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Motor max: Sixty-5 back to future.


SOME bikes wear their hearts on their sleeves.

Take the R1 from Yamaha, for example. Its aggressive style spells speed and performance.

Tourers like BMW have comfort and mile-munching ability written all over them.

Then there are others, like this Royal Enfield, that spoil the theory.

It has a classic profile but an 04 plate, kicks tart but also an effective electric starter and looks like it would be a pain to keep running. But in reality, it is a doddle both to work on and maintain.

The Sixty-5 is a 500 cc single with 60s styling and British designed five-speed gearbox, hence the name.

On with the petrol, choke, thumb the starter and, with a bit of throttle juggling, it settles down to a steady tickover.

The bike feels tiny by comparsion to modern bikes, but contemporary switchgear is nice and should keep the electrics reliable and a left-foot gear change -- remember old Brit bikes have a right-foot change -- means there's less to think about.

Snick into first gear and away; performance is what you would expect from a British single, but that gearbox is a gem. As good as any contemporary unit and a sight better than any British bike from the 60s.

Damp roads and square section rearty re have me taking it easy on windy roads, but the suspension is compliant and quite adequate for the performance.

A twin leading shoe drum front brake is less than effective. But this demonstrator had less than 100 miles on the clock, so it should bed in with a few more miles.

I was brought up in the 70s, when Brit bikes were in their final throes and have even owned a few Nortons. So I started this test thinking I would have to make allowances for the old girl.

I was pleasantly surprised; the Sixty-5 provided a pleasant ride and will not be out of place on modern roads.

A traffic jam did not upset the engine, even though I was sitting in traffic for a good 10 minutes; and the electric start makes jumping up and down on a kicks tart a thing of the past.

I have saved the best till last. This bike, a full 500 cc with all the new equipment, can be yours for just pounds 3, 348 on the road and group six insurance won't break the bank either.

SspeccheckModel: Royal Enfield Sixty-5 ClassicPrice: pounds 3, 348 Insurance: 6 Max speed: 80mph Economy: 75mpg


CLASSIC: But Royal Enfield Sixty-5, at just pounds 3, 348, is not out of place on modern roads
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 20, 2004
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