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Old 8th April 2014, 16:17   #1
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Default Royal Enfield Electra: 1,10,000 kms completed

This is a write up of my 2002 Royal Enfield Electra named Silverado.

The reason for this thread being opened now is because the bike has hit a big milestone.

I have clocked a lakh kms in the last 11.5 years . The actual odo reading stands at 99100kms now. There were around few hundred kms put together in the last few years in which the speedo was dead.

The Enfield bug bit me in 2001 when a good friend picked up the Enfield Campus. This model was like a predecessor to the Electra 350. It was essentially the STD 350 except that it had chrome mudguards, fully painted tank and side boxes without designs on them, the tank had just a 'Enfield' sticker on it and chrome battery and air box and the handlebar was not the flat type , but the same one that came with the A350's back then.
This model then was aimed at youngsters and hence the name. It was a limited edition model which probably sold for few months and was available in black and silver.

The first Electra's were exactly the same as these , except that they had the CDI ignition system which was doing duty on the A350's and T-Birds. This was early 2002 and apart from the Std 350's and few 500's that could be counted on the fingers on one hand , one could start seeing Electra's around. The difference from refurbished Bullets and the Electra's were the absence of the ignition dumbell between the engine and air/battery boxes. They were loads of Std 350's parading as Electra's back then with those sidey sticker jobs from Electra's on their tanks, which looked more like a bear clawed on the tank.

The initial batch of Electra were available in red,blue,silver and black. The initial batch like I mentioned were the Std 350s without the CB Points ignition and with cosmetic changes.
Mine then, was from 2002 August-and purchased in September. There was a big difference and a big jump in quality that happened in 2002 and I think this is when Siddarth Lal took over, I am not sure about this.

2002 is when lot of standards had to be followed and Enfield had to accommodate them.
Namely- the extra long muffler for the sound norms, the air filter being moved to the tool box to make way for the resonator for a smoother ride and the oil catch can. Apart from this , there was a change in the wiring as well as the cable quality used. I know this because the 2001 Campus which I mentioned earlier had electrical as well as cable breaking every few months and not to mention sprocket replacement every 15-20k kms .

This was a big plus for me since I was very apprehensive about owning a Bullet for its infamous maintenance and breakdowns, which was one of the reasons I went for the Electra rather than a heavy crank 350.(the battery requirement and of course the kick backs)
By the time I was in the process of booking my Bullet, I had hardy ridden a Bullet , the first time being less than a year back and few times on a beat up early 80's Std in between, but I was not worried about that as getting a Bullet in itself was a big deal and I had waited for a bike all through college without luck.
As I was used to riding my friends puny bikes before this, sitting on a Bullet the first time was like I was sitting on a throne compared to a stool! And felt that there cannot be a more perfect bike than this for me.
I knew I had the riding bug in me ever since I started riding a cousins ported RX in the early 90's, but the Bullet brought out that passion in me and let me enjoy and I still do, on the same bike which was the best part of it.

Royal Enfield back then(2002), sold couple of thousands a month and waiting periods were unheard of. You enter the showroom, which were just 3 in Bangalore , and you can ride the bike out in couple of days.
In my case, since there was a loan procedure, the two days happened in 5 days. I had the choice to choose between 3 silver Electra's parked in the showroom and even ride them. Compare that with a possible lemon that can be allocated to you in the present day.

The bike when brand new had a nice soft note and ,but annoying tappet noise since the engine was running in. Since I was new to the world of Enfields, I remember visiting Teknik motors which was the authorized service center couple of times a week just to get a bolt or cable adjusted. There were times the mechanics there would know when they see me that I have come for some petty issue and would not bother . That and other minimal work performed during servicing made me write about them in one of the online consumer experience websites. I waited for the free services(which were not free ofcourse) to be done with so I can find a competent mechanic outside.
That mechanic happened to be Muneer and he has been my bikes Doc since 10000kms till date and one of the reasons the bike has been more or less trouble-free.

The bike was religiously fully serviced once every 5k kms till date which included fresh oil all around, brake shoe/cable replacement if required. All lights and electricals were checked by me frequently and rectified before the service so they are in working condition all the time.

Following are the parts that were replaced over time in the last 12 years:

-Headlamp dome and ring after a bump into a minivan in the wet.

