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Old 19th December 2012, 02:27   #1
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Question RE R&D Blunder: Front Brake Problem in Standard 350 UCE models

The sole purpose of this thread is to reveal a glaring R&D breach on the part of RE. Its really astonishing for such a bike manufacturer, which produces one the most expensive bikes in India, to have such a low grade of overall engineering research & development.

I purchased at RE std. 350 twinspark UCE in June 2012 & ever since the day of purchase I felt that the bike swerved to the right on application of the front brake. I got it checked from a number of RE ASCs & non-RE SCs/workshops/mechanics & every other person had some different diagnosis of the same problem which ironically couldn't be rectified by any of them. Some (wise) mechanics tried to convince me by telling me that all these Standard UCE models(with drum brakes) have this problem in common & all of them pull to the right. But how could any owner accept that a company which produces such expensive bikes commit a big engineering blunder like this??

After having tried the hand of several mechanics on my loved bike & getting tired of their hit & trials, I went to the same RE ASC from where I purchased the bike & told them to deliver the bike to me only when they fixed the issue. Though after two days of their research on my bike all they could do was to convince me to take a test ride of a new standard parked in their showroom. I tried two of the new display vehicles parked in their showroom & was surprised that what the mechanics said was true!!! Both the new bikes pulled to the right just like my bike!!! The only solution as per them was to get a front disc retro fitted since the disc brakes models(Electra, TBTS & The Classic) do not face such an issue. Getting a Disc retrofitted in the front from RE ASC would set me back by Rs. 14k making the mod a bit of impractical. Further, what if the problem persists even after carrying out the mod??

Bhpians, I need your suggestions/advice in finding the way out else I'll be left with no other option than to live with this engineering failure or trading off this bike for some other RE model..

Last edited by abhishek24x : 19th December 2012 at 02:35.
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Old 19th December 2012, 08:33   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abhishek24x View Post
The sole purpose of this thread is to reveal a glaring R&D breach on the part of RE. Its really astonishing for such a bike manufacturer, which produces one the most expensive bikes in India, to have such a low grade of overall engineering research & development.

I purchased at RE std. 350 twinspark UCE in June 2012 & ever since the day of purchase I felt that the bike swerved to the right on application of the front brake. I got it checked from a number of RE ASCs & non-RE SCs/workshops/mechanics & every other person had some different diagnosis of the same problem which ironically couldn't be rectified by any of them. Some (wise) mechanics tried to convince me by telling me that all these Standard UCE models(with drum brakes) have this problem in common & all of them pull to the right. But how could any owner accept that a company which produces such expensive bikes commit a big engineering blunder like this??

After having tried the hand of several mechanics on my loved bike & getting tired of their hit & trials, I went to the same RE ASC from where I purchased the bike & told them to deliver the bike to me only when they fixed the issue. Though after two days of their research on my bike all they could do was to convince me to take a test ride of a new standard parked in their showroom. I tried two of the new display vehicles parked in their showroom & was surprised that what the mechanics said was true!!! Both the new bikes pulled to the right just like my bike!!! The only solution as per them was to get a front disc retro fitted since the disc brakes models(Electra, TBTS & The Classic) do not face such an issue. Getting a Disc retrofitted in the front from RE ASC would set me back by Rs. 14k making the mod a bit of impractical. Further, what if the problem persists even after carrying out the mod??

Bhpians, I need your suggestions/advice in finding the way out else I'll be left with no other option than to live with this engineering failure or trading off this bike for some other RE model..
Hello Abhishek,

That is one safety issue as well. Kindly write to the sitims at RE informing them about this glitch. They can't just expect us to take this in our stride by saying "ok, it's an issue. Big deal!! We'll ensure the next versions are taken care of. For now, please pay up 14 grands for the discs and you'll be good!!". It's a premium motorcycle for Christ's sake!!

Let's await a positive response from them and if not, you can inform them about the negative publicity and flak they will have to face, just because of this. Point them out to this thread in your emails as well.

Towards the end, even if they fail to give us new discs retrofitted for free OR at a massive discount, they SHOULD be able to exterminate the persisting issue with your bike,once and for all. How they do that, is for them to bother! Good luck!

