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Old 17th March 2014, 09:24   #421
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

I tried in vain to trace all the long rides of Blue Bird on one map. The second-best alternative was to put them all in one page.

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Old 17th March 2014, 10:11   #422
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

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Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
About a month back, in my good old "Dadar Parsi Colony" in Mumbai, there was this nice “Parsi Owned” 2010 model 350cc Black Bullet Thunderbird, owned by my son’s school friend’s father. The gentleman wanted to sell it because he wanted to buy a brand new 500cc Bullet Thunderbird. I saw it late at night inside the colony. It had covered around 22000 kms. All the parts were absolutely original. The shining black and chrome gleamed brightly in the streetlights. I particularly loved the straight and long silencer protruding behind the rear wheel and the fantastic riding position which was absolutely perfect for my average height. The seat cocooned me perfectly. The foot pedal positioning was spot-on. I took a small round. The bike was very easy to handle around corners and did not feel heavy at all. I did not buy it for three reasons, as follows: 1. There was pronounced piston slap noise from the engine. 2. Gear shifting was completely vague. 3. Fourth gear was noisy in drive mode; there was no noise in coast mode. He has since sold this bike.
Dear Behram Ji,

Its great to see you here in the biking section. I guess Jeepers, Truckers and Bulleteers have their very own sub-community on T-BHP and eventually spend most of their time on the Jeep, Safari and Enfield forums.

This is my first post to you ever, after having gone through all your Thar related threads and posts. Why I think I can be of help here in making you take a decision on buying the Thunderbird is because I own a October 2009 TBTS which I bought as the third owner and have ridden it 23K km since February 2012. The Odometer (broken) now stands at ~51,000 km which probably is about in the middle of its life.

I work in the Oil and Gas industry as a Mechanical Engineer and have been inclined towards the automotive industry since a long time. The job profile you mentioned is what I have to do on a daily basis (for myself) and that comes with being an Enfield owner. I ride my bike ~35 km every day. I don't have a covered parking in this monsoon crazy coastal town. I wait till the 6K km between services are up before going in for a service but still have to visit the friendly neighborhood garage for the niggles that crop up in those 6K km. I have never modified my bike in any way. I even use the standard oil (none of the synthetic business). So you can say that my bike is pretty much stock. I did get the whole bike dismantled to have a bend in the down-tube straightened which was passed on to me from the previous owner. Also got the main stand sinking fixed with extra supports welded to the frame. So that's about enough background about my bike.

Older TBTS had its own charm. The backrest is more practical. I hate the gap between the rear wheel and wheel arch. I like the yellow lighting on the instruments. Like the chrome on it. Like the Fuel Tank design and cannot stop staring at it from the rear 3 quarter view whether its shining or dirty. In its own way the exhaust also looks brilliant, probably because it looks like a big shiny piece of seamless chrome.

The new Thhunderbird only has the newness going for it. I'll tell you why...
I suspect the following problems with my bike which never get concurred by the RE service managers.
  1. Loss of compression
  2. Piston Slap
  3. Excessive Tappet noise
    - But there is no smoke/oil in the exhaust which means that the engine is healthy. But I have to invariably top up with 300 ml of engine oil in between my 6,000 km services.
  4. Rusting wheels and chrome
    - I do not have covered Parking
  5. Excessive vibrations on the handlebar
    - Probably because of a worn out front tire which needs a replacement
  6. Ergonomics of the RVMs
    - Restricted movement which is not helpful for taller riders like me
  7. Loosening of nuts and bolts here and there which gives the bike falling apart feel
    - Probably needs a good loctite treatment all around
  8. Grinding noise in rear wheel/clutch while coasting at 30kmph
    - Have gone through two sets of front and rear wheel bearings. I guess they are installing them wrong.
  9. Poor quality of wiring
    - Wires have sheaths which offer no protection when the wires are bent over metal edges.
  10. Poor Clutch Life/Installation
    - I got a clutch change at 34K and I need another one at 51K now.

I never feel that I have a trouble free bike but I still love it.
I don't blame the RE service managers, they either ride only the new bikes or old ones in the confines of their garages and own the commuter bikes so in terms of issues cropping up and the change that the owners (riding daily) feel in their bike are not known to them.

