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Old 24th April 2013, 16:26   #1
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Thumbs up Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

A second Royal Enfield entered my family on 15 April 2013. Meet my Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Twilight.

Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries-1.jpg

My new Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Twilight poses with my FIAT Linea (Cara Mia Fiat Linea!), the first one being my son's Classic 500 Black.

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I am starting this ownership thread after riding my TB500 for 567 km and completing the first free servicing.

Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries-dsc09458.jpg

I have been dreaming to own a Royal Enfield since 1970s, when I was a teenager. My dream became a reality on 15 April 2013! Earlier, I had owned and sold many two wheelers, Lambretta, Vijay Delux, Priya, Hero Honda CD100 and Suzuki Fiero.

My desire to own a Royal Enfield renewed again last year, when my son wanted to buy Royal Enfield Classic 500 Black. So, along with him, I test-rode Royal Enfield models Electra and Desert Storm and Honda CBR 250R. I used to ride his Classic 500 during the weekends as my son uses it for commuting to and fro his office during the other days. After riding his bike, I decided that my next bike shall be Royal Enfield! In the meanwhile, Royal Enfield launched the new Thunderbird 500 in October, 2012, which I test-rode for the first time at HSR Enterprises, Rajajinagar, Bangalore. I also test-rode Vespa Lx125 when it was launched and did not like it. Finally, I took the plunge and sold my Suzuki Fiero and booked a Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Twilight after test-riding for the second time at Royal Enfield Brand Store, Adayar, Chennai on 16 November 2012 by paying Name:  rupeesymbol.gif
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I waited patiently until the first week of March 2013. From the second week, I started calling the Royal Enfield Brand Store to know my status atleast twice in a week. I was assured that I would get my bike by the third week, and then, fourth week and later, the first week of April 2013. But, nothing happened except the false assurances. I had become so famous there that I was identified by my voice!

I got fed up and vented my feelings in Team-BHP, Facebook, Twitter and other fora. I also emailed to Royal Enfield. Then, the things started moving fast. I paid Name:  rupeesymbol.gif
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I did PDI, when my bike came to Chennai Mandaiveli RTO. The VIN indicated that my bird was March 2013 make. The pollution test was done 23 March 2013. Only after getting satisfied, I signed the RTO forms, afterwhich, my bike was registered.

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I took delivery of my bird the same evening from Royal Enfield Brand Store after waiting for 5 months. The delivery process was smooth. Kamal Pandey, manager of Royal Enfield Brand Store, explained to me all the details patiently, which I had already known. Two litres of petrol were measured and poured into the tank in my presence. I was even given the registration number, but asked me to come the next day for affixing the stickers on the registration number plates.

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After getting the stickers affixed on the registration number plates, I rode to Quality Metal Industries and my TB500 got a newly designed crash-guard. The details are here (The Crash Guards Discussion Thread). The advantage of this type of crash-guard is that the rider's footwear will not foul with it although the front foot-rest peg is shifted towards the front in the new Thunderbirds.

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While my wife and children were happy with the arrival of the Thunderbird amongst us, some known, well-known and unknown persons made the following comments:

'Does he require this huge bike at his age?'

'He should have bought a scooter so that he could control'

'Can he handle that bike?'

'He could have gone in for 350 cc at the most; not a 500 cc bike!'


I took all these comments with a pinch of salt. I could not make those people understand that I bought my TB500 after riding my son's Classic 500 for over an year!

I rode on my TB500 for about 200 km within Chennai city following all the stipulations specified in the owner's handbook, viz., not exceeding 50 kmph and 10 minutes rest for every hour of ride. However, the fifth gear could not used much in the congested city traffic. So, I rode Chennai>Pondy>Chennai [323 km] with my wife in the pillion on 23 April 2013, when my TB500 was on the fifth gear most of the time on the highways. While going, I went by ECR; for the return journey, I took NH 66/45 via Tindivanam.

In Pondy, we visited Manakula Vinayakar temple, brunched at Adyar Ananda Bhavan, my TB500 had tankful of petrol at Aurobindo Ashram BP pump costing Name:  rupeesymbol.gif
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It's a new experience for me to ride through the toll plazas without paying and waiting! Some decades back, I rode Bangalore-Mysore-Bangalore [~300 km] in one day in my Hero Honda CD100.

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My TB500 went to Royal Enfield Brand Store at Kottivakkam, Chennai, for the first free servicing on 24 April 2013. Earlier, I contacted them and I was told that I could ride into the service centre at 9 am without prior appointment. The bike would be serviced and handed over to me after 2.5 hours. I could wait there in the customer lounge, when my bike was serviced. My TB500 reached there by 9:15 am. Before I was attended by the SA, the security guy opened my bike's tank and measured the petrol level by inserting a dip-stick and noted the level in a register. First time, I witnessed this process. I had difficulty in bring the gear lever to the neutral position. The second problem that I faced was, some 'Dak..Dak' sound emanating from the chain-guard in a cyclic manner. The SA assured me that the issues would be set right.

