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Old 13th October 2012, 22:59   #31
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Default Re: Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)

I went and checked on my bike today. I had to instruct the mechanic to weld the extra support cleats on the center stand assembly member of the frame. Have asked him to properly touch up the paint wherever he will be heating the frame to remove the bend. Keeping my fingers crossed. Hoping he does a good job.

Checked with the store and bought a new wiring harness, lock set and Plastic bushes for the swing arm shaft which had become sticky and worn out.

Cost incurred till now.

Chain Sprocket set - 1800/-
Lock set - 600/-
Wiring Harness set - 1050/-
Transportation and bend removal charges - 1000/-

Can anyone estimate how much it would cost to assemble the bike back onto the frame? I am thinking of some 3000 buck as labour for the same?
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Old 18th October 2012, 23:45   #32
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Default Re: Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)

Got to know by my mechanic today that the rear/front (could not clearly understand as he was speaking in kannada) sprocket in the chain-sprocket kit has 18 teeth instead of 16 and is a sprocket of the 500cc bikes they sell. Have to go tomorrow and sort this out. The chain-sprocket kit was bought by me in advance and handed over to the mechanic when he started the bend removal a couple of days later.

According to the mechanic, the rear/front sprocket of a Thunderbird should have 16 teeth.

Last edited by Tgo : 18th October 2012 at 23:47.
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Old 19th October 2012, 01:43   #33
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Default Re: Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)

Actually I am sure that you have the kit for the Lightning 535 ( with 18 teeth). The 500 kit has 17 teeth.
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Old 19th October 2012, 12:41   #34
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Default Re: Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)

Lightning 535 or not, I got the new sprocket in place of the old one. Work is in progress. Hope to get the bike back by Monday.

I wanted to get rid of the sticky/notchy behaviour of the disc brake hand lever. The mechanic has told me that he has cleaned the master cylinder and refitted it and that he will be bleeding it to remove any air in the brake oil circuit. I don't know what cleaning he must have done as it is inside a sealed compartment?
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Old 20th October 2012, 03:58   #35
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Default Re: Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)

With the proper tools the master cylinder can be completely disassembled.

The fact that he is going to bleed the hydraulic system would indicate that he did take it apart.

In all likelihood, all it needed was to have the lever and the end of the piston which the lever pushes against lubricated.

Hopefully, he does not overfill the master cylinder with fluid.
I know of at least one case where this happened and with no place for the excess fluid to escape to (the lid and rubber seal, seals the system), the front brake was lightly applied at all times.
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Old 18th November 2012, 00:17   #36
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Default Out from the ICU

Really been late in replying. I got the bike back on the 27th of October. Have clocked some 400 Km since then. The center stand correction took another round to the frame correction shop. This time its better. The rear wheel stands some 1 and a 1/2" inch above ground level when the bike is on center stand. Could have been better but something is better than nothing. And that's a good result considering everything was done without any measurements or know-how of the correct method to rectify it. The frame was reinforced and the welder went overboard with the support, its 4 proper wedges that he welded to prevent the twist in the member which supports the center stand assembly. Will put up a picture tomorrow.

Other things which were fixed as a trickle down effect of changing the wiring:
The starter came back to life. Its such a relief to the right knee of mine which already has partial ACL tear. The horn started working and it sounds like a moped's horn but that's okay with me as I rarely use it. The head lamp is shining brighter. The mechanic also installed a new neutral indicator switch whose wiring had sheared off earlier. Instrument cluster is well illuminated now and looks good in the night. A sight that I had forgotten even existed.

Result of changing the mounting bolt and removing the bend in the frame in addition to the change of sprocket and chain set:
Foot-peg vibrations have reduced significantly.
Bike revs to 4000 rpm better than before.
Side stand bracket stiffness has been aided.
Bike doesn't steer on leaving the handlebars. Steers straight.
Overall transmission noise has reduced
Rear suspension has become more compliant.
The mileage seems to have increased.

Result of getting the Kicker shaft and drive sprocket oil seal from RE authorized mechanic:
NO OIL leaks in an October 2009 UCE engine which when I bought the bike was leaking like an old CI bullet. Believe me guys. However experienced these small garage mechanics might be, UCE will still be a grey area for them. A lesson learnt.