-Company provided crashguard which was a useless hollow tube which was changed to a thick gauge army type guard after it fell apart due to constant nudging.

-Front mudguard,fork tubes after T-boning a KiHo who's footboard looked like Channel V logo after.

-The tank had to be tinkered and re-painted after the crashguard bent and dented it after the same crash above and that was when I included the tank top carrier as well.

The mechanical replacements:

-The head gasket was replaced once within the first 20k kms
-Part of the CDI ignition kit was replaced once again during the first 20k kms.
-Rear sprocket replaced once @ 50k kms
-pushroads were replaced once due to a faulty diagnosis by another mechanic. I had pumped water into the exhaust just to see it gush out when started and instead it entered the engine. But this had a positive outcome, which was the engine became much smoother thereafter.
-Apart from these, the rear tyre is the fourth one and the front is the second tire the bike is running on.
-The battery has been replaced one.
-Clutch plates once
-Rear oil shocks replaced to gas type around 35k kms which made a world of a difference and still performs fine.

The stock parts that are still not replaced:
-twin horns
-seat
-piston rings
-barrel/piston (not re-bored either)

The extras and mods that were done:
- Almost 10-15 different types of mufflers and bend pipe combinations
- The original handle bar was replaced for a flat type bar from the old Std's, but a shorter one.
-A tank top grill so the tank does not get scratched.
-The old type TVS50 styled tail lamp which I wanted and got fixed in the first one year since I liked the looks much more than the original one.
Apart from these, I have added additional lamps and a rear heavy duty carrier.

The last few years, I have left the bike alone due to old age(bike) and almost stopped making any changes since I want to hit the lakh on the odo as original as it was.

The best part of a Bullet is that it ages gracefully and it performs the best at its midlife which is around 30k -70k kms, but this one continues to do so, at a lakh.
I am still able to hit the ton(by pushing for a while) , pick up through the gears is good except for the second gear pull off from slow speed which has reduced probably due to reduced compression. Since there is no visible smoke from the exhaust , I am not planning to get the engine opened yet.
The funny part being that there used to be a phase around 70-80k kms time when the bike used to smoke a bit in bad traffic only and not on cold starts and it stopped by itself and has not happened ever since.

The mileage in the last few years have been a consistent 27kmpl . The highest I ever got was 37 and back when it was new , I used to get around 35 kmpl which was equal to the cost of a litre. So from a rupee for a km spent , not it is almost 3 per km, which never bothered me. The tab on mileage was kept by me all through since that speaks a lot about engine health and 27kmpl with an un-opened engine run a lakh kms is good .

The initial few years , I used to average 10k kms a year due to numerous short rides and exploring new roads and the bike at the same time. There was a ride to Chitradurga I did at exact 60kmh for 400 kms so I can run in the engine better and save on fuel as well! The run in periods were followed meticulously and I still let the engine idle for a minute before riding after the bikes has been left off for few hours.

The long and short rides reduced to almost nil after I picked up a second hand STD 500 in 2007.
Now , the Electra does my office duties and I do a breather once every few months on the outskirts to stretch its legs. I had plans to do the Leh trip on this bike rather than my 500 since this one is closer to me. But , I know although it never broke down on me on a trip even once, it may since it is a senior citizen now!

To sum it up, this particular Bullet is who introduced me to the world of biking and 12 years and a lakh kms down the line still lets me enjoy the ride with its super smoothness and ultra slick gearshifts. It just keeps getting better.

At present, I have made him a real oldie with the skirt mudflap fitted behind so the exhaust hits the flap and creates that old school external beat. It runs on the 04 glasswool type muffler with the glasswool removed. This exhaust provides the right mix of torque and smoothness unlike the freeflows. The original long bazooka muffler was experimented on with lot of ugly welds on it since I wanted that super loud note . This was before the Goldstar type muffler was introduced.

I will update this thread often since I have not officially hit the lakh mark on the odo and will do so in a couple of months on the highway as I have planned it .

Few pictures of the bike through the years.