Last edited by MetalBuff : 19th December 2012 at 08:54.
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Old 19th December 2012, 09:46   #3
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Default Re: RE R&D Blunder: Front Brake Problem in Standard 350 UCE models

Hi Abhishek,

I am really surprised with this. Are you really sure that this is something to do with the front brakes only?

My STD UCE (Nov-2010) used to pull slightly to right during initial days (before 1st / 2nd service), but it was hardly noticeable. I believe this is due to the large chunk of wires that are behind the headlap - on the right hand side.

Now (around 10k kms on odo) I can safely lift both hands even at the speeds of 60 kmph and go on for 200 meters - There is absolutely no turning to the right. Couple of my friends here in Pune have STD UCE too and none of them face this issue.
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Old 15th January 2013, 15:43   #4
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Default Re: RE R&D Blunder: Front Brake Problem in Standard 350 UCE models

I think RE should dump the drum brake and give only DISK as std.

Recently I also felt that the RE has degraded their product performance. One of my friend bought a RE500 and its rarely used. All the electric parts are coming out, the rubber and the tube is getting crack. This bike is never parked on sun too. Not even got a heavy rain. I think RE should think of the quality.

Yesterday first time we took the bike for a trip, 100KM, we had two flat tyre with in 20 min. The tyre is cracked and teared. We didnt drove the bike with flat tyre for a long too :(
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Old 15th January 2013, 21:29   #5
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Default Re: RE R&D Blunder: Front Brake Problem in Standard 350 UCE models

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Originally Posted by bulletboy76 View Post
Hi Abhishek,

I am really surprised with this. Are you really sure that this is something to do with the front brakes only?

My STD UCE (Nov-2010) used to pull slightly to right during initial days (before 1st / 2nd service), but it was hardly noticeable. I believe this is due to the large chunk of wires that are behind the headlap - on the right hand side.

Now (around 10k kms on odo) I can safely lift both hands even at the speeds of 60 kmph and go on for 200 meters - There is absolutely no turning to the right. Couple of my friends here in Pune have STD UCE too and none of them face this issue.
The problem you faced is very different from the one i face. The bike swerving to a side on lifting the hands is due to the misaligned wheels. My bike had this tendency too at the beggining but as soon as i got the wheels aligned it disappeared. But the tendency of the bike to pull to the right on applying front brake never went away. At the first place even i didnt believe that it was the drum that was causing the problem. But when the same was confirmed on test riding a new bike. The REs with discs have a neutral tendency on braking while the Std. variants tend to pull a bit on the right.
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Old 15th January 2013, 21:50   #6
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Default Re: RE R&D Blunder: Front Brake Problem in Standard 350 UCE models

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Originally Posted by MetalBuff View Post
Hello Abhishek,

That is one safety issue as well. Kindly write to the sitims at RE informing them about this glitch. They can't just expect us to take this in our stride by saying "ok, it's an issue. Big deal!! We'll ensure the next versions are taken care of. For now, please pay up 14 grands for the discs and you'll be good!!". It's a premium motorcycle for Christ's sake!!

Let's await a positive response from them and if not, you can inform them about the negative publicity and flak they will have to face, just because of this. Point them out to this thread in your emails as well.

Towards the end, even if they fail to give us new discs retrofitted for free OR at a massive discount, they SHOULD be able to exterminate the persisting issue with your bike,once and for all. How they do that, is for them to bother! Good luck!
Its totally useless to haggle with the RE customer care because as soon as you contact them, they would redirect you to the regional heads who are as non-cooperative as the dealerships are. They would further redirect you to the service manager who would act upon the feedback of the mechanics who already consider it normal for a Std. to pull to the right on front brake application. What seemed most surprizing was that one of the regional service heads adviced me to take a test ride of some other piece to check out whether the problem was unique to your bike or whether its just another R&D issue!!!
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Old 16th January 2013, 11:58   #7
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Default Re: RE R&D Blunder: Front Brake Problem in Standard 350 UCE models

Are you sure the problem is with the bike?

