anjan_c2007

Royal Enfield's Thunderbird Twinspark

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Source Rediffnews

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It is a beautiful morning and there is a nice

chill in the air. And I am writing this story instead of riding the

wheels off the Royal Enfield Thunderbird Twinspark. That, dear reader,

is the failing of the newest Enfield. Actually, you cannot call it a

new motorcycle. Nothing with alphabets conjuring up to read Royal

Enfield on the tank can be new, right?

The

Thunderbird, which featured an AVL developed engine, was much more

reliable, had better finish, was more economical and greener than the

older 350s and 500s. The rest of the world got motorcycles that looked

straight out of the 1950s and 60s while the T-bird was getting more

Indians to "real" motorcycling where there were no plastic fairings but

only genuine bones to break when you fell down.

I am yet to come to terms with the electric starter on the

test bike. It makes lots of noises and I had to develop a technique that

involves two hands to start the bike without flooding the carb. I was expecting

a healthy whump, whump idle and was disappointed at getting a mechanical

chatter where every moving part of the new UCE (unit construction engine) was

singing to different tunes.

Trust me, there is nothing more unbearable than a British single that is out

of sync and the only excuse RE can have is the fact that it is NOT a Brit

single any more.

First gear engages positively, but the clutch release results in a judder

that can put the pelvic thrusts of an ageing Rajnikant to shame. You are not

supposed to stay in first gear for more than, say, three seconds since

vibrations will start shaking your vertebrae loose. On to second and then third

quickly and life gets better. And you are really riding a British single all

over again.

According to my colleague Kyle, who has been riding all kinds of British

singles as well as Enfields for years, the roll-on performance of the new

T-bird is impressive. And our tests show that it does 60 kph in 6.7 seconds and

100 kph in 25.8 seconds. In Enfield

terms that is whopping, ok?

And for the record it can do a top whack of 108 kph, though an optimistic

speedo will happily show you 115 plus. Not that you buy Enfields to emulate

Hayabusas, still.

On to the final gears and settle

down to 70 kph and you are actually enjoying the new Enfield.

Sure, it will go faster and it can cruise at slower speeds, but things are

peaceful and more manageable at 70 kph -- it will steer, stop and be ready for

overtaking at this speed, hence. But what hurts is the mechanical rhapsody that

is packaged into this new engine as the speed climbs to 80 and beyond. The

exhaust note is inimitably British, but the cacophony is not.

Maybe the test bike was really out of tune as it had

been to a Himalayan Odyssey, amongst other things. Vibrations of the tuning

fork variety attacks the foot pegs and takes over at 80-100 kph -- which is a

shame, since you really are enjoying the ride at this point. Surprisingly the

vibes don't get transmitted to the short-arm rear view mirror, which work well.

The best way to come to a halt in an Enfield

is to reduce your speed through the gear box -- which, I must say, worked well

for me. There are false neutrals that you can stumble upon every now and then,

still. The rear drum is spongy on the feel and good for parking speeds at best.

The 280 mm front disc bites with a vengeance though

and when combined with the rear drum, provides more than adequate

panic-stopping ability to the motorcycle. That said, the braking could get more

progressive and may be a better bedded-in pad up front would do wonders.

One of the Enfield

rides I fondly remember is to Amritsar

from Delhi, en route to Lahore,

Pakistan.

I rode an AVL T-bird and it left a very good impression on me. This chassis

can handle more cornering forces than what most owners are capable of and the rubber,

despite looking a bit thin design-wise, provides decent grip and a sense of

solidity to the proceedings. That is good news indeed for those who plan to

spend their days exploring winding roads that lead to spectacular sunsets. And

the ride quality over bad roads or no-road conditions is the best in its class

in India.

The engine, with hydraulic tappets and an automatic primary chain tensioner

apart from the twin-spark ignition, will help RE meet future emission norms

easily and more importantly it returns 40 kpl (combined cycle) without much

effort. So it is an improvement over the single-plug model and hence a landmark

for the legendary brand. 

Couldn't Enfield

source a complete single cylinder motor from an established motorcycle maker?

Maybe Yamaha? Alright, if that would have proved expensive, couldn't RE look at

dedicated engine makers like Bombardier? Or develop a single with an

established motorcycle maker who would have liked to benefit from cheap labour

in India?