I waited in the air-conditioned customer lounge, while my Thunderbird was getting serviced. I was served with coffee at 10 am. I browsed the newspapers. Then, I enquired with the cashier about the acceptance of credit card for payment without extra charge. The cashier informed me that additional service charge of about 1.75% would apply. So, I walked to the nearby Canara Bank ATM located on Rajiv Gandhi Salai [Old Mahabalipuram Road] and withdrew sufficient money to take care of the payment. I got back my bird by 12:15 pm. I checked. All the problems were resolved to my satisfaction. I paid Name:  rupeesymbol.gif
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Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries-20.jpg

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My son's Classic 500 Black's servicing at the crowded HSR Enterprises, Rajajinagar, Bangalore, takes two days with prior appointment by atleast one week before. Compared to that, my Thunderbird got serviced within 3 hours without any prior booking! The Chennai Royal Enfield Brand Store service centre was spacious. All the bikes were parked in the demarcated grid. The mechanics wore helmet while going for the test-rides. I am fully satisfied with the service rendered to my TB500.

Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries-27.jpg

Last edited by J.Ravi : 25th April 2013 at 07:39.
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Old 24th April 2013, 21:18   #2
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Smile Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

Now it's time to browse through the technical specifications of my TB500.

Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries-1.jpg

Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries-2.jpg

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Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries-11.jpg

I like the following:
  • Excellent power and torque: beneficial to both the highway and city riding
  • Superb handling and riding quality
  • Sharp brakes
  • Powerful projector lamp headlamp
  • Two-pod back-lit instrument cluster with digital displays
  • Front foot-rest pegs have moveable springing joints, which will absorb the shock in case of a hit
  • Rider-friendly handlebar position and foot-rest pegs: useful for long rides
  • Excellent fit and finish compared to the other models of Royal Enfield
  • Excellent company-owned ASS at Chennai with customer-friendly facilities
  • The last, but not the least, rider's seat provides maximum comfort to the rider
Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries-dsc09364.jpg

I dislike the following:
  • Digital display does not provide fuel efficiency in kmpl
  • Quirky fuel gauge: the bars change abruptly several times
  • Absence of 12 V charger for this premium highway cruiser
  • Rear tail lamp & indicator cluster and registration number plate alignment points upwards by several degrees to the horizontal
  • After buying this premium bike, Royal Enfield Brand Store did not provide key chains ['You have to buy this as accessory, Sir!'] and provided all the documents in a paper envelope that gave away the very next day!
  • The last, but not the least, non-transparent delivery process. I was told 4 months, but got the bike after 5 months with the increased price. The stores manager told me that I would get my bike only on 18 or 19 April 2013. But, his staff called me on 15 April 2013 and delivered on the same day! Seems a lot of communication gap between the manager and his staff.
My FIAT Linea drove from Kanniyakumari to Khardung La. I hope, my Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 will also follow suit.

Last edited by J.Ravi : 25th April 2013 at 07:32.
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Old 25th April 2013, 09:13   #3
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

Hi Ravi,
I took a test ride a few months back and have been holding back buying one waiting for long term reviews. And another negative factor was timely service. I have a 2003 Thunderbird and the service booking times became longer and longer and I found a small time mechanic to maintain my bike. But I haven't done much of mileage in the last few years. Your comment that there is no waiting time for service gives me a lot of confidence. I am eager to see more in your diary.
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Old 25th April 2013, 09:53   #4
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

Congratulations for the New Bird. I am in Q but booked at Velavan motors last month. Can you please share your comments on the pilion comfort?
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Old 25th April 2013, 10:06   #5
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

Quote:
Originally Posted by lightpower View Post
Congratulations for the New Bird.
Thanks a lot for the wishes, lightpower.
Quote:
Can you please share your comments on the pilion comfort?
My wife, who sits keeping both her legs on one side, finds my son's Classic 500 pillion seat more comfortable. But, my daughters, who sit keeping either of their legs on either side, find my Thunderbird 500's rear seat offers more comfort than the Classic 500's. They praised the back-rest that was missing in Classic 500.
Quote:
Originally Posted by aks_karthik View Post
Congrats Ravi sir
Thank you very much, aks_karthik.
Quote:
He even rode it from B'lore to Chennai last week
I will be riding in the near future from Chennai to Bangalore with my wife in the pillion.