Things that could have been better:
Left foot peg has become a little higher than the right one after re-assembling the bike.
Handlebar vibrations have increased significantly. Any suggestions on how to reduce these?
Some loose part is producing a clatter I am not able to figure out which.
Steering has become very light. Turning the handlebars does not require the same effort as before.
Softer feel on the rear suspension gives the impression of sideways movement of the rear end of the bike.

Cost involved:
New Battery: 1575/-
Bend Removal: 1680/-
Chain-Sprocket Set: 1800/-
Wiring: 1200/-
Lock set: 795/-
Oil seals: 40/-
Engine Oil: 75/-
Swing arm plastic bushes: 70/-
Fork Ball set: 38/-
Center stand misc: 130/-
Rear brake cam: 165/-
Neutral Switch: 83/-
Labour: 1000/-
VAT etc: 500/-

Total damages: ~ 9000 Rupees.

After effects: Just noticed today, some white sediment like powder near the battery cover lock. The battery seems to have leaked/overflowed or the terminals have seemed to have reacted with something. As a result, the lock mechanism behind the lock has jammed.
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Old 18th November 2012, 01:04   #37
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Default Re: Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)

Your mentioning a handlebar vibration and a clattering sound leads me to suggest that you inspect the cylinder head brace which runs from the upper rear of the head to the rear fuel tank fastener.

If this small brace breaks or is left loose it can cause the exact conditions you described.

This brace is formed out of a piece of tubing and I've heard of several cases of it breaking.
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Old 18th November 2012, 17:55   #38
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Default Re: Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)

I'll check that brace. I know what you are talking about Jim. Didn't know these vibrations could be related to it.

Meanwhile the pictures of the battery box and its cover with the white chalk like deposits.

Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-wp_000017.jpg

Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-wp_000018.jpg

And the picture of the extra supports added to the frame for arresting the tube shown in red from twisting while putting the bike on center stand.

Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-wp_000019.jpg

Solves the problem, Shoddy job though.
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Old 8th March 2013, 00:08   #39
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Default Re: Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArizonaJim View Post
If this small brace breaks or is left loose it can cause the exact conditions you described.

This brace is formed out of a piece of tubing and I've heard of several cases of it breaking.
I got this checked and it indeed was really loose. It took almost 10-12 turns on the nut before it became tight. This was taken care of in a small repair i got done in the wiring under the rear mud-guard. The re-assembly of the bike was not done properly and the wires going under the mud-guard for the rear lights had come out of the clamps and rubbed against the tire and got disconnected. All sorted out the vibrations had reduced and I did a 1000 km trip to Hampi and back in January on the long Republic day weekend.

The roads were a treat and we devoured them with some long stretches of full throttle riding.

Sirimane Falls, Shringeri.
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-wp_000009.jpg

Some Flora.
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-img_4564.jpg

Resting on way to Hampi.
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-dsc07685.jpg

Achyutarya Temple Entrance, Hampi.
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-dsc07718.jpg

A diffrent take.
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-img_5048.jpg

Banks of river Tungabhadra, Hampi.
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-wp_000031.jpg

Upper Tunga Revervoir, Shimoga
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-wp_000044.jpg

Came back and found the clutch to be slipping. Got it attended immediately at the new RE service center in Yeyyadi, Mangalore. New machines, new equipment and knowledgeable people work here. People who can work on UCEs. Jobs done:

Clutch Replacement
Engine Oil Change
Air filter cleaning
Front and rear wheel bearings changed
Swing arm bolt tightened
New Diamond frame crash guard installed
New brake pads for the disc brake
Wash

Cost ~ Rs. 5000/-

Happy or not?

Well, the front disc still chatters sometimes but the brake lever action and feedback has improved. Some vibrations creep up prominently in the handlebars at 30-35 kmph range. This i suspect is because of faulty installation of the wheel bearings, have to get it checked. Any suggestions?
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Old 5th May 2013, 14:53   #40
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Default Re: Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)

Hello Guys,

Its been almost two months since my last post. Have been using the bike much more as its ferrying me to office and back daily as the weather has been good and the working hours have been unpredictable. As I write this I have owned it for a year and it has done 15,000 km.