Front brake lever is on the right hand side. You squeeze the lever to press the front brake. Hmmmm ... isn't it possible that your right arm is doing something along with your right hand fingers? (causing a slight tug of the handle towards you - thus steering right)

I actually cannot imagine why a bike would pull to right upon application of front brakes!
What would be the physics behind it?
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Old 16th January 2013, 12:26   #8
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Default Re: RE R&D Blunder: Front Brake Problem in Standard 350 UCE models

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Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
Are you sure the problem is with the bike?

Front brake lever is on the right hand side. You squeeze the lever to press the front brake. Hmmmm ... isn't it possible that your right arm is doing something along with your right hand fingers? (causing a slight tug of the handle towards you - thus steering right)

I actually cannot imagine why a bike would pull to right upon application of front brakes!
What would be the physics behind it?
Even i being a mechanical engineer, refuted such statements given by mechanics that its the problem with the front brakes. I believed that it had something to do with the suspension and the inclination of the forks(camber) or the centre line of the front and rear axles (in case they are not in line). Also, this claim of mine that the bike pulled to the right upon braking was confirmed by my friends and the mechanics too ruling out the possibility of my arm twisting it. Plus being involved in bike stunting i very well understand the dynamics of these machines in motion. I never found this problem in any of the other two wheelers i own both with disc and without (86 LML, 03 Eterno, 05 Star City & 07 Pulsar 180).

P.S.: I test rode an electra and a tbts too and found them to be neutral in terms of braking dynamics. This problem exists only with the Std. UCE and mechanics too reckon with this.

Last edited by abhishek24x : 16th January 2013 at 12:28.
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Old 16th January 2013, 15:02   #9
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Default Re: RE R&D Blunder: Front Brake Problem in Standard 350 UCE models

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Originally Posted by abhishek24x View Post
Even i being a mechanical engineer, refuted such statements given by mechanics that its the problem with the front brakes. I believed that it had something to do with the suspension and the inclination of the forks(camber) or the centre line of the front and rear axles (in case they are not in line). Also, this claim of mine that the bike pulled to the right upon braking was confirmed by my friends and the mechanics too ruling out the possibility of my arm twisting it. Plus being involved in bike stunting i very well understand the dynamics of these machines in motion. I never found this problem in any of the other two wheelers i own both with disc and without (86 LML, 03 Eterno, 05 Star City & 07 Pulsar 180).

P.S.: I test rode an electra and a tbts too and found them to be neutral in terms of braking dynamics. This problem exists only with the Std. UCE and mechanics too reckon with this.
If that was true - it should be applicable even while the bike is moving without any braking! What change in dynamics will braking introduce? If its because the center of mass lies towards the right, then the bike tipping towards right should be evident when the bike is stationary (and feet up). But then this problem (CoM) should not vanish with disc brakes ...

Strange.

Last edited by alpha1 : 16th January 2013 at 15:06.
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Old 16th January 2013, 15:28   #10
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Default Re: RE R&D Blunder: Front Brake Problem in Standard 350 UCE models

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Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
If that was true - it should be applicable even while the bike is moving without any braking! What change in dynamics will braking introduce? If its because the center of mass lies towards the right, then the bike tipping towards right should be evident when the bike is stationary (and feet up). But then this problem (CoM) should not vanish with disc brakes ...

Strange.
It is true and you can verify this from Kaytee Autos (a reputed RE showroom in Delhi from where i got the bike).
Its indeed strange and that is the reason i posted this thread on tbhp so that fellow bhpians would guide/suggest me on how to get this problem rectified. I'm myself not convinced from the solution mechanics gave me i.e. replacing the drums with disc. Had the problem been with my arm, they (RE after sales service staff) would have suggested me to get my arm rectified instead of the brakes

Here at tbhp, I seek a support from the members for a solution to my problem. Kindly provide your solutions to the problem on the bike per se rather suspecting the existance of the problem.

Last edited by abhishek24x : 16th January 2013 at 15:31.
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Old 16th January 2013, 16:40   #11
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Default Re: RE R&D Blunder: Front Brake Problem in Standard 350 UCE models

Wow, had faced similar problems about 25 years back on my dad's lambretta. Never knew some manufacturers haven't progressed from those eras of amusement.

