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Old 25th September 2012, 18:07   #1
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Default My (p)ride - The RE Desert Storm 500

This is my 2nd ownership report here in Team BHP. 1st being the 2008 Safari 2.2 EX. It was sold just 2 years later due to a major mechanical failure.
I bought my 1st bike in 2006 Sep. It was the Baja Pulsar 150 DTSi. A few months after my purchase, Baja launched the digital avatar. This bike was intended to be my daily ride to and from work – around 25kms daily. The Zen that we owned was eating into our budget a lot more than what we had hoped for. So a two wheeler it had to be. Just my wife and I, and we both work in the same campus. Made sense. Initial months did see a lot of miles being munched up by the Pulsar, but the hot and humid summer and the unpredictable rain, forced us back into using Zen whenever wife and I travelled together.

Come 2011, I realized the bike had just about 23k km done. Not much of a rider at that. Decided to sell while I can still get some decent resale on it. May be it was the less KM on her and the keen upkeep, I found a buyer who was willing to shell out the asking price without negotiation. May be I asked too little, given the condition she was in. Come end of 2011, stumbled upon various articles on RE 350 / 500 on T-BHP. Some “feels like God” articles and some “agonizing and frustrating” ones. I got hooked. RE it is going to be! Not that I ever had the need for a bike, but something in those articles crated the want for a Bullet.

Dec 2011, went to Marikar Motors here in Trivandrum and booked the RE Desert Storm 500. Why DS 500? Let’s admit, It’s unique, It’s like a modified RE, but factory made. One look and you know it’s got to be a limited edition! Visually appealing and then all the technology that got into this one that makes it stand apart from the RE Classic 350. I knew that it would not do many KMs per month, so fuel efficiency was never a thought that crossed my mind. Power, hmm yes, but with the roads and traffic we have here, it would be 2AM when I get to stretch. So it all boiled down to the visual appeal and the fact that there aren’t many DS500 in town. The heart wins hands down here!!!

Paid the booking amount of Rs1000/- and the Sales Advisor (SA) mentioned waiting period of about 6-8 months. His reason – this is a limited edition, and these bikes are sent to us like one or two per month. This was a purchase that I did not want to rush. There was no immediate need for a bike. So took it slow. We had planned for a vacation to be with my sis and family in Dubai over Christmas and 6-8 months would give me ample time to save up for the DS500. It was a much needed break for us and enjoyed the two weeks. As it was Christmas time, it was really fun for the kids and they enjoyed the most. I even picked up a Lee Cooper Leather Jacket to match the DS500’s colour.

Returning from our vacation in early Jan, I realized that I had splash out a little too much and left a considerable hole in the bank account. Buying the DS had to wait, worst still cancel. So went to the showroom and told the SA that I want to cancel my booking. He did not show much resistance or want me to re-consider my decision. Straight he went to his desk, took out the cancellation form and asked me to fill it up. Said the cheque would be ready in a month’s time and I can come collect it. The lack of interest from this guy left me baffled. If he had asked me to re think, I would have probably just kept the booking live, and figured out a way to raise the money. But I was in no mood to contemplate all of that and left the show room. My RE dream died a premature death, thanks to a holiday !

One evening towards the end of Feb, I receive a call from the SA. He said that a DS500 has arrived at their showroom, and if I’m still interested I could come by, pay the full amount and have it registered in the next couple of days. What? DS 500 already in the show room and I get to own one. Not in 6 months but just a couple of days! To be sure of what I heard, I went to the showroom. And there I see not one but 3 DS500 !!! You said it would be 6 months, and now you have 3 in stock already, I asked the SA. He goes on to explain what happened. It seems Marikar had placed order for few DS500 in the month of Jan, but got the Classic 500 instead. They made a racket with RE, and RE then dispatched 3 DS500 out of turn! And since they have this in stock and I had booked one in Dec, they are willing to consider my booking from that date! Hard to believe, but any story is good and believable when you see the bike standing there in front of you, and you are just days away from driving it off yourself !

I took the plunge! Out of nowhere I found ways to raise the money that was needed to get the DS500 home. My family knew at that time that I might, just might pick up the RE, but wasn’t sure. So when the day finally came to visit the showroom and pay up, I took along one guy who I knew would stand by me – my Dad! It was a Saturday, and asked my Dad if we could go for a drive, on the pretext that I needed some advice from him. On the way, I broke the news, and just as I had hoped for, he wanted to know more about the RE. He had owned RE 350, for well over 10 years and I have very fond memories on it. The four of us – Dad, Mom, Sis and I – would hope on and drive to our native some 100 KMs north of Trivandrum, at night! I was too small to have enjoyed the rides, but I could relive all of that when Dad started turning the clock back and narrating all that we did on those two wheels! I have him on my side now. Solid as a mountain.

