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Old 30th June 2013, 20:18   #1
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Default Thunderbird 500 : Arranged marriage

When I was a kid in school, around 9th-10th standard, got a chance to ride a bullet. Though I had started riding bikes regularly by then, bullet was a different story altogether. I couldn't ride it properly because of the gear and brake pedals placed opposite compared to other bikes. I really wasn't impressed by the Royal Enfield, and couldn't understand what was so special about it. I used to hear people sing praises about bullet, but I never kind of liked it anyway.

Let alone the thought of owning a bullet which never crossed my mind, I never even felt the urge to ride one.

I rode a moped called TVS Express (I think 39 cc- I am not very sure) when I was in school (7th - 9th class). This moped didn't need a license because of it's minimal cc. Then in my 10th standard I got TVS Astra. It was basically a TVS Champ with a kick starter instead of pedal starter. Used it till I finished my XII. Then in college got a black Hero Honda Splendor. After college TVS Fiero F2 and then Apache RTR 160. That was my last bike. My knee started giving me trouble and was diagnosed with damaged cartilage. Stopped riding and bought a Getz Crdi. Still own the Diesel rocket.

Ok enough of my flashback. Then last year just came across a newspaper article mentioning the new Thunderbird launch. Something tingled my feelings again about riding!! I suddenly realized that I needed a bike again in my life no matter about knee or whatever.

Then started my search. I did look at the Duke but then I felt it wouldn't serve me as a family bike. Something at the back of my mind said to have a look at the bull. I live in andaman islands. No Royal Enfield showroom here so just browsed adn looked at the bike online. Then looking at the price made up my mind to pick the lowest one. Classic 350. Went to a guy in the islands who buys and sells bullets. While talking to him I don't know why, thought what the heck...I am buying a bullet why not buy the top end!! Changed my mind and told the guy to get a Thunderbird 500 for me!!!

Then came the waiting period. 6 months (December 2012 to June 2013). It was like u saw the bride, got engaged and now waiting for the marriage date!! After engagement people talk long hours on phone, I started long hours of browsing, reading forums about the Thunderbird, reading the same ones again and again sometimes. The waiting period was really frustrating. I had to go to mainland in May 2013 and planned to returned by June 10th. 1 week before I left the island got a call from the guy stating that my bike is loaded in the ship at Kolkata and will be delivered in 1 week.

I was really screwed!! I would retuern only after a month and my bird would have to wait till I returned. 2 days after I left for mainland I got a call informing me of my birds arrival. I told the guy to get it registered and complete all formalities as before leaving I'd done all paper work in advance and handed over to the guy.

I came back on 10th June and had a look at my bull. But my mother told me to take delivery on 12th June because of the auspicious time. Finally the D day I met the bride and got married

Took delivery and headed straight for a Ganesh temple, riding it really felt like being a king, god, gladiator, tron, spartan and whatnot!

We have 2 kinds of marriage, arranged and love. People fall in love first and then get married while some marry first and then fall in love. I am in the 2nd category. Falling in love deeply with the bull day by day. But alas there's a limitation of road here in the islands. At the max I will get a road of just around 45-50 kms which is peanuts for the bull.

Anyways my Jija has also booked his bull (TBTS 500). We hope to take our bulls by ship to Chennai and then take a long epic journey. Let's hope the dream comes true and teh bulls show their might when the time comes.

Till then I am content with thumping around in the island, with people giving second glances at my bull.

My riding experience

Going through lots of Royal Enfield posts I was mentally prepared for nitty gritty troubles with the bull. I took delivery of the bull. My wife sat pillion. Engaged the gear and slowly set off for Ganesh temple. I'd hardly covered 10 metres when the engine started dying...as if no petrol!!! I pulled aside the road and my wife got down. Brought the bull to neutral and tried the self starter but got no response. There was no cranking. Tried the kick starter but nothing happened other than the fact that my leg started aching. But the horn, indicator were working. Tried few more times but nothing. The guy who delivered was just on the opposite side of the road. He came and tried again in vain, nothing!!!! I was really frustrated, brand new bike costing almost 2 lakhs and the thing won't even start!!! Then the guy called his mechanic, who reached in 5 min. The mechanic removed the side cover and then the rider seat and checked the ECU, I noticed Made in JAPAN and then thought that nothing would have happened to the ECU because Japanese items are supposed to be long lasting and durable. Then the mechanic pulled off the elongated chrome side panel cover which houses the fuse and found a 10 amps fuse blown!!!!! There was a spare fuse and he fitted it, thumbed the starter and then MAGIC the bull started thumping. The best part is the chrome cover is held with an Allen screw for which the Allen key is provided is rubber strap alongside the battery and this screw was missing. Gosh !!! I realised that the posts about poor quality control I read are true!!! (Got a screw fitted later but didn't get an Allen screw. Doesn't matter.) the mechanic iced all side covers and then tried pressing the rider seat in position, but how much ever he tried he couldn't !!! Again found poor quality workmanship and the lock supposed to hold the set was also defective. I thought god this is my first bull and its been hardly 5 min and I found so many defects but really didn't lose heart. In the meantime my father's employee who is an all round mechanic working with us since last 15 years came and found the clamps beneath the seat not positioning properly. He then temporarily set the seat. Finally I again mounted the bull wife sat pillion and again we began the ride. Reached the temple and I prayed asking for ganesha's blessing. Then rode to the petrol bunk and filled 3/4th tank and headed home.