So the only reason I consider going in for a new Thunderbird is that I feel that the bike is going to be new and I will not have to deal with these ageing related issues.

I secretly wish that you own one so that the whole community is enlightened with your ownership experience and remedies.
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Old 17th March 2014, 22:26   #423
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

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Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
I find it difficult to bring my bird to neutral sometimes. My bullet has had more than her quota of quality issues, problems and niggles. Her petrol tank was replaced due to paint issues. Her faulty float was also replaced. The last, but not the least, the instrument cluster was replaced when the odometer reading was 5,722 km due to cracked glass. The petrol tank replacement was done after escalating to the higher level after the service centre guys did not act. I only pray that issues don't return or no new issues come up after the expiry of warranty! All said and done, it is the attitude of the manufacturer that counts more than anything else.
Dear Mr.J.Ravi - thank you for your factual reply. "Product Issues" as traditionally known in India for a very long time and accepted as a part of product ownership are just not acceptable to an Indian customer in 2014. My take on "Product Performance" as it ought to be today is as follows:

The vehicle should perform and continue to perform the task for which it was purchased almost invisibly (I have added the word "almost" to instil a sense of character in an automotive product (an automotive product purchase decision, more often than not, is a bit of a romance). Therefore, it is imperative that the customer should be able to continuously use the product sub-consciously and concentrate on his business-at-hand, rather than use his time to attend to the so-called "Product Issues".

In simple sentence, it goes like this: Nothing happens to the vehicle - EVER - the customer only adds fuel and drives!

Dear Tgo - thanks for your very interesting comments. The distance covered by your bike determines its life expectancy which is woefully small. My reply is as follows:

1. Loss of compression (very serious).
2. Piston Slap (obviously very serious).
3. Excessive Tappet Noise (a major irritant which completely spoils the drive experience).
4. Oil consumption between refills (300 ml is a small quantity and may be within acceptable limit, need to check against specifications).
5. Rusting Wheels and Chrome (the whole owneship charm needs that the chrome must continue to shine. This is an essential "vehicle attribute").
6. Excessive Vibrations on the Handlebar (obviously a vehicle integration issue due to tolerance stack-up, need to identify non-conformance, correct, recheck and continue till solved).
7. Ergonomics of the RVMs (RVMs provided because CMVR says so, not because the customer wants them to be there, also wants them to work).
8. Loosening of nuts and bolts here and there which gives the bike falling apart feel, probably needs a good loctite treatment all around (obviously poor build and assembly quality. Fasteners come under "C" category parts and get merrily ignored).
9. Grinding noise in rear wheel / clutch while coasting at 30kmph (can have various reasons from the insignificant to the bizzare, "wrong part fitted" also included).
10. Have gone through two sets of front and rear wheel bearings. I guess they are installing them wrong (poor bought out parts quality, poor manufacturing quality, lack of technical control on aftersales product issue resolution process).
11. Poor quality of wiring, wires have sheaths which offer no protection when the wires are bent over metal edges (introduced to satisfy "audiences in meetings", not necessarily solving the product issue, this can lead to a short circuit and fire).
12. Poor Clutch Life / Installation, a clutch change at 34K and need another one at 51K now (even God Almighty may not exactly know what was the original equipment assembly part number and what is actually running inside now, incorrect parts get fitted in the field very regularly).
13. I never feel that I have a trouble free bike but I still love it (customer has formed the opinion, it will not change easily).
14. I don't blame the RE service managers, they either ride only the new bikes or old ones in the confines of their garages and own the commuter bikes so in terms of issues cropping up and the change that the owners (riding daily) feel in their bike are not known to them (this is not new, it is the same everywhere, with wages slightly higher than those of executive drivers, employee turnover ratio is very high).
15. Inspite of 1 to 14, "the only reason I consider going in for a new Thunderbird is that I feel that the bike is going to be new and I will not have to deal with these ageing related issues" (this is the result of passion towards the product portfolio, the customer wants to buy another one, knowing fully well that it may not work)!

I secretly wish that you own one so that the whole community is enlightened with your ownership experience and remedies (thanks for the offer, but I have better ways to spend my money, your list was only 14 issues, if I can determine 10 issues in 2 kms of drive, I will end up with more than 140 if I buy the thing, I have a job to do, I don't have time for non-productive activities)! .