Stepped into the show room, and pointed to the DS500 that I’m to get. This was something new to him. Guess he had the regular RE in his mind. But he LOVED the DS500. I knew the choice has hit a home run – or at least with him too. We went around the bike, and he started pointing out the various changes from the one he owned some 30 odd years ago. But the crude workmanship still remained – like weld marks along the joints, spots where it’s still unpainted. But RE, being RE has to be a joy to ride and probably a little pain to own. I would realize this point pretty soon. Paid the amount, and told SA that I would have a number preference and that I want to do the registration myself. SA agreed he would call me when the bike is ready after PDI and that his guy would accompany me to the RTO.

Next day, took the VIN and chassis details from the SA, and went to RTO to block the number. The number I wanted was for “Numerology” reasons and not so much of fancy. But a little fancy couldn’t hurt now would it. Finally got the number, paid the money and got the forms in our hands. Came back to the showroom and handed them over to the SA. Next day, went to the show room with a friend of mine and finished all the registration process. The usual delay at the RTO, and the bike was officially mine! This was the very 1st time I had ever ridden an RE, but my fears about the weight and “will I be able to handle it, turn it” etc soon vanished into thin air! Yes it’s not as loud or thumpy as the other REs that I see on the road, but it had music of its own – and I loved it. The ride was little over 20 min and when I reached home, I had my boys, and mom looking at me all surprised! You went out to buy a bullet, was the 1st words from my wife and I realized I might have an uphill task convincing her. Till date, she rubs this into me that I bought an expensive bike, without even letting her know! Well yes, it was not right on my part to have kept her in the dark. So once the dust settled down, I decided to go for a short ride with the 4 of us. It was fun! She loved it, kids wanted more. But as it was getting dark and being the 1st time I’m taking full load on the bike, we decided to head home.

Went by the bible on how to ride a bullet – aka Randhawa’s ownership report, did the running in and the 1st service b y 500km. It’s been 6 months of owning the DS500 and have managed to clock some 3000 km … That’s how much I ride ! Honestly though, when I had to go around city alone, where I would have hoped into the comfort of the car and AC, I now opt for DS500. With the Petrol prices where it is now, it’s more economical to drive my Ikon TDCi, but ride on DS is something we all know cannot be expressed in words.

My ownership experience has not been all filled with pleasant surprises as my buying process. Surprises – well a lot of them in fact. 1st the reason I went for DS was its matt finish paint job. I always wanted that matt look, even considered repainting my Ikon Black Matt. The showroom, promptly applies polish on the fuel tank at the time of delivery! So much for the matt finish. When I pointed this out to the SA, he assured a wash with soap / shampoo and it will go off. Well it did not. Even after 3-4 washes. So during the 1st service, I tell the workshop manager, and he agrees to replace it under warranty. Hopefully I’ll get it this weekend (after 6 long months of follow-up). To make my case even stronger, I pointed out to a paint chip off right where the line goes in for the fuel pump. The workshop manager is a very friendly chap, where he is ready to hear what you got to say and try to fix it rather than blame RE or me for the fault.

Next surprise, both my rear view mirror stems started rusting! This was just a 4 month old bike, and the rusting of stems!!! Took it to the workshop, which by this time had relocated to where the show room is, and the manager got it replaced under warranty. No fuss, but still why would a part rust in 4 months and that too look at how many KMs I have done! At home it’s always wrapped up using the bike cover, and my rides are never too long.

Now for the real shocker. The front forks / legs (the brushed aluminum part) started to have a power formation/coating on it. When you rub it off with your finger, it’s like the aluminum is disintegrating! I have brought this to the workshop manager’s attention and he said we would try buffing it during the service and see if it re-occurs. And if it does, then replace under warranty. Now this is what is scary. If parts like these, the front wheel hub, etc are prone to rust and disintegration, what can u say about the quality of materials used? And what happens once my warranty period runs out! I have to pay for all these? Is it that I might have got a lemon!!! I pray not.

I don’t think, these would ever take the fun out of riding the DS. I still manage to add KM at snail’s pace, but every ride is fun in itself. There were two long rides that I had in the past 6 months. Both around 200 KM round trip. With breaks every 30 min to not strain the new engine. By the end of the 200 KM, your butt pains so much that you wish to get home and sit on something soothing! The guys at Marikar, especially the workshop manager, has been patient enough to listen to all I have to say and is very quick , at least from his part, to help rectify the issue. I have not felt that after selling the bike to me, these guys are indifferent. Also I have a feeling the mechanics themselves value their manager, and is always there to help. Never frowning at the thought, “why is this guys so finicky about at RE, this is the way the bike is been for eons, take it and move on”.