I was in heaven. Putting on the centre stand took some effort as the bike is heavy. But now got used to it. It was 1130 in the morning. My daughter's school would be over by 12 and she was also excited about buying the bullet. So thought I would go to school to pick her up from school and give her a surprise. I went to the school and the moment she saw me then shifted her focus to the helmet in my hands.she gave a biiiiiiiiig smile and said "daddy I know you bought the bullet!!!" I said yes and while approaching the bike I pointed her 2 bikes standing besides each other.1 the bullet and other a splendour and asked her which bike she liked. To my horror she pointed to the splendour and said she liked it!!!! ( guys relax she's just 5 years old) I told her that that's an old old bike and pointed her the bull. Man she was happy. Both of us reached home and by the time my dad was also home. He came down do see the bull and the engine was idling. He said the noise is so loud as if its a concrete mixer machine!!!! I said DAADY!!!! For gods sake!!! It's a bullet. He just smiled and said its beautiful.

Apart from the little defects which I ignore the bike is a stunner. Turns people's head wherever it goes. And riding it makes you feel like a...leave it guys it cannot be expressed in words you feel it when you ride it. When I had my fiero f2 and apache RTR 160 I always used to twist the throttle and fly, but with the bull never felt the urge to do so. Just gently twist the throttle and enjoy the slow thumping ride while giving a nice view to the onlookers. Whenever the bull's parked in crowded areas like eatery joints I notice friends eyeing the bull and talking amongst themselves, few have even come up to me and asked how much cost and the usual kitna deta hai?

Guys whatever quality issues I now realised that a Bullet is a Bullet no matter what!!! It gave me a feeling which no other bike or car has ever given me. I know I have made the right choice and this bike is a keeper.

The bike is a beast and pulls like a locomotive. Just crossed around 300 kms so still in the run in period. Moreover being a small island with frequently varying elevation gear change is frequent and you cannot ride in 4th gear for long time leave alone 5th.

As mentioned in previous posts I tightened the 3 screws in the rear view mirrors and they stopped vibrating. Bike is super duper. Definitely makes the rider feel like superman. Gear shift seems bit hard compared to other bikes which have slick gear box.

Dislikes
1. Small nitty gritty things like missing screw etc which should have been taken care of during the QC check at factory.
2. Noticed spots of rust randomly spread in the silencer.
3. Poor overall QC system of RE factory.
4. It's monsoon in the islands and my major dislike is the fact that there's no way to stop muddy water sprayed from the front tyre onto the riders feet and on the pillion riders back from the rear wheel.
5. The rear mudguard looks as if there's lot of empty space. Could add some sticker to cover the void space.


Likes
1. The sitting posture is comfortable.
2. 20 litre huge tank inspires confidence to cover long distances.
3. Everything about the bullet is wonderful. I love the bull.
4. The ride quality is superb and while cornering the bike handles like a dream and inspires confidence to lean.
5. Horn is loud enough.
6. Headlights are powerful.

The on road price came to Rs 1.95 lakhs but worth every penny.

