Built for the Himalayan Foothills: Royal Enfield Classic 500 “Trials Scrambler”

Royal Enfield Classic 500 Trials Scrambler

MotoExotica’s Classic 500, built for the Indian Himalayas…  

In 2009 Royal Enfield launched the Classic 350 and Classic 500, single-cylinder street bikes inspired by the Bullet 350 of the late 1940s. Both new models featured Enfield’s new Unit Construction Engine (UCE), complete with an integrated 5-speed transmission and maintenance-free hydraulic lifters, and the larger displacement Classic 500 was fuel-injected.

These new UCE Enfields offered a similar riding experience to the old iron-barrel Bullets — that heavy, loping drum of the single piston.

The ‘Beat,’ as Royal Enfield calls it. It’s that sound that booms out as if emanating from the bowels of the Earth…. Click into fifth gear on the road and it feels like five decades ago; cruising under 65 mph gives just enough ‘space’ between combustion events and is one of the simple joys.” -Mark Hoyer, Cycle World

Royal Enfield Classic 500 Trials Scrambler

The Classic series helped open up Royal Enfield to the large two-wheeler market both in India and overseas, and they’ve become a popular donor for custom builders. For the first time, riders could have the character and charm of an old-school Enfield without all the hours spent in the garage to keep the old brute in running condition.

Royal Enfield Classic 500 Trials Scrambler

There’s a great tradition of custom bike building in India, and one of our very favorite workshops is MotoExotica, tucked into the foothills of the Indian Himalayas.

Royal Enfield Classic 500 Trials Scrambler

Headman Arjun Raina has turned out a wide stable of first-rate machines over the years, including his ever-popular RD350 scrambler with dual expansion chambers.

Yamaha RD350 Scrambler by Moto Exotica

While the middleweight Himalayan adventure bike has become one of Royal Enfield’s most popular production bikes, Arjun and his team actually live and ride in the Himalayas. Like many of our favorite workshops, their builds reflect the riding landscape around them.

Royal Enfield Classic 500 Trials Scrambler

This build was no exception. Says Arjun:

“We aimed to build a daily ride scrambler for tight trails and single mountain roads in the Himalayan countryside.”

Royal Enfield Classic 500 Trials Scrambler

Creating a lighter weight, trials-style scrambler from the burly single would be a challenge. Arjun says they used a previous-generation frame from a Bullet 500, which they mated to long-travel suspension.

Royal Enfield Classic 500 Trials Scrambler

A custom gas tank made in aluminum provides a more forward-biased seating position, while the rest of the bodywork was made from carbon fiber to minimize the weight as much as possible. Accent pieces were fabricated in brushed stainless steel.

Royal Enfield Classic 500 Trials Scrambler

Arjun says this Enfield “Trials Scrambler” is something of a time machine, a two-wheeled trip into another era:

“The lightweight frame and the beautifully crafted exhaust system enhances the ride experience as it communicates those muffled thumps to the footpegs and handlebar. A quick ride on this takes you back into time when motorcycles were known for the experience they offered rather than their BHP figures.”

We sometimes find ourselves a little jealous of Arjun’s riding landscape, and this bike is the perfect machine for the job. One of these days we’ll have to make a visit to the India Himalayas ourselves for a ride!

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Royal Enfield Classic 500 Trials Scrambler

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One Comment

  1. Man, I like it!

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