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Old 9th June 2013, 23:41   #31
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

Having owned 3 Bullets I never wanted another one. I frankly don't have the time to deal with the temperamental nature and emotional demands an bullet makes on you. You wake up on the wrong side of the bed and you are late to office because your bullet didn't like the side of the bed you woke up on and refuses to start. Sometimes, it gets upset that he traffic light turned green and refuses to start. Anyways, I wanted something besides a bullet and as much as I hate the screaming colors of the Duke, I was left with no other choice to but to go for the duke. Before I plonked my money down, a good friend offered me his 200 to use in twisties for a couple of days. The handling and power delivery is just awsome for a 200 cc engine. There was always power to spare when going up hills.

However, the biggest disappointment for me was that the knee stretched back position got uncomfortable after a couple of hours on the road. So from a no brainer decision to go for the Duke 390, I am considering the TBTS 500 again. I really don't want another en-field but there is is no decent cruiser under 2 lakhs besides the Bullet. Just thought I would wait for a couple of months to see if the Suzuki Inauzma gets launched.

https://www.suzuki-gb.co.uk/motorcyc...w/inazuma-250/
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Old 10th June 2013, 05:39   #32
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

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the biggest disappointment for me was that the knee stretched back position got uncomfortable after a couple of hours on the road
I was afraid of this, precisely.

Well, I hear that the new bullets are a bit more reliable, @4x4addict. At least, they are electric start. (Somehow, starting a bullet without the kickback is not the same!)
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Old 10th June 2013, 09:24   #33
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

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Originally Posted by 4x4addict View Post
Having owned 3 Bullets I never wanted another one. I frankly don't have the time to deal with the temperamental nature and emotional demands an bullet makes on you. You wake up on the wrong side of the bed and you are late to office because your bullet didn't like the side of the bed you woke up on and refuses to start. Sometimes, it gets upset that he traffic light turned green and refuses to start.

I am considering the TBTS 500 again. I really don't want another en-field but there is is no decent cruiser under 2 lakhs besides the Bullet. Just thought I would wait for a couple of months to see if the Suzuki Inauzma gets launched.
The TBTS500 is a different breed of Bullet. doesnt have any of the tantrums (called character by bulletiers) of the old RE. Starts reqularly, rides properly, just add petrol and ride. No oil leaks, no rusting, no parts falling off etc etc and the associated bullet horror stories.
It might be too regular, reliable and boring to the bullet heads though
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Old 10th June 2013, 11:59   #34
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

Hi 4x4addict,

You may want to see the initial report on Suzuki Inazuma on XBHP
http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/first-im...de-report.html

Cheers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4x4addict View Post
Having owned 3 Bullets I never wanted another one. I frankly don't have the time to deal with the temperamental nature and emotional demands an bullet makes on you. You wake up on the wrong side of the bed and you are late to office because your bullet didn't like the side of the bed you woke up on and refuses to start. Sometimes, it gets upset that he traffic light turned green and refuses to start. Anyways, I wanted something besides a bullet and as much as I hate the screaming colors of the Duke, I was left with no other choice to but to go for the duke. Before I plonked my money down, a good friend offered me his 200 to use in twisties for a couple of days. The handling and power delivery is just awsome for a 200 cc engine. There was always power to spare when going up hills.

However, the biggest disappointment for me was that the knee stretched back position got uncomfortable after a couple of hours on the road. So from a no brainer decision to go for the Duke 390, I am considering the TBTS 500 again. I really don't want another en-field but there is is no decent cruiser under 2 lakhs besides the Bullet. Just thought I would wait for a couple of months to see if the Suzuki Inauzma gets launched.

https://www.suzuki-gb.co.uk/motorcyc...w/inazuma-250/
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Old 10th June 2013, 12:36   #35
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

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Originally Posted by apachelongbow View Post
The TBTS500 is a different breed of Bullet. doesnt have any of the tantrums (called character by bulletiers) of the old RE. Starts reqularly, rides properly, just add petrol and ride. No oil leaks, no rusting, no parts falling off etc etc and the associated bullet horror stories.
It might be too regular, reliable and boring to the bullet heads though
Then again, I will temper your enthusiam with what I posted earlier on more than one occasion. The TBTS500 is a new bike. All new Bullets run fine, run dry, run problem free. The TBTS500 is not unique in this. The std 500 and the LB500 both run as fine when new.