Last edited by GTO : 4th July 2013 at 13:34. Reason: Only 2 smilies / post please
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Old 30th June 2013, 20:48   #2
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Default Re: Thunderbird 500 : Arranged marriage

Bull : Standing Tall & Proud


Thunderbird 500 : Arranged marriage-dsc_3499.jpg

Thunderbird 500 : Arranged marriage-dsc_3505.jpg

Thunderbird 500 : Arranged marriage-dsc_3510.jpg

Thunderbird 500 : Arranged marriage-dsc_3515.jpg

Thunderbird 500 : Arranged marriage-dsc_3538.jpg
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Old 1st July 2013, 07:56   #3
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Default Re: Thunderbird 500 : Arranged marriage

Quote:
Originally Posted by marinegopi View Post
Finally the D day I met the bride and got married
Congratulations and best wishes, marinegopi. I wish you and your Thunderbird 500 many thousands of km of happy rides.
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Old 1st July 2013, 11:02   #4
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Default Re: Thunderbird 500 : Arranged marriage

While most of us ship our bikes to Andamans and ride along, you plan to ship it to Chennai & ride !!

See if you can do a ride along the western ghats, all the way from Thekkadi till Palakkad, and then all along wayand till coorg.

That is one hell of a ride, especially during December.

Shyam
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Old 1st July 2013, 11:43   #5
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Default Re: Thunderbird 500 : Arranged marriage

Congratulations marinegopi. Nice writing, looking forward to more threads for you once you complete your epic journey on the mainland.
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Old 1st July 2013, 12:17   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shyamk View Post
While most of us ship our bikes to Andamans and ride along, you plan to ship it to Chennai & ride !!

See if you can do a ride along the western ghats, all the way from Thekkadi till Palakkad, and then all along wayand till coorg.

That is one hell of a ride, especially during December.

Shyam
Ya shyam. Let's see. I am planning a trip in 2014-15 . Fingers crossed buddy

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Originally Posted by slicvic View Post
Congratulations marinegopi. Nice writing, looking forward to more threads for you once you complete your epic journey on the mainland.
The epic journey will take a long long time to materialise dude. Let's hope for the best

Last edited by mobike008 : 1st July 2013 at 15:48. Reason: back to back posts
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Old 1st July 2013, 12:38   #7
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Default Re: Thunderbird 500 : Arranged marriage

Congrats - and the Thunderbird is certainly a special Royal Enfield! Combined with where you live (ideal enviornment for riding), I predict a long association between you and your bike, service issues notwithstanding.

Just curious a bit: since you mention no official Royal Enfield presence on the Islands, would registering the bike and acceptable service quality be possible?

Last edited by theMAG : 1st July 2013 at 12:40.
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Old 1st July 2013, 13:19   #8
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Default Re: Thunderbird 500 : Arranged marriage

Congrats on your new bike marinegopi!

Seeing your photos, would love some more of your bike around the Andamans. Looks beautiful.
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Old 1st July 2013, 13:27   #9
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Default Re: Thunderbird 500 : Arranged marriage

Congrats gopi! Looks beautiful in those pics. Hope to see you on the mainland with your Mrs. soon.
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Old 1st July 2013, 19:38   #10
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Originally Posted by Fullrevs View Post
Congrats gopi! Looks beautiful in those pics. Hope to see you on the mainland with your Mrs. soon.
Thank you I hope I embark on the honeymoon drive soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebonho View Post
Congrats on your new bike marinegopi!

Seeing your photos, would love some more of your bike around the Andamans. Looks beautiful.
Definitely ebonho will click more pics this weekend and upload. It's raining heavily here.

Last edited by GTO : 4th July 2013 at 13:36. Reason: Please use the EDIT or MULTI-QUOTE buttons instead of typing one post after another!
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Old 4th July 2013, 13:36   #11
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Default Re: Thunderbird 500 : Arranged marriage

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Motorbikes. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 4th July 2013, 15:52   #12
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Default Re: Thunderbird 500 : Arranged marriage

Congrats on the TB500 Marinegopi. You did finally get married to it
The pics against the sea are amazing. The beauty of the machine really comes out against the background. Wish you happy and safe riding!
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Old 4th July 2013, 20:38   #13
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Congrats on the TB500 Marinegopi. You did finally get married to it
The pics against the sea are amazing. The beauty of the machine really comes out against the background. Wish you happy and safe riding!
Thanks sam. The machine is really awesome. I just wish I had long stretches of road here like mainland
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Old 9th July 2013, 06:29   #14
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Default Re: Thunderbird 500 : Arranged marriage

Still facing one small problem. The bull rarely starts using the kick starter. Most of the time am foreced to use the electric starter. Any suggestions?
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Old 9th July 2013, 07:16   #15
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Default Re: Thunderbird 500 : Arranged marriage

Most likely a technique issue, rather than a technical issue. A Royal Enfield kick starter should only be "kicked" from a near-horizontal position, and rather gently. Besides, unless you face cold-start issues that necessitate a kick start, the electric starter can be used quite regularly.
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