This may or may not qualify for an ownership report as such, considering the time and KMs I’ve done, but guess I wanted to put the story out. I have been a fence sitter, never really needed a bike, never thought of RE as an option. Some of the scary stories about quality are really true, as I found them out myself, but still RE is RE. When you ride one out into the open, you have the wide grin on your face that says it’s all worth it!

Hope you enjoy the pics !
Attached Thumbnails
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My (p)ride - The RE Desert Storm 500-img_2846.jpg  

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Old 27th September 2012, 12:33   #2
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Default Re: My (p)ride - The RE Desert Storm 500

Hi Bhagat and congratulation on your acquisition.

Reading you write-up I could tell it was written from the heart and as one bullet owner to another I can perfectly relate to your feeling when you ride an Enfield.

The pictures are also fantastic - especially the 2nd photo. Bit OT, but which camera have you used - the bokeh has in the 2nd photo has come out really well!!

Wishing you many happy riding miles.

Ride Safe..
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Old 27th September 2012, 13:11   #3
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Default Re: My (p)ride - The RE Desert Storm 500

Congrats on your new buy mate!! this bike is a looker and can pose with any clothes!!

Would love to get the same in the UK Spec green here in India, any idea why this color is not available here??
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Old 27th September 2012, 13:12   #4
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Default Re: My (p)ride - The RE Desert Storm 500

@bhagathmp Congratulations on the RE.
Forget about the rusting, the paint chipping off. Forget about everything.
Strap on your riding gear, start the bike and thump away to glory! Nothing can match the Respect you get from people on the road when they hear the thump of the beast.

Ride safe. Cheers!
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Old 27th September 2012, 13:13   #5
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Default Re: My (p)ride - The RE Desert Storm 500

Congrats @bhagathmp for the new acquisition
I too own a DS500 and loves every piece of it but to correct your statement this is not a Limited Edition model
Both chrome and DS are like any other normal models

Last edited by ruchirtnt : 27th September 2012 at 13:16.
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Old 27th September 2012, 13:38   #6
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Default Re: My (p)ride - The RE Desert Storm 500

Congrats @bhagathmp on the new bull in your life.

DS is one of the most eye-catching of all the RE models.
I booked one myself 3 months back and right now have no other option but to drool over others pics. The waiting period is a pain.

Does the polish on the fuel tank affect the matt finish?
If yes, I will need to be careful when I take my DS delivery.

Pics uploaded are stunning.

Happy thumping!!!
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Old 27th September 2012, 14:41   #7
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Default Re: My (p)ride - The RE Desert Storm 500

Quote:
Originally Posted by PGNarain View Post
Hi Bhagat and congratulation on your acquisition.

Reading you write-up I could tell it was written from the heart and as one bullet owner to another I can perfectly relate to your feeling when you ride an Enfield.
Thanks Narain. It was all about the Heart winning over the head !

Quote:
Originally Posted by PGNarain View Post
The pictures are also fantastic - especially the 2nd photo. Bit OT, but which camera have you used - the bokeh has in the 2nd photo has come out really well!!

Wishing you many happy riding miles.

Ride Safe..
I used Canon 50D and Canon 70-200 F2.8 L IS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinair View Post
Congrats on your new buy mate!! this bike is a looker and can pose with any clothes!!

Would love to get the same in the UK Spec green here in India, any idea why this color is not available here??
Thanks vnair, it sure is a looker and being an RE, it makes you feel that much more special !

I think the Indian Army uses that shade of Green and is not authorized to be used on private vehicles. Though I have seen some RE being repainted ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anandv267 View Post
@bhagathmp Congratulations on the RE.
Forget about the rusting, the paint chipping off. Forget about everything.
Strap on your riding gear, start the bike and thump away to glory! Nothing can match the Respect you get from people on the road when they hear the thump of the beast.

Ride safe. Cheers!
When you are on the DS, you dont even think about such things.

But it is the over all lack of QC. Imagine a day when we get an RE with all its might and thump, but no rusting in 4-6 months or paint chipping off from the assembly line ... hope that day is not far ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ruchirtnt View Post
Congrats @bhagathmp for the new acquisition
I too own a DS500 and loves every piece of it but to correct your statement this is not a Limited Edition model
Both chrome and DS are like any other normal models
I thought they were both released as Limited Editions, No ? Well it does have the look of Limited Edition, you don't see many on the roads ... heheheh


Quote:
Originally Posted by AB_Cruze View Post
Congrats @bhagathmp on the new bull in your life.