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 18th March 2014, 03:15   #424
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

Tgo
Is your RE TBTS a Lean Burn AVL powered motorcycle?
I ask because you made reference to a need to excessive Tappet noise and I believe the AVL's were still being sold in 2009.

The Lean Burn AVL engine still used solid tappets and the valves require adjustment.
The UCE on the other hand uses hydraulic tappets which never require adjustment. They also do not make noise.

Admittedly, I only own one Royal Enfield, a 2011 fuel injected 500cc UCE, but may I mention my transmission does not make noise, the clutch works fine and doesn't slip, the engine starts easily every time.
The only maintanence needed is to add fuel, replace the engine oil and oil filter, check the tyre pressure, lubricate the drive chain and wash and wax it when it gets dirty.

In 13,500 miles (21774 km) and 2 3/4 years of ownership the only parts that have needed replacement were the rear drive chain, the front tyre (worn out), several small light bulbs and one 20 amp fuse. (The fuse failed. It was not 'blown' due to a electrical short).

Yes, I did do one change to my wiring harness shortly after I got my new motorcycle.
Noting as you have, the electrical harness is poorly protected from sharp metal edges, I cut lengths of small vinyl hoses and slipped them over the wiring harness branches in those areas.

So far, my Royal Enfield UCE has been 100 percent dependable. Hopefully this continues because I intend to ride it on a 440 mile (710 km) trip starting this Wednesday.
Speaking of this trip, I have made it twice before averaging slightly over 60 mph (97 kmph) and it gave me a fuel economy of 78 mpg (US gal) (27.64 km/ltr) which I feel is quite good for a motorcycle loaded with a backpack full of cloths, sleeping bag and a number of tools in the luggage).
This trip climbed from 1200 feet to over 8000 feet elevation (369 meters to 2,460 meters) above sea level and returned to 1200 feet and the fuel injection adjusted itself for the altitude changes flawlessly.

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Old 18th March 2014, 13:38   #425
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

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Originally Posted by ArizonaJim View Post
Yes, I did do one change to my wiring harness shortly after I got my new motorcycle.
Noting as you have, the electrical harness is poorly protected from sharp metal edges, I cut lengths of small vinyl hoses and slipped them over the wiring harness branches in those areas.
Jim, could you post a few pictures of the same? This is one big problem that i have had. Faulty wiring causing the battery to discharge on a Sunday and having to push the bike for quite a bit.
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Old 19th March 2014, 00:53   #426
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

Hopefully this picture will explain where I felt additional protection was needed.
This is on a 2011 G5 which is basically an Electra but it should give a good idea of what was done.

I used both clear vinyl tubing and in a few places, black rubber fuel hose for the larger bundles.

To install the tubing I first cut off a length that looked suitable. I then slit the tubing along one side from end to end. This allowed me to open the tube to slip the wiring inside without disconnecting it.
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Old 23rd March 2014, 09:05   #427
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

I have recently got tbts 350 before a month back. I do not have the service manual. What is the initial run in period . Is it 500 km or 1000 kms. What is the speed one should maintain during the run in period.
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Old 23rd March 2014, 22:18   #428
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Thumbs up Bangalore>Devarayanadurga>Siddara Betta>Bangalore

What did I get after 4 hours of riding and 2 hours of barefooted, hard-core trekking under hot sun? Physical tiredness? Nope. Immense happiness.

The route.

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Today, I left my Bangalore Basaveswara Nagar home at 5:15 am on my son's Classic 500, aka Black Bull, to Devarayanadurga. I was feeling very cold notwithstanding my jacket all the way to Devarayanadurga. The sunrise was spectacular.

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After clicking some photographs, I left Devarayanadurga at 7:30 am to Siddara Betta. I reached there at 8:20 am. I took one-and-half hours [including rests and photo-shoots] for climbing the hill barefooted. For coming downhill, I took half-hour only to find that my shoes and socks were stolen by some great soul. This was my first experience of losing personal effects at a place of worship. I had no regrets as the shoes were very old and worn out needing replacement. But, I was really worried about riding Black Bull barefooted after the barefooted trekking. Anyway, I did barefoot-riding all the way back home via Koratagere, where I had brunch comprsing two thatte idlies costing 20 bucks. I reached home at 1:10 pm, i.e., after 8 hours.

