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Old 28th January 2012, 19:44   #1
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Default Royal cruising: My 2011 Enfield Thunderbird

Right. Creating a new thread after a long time - feels like a new experience.

Background:

A little bit about myself. I am a car guy: out-and-out. That was until I test-rode the current crop of Royal Enfields back in 2010.

You see, the Thunderbird was always my most preferred Royal Enfield: since a long time. Varying priorities never had allowed me to materialize this into an ownership experience. Until now.

2010: my office was on the far side of Whitefield, which considering I live in Bangalore South, was always going to be a maniacal commute any way you looked at it. Tried out all commute options - office cab, Volvo, car. All of them had shortcomings. Then I decided to head to the Royal Enfield Brand Store to test ride their offerings towards an additional commute solution.


Test rides:

Sometime July-September 2010 test rode the Thunderbird and the Classic 500. The adage about the first impression lasting a long time ?

The Thunderbird's first riding experience made one thing absolutely clear: this bike had massive street presence and comfortable cruiser ergonomics (the only bike I have always liked was the cruiser)

The Classic 500's first impression was its power - and stomach-churning loads of it, in fact.


Deciding factors:

1. Given my anticipated regular commute, mileage was a key priority.
2. The cruiser application/ergonomics + road presence
3. Speed: One of those counter-preferences. Although I love fast cars and drive a Stage-2 modified Swift, on the contrary my bike shall not have so much power that makes me ride beyond my comfort zone.

The Thunderbird was an automatic choice for me then. Had seen a silver Thunderbird earlier- that had left my wife and I sufficiently impressed with its aesthetics.

Booked the Thunderbird then, in silver, in October 2010. The brand store gave a standard 8-months ETA.


Delivery

Got a call from the brand store in mid-February 2011 announcing the despatch of my Thunderbird! What an adrenaline rush - after a pregnant waiting period ! The price had gone up by Rs 5000 since the booking to Rs 1,21,000. Robbed some banks and completed the remainder payment by cash!

I'd left word that I need to be notified of VIN when the bike arrived. Got a call with the VIN details, went to the dealership and completed a PDI. Finally, February 24 2011, went down the annals of history, as being the day my Thunderbird was delivered!


The bike:

Royal cruising: My 2011 Enfield Thunderbird-img_8770a.jpg

Last edited by theMAG : 28th January 2012 at 19:45.
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Old 28th January 2012, 20:19   #2
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Default Re: Royal cruising: Thunderbird 2011

Post-delivery, Week 1:

I had decided some essentials that I needed to have before I rode the bike away from the brand store: front/rear diamond-pattern crash guards. After assurance, the brand store discovered they hadnt any in stock at the time of delivery. Boldly swallowing my requirement, I took delivery and rode away, with the brand store promising they would have it in a few days time.

Despite being an experienced motorist, I dont think I can get over the butterflies of driving away a new vehicle of mine on delivery day! This, and the fact that I was rusty in my biking experience (the last was a CBZ at the time of my initial career), managed to sufficiently curse mankind while riding the Thunderbird home that day.

The bike:

Royal cruising: My 2011 Enfield Thunderbird-img_8713a.jpg


Ownership experience:

This is the one reason that as a company, Royal Enfield has been able to survive successfully. The riding experience is supreme, it is royal (pun). The cruiser ergonomics/road presence, fantastically mature ride - road aberrations are non-existent, the perfect gearing for relaxed cruising, sufficient power on tap and the killer mileage. And now, with the UCEs, phenomenal reliability.

I'm sure you've heard of the ad "Feel like God". I will not be lying if I say this is how you will feel on the Royal Enfield Thunderbird. Nothing else matters and you have inner peace - when riding this bike.


The bike:

Royal cruising: My 2011 Enfield Thunderbird-img_8764.jpg


Service Experience:

Although not comparable to a Mandovi-class service experience, the company service station behind Shoppers Stop has proved itself to be competent. The quality of all free services (now complete) have been competent, and the last time I had been there, there is even an escalation chart. Nice going. However, they are struggling at the sheer numbers of the bikes that come there.