-One of the experimental muffler changes with the Megaphone.
-The loaded one is on a trip to Pondy and Madras.
-Another click with its new friend , the Greyhound
-Posing with member Sandeepmohans 500 on the track
-The one next to the rail loco is one of the first pictures
-An trial with an open filter which only made a chugging sound like a rail loco and nothing else.
-On a short road trip with short lived riding club i started
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Last edited by tharian : 8th April 2014 at 16:26. Reason: added info
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Old 8th April 2014, 17:57   #2
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Default re: Royal Enfield Electra: 1,10,000 kms completed

Beautiful write-up Anil! Congrats on the milestone, it really is a testament to your perseverance with a brand of motorcycle which is known to be quite troublesome. My own tryst with RE only lasted 6,000km (Machismo 500 AVL) after which the constant niggles got the better of me.

You and Sandeep have some patience and love for your Bullets and it shows!

What trips have you got planned? Got room for a Duke?
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Old 8th April 2014, 19:38   #3
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Default re: Royal Enfield Electra: 1,10,000 kms completed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluu View Post
Beautiful write-up Anil! Congrats on the milestone, it really is a testament to your perseverance with a brand of motorcycle which is known to be quite troublesome. My own tryst with RE only lasted 6,000km (Machismo 500 AVL) after which the constant niggles got the better of me.

You and Sandeep have some patience and love for your Bullets and it shows!

What trips have you got planned? Got room for a Duke?
Thanks Ayush.
One good part about this ownership was that this particular bike was one of the few niggle free bikes that rolled out from the factory. And back then there were few that had issues right from the beginning and few like mine.

Compare it with my 500 which I look after just like the Electra. The engine bearing was replaced once, rings replaced and still has overheating issues on long trips when pushed hard. All this within 35k kms since the barrel and piston were replaced .Come to think of it, I haven't heard of a 500, be it a iron barrel or AVL that has been trouble free.

You do realize the Duke although is just 27cc more than the Electra, is one and half time more powerful by bhp and revs at twice the speed
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Old 8th April 2014, 23:35   #4
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Default re: Royal Enfield Electra: 1,10,000 kms completed

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You do realize the Duke although is just 27cc more than the Electra, is one and half time more powerful by bhp and revs at twice the speed
Of course! The important thing is to enjoy the ride and the company at the destination. I don't mind going along. I'm happy to hear about your experience being relatively trouble free. My Machismo had an exposed wire in the harness which would randomly short out against the petrol tank. Drove me nuts on a trip where I changed 18 fuses!
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Old 10th April 2014, 16:50   #5
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Default re: Royal Enfield Electra: 1,10,000 kms completed

Awesome write-up buddy. Can see you love for the bull. Wish you many more happy miles with Silverado and looking forward to your travelogues.

OT: Why would you pump water in the exhaust, that's a sure recipe for disaster.
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Old 11th April 2014, 07:30   #6
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Default re: Royal Enfield Electra: 1,10,000 kms completed

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Originally Posted by arunr View Post
Awesome write-up buddy. Can see you love for the bull. Wish you many more happy miles with Silverado and looking forward to your travelogues.

OT: Why would you pump water in the exhaust, that's a sure recipe for disaster.
Thanks Arun.
Well about the the water pump, when I used to wash the bike with a hose pipe, I used to pour a bit into the exhaust , so when I start it and rev a bit, the extra soot would come out as well. This time, I poured a little too much and it go sucked into the cylinder.
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Old 11th April 2014, 11:24   #7
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Default re: Royal Enfield Electra: 1,10,000 kms completed

Congratulation is not the correct word for you. The RE ownership can only be enjoyed when you do not have any other bike but only the bullet (like you).
It is a fabulous ownership of a 3 box RE.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tharian View Post
sitting on a Bullet the first time was like I was sitting on a throne compared to a stool!
This is the first part, amazing ride quality comes thereafter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tharian View Post
The mechanical replacements:
-Rear sprocket replaced once @ 50k kms
Hard to believe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tharian View Post
The stock parts that are still not replaced:
-twin horns
-seat
-piston rings
-barrel/piston (not re-bored either)
Really nice.


IMPO the machismo and electra are having best foot-peg set up with original handle and seat, why you changed the handle to shorter one?

Which lubricant you are using in gear box ?
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Old 11th April 2014, 12:22   #8
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Default re: Royal Enfield Electra: 1,10,000 kms completed

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Originally Posted by (Alok) View Post
Congratulation is not the correct word for you. The RE ownership can only be enjoyed when you do not have any other bike but only the bullet (like you).
It is a fabulous ownership of a 3 box RE.
Thank you. One of the reasons I could not get myself to upgrade to a faster bike. TB500 has been on my mind for long now for which my present 500 has to go.