Last edited by J.Ravi : 25th April 2013 at 10:14.
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Old 25th April 2013, 10:09   #6
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

Congrats Ravi sir,

My Brother too bought the same in Matt Black from B'lore Showroom.
He even rode it from B'lore to Chennai last week and i yet to check it.
Any Day Bike means Bullet to me. But I am not a fan to ride it in City Traffic.
Enjoy and Drive Safe
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Old 25th April 2013, 10:20   #7
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
I had difficulty in bring the gear lever to the neutral position. The second problem that I faced was, some 'Dak..Dak' sound emanating from the chain-guard in a cyclic manner
Dear Mr.Ravi - thanks for sharing your experience. I love the Bullet and want to buy it but experiences such as you faced (as quoted above) are holding me back. Can you please share the root cause analysis of both the above issues? It will help everybody, hence requesting.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 25th April 2013, 10:30   #8
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Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
Dear Mr.Ravi - thanks for sharing your experience.
Thanks a lot, DHABHAR.BEHRAM.
Quote:
Can you please share the root cause analysis of both the above issues?
When the SA asked me, any problems, I explained these two issues. But, he was just smiling and assured me that they would be taken care of. I think, these niggles happen in all the new bikes of Royal Enfield and they knew it! When the bike was delivered to me after service, the SA asked me to check the bike as the issues were resolved. True to his word, I found both the problems were resolved. When I asked for the reason, he again smiled and informed that they adjusted and lubricated the chains and gear lever! He said they were all the routine ones and nothing to worry about.
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Old 25th April 2013, 11:46   #9
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
My FIAT Linea drove from Kanniyakumari to Khardung La. I hope, my Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 will also follow suit.
Congratulations on buying an excellent product from Royal Enfield. To be quite honest, think that the new TB500 is their best product launched till date.
The paint quality is absolutely top notch and find their fit & finish to be perfectly fine.

Was to pop up the question of when are you planning to take it to Khardungla to emulate what your linea did and appears that you have the same thoughts.

Since you are in Chennai, suggest you to do the North-South Corridor. Riding all the way from Kanyakumari to Khardungla Pass.

Wishing you miles of smiles and happiness on your new ride. Keep this thread updated.

PS: You are quite a big inspiration to folks like me.
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Old 25th April 2013, 12:00   #10
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

Congrats Ravi! This is a truly inspirational thread. We wish you many, many more decades of exciting, trouble-free motoring!
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Old 25th April 2013, 12:32   #11
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
A second Royal Enfield entered my family on 15 April 2013. Meet my Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Twilight.
Congratulations J.Raviji... Finally the bird arrives.. What a beauty! Wish you happy and safe riding for years to come.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
some known, well-known and unknown persons made the following comments:
Never mind. I am 33 and yet was on the receiving end of same questions when i bought my TB500. You are now an inspiration
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Old 25th April 2013, 13:13   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
When the SA asked me, any problems, I explained these two issues. But, he was just smiling and assured me that they would be taken care of. I think, these niggles happen in all the new bikes of Royal Enfield and they knew it! When the bike was delivered to me after service, the SA asked me to check the bike as the issues were resolved. True to his word, I found both the problems were resolved. When I asked for the reason, he again smiled and informed that they adjusted and lubricated the chains and gear lever! He said they were all the routine ones and nothing to worry about.
Dear Raviji - thanks for your reply, I appreciate. I am a vehicle integration / vehicle test engineer by profession, I work in the automobile industry only. I very well know the reasons behind the "smiles" of service advisors. I will be extremely grateful if you could spend some quality time and dig out the root causes. They are certainly not as simple as lack of lubrication! I cannot not buy till I find the engineering / manufacturing solution. If something happens, who has the time to go and fight!

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 25th April 2013, 14:08   #13
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Originally Posted by ku69rd View Post
You are quite a big inspiration to folks like me.
Thanks a lot for the kind words, ku69rd. My Thunderbird 500 will fly to Kanniyakumari in a few months from now. Khardungla, perhaps, next year!
Quote:
Originally Posted by vivekjayasheel View Post
We wish you many, many more decades of exciting, trouble-free motoring!
Thanks for the nice words, vivekjayasheel.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sam_b View Post
Congratulations J.Raviji.
Thank you very much, sam_b.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
They are certainly not as simple as lack of lubrication!
Right now, I am enjoying my ride on my Thunderbird 500.
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Old 25th April 2013, 14:17   #14
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries

Quote:
Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
Dear Raviji - thanks for your reply, I appreciate. I am a vehicle integration / vehicle test engineer by profession, I work in the automobile industry only. I very well know the reasons behind the "smiles" of service advisors. I will be extremely grateful if you could spend some quality time and dig out the root causes. They are certainly not as simple as lack of lubrication! I cannot not buy till I find the engineering / manufacturing solution. If something happens, who has the time to go and fight!

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
Behram ji I have been following your distant lust-under-control attraction for the Bullet.

If you recall, I sent you a private message on the same some time ago as well.

My sincere advice to you.

Please forget the Bullet.

Maybe a Triumph Bonneville or something.
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Old 25th April 2013, 14:32   #15
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Originally Posted by ebonho View Post
Please forget the Bullet.
Doc,
Am very keen to understand why you would advice against the TB500. Always thought that this was their best ever product that they released in recent times.
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