A big hello to all my fellow members and to all the moderators.Today again I feel lucky and privileged enough to be able to use this platform which Autocar India has provided us all with.A big thank you to Autocar India once again.So now I shall take you through this journey and try to give all of you, an insight, regarding everything related to this wonderful machine.
It was this wonderful winter evening of January 1998, I still remember that it was a Thursday and I, as a 9 year old kid, had just finished my drawing tuitions and was waiting on a hustling & bustling street of suburban Mumbai with my mother.There were no cell phones in those days, or atleast my father didn't have one and I really don't remember how did my parents co-ordinate the timing of the meeting.And then, I saw my father approaching on this really muscular looking motor-cycle.I was really amazed to see those two pilot lights which flanked the headlight, which weren't there in our previously owned Rajdoot.The color of the bike was something whiich caught my attention next.It was having a combination of red and chrome. While the red color looked smart, chrome was shining handsomely.Amidst all this, as a normal practise, my dad just lifted me up and placed me on the petrol tank of the bike, which was my usual place of seating in those days, which did change over a period of time in the following years .The ride home was quite fun and then for few years to come, I was just oblivion to the fact that I had a ROYAL ENFIELD !!!!
Now lets fast forward... and the year is 2011 !!! It was that time when I was in my 3rd year of engineering and was too much inclined towards driving rather than riding ! And then I saw people having these new Royal Enfields on the road which made me contemplate and realise that I was neglecting something very significant which is present in my life ever since. I immediately made up my mind that I would request my parents to let me roll that magnificent piece of machine on two wheels.At the back of my mind, I was expecting some resistance from my mother, but I knew I could convince my father as it was his passion for the bike that made him purchase it for a considerably expensive price tag of Rs 66500 in 1998.And so I finally convinced my parents and after exactly 14 years of purchasing date of the bike, my bike ( to be ) was revamped and ready for use in the 3rd week of January 2012.
Beginning & Head of the Bike ( aka Khopdi )
After some basic dos and donts and kick lessons from my father, I was good to go.It felt good when I kick started the bike and the engine note was a bliss to hear.The clutch was heavy and the gear shift was stiff...but after a few attempts I was able to shift easily.The switches were quite well placed and quite handy to use as well.The only inconvenient aspect I found was that It didn't have the switch for the passing light or dipper which we call in common terms.As we are talking about the head part of the bike, I would also say that the head light is quite well placed especially the height. The best thing about them is that you really dont have to worry incase if you brake the headlight glass, as it is easily available and so is the bulb.Also the turn indicators, which are fitted with these rubber extensions are quite low on maitainence.The meters fitted on the bike are analogue and the light intensity of the bulb which illuminate them can sometimes annoy you due to the reduced visibility of the meters. The amp meter fitted gives you this retro feel and is quite useful when it comes to keeping a tab on the battery usage and the health of battery. This means that you will surely not run into a situation where you have a completely drained battery.The terminals of the battery did get disconnected recently due to the salts getting deposited on the terminal. A bit of slicing the wire and tightening of screws got me back into the business.One of the biggest drawback of my RE is that it doesnt have a fuel indicator. This means that you have to have a good hold over maths to calculate your tank range and remember the last time you refuelled.If you fail to do this, be ready to push 195 kilograms of dead weight to the nearest pump. Yes, I had to do that a couple of times in the beginning.
Engine & Performance
The engine being of 350 cc and generating a power of 24 horsepower is quite sufficient. Although this bike is not meant for riding like any other 100-200 cc bike which includes swift gear shifts, on gradual shifts it does gain momentum quite quickly.This bike having only 4 gears, soon gets you in a situation where you feel that a 5th one would have been handy, but again its just another elusive thought for me.When you go on shifting, the engine will enter a zone where in you will start feeling the age of the bike and you might feel that you dont want to subject the engine to any further attrocities.Just then, is the moment when you can just push the throttle hard and hard enough that it will push the needle towards the 3 letter mark. My engine did face an issue on block piston wherein it had to be replaced along with the rocker.The expenditure was around Rs. 13000.
The gear shifts being exactly opposite from the currently selling bikes makes you feel special at a traffic signal.When the whole world pushes their left leg downwards to go in the first gear, it feels good to push your right leg upwards to do the same. But yes, you have to get that clutch wire and gear lever tightened regularly or else you could run into trouble and in a situation where in you wont be able to shift gears at all resulting in the engine to stall.The engine oil seal is another thing which might bother you and create oil slicks.
Brakes, Wheels, Tires and Ride.
The brakes are drums on both the wheels.They are low on maintainence as compared to the discs, but dont give you that liberty of hard and close braking.You really have to be calculative when it comes to cruising as you know that you need enough distance to bring your bike to a stand still.This is like a blessing in disguise.The wheels are the steel wheels with spokes which looks quite classy and easy to use and maintain.The tires in this bike are 19 inches at both the ends. This means that when your bike is on a double stand, you will not see a see-saw effect as both the tires are touching the ground.The tube tires might get you in trouble in case of a puncture as it will deflate almost immediately as against the tubeless tires.
The ride is quite smooth and due to big tires, you really dont realise smaller pot holes.It can quite jerky sometimes on the back side due to the normal coil spring suspension.Also when going around a cuved road, it doesnt give you that enough confidence to go hard at it.You have to ponder over before doing anything insane on this bike and after you are done pondering, you will always choose against doing anything insane .
There are a many good and bad things about this bike.Due to the generation gap, there are many things that a today's buyer will miss in this bike.But then come on, this bike is not for the jazzy features which you would like to flaunt, its for sheer riding pleasure.Its for those privileged few, who consider themselves lucky to be a part of this legacy.Its is the cult status that this bike has earned over a period of years.And finally, at starting price of around Rs 1.15 Lacs, it is surely a deal which any one would find it difficult to refuse.