Had been contemplating of a longish trip since the last one to Hampi. The plan finally fell into place on the 10th of April and we headed out to Ooty. This time we were much better equipped. Had ordered a saddle bag for packing our stuff. Did a lot of surfing on the internet and finally picked up the Cramster Colt saddle bag. Cost Rs. 2700/- and and was delivered in day by OutdoorTravelGear.com Everywhere else including the cramster website it was out of stock. The bag sits snugly on the bike and stays there. I went in for this one specifically keeping in mind the possibility of a pillion riding with me which usually is the case.

Here are a few pictures from the trip.

Starting at 4:00 AM. 400km away from Ooty which where planned for Day 1.
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-img_5703.jpg

Somewhere around Virajpet after missing a turn.
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-img_5727.jpg

Heading to Katrikkulum in Kerala.
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-img_5772.jpg

Riding through a plantation near Gadalur.
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-img_5811.jpg

Sunrise on Day 3 in Ooty. Reached here on Day 1 at around 6:00 PM. Roamed about the next day to most of the sight seeing spots there. Heading to Mysore.
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-img_5887.jpg

36 Hairpin bends on the way out.
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-img_6206.jpg

Stopped in a protected forest area for this shot and almost got fined. Gopalswamy Hills.
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-img_6247.jpg

Reached Mysore just in time for the light and sound show at the Palace. And the famous Paper Thin Dosa.
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-dsc07899.jpg
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-wp_000289.jpg

Heading back to Mangalore on Day 4 near Belur. Totally unaware of our whereabouts. Just had to get to that tree for a quick click.
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-img_6410.jpg

And here is the click. Later it was learnt that this was a golf course.
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-img_6456.jpg

In our persistence to take the road least traveled we ended up on the Bisle Ghat section. The road connecting Somwarpet and Subrahmanya.
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-img_6512.jpg

Also qualifies for the loneliest road I've traveled on. Covered 30 km in 2 hours.
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-img_6544.jpg

How did the bike behave?

Well the new clutch had set itself in nicely and was working better than ever before especially in the hills.

The bike had had close to 170 Kg including luggage and pillion. Returned a decent 38 km/l overall. Reached Ooty in less than a tank full.

Had trouble starting a hot engine. Like after 2 hours of continuous running and a 5 minute break it never started on the first kick.

The tires have worn out quite a bit and look like they can take another 2000 km before becoming a safety hazard.

Experienced severe brake fade on the downhill section of from Ooty on the way to Mysore. Engine braking helped all the way.

The AXO riding gear is a total waste of your 700 bucks even though it was bionic. No padding at all and whatever the passed on as padding wouldn't stay in its place. Happy I didn't get to crash test it.

The K&N on the 500 performed really well increasing pulling power in the low end. I later tried it on my bike but it was just useless strapping it on without any knowledge of carburetor re-jetting. Gave me something to study now.

Felt rejuvenated from the chilly weather experienced in Ooty. And I love my Thunderbird.

The vibrations are still there around 25-30 km/h mark. really need help in identifying the source.
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Old 5th June 2013, 09:10   #41
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Default Re: Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)

I was out for 5 days last month between the 11th and the 16th. Came back to see that the battery was DEAD. The bike wouldn't start at all. This made me wonder whether the problem was there in the bike's electricals which I do not trust much or with the battery. Tried push starting also but that didn't help as well. Wonder why this would happen? The ignition system should work without the battery also...?

Gave the battery back to the shop I bought it from in November. It still was in warranty period. Was informed a day later that it has to be replaced and am waiting since 21st of May as they are not in stock. Just wondering why the Backer Exide brand of batteries are so scarce? And as far as I know, no other battery is compatible with the electricals of UCE REs.
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Old 27th September 2013, 04:01   #42
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Default Re: Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)

Got the bike up and running after the above mentioned battery incident. Running had been low in the months following May as the monsoons made it impossible to get from point A to B without getting wet.