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__________________________________________

Quote:
Originally Posted by rki2007 View Post
What is the initial run in period . Is it 500 km or 1000 kms.
2,000 km. The owner's manual is available at Royal Enfield website. You can download it from here.
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Old 23rd March 2014, 23:10   #429
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

Sir, an inspirational post, as always. & lovely pictures, my personal favourite being the one you've taken while coming downhill.

I'm sure you'll remember the shoe incident as a funny one in the years to come.

Where is the blue-bird sir?

& of course i'm going to ask you for your comparison with both bikes after this trip again.
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Old 24th March 2014, 03:11   #430
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

Congratulations on completing another great adventure. The photos were wonderful.

Let's hope that the person who took your shoes really needed them rather than taking them out of meanness.
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Old 24th March 2014, 08:06   #431
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Originally Posted by P.S. View Post
Sir, an inspirational post, as always. & lovely pictures
Thank you so much for the appreciation and compliments, P.S.

Quote:
Where is the blue-bird sir?
Hibernating in Chennai.

Quote:
of course i'm going to ask you for your comparison with both bikes after this trip again.
Of course, I am going to reiterate the same: power, acceleration, fuel-efficiency-wise both Classic 500 and Thunderbird 500 are evenly balanced. But, when it comes to riding comfort and gadgetry, the latter overtakes the former! Yesterday, with great difficulty, I managed to ride ~80 km during the return journey non-stop without butt-break as I was bare-footed. I could not put my foot on the hot tarmac. Had I had my shoes on, I would have definitely taken a butt-break en route. My Blue Bird will enable me ride 300+ km at a stretch easily without butt-breaks. My butt will always be thankful to the contoured saddle of my Blue Bird even after strenuous ride of 1,000+ km in a day. The flat rider's seat of my son's Classic 500 does not offer as much comfort as Thunderbird 500's contoured seat, which is a major advantage for long rides. So, for long rides, it is Thunderbird 500, IMO.

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Congratulations on completing another great adventure. The photos were wonderful.
Thank you very much for the wishes and appreciation, ArizonaJim.

Quote:
Let's hope that the person who took your shoes really needed them rather than taking them out of meanness.
I too believe that whatever happens, it is for our good only. Now, I will get a new pair of shoes!
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Old 24th March 2014, 23:59   #432
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'Butt-breaks'
ROFL!!!!!!

I think you've coined a new term that's going to stick sir(if it hasn't already). & thanks for the detailed reply.




OT: I'll be asking NCR-ites & fellow Rajasthan BHP-ians what they do to ride in the killing heat. Doubt many people with the AC 4-wheeler option would be venturing out on their bikes.
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Old 1st April 2014, 16:56   #433
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

Awesome thread Ravi sir. Thank you.

Firstly you are very passionate about your rides and devote a lot of time to travel. Secondly, you have the patience to share your experiences with all of us. Hats off to you! Wish you many more trouble free miles ahead.

I'm an average IT Joe residing in Bangalore who is unable to make up his mind on whether or not to buy a Thunderbird. While I like the bike and the looks, the quality issues that I hear push me against going for it. Don't know if I will ever decide!

Anyway, look forward to hearing from you as you churn more miles
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Old 1st April 2014, 19:33   #434
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I'm also in the same confusion. Want to buy a TB 500. However those niggles related to RE Thunderbird are they really still severe or is the New gen TBird trouble free. Confused wether to go for it or wait for upcoming SS 400 from Bajaj or HX 250 from Hero.
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Old 2nd April 2014, 08:33   #435
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Awesome thread Ravi sir.
Thank you so much for the nice words, wishes and appreciation, naut.

Quote:
Anyway, look forward to hearing from you as you churn more miles
Nobody is perfect. No bike is perfect including my Blue Bird. As I mentioned earlier, my Blue Bird has never broken down in any of my mega rides so far. I suggest, you test-ride all the bikes of all the brands that come within your budget, not once, but many times from different dealers, and then, decide. I did the same before I bought Blue Bird. After all, the weekends are meant for that, isn't it?
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