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Old 7th June 2013, 08:39   #16
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

I am 50. Own a TBTS 500 since Dec 12 and have done 4500 Km so far. My rides are primarily weekend highway 100 km + rides. I prefer .. rather need a relaxed riding position. My body is not as flexible as it used to be.The TBTS 500 works well for me especially the riding comfort/stance. The weight is not a problem , though I have not yet dropped the bike and hence have no experience in picking it up from the ground.
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Old 7th June 2013, 09:22   #17
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

^
That's interesting to note. Maybe TBTS has changed over time. I have logged onto their website and asked for a test ride. Lets see...
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Old 7th June 2013, 09:24   #18
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

I too am in a similar situation. Haven't owned a bike for last 15 years. But my requirement is very simple, i will be riding purely for pleasure so the bike has to bring a big grin to my face every time i ride. And to me Bullet TB doesn't fulfill this requirement.

I have waited over a year and the wait will end with Duke 390. Also have my eyes set on Triumph ST which should have settled down in India by the time I am ready to trade the 390 for something else.

Gear ratios on 390 are completely different from 200 and with the tall 6th gear should make for a comfortable cruising on the highways which was really lacking in the 200.
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Old 7th June 2013, 09:27   #19
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sridhu View Post
I had never considered the weight factor. Have always been able to pick em up but ...
Good point!

The dilemma is 2 fold - old tech vs new and manic driving vs cruising. The bike will not be used for commuting certainly. I am thinking I will combine it with my other passion - photography and hence a weekly/ fortnightly usage of about 150km is probably what will happen. If the wife agrees, may be a couple of trips to Madras.

Like dkaile says, a Harley might be the answer but it feels too much like a poseur's bike. I too like well engineered products.

I think I am leaning towards the TBTS - I can see myself on it. The Duke's neck snapping acceleration might just snap my neck off at my age!

Will decide after the Duke has been ridden; for now, I have booked a TBTS hoping it will be in time for my birthday. If the Duke test ride does not happen before the TBTS becomes available, I will consider that the Flying Spaghetti Monster has decided the matter for me!
Congrats on booking your TB500. Hope you have many happy biking miles with whatever bike you eventually choose to own.
However the Duke may not be fit for pillion riders, the seat is far too small for any trips longer than say 30 mins within the city. For the rider alone, it is sufficient though. Also size wise the Duke is physically a smaller machine than the TB500, but the rider is perched higher, like almost a quasi motocross rider, compared to the lowrider position in the TB. The TB500 0-100 is about 11-12secs which is quite fast compared to other machines around, however it cant compare to the 390 which may do it in less than 7secs. TB500 has a detachable pillion seat to easily mount your luggage on solo rides and it is very nifty. A disclaimer: If you consider the TB as a bullet variant, you may be disappointed, it is nothing like a bullet in terms of thump, low speed/idle pulling or ride mannerisms, consider it a high speed cruiser more akin to the Avenger than a bullet.
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Old 7th June 2013, 10:39   #20
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

I noticed that earlier in this topic Bazinga mentions that he had his share of bad experiences with the Royal Enfields and I don't doubt his word.

With this in mind I thought the words of the man who owns the Importing company that imports Royal Enfields into the USA might be of interest.

Keep in mind that as the owner, he personally reviews every warranty claim and has done so for years.

As a side note, he is a totally honest man of high character and his directness in addressing questions and giving truthful answers was a major factor in my deciding to buy my own Royal Enfield.

In response to a question about the dependability of the new fuel injected models he had this to say:

Quote:
"As the guy who has read the warranty claims for 15 years, the UCE bikes are more reliable. If for no other reason than the EFI and design of the engine. There was nothing wrong with the iron barrel, but it was 1938 technology...
You ALWAYS had to tweak something. It was normal everyday life and no one thought anything of it. Such was life with the iron barrel.

The AVL engine was a full step forward. Mostly because of a better crank, oil system, alloy barrel, electronic ignition, CV carb and a 5 speed transmission. We really had very little trouble with them (except for sprag clutch's).

The UCE is an entirely modern design. Modern design means an engine that is all but "Bullet proof" pun intended. We have 10% of the claims we used to have on iron barrels..."
This seems to point out that Royal Enfields biggest problem beyond producing them fast enough is their need to live down the reputation inherited from the earlier Iron Barrel. A 90 percent improvement is significant.

