Compare a Versus to a Royal Enfield? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Compare a Versus to a Royal Enfield?

Is there anyone in this Versys community who has ever ridden a Royal Enfield 500cc one cylinder motorcycle? Or is there anyone who owns one?

I became aware of this motorcycle watching the movie "The Highest Pass".

If so, can you compare/contrast it with the Versys? I am thinking of purchasing one to use "off paved roads" where the Versys would not fit in as well.

Are Enfields top heavy? Fuel mpg is said to be 80-85mpg, is it so?


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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 01:19 PM
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Thanks for the heads up re the movie, I love that type
and it's on Netflix.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 02:04 PM
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I haven't ridden a Royal Enfield but there's a dealer that sells them and I've looked at the whole line and talked to the dealer about them. He says they're basically an old design with updates to things like brakes and suspension and finally fuel injection to make them more modern, but they aren't new technology. The idea is an old bike experience with new bike reliability. They're not Harleys, but analogous.

80-85 mpg may be quoted in miles per Imperial gallon. Seems high to me for miles per US gallon.

I've never heard of someone buying a Royal Enfield specifically for off road use and would be interested to hear about anyone's experience. There are a few models to choose from but it seems to me there'd be many choices of bikes designed for off road that would do the job better. To each his own.

There's only one cylinder and it's mounted fairly low so I'd think they're not top heavy.

They sure look cool.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 07:51 PM
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I have tried out the Royal Enfield and seriously considered one before riding it. A bit short for my 5' 11" old knees.
They are a thumper so they vibrated more in the foot pegs than the handle bars. That being said I'd still like to own one.
They are a classic beautiful old school style motorcycle. The newer ones have FI and are better constructed, from what
I've read, than the older ones.
No real comparison to the smoother, more comfortable Versys.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 09:37 PM
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That's tough. Personally I think it would be like trying to compare a Mazda MX5 with an MGB. Still, it's a classic design and I'd love to have one.

Solution: buy one of each.


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 11:28 PM
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Gotta say I love to look at the old classics and really appreciate the modern made old classic versions like The Royal Enfield, Triumph Bonneville etc . But I hate riding them for very long. They are nicer on the stand to look at for me. I've had a few just to give it a fair go too.

Chalk and cheese comparing those to a Versys or anything else modern for that matter.
The Versys is quite capable on the dirt un-modified and twice more so than a Royal Enfield would ever be no matter what you tried to do to it.

They however can be both bought quite cheaply so I'm with get both also..

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-12-2013, 03:21 AM
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I have the classic 500cc 1050's design Bullet iron engine not the "modern" unit construction FI model
Mine is fitted with a flowed cylinder head by the legendary Joe Mondello, high compression piston, cams, pipe, Mikuni 32 flatslide,
Boyer ignition, 5 speed box, and a disc brake. Probably has about 32 HP RWHP as opposed the the stock alleged 22 crank HP.

Mine is still RH shift, and while I learned that way a very long time ago, it has been over 35 years shifting on the left and makes for interesting times when one forgets in an emergency situation and shifts rather than brakes - not so bad as the old 4 speed albion box with down for an upshift when you are trying to slow down.

It rides, and handles like a late 50's or early 60's bike and while in stock form powerful enough for India, not enough for a modern countries traffic. It is very heavy for a 500 single, and while rugged, it has lots of character and pretty cool looking. That ruggedness makes it handle the crappy Indian road conditions with little problems.

It is not and never will be a dirt bike, although it is rugged enough to take a pounding on dirt roads. If you want a dirt bike, buy a modern one

Comparing to a modern bike like a Versys is like comparing an apple to a durian - IE there are no similarities other than both are motorcycles. One is a truly modern bike and the other an anachronism
I also have an old Bonnie, Harley TC, and BSA B31 so maybe I am the anachronisml

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Last edited by Hoghead; 01-12-2013 at 08:47 AM.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-12-2013, 05:45 AM
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Better to compare the Enfield to a Ural I think. The Versys is leagues apart from both in performance, handling and reliability.
It does have the cool factor though.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-12-2013, 08:36 AM
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Just watched that movie and the road has not improved since I was there 15 years ago.
Every Enfield rider on that road has a large capacity fuel tank so those guys clearly had a good support team following

Enfields are an Indian icon but now being supplanted by better, cheaper, faster Japanese bikes. There is no more tariff protection, and the domestic market has opened up with all big bikes now available to those well heeled enough to afford one. KTMs are even made there now, and HD has an assembly plant.
It will remain a niche product in the US and now with the classics engine like mine no longer available, only those that are looking for modern cool will be buying one. I suspect that the venerable RE has unfortunately had its day.

Riding in India is not for the novice or those uninitiated to Asian driving habits, and some of those riders were clearly out of their depth.

Not a bad movie but could be better with less spiritual mumbo jumbo and more motorcycling.
First biking movie I have seen that did not have a beer in sight

Last edited by Hoghead; 01-12-2013 at 09:06 PM.
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