Somewhere around the 6600 kms mark, my speedo needle started wandering. Those that know me personally know how finicky I am about not having anything out-of-place on my vehicles. Sure enough, this speedo issue had me sufficiently irritated to have the company service station change the entire instrument cluster (speedo/tacho is a set) under warranty, for free. Funnily though, the problem still persisting on the new meter, was nailed to a faulty worm at the hub and resolved!

For every service - as is habit with my car, I have had the engine oil changed for the Thunderbird as well. Now, all 4 free services have been utilized, and the next service coming up on Feb 24- exactly one year since delivery!


The bike:

Royal cruising: My 2011 Enfield Thunderbird-img_8810.jpg

Last edited by theMAG : 3rd February 2012 at 09:14.
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Old 28th January 2012, 20:43   #3
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Default Re: Royal cruising: Thunderbird 2011

The bike:

Royal cruising: My 2011 Enfield Thunderbird-img_8766.jpg


Modifications:

The following must-do changes were planned.

Headlight bulb: changed to Philips Extreme 55/60 W from the sad 35 W OEM bulb.

Horn: Upgraded to Bosch dual-horns. The OEM horn was capable of shooing mice at best.

Silencer: Not initially on the radar. However, got bitten by the Thump bug and towards the end of 2011 in November - after reading whatever this forum had to offer in terms of insight, and contacting the RE gurus on the forum, made the switch to an aftermarket silencer. I had the store put on their entire collection for "audio trials", before deciding on the one I have now. Its thump was the most mature and deep, as against sharp and loud that I have cursed a lot of aftermarket silencers for. I understand they call all non short-bottle silencers as "Goldie" in the market. I remember being told by the store this mine was called a "Pune Goldie". Not sure of its real name. Build/chrome quality is excellent though.

Now, with this transformation, this cruiser, the Royal Enfield Thunderbird, is even more orgasmic to ride, and on days when it is not sunny or raining, I cherish riding this bike.

Also picked up a pair of Cramster riding gloves.

Number plates: Jaggu insists I change to the high-security type we both have on our cars. Next on my to-do list, then.


The bike, with the aftermarket silencer:

Royal cruising: My 2011 Enfield Thunderbird-img_9441c.jpg


More photos might follow in later posts, depending on my time constraints. Thanks for reading.

Last edited by theMAG : 29th January 2012 at 11:22.
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Old 28th January 2012, 21:28   #4
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Default Re: Royal cruising: Thunderbird 2011

Let me be the first one to congratulate you! The pix of your silver birdie has really made my day. Awesome choice of colour I must say.

This thread couldn't have been more timely. I've booked my TBTS Recently and expecting the delivery sometime in June/July.

I have a battery of questions to ask you and will keep them coming in the days to come. Please do keep this thread posted as frequently as possible.

Wishing you a million miles of happy motoring! Ride safe :-)

Last edited by Warwithwheels : 28th January 2012 at 21:30.
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Old 28th January 2012, 22:00   #5
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Default Re: Royal cruising: Thunderbird 2011

Congrats theMAG on this buy. In 2009 my LEH bike trip was on a Thunderbird. Absolutely comfortable bike and really enjoyed the ride.

Ride safe

Cheers
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Old 28th January 2012, 22:44   #6
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Default Re: Royal cruising: Thunderbird 2011

Congrats the Mag! What a beauty! Silver is the best colour on RE, followed by Maroon. Silver supplements the chrome shine. You bike is so glistening. Heck, you will need sunglasses to look at it on a sunny afternoon, I guess.
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Old 28th January 2012, 23:02   #7
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Default Re: Royal cruising: Thunderbird 2011

After changing the silencer, is there any difference in the performance or feel ? How about mileage?
The bike looks fab, well maintained.
Just one suggestion, try a RD 350 handlebar instead of the stock handlebar. It feels far more comfortable and looks way better too!
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Old 29th January 2012, 00:45   #8
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Default Re: Royal cruising: Thunderbird 2011

theMAG
Congratulations on your motorcycle and on having successfully completed a year of riding.

When driving a car or truck it seems to be just a means of transportation. Comfortable? Yes. Something to look forward to? No.
This is even true with my Mazda Miata which handles like a true race car or a go-cart.

Riding a motorcycle on the other hand is a stimulating experience that is not only looked forward to at the start of the day but during working hours.
Long ago I found that riding a motorcycle to and from work was often the best part of the day.