Yes, the RE's imported into the USA have a few differences like a lambda sensor and a few other things that are different (such as the headlight), but 98 percent of the motorcycle is identical to the Royal Enfields sold in India.

He does not import the T Bird to the USA because there are too many other brands of motorcycles built in that style so, although his comments would not include that model they are relevant to the basic mechanical parts which the T Bird shares with the other models.
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Old 7th June 2013, 11:43   #21
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

I was also a victim of the mid life crisis. :-)
I mwas comparing only between the different models of RE. finally settled down on the Electra 350. Got the delivery 3rd week of May, after a long 6 months wait. So far so good. Almost ready for the 1st service. I had not ridden a bike in India. I used to in USA, riding a Suzuki 650cc bike. So i am liking it, especially saving about 15 mins on my daily commute because of the flexibility of the two wheeler. I have not yet done a long trip, maximum has been a 50 kms with about 30 mins break inbetween.
Regarding KTM Duke, at least in bangalore, I dont know why almost every one who rides just does it like they are in a hurry, zig-zag in traffic and very fast.
So my point is irrespective of what bike you eventually choose, you will like it anyway.
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Old 7th June 2013, 16:42   #22
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

I would suggest a Ninja 650-- for the awesome ride feel, it can be a relaxed tourer as well as a awesome speed gun.Comfortable position,matured design,exclusivity and lovely power on tap.Maintenance will be higher but compared to a HD i would say Ninja ...
if not then a TBTS 500-- which is also a relaxed tourer with a comfortable riding position.However, a Duke 390 is a mental bike and i would not suggest it.On top of it the pillion carrying capability is zilch.where as in both 650 as well as TBTS 500 -- it has good comfortable seats.
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Old 7th June 2013, 17:33   #23
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

Got a call from Moto Riders, Meerut, Enfield's authorised dealership here, offering me test ride of the Classic 500 Desert Storm and the Thunderbird 350. Went over. Had a test ride of both. The 500 certainly feels much improved from what I had owned in the 90's. But that was bought for just 40k while this one costs 1.68L on road now (1.75L for the 500 Chrome and 1.79 for the Thunderbird 500 NT51).

Some observations -

- Thunderbird 350 lacked the punch of the 500. Still both these bikes are nowhere near the Ninja 650 that I had rode, in each and every aspect whether it's the built quality, ergonomics, engine etc. etc. But then that single one costs 3 of these bikes.
- The Desert Storm's side mirrors were shaking crazily. They still haven't been able to sort out some very basic built issues.
- The seating arrangement on the Classic DS was much better than the Thunderbird IMHO. Just spot on. TB was more cruiser like and not so comfortable.
- The brake lever on the Thunderbird was raised a tad bit to my liking.
- The Classic 500's thump was just that... Just Classic. Alone worth the cost of the bike!! and for which I had bought it so many many years ago. I inquired to get this thump on the Thunderbird and was informed that the same was possible. Cost would be 3200 bucks for the Classic's muffler to be retrofitted in the TB.
- The dealership was lethargic. Most Accessories were only on order. The service centre was empty but decent with 3 service bays.

Name:  Bullet 500 Thunderbird Twinspark_1.jpg
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The bike in the background was the TB350 that I test rode, along with the Classic 500 DS
Name:  Bullet 500 Thunderbird Twinspark_2.jpg
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Overall, not much enthused and still keeping my choices open. Ninja 650 still is the preferred choice. Awaiting the test ride of the Duke 390.
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Old 7th June 2013, 19:57   #24
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

Do also keep a lookout for this imminent, possibly the baby Harley, launching soon - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motorb...-imminent.html
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Old 7th June 2013, 22:59   #25
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

Depends completely on your needs Sir. If you wish to cruise, it's the Bullet for you. If you need a fast and powerful street bike, the KTM it is for you.
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Old 8th June 2013, 00:24   #26
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

If you can afford the Ninja 650, get that. The duke 390, though a nice bike might not give you the relaxed riding feeling you are looking for.

Its a globally proven design and is extremely reliable too. The first batch of the 390's will have their share of teething trouble. So if you do get it right after launch, be prepared to visit the service centre relatively often.

