Inspired by Royal Enfields service to air corps around the world
Royal Enfield Classic 500 Squadron Blue
Metal-encased telescopic forks lead to a bright, hooded headlight, sticking out from a Royal Enfield trademark steering head. Instruments are familiar bits: the basic analogue Royal Enfield fare with a speedometer reading up to 160kph. A fuel gauge is missing but you do get a reserve warning icon. Circular, chrome mirrors look the part but vibrate a fair bit when riding and hamper rearview vision. We've always recommended buffed alloy levers and the new models also have rider-friendly soft and comfortable palm grips.
The switchgear, which packs all the essentials, works positively and both Enfields come equipped with strident twin horns, a well-deserved bonus for these highway friendly motorcycles. The latest Classics use teardrop fuel tanks with the Royal Enfield logo emblazoned in an aptly regal font. An old-fashioned chrome tank cap and knee-pads on the Satin lend a period touch to the bikes as do the tool and air boxes on the flanks. Hogging the limelight of course is the large, naked engine which displays good attention to detail, with crankcase blisters inspired by the Spitfire fighter aircraft of World War II. The spring-mounted riding saddle that was part of the original Classic has been improved with revised, stiffer springs that kept us better connected to the motorcycle. Both the Desert Storm and Classic Chrome get uncluttered rear sections, their smoothly flowing mudguards leading to the tail-light. While overall quality and finish do seem slightly improved, they still lag behind the tall standard of modern motorcycles. This new Classic duo come with an improved, 499cc, air-cooled, four-stroke and single-cylinder new-generation Royal Enfield engine.
Twin spark-plugs and Keihin fuel injection are carry-forwards from the original Classics, as are twin valves and long-stroke engine architecture that fit this character-rich motorcycle perfectly. The piston assembly is superior, and mapping has been revised while much else remains constant including hydraulic tappets, a drive-chain tensioning system and the peak power figure of 27.2bhp at 5250rpm. 4.2kgm of max torque is delivered at 4000rpm. The big single starts at the push of a button, with its charging circuit now beefed up. As expected, the Limited Edition Classics drum out a lazy, healthy and loud beat Indians have long admired and appreciated.