DS is one of the most eye-catching of all the RE models.
I booked one myself 3 months back and right now have no other option but to drool over others pics. The waiting period is a pain.

Does the polish on the fuel tank affect the matt finish?
If yes, I will need to be careful when I take my DS delivery.

Pics uploaded are stunning.

Happy thumping!!!
@ Cruze, the polish takes off the matt finish for sure. If you ever have plans to remove the back seat, it will look awkward, with the tank shining and the mud guard matt finished !

Last edited by bhagathmp : 27th September 2012 at 14:45. Reason: Added comments from Cruze.
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Old 27th September 2012, 16:55   #8
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Default Re: My (p)ride - The RE Desert Storm 500

Quote:
Originally Posted by bhagathmp View Post


When you are on the DS, you dont even think about such things.

But it is the over all lack of QC. Imagine a day when we get an RE with all its might and thump, but no rusting in 4-6 months or paint chipping off from the assembly line ... hope that day is not far ...
When that day comes i would stop dreaming about RE's . . You need to pamper RE's. They are like children. They create a mess and they dont have proper manners, but the joy you have when holding the child in your hands and it looks at you and smiles is infinite!
An RE without Quality issues is like having a mature 24 year old . It is practical but it aint a kid!
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Old 28th September 2012, 14:24   #9
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Default 3rd service due.

I'm taking the DS500 for 3rd service on Sat 29th Sep. Things I want to have checked :

1) Powder formation on the front forks, and non painted aluminium parts.
2) Fuel Tank to be replaced (under warranty) due to the polish applied at time of delivery.
3) With a pillion rider I get a "kritch .... kritch" sound (very rhythmic irrespective of speed driven). I'm not sure if its something rubbing some where, but no clear visual signs. Checked the chain, shocks etc.
4) While applying the front Disks, regular breaking and not under panic, there is a vibration felt and sounds as if one is hammering inside an empty drum. The whole front vibrates. The tech said this is common on all REs ! Is that so ? Anything to do with the forks itself?

I guess I might have to leave the DS for couple of days to get it all sorted out. Any input regarding #3 and #4 would be highly appreciated.

Thanks
Bugs
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Old 2nd October 2012, 12:12   #10
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Default Re: 3rd service due.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bhagathmp View Post
3) With a pillion rider I get a "kritch .... kritch" sound (very rhythmic irrespective of speed driven). I'm not sure if its something rubbing some where, but no clear visual signs. Checked the chain, shocks etc.
4) While applying the front Disks, regular breaking and not under panic, there is a vibration felt and sounds as if one is hammering inside an empty drum. The whole front vibrates. The tech said this is common on all REs ! s that so ? Anything to do with the forks itself?

I guess I might have to leave the DS for couple of days to get it all sorted out. Any input regarding #3 and #4 would be highly appreciated.

Thanks
Bugs
Saw this thread today! You would enjoy the Bull for years! It's always a heart over mind decision with a bullet.

Don't know whether the problem mentioned in point 3-4 got rectified. I guess for point number 3, get the rear gas filled shock absorbers checked.

For point 4, its not common in RE. Anything that these folks are not able to figure out becomes common in RE. I can say that after being a proud owner of thunderbird for more than 5 years. Get the forks checked. Most probably the front forks oil level is not appropriate. In fact don't take a chance with it, because in panic breaking, it may give you a rude jerk. Also get a second opinion from an experienced local mechanic. They are generally much better than service center folks!

Happy mile crunching
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Old 3rd October 2012, 13:44   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ambujlal View Post
Saw this thread today! You would enjoy the Bull for years! It's always a heart over mind decision with a bullet.

Don't know whether the problem mentioned in point 3-4 got rectified. I guess for point number 3, get the rear gas filled shock absorbers checked.

For point 4, its not common in RE. Anything that these folks are not able to figure out becomes common in RE. I can say that after being a proud owner of thunderbird for more than 5 years. Get the forks checked. Most probably the front forks oil level is not appropriate. In fact don't take a chance with it, because in panic breaking, it may give you a rude jerk. Also get a second opinion from an experienced local mechanic. They are generally much better than service center folks!

Happy mile crunching
Well, I spoke to the manager this morning and looks like none of the major works have been taken up so far. (#3 and #4) . All they could manage was replace the tank. As it was holiday on Tuesday (Oct 2nd) and today its strike called in for all shops ... so hope to get the bike only towards the end of the week now ...