Quote:
Originally Posted by (Alok) View Post

Hard to believe.
Yes, goes on to say the quality of parts used by REM at one point was good. Few years back, I was doubtful that it was changed only once and I checked all the service records and yes it was just once. It has a lot to do with the riding style and the less torque produced compared to the 500 which had a sprocket replacement done already within 35k kms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by (Alok) View Post
IMPO the machismo and electra are having best foot-peg set up with original handle and seat, why you changed the handle to shorter one?
The original handlebar used to give me lower backaches over long rides, because one tends to slouch in that position. This one is perfect because you sit upright and feels nice as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by (Alok) View Post
Which lubricant you are using in gear box ?
It is a mix of grease and oil as mentioned in the manual. Not sure of the brand since it was replaced many years back. I will be doing a gearbox service once I hit a lakh on the odo.
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Old 12th April 2014, 11:12   #9
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Default re: Royal Enfield Electra: 1,10,000 kms completed

@tharian : Congratulations buddy.. you have rugged looking locomotives. May you have a long hassle free and adventurous ownership experience with them.
regards adrian
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Old 12th April 2014, 13:27   #10
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Default re: Royal Enfield Electra: 1,10,000 kms completed

Couple of old pictures that I managed to retrieve which shows the bike with the original stickering.
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Old 15th April 2014, 14:12   #11
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Default re: Royal Enfield Electra: 1,10,000 kms completed

This is without doubt the most reliable Enfield I have come across. Sounds brilliant even today. I would not touch the engine. Power maybe down but everything else is good right? Don't ever open it up till the day comes when the kicker goes down on its own aka zero compression.

Your bike hit a 100,000 on my birthday.
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Old 15th April 2014, 15:32   #12
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Default re: Royal Enfield Electra: 1,10,000 kms completed

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Originally Posted by sandeepmohan View Post
This is without doubt the most reliable Enfield I have come across. Sounds brilliant even today. I would not touch the engine. Power maybe down but everything else is good right? Don't ever open it up till the day comes when the kicker goes down on its own aka zero compression.

Your bike hit a 100,000 on my birthday.
No issues as of now apart from little loss of power at low rpm's . Engine oil remains good even after 3k kms which means no blowby's. No smoke from exhaust , but the soot has slight oil content in it. At the most, I will replace the rings down the line and run it.

All the gears have become long which shows the rings are failing. Knowing normally these engines last around 70-80k without a re-bore or ring replacement, I am pushing mine, but in a gentle way.
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Old 15th April 2014, 17:53   #13
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Default re: Royal Enfield Electra: 1,10,000 kms completed

A silver lining for the Silverado. Congrats on the milestone. Great write up.
Touch wood for a trouble free ride till now. I have seen my colleagues Machismo being on the operating table for 3 times to replace the valves in a span of 18000kms and then being disposed off after a heartbreak.
Congrats once again and looking forward for many more miles of riding. Ride hard, ride safe.
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Old 20th June 2014, 16:35   #14
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Default re: Royal Enfield Electra: 1,10,000 kms completed

Does anyone have information about a new bore/pistion kit for the Cast Iron 350's that can be procured from the factory?
Few months back, my mechanic had mentioned that the factory is selling the kits and will stop them soon .
Since my 350 has run a lakh with no engine work, I would like to replace rather than re-bore and sleeve the engine.
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Old 21st June 2014, 02:29   #15
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Default re: Royal Enfield Electra: 1,10,000 kms completed

I don't know if the parts or kit are available but if I may offer a few thoughts?

With that many km on the engine, if you have been changing the oil regularly with a high quality oil it may not need the parts for a long time.

If the engine does show low compression readings or if it is burning oil the parts will need to be replaced to restore the engine to its best condition.

If parts replacement is needed, the cylinder walls will be found to have significant wear which will require re-boring and installing an oversize piston and rings.

The cast iron engines have an abundance of cylinder wall. Re-boring to standard oversize pistons should never be a problem. Sleeving it, which entails removing massive amounts of material and installing a steel sleeve should never be required.
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