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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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  #1  
Old 23 Dec 2013
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Enfield Lean burn or original

Hi all,
when they moved from the old engine to the newer lean burn engine.
Was there much improvement?, more reliability, where other parts improved other than the engine.
Still hankering after one but reliability is the key issue.
Currently on the radar is a 350 leanburn thunderbird. Disc front brake and kickstart only. Your views please
atb Floyd

Last edited by floyd; 23 Dec 2013 at 14:46.
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  #2  
Old 23 Dec 2013
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Mine was iron engined and carbed but 5-speed, the interim between the old 4-speed and the unit construction EFI's. The newer the bits the better both the design and the metallurgy, but the weak link remained whatever left over 1940's component ended up in the front line when they upgraded something. I rode mine on the A & B roads in it's as supplied 18 HP state and had only one breakdown, an electrical connector fixed with stuff bought at a DIY store.

Looking at EFI's I still hear stories of Indian chains not up the job and other imperfect details. If you accept that this is a 2000 mile service interval 60 mph bike I think you will find the FI version superior but still not the Goldstar made by Honda a lot of people want them to be. This is the reason I will still look at SR400's instead.

Isn't a 350 Thunderbird a grey import? Home market rather than export will be **** even by Enfield standards.

Andy
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  #3  
Old 23 Dec 2013
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The leanburn engine is better than the old iron engine. You will also benefit from a modern 5 speed gearbox which is a lot better than the old 4 speed. The 350 leanburn engine is more reliable and smoother than the European model with the 500 cc engine. Lots have done around the 100K mark without needing repair.
A near perfect bike would be a 350cc conversion of the electric start European lean burn Electra.

In either case use Non Indian made chains. ( those from Elite are not only better but also cheaper than OEM part)
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Old 24 Dec 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldbmw View Post
The leanburn engine is better than the old iron engine. You will also benefit from a modern 5 speed gearbox which is a lot better than the old 4 speed. The 350 leanburn engine is more reliable and smoother than the European model with the 500 cc engine. Lots have done around the 100K mark without needing repair.
A near perfect bike would be a 350cc conversion of the electric start European lean burn Electra.

In either case use Non Indian made chains. ( those from Elite are not only better but also cheaper than OEM part)
I know i could ask, but being a Enfield expert oldbmw Does the 350 thunderbird, 2003 reg come with a 4 or 5 speed box. The ad says 4 speed. Deffo lean burn pre unit?
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Old 24 Dec 2013
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If there is an extra lever to select neutral on the box it's a grease filled Albion 4 speed. If it is more conventional looking it is the interim Hatfield uni designed 5 speed.

If the add says 4 speeds it's the full 1940's experience, iron engine, brakes activated by sending a post card, wiring by Edison.

Andy
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Old 24 Dec 2013
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Could be either it is about the change over point. If there is an extra lever to select neutral on the box it's a grease filled Albion 4 speed. If it is more conventional looking it is the interim Hatfield uni designed 5 speed.

Andy
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  #7  
Old 24 Dec 2013
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This one ROYAL ENFIELD 350 THUNDERBIRD UK BIKE | eBay
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Old 24 Dec 2013
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I understood the lean burn bikes all had 5 speed boxes. I know one that rode with us to the French rally did. It would be a big minus to have a 4 speed box, not because of the 4/5 gears. just that the 5 speed box is so much better designed .
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Old 26 Dec 2013
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Enfield mix the terms to try and make the home market think they are getting the same bikes. The e-bay link showed an Albion 4-speed just like your grandad used to ride. Lean burn in this case will just be smaller carb jets or extra sand in the petrol tank. Unit construction and a disc brake tells you the bikes technology levels have reached the 1990's.

Andy
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Old 26 Dec 2013
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The guy accepted my offer then sold to someone else
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Old 26 Dec 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd View Post
The guy accepted my offer then sold to someone else
I know how much that can hurt. I once saw an advert for a jaguar XK140 coupe. I rang the bloke and told him I would pay him his asking price if it was as described if he would hold it for me whilst I travelled up on the overnight train to him in Paddington from Cornwall. When I got there car was great. knocked on the door and the guy told me he had sold it late the previous evening. Those were lovely cars and that was the closest I ever got to owning one.

In this case I suggest you buy a European 500cc. It wouldn't be difficult to convert it to 350cc if you want to. Do not raise the gearing, they run much better on the standard ratios.
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