the vi­bra­tion be­comes no­tice­able. It is a sin­gle af­ter all. Start­ing had me a bit non­plussed at first un­til I re­alised that you must not touch the twist grip at all, just push the but­ton and it will fire up first push ev­ery time. For old times sake I tried the kick starter and it was three out of three suc­cess. Again no throt­tle! The tank holds 13.5 litres and based on a not too sci­en­tific method, should give about 350 km per tank. The Stealth comes in Matt Black (which I have been told is the colour of the times) – ev­ery­thing is black – tank, frame, rims, guards, han­dle­bars, engine, ex­haust etc. Some loved it and some did not! Ob­vi­ously this is not a per­for­mance ma­chine and knee scrap­ers can be left at home, but it still drew look­ers. On a vin­tage bike run in the Hawkes­bury, ev­ery­one wanted to have a look and ask ques­tions, then back in the city a num­ber of 20 year old P platers asked a whole range of new and very dif­fer­ent ques­tions. Ob­vi­ously a mo­tor­cy­cle with wide ap­peal, which does not leak oil, and is LAMS ap­proved.

Ex­cel­lent brakes and grippy Avon tyres.

BE­LOW LEFT A lock­able tool­box so no one nicks your span­ners. BE­LOW RIGHT Speedo can be a bit hard to read in bright sun­light.

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