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Old 10th February 2014, 17:08   #16
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Default Re: RE Thunderbird TBTS 500: Ownership Report

For long, I have been trying to put this together, but somehow couldn't find adequate time (usual crib !). Sorry friends. The ride was after my 1st Service in June, and by June 3rd week, I set off to Coimbatore on my TB-500.

The decision on a bike trip itself was a bit chancy and hard fought, wife had booked a bus ticket, somehow tried to dissuade me from a nice road trip. Made her cancel the ticket and took off, much to everyone's annoyance and amidst few prayers !! Started off from Bangalore on Sat, June 22nd from Bangalore, Hosur, post lunch, around 2:00 PM.

Route is standard - Hosur - > Krishnagiri - > Dharmapuri - > Salem - > Avinashi - > Coimbatore !

But for the horrible stretch from Avinashi to Coimbatore, its tailor made for awesome drive, very scenic, particularly around Krishnagiri.

Fortunately weather held up good, no rains, wasn't too sunny as well. Observations from the trip.

$ As per manual, wasn't supposed to cross 90 or so, so pretty much limited myself around 80-90 kmph.

$ Very stable, great presence on the road, solid footing and grounding, an effortless drive.

$ Took a min of 10 minute break every 1 hour (manual says so !)

$ I almost sensed it comes to real bull self, after 70-80 at about 3k rpm, it just asks for more, and pulls effortlessly, its exhilarating. its so difficult to put down in words, but you would find her a true companion and a power horse ! i would recommend a good long trip for everyone, so you can appreciate what i mean. I almost felt, my entire spend was justified with this singular experience.

$ Also a head turner, almost every tea shop owner and chit chatters (with newspapers) inquired (mileage, cost on road and a Sigh) !!
Reached Coimbatore by around 9:00 PM.

Wasn't very tiring, but right palm was a big pain with constant throttling (realized i needed good gloves).Attended the function next morning, and left by 1:00 PM from Coimbatore, reached Bangalore by around 8:30 or so. During return journey, maintained similar speed, and was able to drive with more confidence.

Now, its almost 9 months, and about 5200 kms done. Given it for 4th Free Service. Faced some niggles, listed a few and some observations :-

$ Rear Brake - As mentioned earlier, very disappointing brakes, doesn't feel its disc or whatever. Last week, realized it acted weird (play issue), and they said its due to air lock. So essentially, after every few kms of drive, the rear wheel would be locked, and won't rotate freely (try it with hand or leg). They removed entire assembly, half day effort, and fixed it. Somehow the rear brake according to me is a flop on this bike. Not confident it would stop even if i press hard, mentioned it today, let me see what they do with it. More or less dependent on front brakes, and not a good sign.

$ Loose Chain - Will happen every few hundred kms or so, you would hear the noise clearly, so get it fixed during your service (if someone can provide a self-help course, it will be useful)

$ Mileage - Been getting around 24-25 kmpl within city. Will do a long trip next month and hope i get better.

$ Gear - Occasionally you would get stuck between neutral and 1st gear, during a morning start (cold engine).

$ Starting Issues - Met many people in service shop complaining about starting issues and the above point on gear getting stuck at times.
Perhaps due to cold weather at night, its taking a bit too long to warm up. Better to start and let it idling for a minute before you drive, gets the juices flowing.

$ Speedometer Console - This is a sort of a minor joke or guinea testing the customers, shows varied petrol levels within few minutes, and sometimes buttons won't work. The 'Spanner' would start appearing all of a sudden ! You need to press down both buttons and it will vanish. My 'Select' button stopped working since 2 weeks.

$ Paint - Am no paint expert, but i don't think its top quality (Mine is Matt black), minor scratches are visible on tank, and might fade with time and sun exposure! We should be prepared to get it painted, or protect it with 3M transparent film (anyone tried it yet ?). Am tanking on it, and would appreciate if someone has tried it on their bike.

Not withstanding the above, its an awesome bike, great to drive within city, and sheer pleasure and liberation on the highways. I have attached few pics of the trip and some taken in apartment complex, and near my office..

Attached Thumbnails
RE Thunderbird TBTS 500: Ownership Report-firststopteashop.jpg  

RE Thunderbird TBTS 500: Ownership Report-first_looks.jpg  

RE Thunderbird TBTS 500: Ownership Report-mountainside.jpg  

RE Thunderbird TBTS 500: Ownership Report-paddyfields.jpg  

RE Thunderbird TBTS 500: Ownership Report-scenicroadside.jpg  

RE Thunderbird TBTS 500: Ownership Report-teastall2.jpg  

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Old 10th February 2014, 17:28   #17
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Default Re: RE Thunderbird TBTS 500: Ownership Report

Originally Posted by vrajaram View Post

$ Loose Chain - Will happen every few hundred kms or so, you would hear the noise clearly, so get it fixed during your service (if someone can provide a self-help course, it will be useful)
Tightening the chain should be an easy job - provided you have a wheel spanner. Best is to purchase one, check out some Youtube video, check for the chain slack on your user manual and adjust accordingly. Its good to always keep the chain slack at the right amount - to save the sprockets. I think in my 50k kms of owing the Thunderbird, I'd changed the rear sprockets twice.

Congratulations on the bike btw!

EDIT - And I forgot - please get a full-faced helmet. Even becomes more important since you ride longish rides.

Last edited by naveenroy : 10th February 2014 at 17:38. Reason: Added stuff
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