I did ask the manager to check the rear gas filled shocks and the fork oil levels as per your advice. He said he would have that checked as well. So will have to wait till i get the DS back and do a short ride to confirm if they have fixed any of the issues i have reported.
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Old 17th December 2012, 14:48   #12
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Default Update post service.

Hi Folks,

Been away from the thread for a while now. Got the DS back from service and most of the items mentioned has been taken care off. Have done about 200 odd KMs post servicing and here are some updates.

Quote:
1) Powder formation on the front forks, and non painted aluminium parts. - both front forks and front wheel hub buffed. No more powder formation. Now the shine is back as it was on day 1. No body is really clear as to why the powder formation happened in the 1st place. They did the buffing FOC. Need to wait for a few months and watch.
2) Fuel Tank to be replaced (under warranty) due to the polish applied at time of delivery. - Done.
3) With a pillion rider I get a "kritch .... kritch" sound (very rhythmic irrespective of speed driven). I'm not sure if its something rubbing some where, but no clear visual signs. Checked the chain, shocks etc. - They could not find anything rubbing against anything. But set the shocks to the highest position. The sound has definitely reduced a lot, but when I go over some serious bad patches with pillion, I can hear it. I guess next is to have the wheels / alignment checked.
4) While applying the front Disks, regular breaking and not under panic, there is a vibration felt and sounds as if one is hammering inside an empty drum. The whole front vibrates. The tech said this is common on all REs ! Is that so ? Anything to do with the forks itself? - This has been completely fixed. While removing the forks and wheel for buffing and refitting, the issue seem to have resolved. So my guess is some misalignment issue here. Now no more drumming or vibration during front breaking. However, on serious hard breaking, i can hear metal scraping noise from the Disk. Guess it would be the pads not set properly. Will have that checked.
Now that most of the serious issues (front vibrations, sound etc) is out of the way, I'm thinking of going on a road trip. Not too far, some 500 KMs round trip. The plan is for me to travel up to Cochin from Trivandrum, and return on the same day. Will be spending some 2-3 Hrs at Cochin before the return.

Anything in specific I should be considering before embarking on this trip? I know this 500Kms would be a drop in the bucket for many of the riders out there, but this is the 1st time I'm undertaking this long a trip on my bike. I'm considering doing this only coz its on a Bullet. I know the machine can hold up very well and the roads arent that bad either. May be a small stretch of around 20 kms or so is bad but rest should be ok. I do have stops planned along the way so not to get the man or the machine worked up. I would be travelling alone on the bike and since I plan on returning the same day, I would be carrying only my camera back pack and nothing much.

My biggest hurdle would be convincing my family though

Regards
Bugs
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Old 17th December 2012, 17:30   #13
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Default Re: Update post service.

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I know this 500Kms would be a drop in the bucket for many of the riders out there, but this is the 1st time I'm undertaking this long a trip on my bike.
A drop in the bucket? 500 km in a single day on a bike is no drop in any bucket. I suggest you do it over a weekend. You'll enjoy the ride better if your body doesn't take the punishment. All the best.
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Old 17th December 2012, 20:39   #14
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Default Re: Update post service.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bhagathmp View Post
Anything in specific I should be considering before embarking on this trip? I know this 500Kms would be a drop in the bucket for many of the riders out there, but this is the 1st time I'm undertaking this long a trip on my bike. I'm considering doing this only coz its on a Bullet.
500kms in a day is very much do-able given that you have 4 lane roads and disciplined traffic. Haven't heard great things about Kerala traffic though . With good roads, like golden quadrilateral, I did Pune-Banglaore (some 900kms) in 12 hrs on my Thunderbird. So as Aby suggested, I would also recommend you do it over a weekend. You would enjoy a more relaxed ride.

My mantra for years for ride is that "It is a ride and not a race". Please don't race with anyone on highways. If someone is restless, honking, blinking for pass, let them go, just let them go. If your bike has a saddle bag, carry a foot pump. Comes in handy if you are riding alone in case of flat tire. At least it would take you to the nearest puncture shop.

Wear a good pair of hand gloves and a good riding jacket. Lesser the air hits your skin, lesser your would be tired. I always ride in jeans and good pair of boots to protect my ankles. And of course, a good helmet. Not the open face ones . They are stylish, but look good in TV commercials.

Happy mile crunching and welcome to the world of rides. There is no better sound than the thump of Bull, open roads and fresh air. Ride safe.

Last edited by ambujlal : 17th December 2012 at 20:42.
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Old 17th December 2012, 21:09   #15
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Default Re: My (p)ride - The RE Desert Storm 500

What was the ex showroom price for this bike ???
and was the pillion seat and saree guard a part of original equipment ? or did you have to buy them extra?
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