If you can wait a year post launch, you will get a much reliable motorcycle in the Duke 390.

So go for the N650 now or wait it out till Bajaj irons out all the KTM niggles.
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Old 8th June 2013, 13:21   #27
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

If you plan to ride to Chennai with your wife as pillion, even if its once a year, on the Duke 390 it will be one time too many, with potential for marital discord looming on the horizon. TB500 it is then. And you do not need to wait for the 390 to be launched to test if the Duke is the bike for you. Just test ride a 200. Performance-wise, it will comfortably surpass the TB500. And everything else on the 390 will be just the same. Only quicker and faster.

Last edited by ebonho : 8th June 2013 at 13:25.
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Old 8th June 2013, 19:52   #28
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

The Thunderbird and the KTM are two completely different bikes, total opposites.

The TBTS is fantastic for ride comfort, all-day-long rides. Being an Enfield, you know you could tour with a pillion and luggage with no problems. Downsides would be the usual downsides you'd get with any Enfield (i.e. all the extra attention and care needed, and frequent but fixable mechanical problems depending on who you talk to). And if you want performance, precision, adrenalin rush, etc then it's just not that kind of bike.

The KTM would be fantastic because, well, it's KTM. They're legends at what they do. Incredible performance, high-tech, very reliable, lightweight, etc. but the downsides, from what I hear, are that you can forget riding with a pillion for long rides. Touring on a Duke has been done successfully, even Manali / Leh etc but always solo. And a regular complaint is the hardness of the seat, though I guess you could modify.

I own a Thunderbird, and was very close to buying a Duke. But my goals were comfortable, long rides / short tours with my wife sitting behind me, and those were critical factors for me, so I impulsively bought a used '09 TBTS and haven't looked back since
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Old 9th June 2013, 06:41   #29
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

My dilemma, folks, is precisely because they are completely different bikes. I tend to buy well engineered goods most of the time. From that perspective a TBTS is like 70 year old tech.

I like the Duke; I like that I have all that power on tap. I think the basic question is can I tour on a Duke? I know it is extremely quick but is it well mannered in traffic? Basically if it is pliant in traffic & a hooligan on the open roads, I will buy the Duke.

@marcussantiago
Quote:
Touring on a Duke has been done successfully, even Manali / Leh etc but always solo
- has been done, does not mean it is comfortable to do so! I have a friend who did a western ghat tour on a bloody kinetic Honda!

90% of the time I will ride solo. Taking my wife pillion to Madras is more sell it to her.

I know that the TBTS is not dual faced (gentleman-hooligan) but I know the Bullet. Other than ride posture, I am expecting the TBTS to be largely the same. SO, it will be handlable in traffic & I can open it up on the highway. I am mechanically adept enough to maintain it (in fact that is also one of the attractions!)

Does that Duke have a "experience Duke" program like the Thunderbird? I think not but no harm asking.

Last edited by sridhu : 9th June 2013 at 06:43. Reason: Forgot a point. Dont want 2 posts.
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Old 9th June 2013, 10:46   #30
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sridhu View Post
My dilemma, folks, is precisely because they are completely different bikes. I tend to buy well engineered goods most of the time. From that perspective a TBTS is like 70 year old tech.

I like the Duke; I like that I have all that power on tap. I think the basic question is can I tour on a Duke? I know it is extremely quick but is it well mannered in traffic? Basically if it is pliant in traffic & a hooligan on the open roads, I will buy the Duke.

@marcussantiago - has been done, does not mean it is comfortable to do so! I have a friend who did a western ghat tour on a bloody kinetic Honda!

90% of the time I will ride solo. Taking my wife pillion to Madras is more sell it to her.

I know that the TBTS is not dual faced (gentleman-hooligan) but I know the Bullet. Other than ride posture, I am expecting the TBTS to be largely the same. SO, it will be handlable in traffic & I can open it up on the highway. I am mechanically adept enough to maintain it (in fact that is also one of the attractions!)

Does that Duke have a "experience Duke" program like the Thunderbird? I think not but no harm asking.
Yes it is quite a breeze to handle a Duke in city traffic. Last week got a chance to ride a Duke 200 in congested traffic, and I swear it's a hooligan, and very flickable. The 390 should be no different.
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