Enjoy! (And keep it shiny side up.)
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Old 29th January 2012, 08:16   #9
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Default Re: Royal cruising: Thunderbird 2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by theMAG View Post

Silencer: Its thump was the most mature and deep, as against sharp and loud that I have cursed a lot of aftermarket silencers for. I understand they call all non short-bottle silencers as "Goldie" in the market. I remember being told by the store this mine was called a "Pune Goldie". Not sure of its real name. Build/chrome quality is excellent though.
.
It's called a Goldie because it is similar in shape to the exhaust on BSA Goldstar.
Pune Goldie also called Shakeel Goldstar, it's manufactured in Pune by Shakeel.

MP
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Old 29th January 2012, 08:43   #10
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Default Re: Royal cruising: Thunderbird 2011

Congrats .. on finally being able to put up the IOR .

Some nics pics there. Havent you gone on any longer rides - beyond Whitefield ? If yes, the trip-logue's, please ..

Quote:
Originally Posted by theMAG View Post
Number plates: Jaggu insists I change to the high-security type we both have on our cars. Next on my to-do list, then.
Yup - will be much better than that hand-painted plate.
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Old 29th January 2012, 23:15   #11
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Default Re: Royal cruising: My 2011 Enfield Thunderbird

Thanks all.

john doe- since the silencer change was specifically done with acoustic pleasure in mind, I have not noticed/there doesnt seem to be any performance increase. There may have been a linearing out of torque from what I've noticed. The feel, on the other hand, is fantastic. The sound is a mature, deep, bassy thump. It demands people to take notice (in a nice way!).

ArizonaJim - I use the bike primarily for office commute as well, and to my luck, the route is amongst the most 5th-gear friendly routes in Bangalore city traffic. There are other problems that I need to contend with though- the heat/dust/pollution: all of which I am averse to!

condor- the longest trip was to Kanva Dam last year. Didnt feel it particularly needed to classify as a travelog though. Thats also when I decided I will not use Mysore Road anymore for biking.


The bike:

Royal cruising: My 2011 Enfield Thunderbird-img_8789.jpg


General observations

1. The electric start is moody. There are times when I had to resort to emergency kick start when a signal turned green since the engine wouldnt start with the electric start.

2. When the bike is stationed on an incline (e.g: the Adugodi side signal behind Forum, coming from Raheja Arcade), bike does not start immediately. Probably something to do with gravity interfering with petrol level in the carburetor ?

3. Initially had minor oil leaks in 2 forms- through the oil-level window, and next through an indentation towards the front side of the engine cover. The company service station fixed both permanently.

4. Bike does not like surprise braking and the rear tries to step out. Need to look at a better tyre option sometime in the future.
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Old 30th January 2012, 10:06   #12
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Default Re: Royal cruising: My 2011 Enfield Thunderbird

Congratulations theMAG and Welcome to the Club of RE Owners.

Happy Thumping and Ride Safe !
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Old 30th January 2012, 14:17   #13
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Default Re: Royal cruising: My 2011 Enfield Thunderbird

Quote:
Originally Posted by theMAG View Post
When the bike is stationed on an incline (e.g: the Adugodi side signal behind Forum, coming from Raheja Arcade) ....
I thought I was the only who faced this problem, and as a workround didnt switch off the engine if the signal is short and if at all switched off will, kick start much before the signal is getting cleared ..

By the way congrats for the new ride theMAG and good choice of color.
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Old 30th January 2012, 14:43   #14
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Default Re: Royal cruising: My 2011 Enfield Thunderbird

Great looking bike, Maggie! Heartiest congratulations and hope she serves you well. If your Swift is anything to go by, I'm sure all that chrome will keep shining for years to come.

Please be sure to always wear your helmet + riding gear. From what I read on the forum about Bangalore traffic, a motorcycle probably makes a lot of sense.
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Old 31st January 2012, 15:44   #15
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Default Re: Royal cruising: My 2011 Enfield Thunderbird

Congratulation crisp review and brilliantly photographed! I am heartthrob fan of RE but couldn't afford one. But the new RE Thunderbird has kept me wondering if I should book one, by the time I get delivery I think I can afford one
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