But all Bullets have a life. A honeymoon period if you wish. And like all honeymoons, they end. And when that happens, you realise that nothing ever really changes.

A junior clubbie with a Classic 500. Good photographer, travel juorno. Rides and tours a lot. Has opened his engine three times in the past year. His C5 is one of the early lots. Many many more similar stories. But the idea is not to bash the Bullet but temper expectations with reality.

Have things improved now? Let us know in a few years from now.

Last edited by ebonho : 10th June 2013 at 12:52.
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Old 10th June 2013, 16:47   #36
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

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Originally Posted by sridhu View Post
Well, I hear that the new bullets are a bit more reliable,
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Originally Posted by apachelongbow View Post
The TBTS500 is a different breed of Bullet. doesnt have any of the tantrums (called character by bulletiers) of the old RE.
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Originally Posted by ebonho View Post
Then again, I will temper your enthusiam with what I posted earlier on more than one occasion.
I have ridden the UCE 350 and Classic 500. They are definitely different animals compared to the earlier ones. Back in the day, there where some golden rules I followed when riding my bullet:

1) Carry a toolkit and rag in your laptop bag.
2) Never willingly shut off the bike at a traffic signal to save gas/reduce emissions.
3) Wear only black trousers so grease stains won't be seen by the client.
4) Always wear a full face helmet so no one sees your face when you are kicking the living daylights out of the bike.

As they say, once bitten, twice shy and in my case I have been bitten thrice. I think I will wait for better options.
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Old 10th June 2013, 17:00   #37
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4x4addict View Post
I have ridden the UCE 350 and Classic 500. They are definitely different animals compared to the earlier ones. Back in the day, there where some golden rules I followed when riding my bullet:

1) Carry a toolkit and rag in your laptop bag.
2) Never willingly shut off the bike at a traffic signal to save gas/reduce emissions.
3) Wear only black trousers so grease stains won't be seen by the client.
4) Always wear a full face helmet so no one sees your face when you are kicking the living daylights out of the bike.

As they say, once bitten, twice shy and in my case I have been bitten thrice. I think I will wait for better options.
Allow me to offer a different perspective, as a 3-time bite victim myself.

All your points are true to an extent related to the vagaries of a CB point ignited motorcycle just off tune and the famed Bullet electricals and battery.

On the personal front, have always kept the mltitude of rags, wires, cables, oil cans, tools, and box of nuts and bolts and levers in the tool boxes.

Have things improved now? Sure! Now you have the comfort of an ES.

Till the day it blows and you split the engine to replace the sprag clutch.

Or the day the OE 14 Ah battery breathes its last, and you scurry from pillar to post on your own to get a replacement (RE only take responsibility to sell you the bike - more often than not you are on your own post that momentous marriage) and finally plonk in one used in auto rickshaws and for phone booth UPS's.

So now, before these two things happen, as they mostly will and do, you can ride with a half face helmet and proudly flaunt your face to the whole world.

The other perspective is about who bought the real Bullets versus the prospective customer base today for what RE offers.

In the old days, the only guys who bought the Bullet were those who wanted the Bullet and only the Bullet. Embarrassments and frustrations and heartburn well known and accepted. No other "bike" even comes into the equation. The max one scratches his head is as to either 350 or 500, black paint and gold pinstripes or buckets of chrome.

Now the scene is diferent, with the bikes being tailored for acceptance to the larger non-Bullet "generic bike" market. Un-Bulleted if you will. So while the sales have soared 300% from the 25 0dd thousand annulally RE counted upon year after year for over half a century, to the last few years with annual sales figures topping 75,000 units, and a new factory being set up, the sales are to an audience which buys the bike as just a bike. A bigger bike with cooler looks, but a bike all the same. Not really a Bullet.