Meanwhile, the trip meter got stuck and the odometer followed suit last month. We also did a trip to Kodachadari in the first week of September. The first off-roading trip the bike went on. And it was an unexpected uphill battle against the hill. The motorcycle did not bottom any of its vital components anywhere. Came back in one piece and no punctures.

After 18 k on the rear Dunlop tire i will go in for a change Next month. This tire lasted well. And is way better in terms of grip than the MRF it came with.

Got the Oil change done at 46,000 km last week. I just looked around the odometers of all the bikes that had come in for service that day and guess what? mine was the only UCE bike with such a high figure on the ODO. They also changed the front wheel bearings which dealt with the vibrations around the 25-30 km/hr mark.

So all smiles for some time now.
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Old 6th December 2013, 18:38   #43
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Default Re: Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)

I have been noticing lately by not filling up the tank to the brim every time since my odometer broke, that running on a relatively empty (< 3L) tank makes the sound of the tappets and other vibrations louder at the ear. And the vibrations in the foot pegs and handlebars are also dampened.
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Old 29th June 2014, 12:36   #44
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Default Re: Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)

The bike has got some much needed TLC after its last service in September. Around the 25th of May I got it back after a week of it being at the service center. Major work done includes:
  • Spark Plugs and Adapters were replaced
  • All intake rubber hoses replaced
  • New spoke set for rear wheel
  • New front foot pegs
  • Cleaning of the cylinder head and carburetor
  • New rocker cover gaskets
  • New rear swing arm bush

Other bits included gaskets, brake lamp switches front and rear, oil, oil filter and air filter change. All the work was done at the authorized service center in Mangalore and the bill came up to Rs. 6,000. Put in a new front tire which cost me another Rs. 2,000. And in another visit found the replacement speedometer pod which made me shell out another Rs. 1,000 on it.

The new speedometer which was put in place because the trip meter in the old one had jammed up. The new and the old have 8,000 km between them. Yes, that means my Thunderbird has crossed the 50,000 km mark.
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-img_20140610_185139.jpg

It adds up to Rs. 9,000 spent on the bike since its last service. Went for a day trip to Perlampady which was a 180 KM round trip on freshly laid empty roads. Enjoyed it a lot since it was after a very long time that I rode it for such a distance. I also saw a solo rider on the outskirts of Mangalore riding on his 1970's faired Golden coloured Honda Goldwing on this trip.

A picture on the way back from Perlampady.
Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-dsc_0018.jpg

The bike has been doing its job for the time being. I find that the accelerator grip rubber has become very hard and is difficult to grip as my hands keep slipping over it even with the leather riding gloves on. Was thinking of wrapping a tennis racquet grip on it. Will let you know how it goes and how long the grip lasts exposed to the elements.
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Old 3rd July 2014, 17:23   #45
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Default Re: Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)

Handgrip installed...

Take 3 - 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Ownership Experience)-20140703_164956_android.jpg

After riding around for a few kms I wonder why this is not used as a default choice for handlebar grips. You can play around with the diameter by installing one or more over grips as per your liking.

Things to keep in mind while installing these tennis racket hand grips.
  • Choose between Replacement Grips or Over Grips. I searched over the internet, Over Grips don't last very long. On Tennis Rackets they last about 10 games.
  • Do a rough wrap without taking the tape off to ascertain the length required. Cut off the excess using scissors in a taper similar to the end already provided with the taper.
  • While installing remember to start with the tapered end first.
  • Take off the tape protecting the sticky surface. Install in the direction you will be rotating the accelerator. While looking from the handlebar weight side, it would be anticlockwise.
  • Starting wrapping in a helix only after the first turn which covers the tapered part you started with.
  • Wrap around with a light stretch only.
  • Overlap only 1/3rd of the previous turn.
  • After finishing the wrapping apply the securing tape provided with the grip over the last edge. Covering the tapered end you cut after measuring the length. Remember not to pull this tape too much as it yields rather quickly. This might damage it altogether.

Will report about the longevity of the grip as soon as I am made aware of it.


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I ordered the product online through Flipkart. Snippet taken from their website.
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