From my experience, if the brake pads have play and are not secured tightly they move or roll inside while braking causing the bike to loose balance. See if you can tighten them somehow if you find them loosely fitted. Maybe the brake assembly is faulty of these bikes and need major revamp.

Also, do check if the brake wire is too tight or entangled which is pulling the handle one side while braking.

My advice will be get a disk brake fitted, you will have new confidence in riding.

Last edited by TaurusAl : 16th January 2013 at 16:49.
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Old 17th January 2013, 01:42   #12
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Default Re: RE R&D Blunder: Front Brake Problem in Standard 350 UCE models

alpha1

When the front brake is applied, the bikes dynamics change considerably.

The weight of the bike and rider shift to the front suspension which greatly increases the load thru the steering head and wheel bearings.
If the steering head bearings are not properly pre-loaded with the correct nut tightness the front forks could move which would change the trail.
This by itself should not cause the motorcycle to turn right but if things are loose, anything is possible.

As the front brake is applied, the torque from the rotating wheel is transmitted thru the brake pads to the brake backing plate. This in turn attempts to rotate the fork leg forward in a twisting direction about the front axle.

Because this twisting force is only applied to one fork, the unequal load between the right and left fork leg will be seen by the steering head bearings as a turning force.
This turning force could change the right/left direction the wheel is pointed.

I should add that if the clamping force from the bolts that cause the fork legs to be secure is not enough, movement of the forks within the triple-clamp could produce the same condition.

Incorrect or incorrectly installed front wheel bearings could also allow the front wheel to move relative to the fork which could allow the front wheel to likewise change the direction it is pointed under braking.

If the wheel becomes turned slightly to the left, due to any of the mentioned bearing clearances, the motorcycle will also start to turn to the right.

(This 'handlebars turn left and bike turns right, called "countersteering" ,usually happens at speeds over 7kmph.
I suggest to those who don't believe it happens, they should get on their motorcycle, accelerate to 30 kmph and intentionally turn the handlebars to the left.
The motorcycle will start to fall towards the right causing the vehicle to turn to the right. Knowing this happens can save your life if you must suddenly change direction to avoid an accident.)

Getting back to the brake question, I would expect Royal Enfield to be using the same front fork design and clearances on the 350 as they did on their older drum brake 350's (which appearently don't have this problem?) but I may be wrong.

The first thing I would have checked is the tightness of the steering head bearings and the installation of the front wheel bearings.
If either of these are incorrect it may induce the right hand turning that is being discussed.

Last edited by ArizonaJim : 17th January 2013 at 01:46.
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Old 17th January 2013, 10:21   #13
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Default Re: RE R&D Blunder: Front Brake Problem in Standard 350 UCE models

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When the front brake is applied, the bikes dynamics change considerably...
Jim, could this be problem of unequal fork dive as well? Maybe due to unequal quantities of fork oil in the two fork legs (say leaks, seal failure, or even wrong SOP by assembly line technicians)?

This problem of uneven dive and swerving under braking occurs a lot with our old Jawa and Yezdi motorcycles. However as you rightly mentioned, the steering head being ill-fitting and wearing rapidly is a common issue on these bikes too.
The worn steering head (cups & cones) are quite evident on my Yezdi Roadking. This manifests as a loudish clunk and a marked forward jerk of the fork about the steering head when ridden over a speedbreaker or pothole at speed. However, she doesn't seem to suffer from this brake-swerving as most other J/Y motorcycles do.

Cheers,
Rahul

PS: The J/Y have the front brake backing plate on the RHS. However the swerve is observed to be in either direction, depending on the bike.
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Old 17th January 2013, 11:50   #14
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Default Re: RE R&D Blunder: Front Brake Problem in Standard 350 UCE models

Anything is possible but I don't think that an unequal amount of damping would be the cause of the tendency to turn right only when the front brake is applied.

If it was a damping problem, the bike would be swerving every time it hits a bump in the road and at the present time a tendency to do this hasn't been mentioned by abhishek24x.
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