Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Comprehensive Guide to Owning a Royal Enfield Bike

One has to be totally Irrational to own a Royal Enfield bike. If you are those Rational types - who just require a vehicle to go to from A to B with the minimal fuss - I strongly recommend buying a Japanese Bike.

Also close this tab you are reading in your browser, quit the browser, close your laptop, switch off the fan and light, get out of the house, go find a lake or park, sit on the park bench and think Rational Thoughts. 

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Now - my dear Irrational Friends, Royal Enfield Friends ( if you are a RE fan you will not be reading my blog - but riding your bike now - but if you are reading this then your bike is in the workshop - for which I am sorry ) and future Royal Enfield riders.. Hello and a warm welcome to the Irrational world we all live.

You - Rational Thought guy - out of my blog. Why are you still reading my post?

Anyway - back to my advise column. The title - if you have landed here because of a Google Search - it is because I know a thing or two about Search Engine Optimisation ( SEO ). You cannot take a print out of this post, stick it in your garage / parking lot and expect to follow instructions. Sorry for having mislead you to this post. This post is me ranting while my bike is in the workshop.

Now if you are already having a RE bike, or planning to purchase a RE bike - first - buy a 2nd hand Honda bike. Trust me. You will need this. This is a very wise Rational thing to do.

My RE bike is a 2013 Thunderbird, 500 CC bought 2nd hand in 2014.

One fine day - the beast refused to start. Tried the Kick a few times. Still it will not start. Shake it left, shake it right. It will not start. Tap the tank. Touch the spark plug. Wiggle it a bit. Touch the wires. Kick. It will not start.

So I had to take the reliable Honda Unicorn bike - which by the way has crossed 10 years of life - and go around hunting for a Mechanic. This is Use #1.

Next the mechanic will say bring the beast to my shop. You cannot push this thing. It weighs a ton or so - ( around 200 kg don't worry.. we bloggers / writers exaggerate a lot ). Then he will send his boy who will ride the reliable Honda bike to your right, while you sit on the dead beast, and the boy with his left leg will push the silencer.

And your ruffian bike will just quietly glide on the roads - without a single ounce of shame. This is Use #2 for the Honda.

This bike ( all REs made after 2010 or so I think ) has an EFI - Electronic Fuel Injector. The mechanic says it is gone. Has to be replaced. Had it been a Carburettor such a problem would have never come.

Next the mechanic will try to confuse you saying Carburettors are good and EFI is stupid technology. He will change it to Carburettor and then the bike can run without any trouble. I get back home to do my own research - since I cannot call anyone in my network of pot belly friends who all either drive cars or use an Uber / Ola.

I come to realise that EFI is actually pretty good technology - the same technology used in cars and fancy bikes - it regulates the ratio of air and fuel, based on the gear,throttle,temperature,whether Maama is nearby or not - and injects a good optimum mixture into the engine - giving a good spiffy response and at any altitude or time of the day. That is why we see so many REs on Himalayas - these things are tested over there. As a geek love this.

Carburettors on the other hand - is old technology. Just filters air and pumps it into the engine with no wizardary like EFI. The bike after conversion loses 1BHP and gives a little better mileage as he claimed. However, the bike has to be cooled intermittently on long rides - as these are air cooled bikes and the efficiency goes down as it cannot suck enough air when engine is super hot. Advantage is all mechanics know how to fix this ( actually nothing goes wrong in this ). EFI when it goes wrong has to be replaced - gulp - and it costs as much as a 2nd hand 10 year old Honda bike.

So I grudgingly decide to replace the EFI - and promise not to let this happen again. All I have to do is to keep the bike's fuel level above 4 Litres always. If it goes down it hurts the EFI - and I have done it quite a number of times. No one told me this. Should have networked more damn.

I had to go now and buy the Fuel Pump. In Bangalore I had to go to JC road, right next to SBI there is a small road that takes you to Fixwell Genuine Royal Enfield Spare parts shop. The owner had parked his Harley Davidson outside the shop - what a beauty. I inwardly think - oh - so this is how you get to buy a Harley - by selling RE parts to poor souls like me. Btw - Use #4 for the Honda bike.

So - here is where I am. The Fuel pump is being fit right now - hope it starts.

Owning a RE bike is a lot of responsibility. My irrational brain made me buy this bike. However I have to be rational and take good care of this. Like having a 2nd bike - a reliable one to assist in emergencies like this, having half a tank of petrol in the bike all the time, servicing it regularly ( which I did btw ) and ride this beast on a daily basis and not let it sit in the garage for long periods of time - then it becomes a costly sofa as the wife keeps telling whenever she sees it lying there refusing to start.

Now - waiting for the call from mechanic to go pick the beast ( will take a bus this time ).

Update : 

The mechanic called me and said bike is starting fine. Went and picked it.  Yesterday couldn't ride it. Today morning it gave a scare when I was taking the wife to work - it refused to start. Switched off and on - and it started. Phoo. Close one.

Finishing off this post with a quote from The World's fastest Indian movie :

Tom: Aren't you scared you'll kill yourself if you crash? 
Burt Munro: No... You live more in five minutes on a bike like this going flat out than some people live in a lifetime.


































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