The point I am driving at is that RE needs a refined,

reliable, economical and green engine -- and the Twinspark model looks like an

interim, unrefined, oil dripping option more than anything else. It could have

been done better... period. I can hear the excuses already -- we will steadily

improve the bike over the years, right? Well, aren't you bored doing that

already?

In short, I would still rate the 500 LB with electric start over the

Twinspark T-bird as the motorcycle of choice from the Enfield

stable. And that is only because Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki

and Suzuki and perhaps Bajaj have not understood the need for a large bore,

single cylinder motorcycle to satiate my appetite. Change, as they say, is the

only constant in this world and in the case of Royal Enfield, I am happy to

attest, it is a continuous process rather than a sudden phenomenon.

If you are looking for an ownership experience that would get you ready for

even tougher institutions like marriage, then the Royal Enfield is for you. It

continues to be a character building exercise rather than a mere motorcycle.

And when the lust is lost and love translates to care... you will go a long way

with a Royal Enfield. To sum up, Enfield

continues to be in a league of its own and that means I have no option but to

recommend it. Try the 500 LB too before you sign on the dotted line, okay?

 

 

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Just to share the experience, I was riding alongwith 16 riders (13 Thunderbird's) & 1 Thunderbird Twinspark & 1 Electra. We were heading to Wayanad (kerala), i was ripping at 120 Km/hr (Solo) and when the Thunderbird Twinspark (with pillion) overtook at 130 Km/hr. I am throughly impressed with its engine capabilities.

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I am throughly impressed with its engine capabilities.

What are impressed about? The thunderbird twinspark has only 20 pssmiley36.gif

The p220 has 20 ps.   Zal D2009-03-04 11:11:28

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I am throughly impressed with its engine capabilities.

What are impressed about? The thunderbird twinspark has only 20 pssmiley36.gif

The p220 has 20 ps.   

@ zal D, there is no comparison between them! the enfields come in different league!

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I know it comes in a different league but I feel RE is over rated. The bike comes with a big engine but look at the power is gives. Thats my only problem with it.

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@rugs,i went through the Wayanad Ride Report. i found it really good. Nywy there you said you own a 2007 Thunderbird (Black & Silver Colour). Man are you planning buy one more RE??

@ ZalD, you are really not supposed to compare two bikes,atleast not the ones who have been leaders on the roads.

You know one of my uncle's British friend was really happy when he came to know that RE is still running on indian roads. So there is a huge fan following of RE.

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@Karan: Yeah the 07 RE TB is my younger brother's, and i am planning to buy the RE Mach 350 (Twin Spark) slated to launch this year.

 

@ Zald: To be honest, i used to hate RE Motorcycles, but that was the time that i had never ridden it. Once my brother bought the TB i just fell in love with it. All of the RE engines are known for one best thing and which is TORQUE!

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@smokin: I guess you are also one of them. Its hard but its true, that the quality of RE is really poor. But the character of these Motorcycles are great! It feels like as if it has a SOUL!

Cheers!

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@smokin: I guess you are also one of them. Its hard but its true' date=' that the quality of RE is really poor. But the character of these Motorcycles are great! It feels like as if it has a SOUL!

Cheers!
[/quote']

the bike demands attention! its becomes apart of the biker! and offcourse i'm one of them! every time the company tries improving the quality(for example the aluminium engine and the gears on the leftside) they get alot of blows from us! the bikes are not for the kids! we like them raw! only thing i like to see is a little hike in power and nothing beats it!

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Well, I have a story to share. I had Yamaha YBX and gave it to my cousin. I was looking for a cruiser bike since I planned to do long distance trips with my friends. I initially looked at Avenger, but somehow it didn't appeal me. Then my head turned towards TB. Like many biker, I was not for RE vehicles till I test ride one. I test ride a TB along with my wife and my 2 yr old son. Trust me on this, I and my wife loved the bike. I liked it for its comfort, power and pain-free crusing. My wife liked the pillion seat for its comfort and she didn't feel much of vibs. We almost went ahead and booked one, but realized later that RE (at least in Chennai) don't have a tie-up with any finance groups that will help improve their sales.

The initial payment for the bike was 40%, which was quite a stretch for me. This was the only reason I had to drop TB and go in for HH ZMA. Of course there is no comparison between these two bikes, I finally settled for ZMA since I was looking for more powerful and reliable cruiser...

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