So tomorrow if something bigger and better comes along, as it will, these same guys will move there. And the company knows and accepts this as part of their corporate re-branding strategy.

No longer will you find the masochistic generation that we belong to, which bought not one, not two, but 3 Bullets. Cribbing away to glory, but loving every moment of it. Like any other marriage.

Last edited by ebonho : 10th June 2013 at 17:13.
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Old 10th June 2013, 17:06   #38
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

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Originally Posted by ebonho View Post
But all Bullets have a life. A honeymoon period if you wish. And like all honeymoons, they end. And when that happens, you realise that nothing ever really changes.
How long does this "honeymoon" period last according to you? In Kms and years...
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Old 10th June 2013, 17:17   #39
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

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Originally Posted by enfield_500 View Post
How long does this "honeymoon" period last according to you? In Kms and years...
No two Bullets are alike.

No two Bulet riders either.

The honeymoon ends when you blow your factory-fitted crank or top end, and have to touch your well run in factory assembled engine. Or when the first electrical gremlins apear. Not so much the head, as that's usually under control if done well.

After that, its all downhill from there.
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Old 11th June 2013, 03:29   #40
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

I agree that with time and distance all machines eventually wear out.

After owning my 2011, 500cc FI Royal Enfield for 25 months and having put over 16965 km on it usually riding at speeds of 75 kmph (when not waiting at a stop light) my bike has yet to show any signs of wear though.

Yes, the drive chain to the rear wheel and the front tyre wore out but I figure that's not too high of a price to pay for two years of enjoyment.

All in all, my RE has been more dependable than the BMW I bought new and rode for 12 years.
At the rate it's going I fully expect this bike to last as long.

As I've said before, Royal Enfields biggest current problem is having to overcome the reputation of the older designs which had more than their fair share of problems.
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Old 11th June 2013, 11:18   #41
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

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I agree that with time and distance all machines eventually wear out.

After owning my 2011, 500cc FI Royal Enfield for 25 months and having put over 16965 km on it usually riding at speeds of 75 kmph (when not waiting at a stop light) my bike has yet to show any signs of wear though.
Jim, right there is the basic and biggest difference between a 500 owner and rider in the US/UK/Australia/Germany/France/Switzerland/rest of the western world where RE exports their bikes, and a 500 owner and rider here.

For you its a novelty, a quaint little old school motorcycle ("modern classic") that harks back to simpler days from your youth or your dad's depending on your own vintage. You accept it for what it is, having a HUGE choice of every other modern bike on the planet with gazillions more preformance and technology, and having in all likelihood graduated from these machines. Most of you now actually want to take it SLOW and SIMPLE having already gone through the fast and furious stage of your lives. I seriously doubt many if any guys at your end being in their 20s or 30s.

Well here its very different. The Bullet here is a BIG bike. The Bullet here (till very recently, and still even today to an extent) is a FAST bike. Especially so for the 500. You will understand why when you see what else we have as choice out here. So a 500 rider here is more often than not looking for performance. He is looking for speed and long distances under pretty gruelling conditions and unforgiving terrain or very inferior fuel. He is not going to be riding at 75 kmph. No sir. He is in all likelihood going to be constantly gunning his machine upward of 100, 10, 120 kmph. And not being very clued in to the vagaries of air coooled big bore heavy crank pussh rod driven motors, he is going to whack the throttle, chop the throttle, whack it again, and keep it pinned till he sucks every cc of life out of the 1950s motor (yes the UCE is still at the heart of it a 1950s motor - if you are really feeling charitable, maybe a 70s motor - please come over to India sometime and visit the factory. Will be interesting to say the least .....).

The other big diffference is that (and here I speak from experience in other fields of life and not just motorcycles, as well as my interaction with many of you on international Bullet forums) on an average most of you are very hands on, good with tools and DIY techniques, go in depth into the technical details, and usually come to the Bullet after substantial mechanical and motorcycling experience.

If you see the average profile of the now 75,000 guys out here buying and riding their Bullets, it nowhere close to the same. More often than not we are most happy leaving things to the dealers (initially - till the warranty or our patience runs out - whichever is earlier) or the mechanics (who are another "breed" altogether when it comes to the Bullet .... and the RD and Yezdi/Jawa before it).

Quote:
All in all, my RE has been more dependable than the BMW I bought new and rode for 12 years.
At the rate it's going I fully expect this bike to last as long.
Don't you think you should in all fairness make this call after owning and riding your Bullet for 12 years (and not the current "honeymoon" two)?

When you speak of "rate" I am sure you do realise you cannot extrapolate and foreast the prognosis of a machine based on what you see in the first 2 years of its life, over the next ten.

Quote:
As I've said before, Royal Enfields biggest current problem is having to overcome the reputation of the older designs which had more than their fair share of problems.
I agree and disagree.

The Bullet has improved. But nowhere close to what it could have when you see the time and money and effort that went into it.

15 years.

3 countries.

3 generations of engines.

And then you compare the UCE 500 from 2012 to the Std 500 from 2002 (I have owned and ridden both) and you ask yourself - why again am I paying a 100,000 rupees more 10 years down the line and still

- going 120-130 kmph

- getting 25-30 kms to a liter

- having the same fit and finish

- having to deal with the same dealers

- paying 5 times more for spares

- waiting the same amount of time for spares

Oh, wait. I do have the luxury of thumbing the beast to life now (till it lasts).

But then, I have to wait for 6 months to get the beast now.

And when I do get it, friends look at me riding the bike from behind and ask why the Bullet has suddenly become a midget.

And I silently say to myself, forget the midget bit, why do I feel I am not even riding a Bullet anymore.

What really has changed Jim?

Last edited by ebonho : 11th June 2013 at 11:32.
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Old 13th June 2013, 16:45   #42
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

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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......
.....for now, I have booked a TBTS hoping it will be in time for my birthday.
Congratulations in advance for the awsome birthday gift you will be getting!
A cruiser defenitely suits your purpose.

The duke is more of a powerful street bike, In case you are concerend about the reliability factor, you should defenitely take a test drive of the CBR 250R. It does not have the road presence of a TBTS or of the Duke, but for what it lacks, it scores on the reliability front.

I am not a big fan of the 500 cc FI engine, because I have had some bad experiances with it.
Once, I got stuck in dense traffic in scrotching summer on my friend's C500 and the bike would stop every now and then because of overheating. The 500 cc Aircooled-FI gets heated up very fast and in bumper to bumper traffic without much airflow it just doesnt cool down. once the engine gets overheated, the starter motor does not work. So in summer, in between the traffic i had to steer it out of the road (180kilos??) and wait for it to cool down. I had to do this thrice before i got off the traffic.

Its extremely difficult to kick-start the 500cc motor.

I would rather go for the 350cc old engine, its more reliable.

Having said all this, i love the feel an RE gives when you ride it on the highway . The torque is magnificnet.
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Old 13th June 2013, 18:41   #43
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

I have a simple query for RE TB500.
Is there any way we can decode the VIN or Chassis number to know about the month and year of manufacture and the factory from where it has rolled out.
I have heard that TB500 is now manufactured only, but cannot rely on the dealer as they can pass on an older version for new.
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Old 13th June 2013, 20:06   #44
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Default Re: Bullet Thunderbird TBTS 500 versus KTM Duke 390?

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Originally Posted by azm@bpl View Post
I have a simple query for RE TB500.
Is there any way we can decode the VIN or Chassis number to know about the month and year of manufacture and the factory from where it has rolled out.
I have heard that TB500 is now manufactured only, but cannot rely on the dealer as they can pass on an older version for new.

Am i missing somehing here ?

Older version for new ? In that case won't you make out the difference by just looking at it ?
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Old 13th June 2013, 20:41   #45
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@ TaurusAl
Pardon me for the confusion.
Version as in from which factory, the new one (Oragadam plant) or the older one.
I believe the new factory is "state of the art" and has a fully automated paint shop.
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