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Old 8th November 2014, 13:25   #16
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Review - Back to the Future

Congrats on your TB500 Anand.May you have many miles(rather kilometers) of happy riding.

Immovable object huh,Literally had me

Well all those minor issues and niggles are part and parcel of the Enfield experience like you've said.Although since you seem like the person the gives regular TLC to your motorcycle.I'm sure you'll do just fine.

Unless that electric starter dies on you ofcourse(seems to be an issue on my friends motorcycle's too-c500's)

Your engine will sound better as the running in gets completed.

You mentioned that it one in ten times you've to give a bit of throttle to get it running.Doesn't really seem all that much of an issue.Sometimes its best not to read too much into enfield issues.This is what my mech told me.(Since I go immediately to him if I feel the tiniest little difference in the bikes overall behaviour)

Let us know how your Pondicherry trip does.

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The Bullet can and will and does get on your last nerve. It also gives you a feel and pleasure when she's running good that few bikes (if any) can match. She will frustrate you to tears many a time, but she will somehow always get you home, never hurt you (to th extent that you do not act the fool in between), and never ditch you when you're really depending on her
Infinite thumbs up to you Sir.Pretty much what I've had in my head regarding bullets laid out in text.


Regards

Last edited by B O V : 8th November 2014 at 13:34.
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Old 8th November 2014, 13:35   #17
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Review - Back to the Future

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Congrats on your TB500 Anand.May you have many miles(rather kilometers) of happy riding.
Thanks so much, BOV!

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Well all those minor issues and niggles are part and parcel of the Enfield experience like you've said.Although since you seem like the person the gives regular TLC to your motorcycle.I'm sure you'll do just fine.
I hope so... I take pretty decent care of my bikes, but since this is my first RE, I'm doubly apprehensive. Just want to make sure I do everything I can.

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You mentioned that it one in ten times you've to give a bit of throttle to get it running.Doesn't really seem all that much of an issue.Sometimes its best not to read too much into enfield issues.
Seems like that - bike started fine today. I'm just going to take things as they come and not worry too much until I have to. Looking forward to giving Lobo a chance to stretch his legs properly for the first time tomorrow!
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Old 10th November 2014, 09:42   #18
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Your bike is with them since Oct 27th? That seems a bit extreme if they have diagnosed the issue. I look forward to your thread, and hopefully there will be no more issues to spoil your riding pleasure on the bike!
Hi I finally got my motorcycle back from the RE service centre on last saturday 8th Oct 2014. The faulty battery and the starter motor were replaced under warranty, I took the motorcycle out for a trial and checked everything thoroughly to my satisfaction. The Thunderbird 500 came out with flying colors and I am back riding it again.

Silverflash mate we Thunderbird500 owners are far and few among the stable of RE bikes, let's share our experiences to learn from each other.
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Old 10th November 2014, 12:29   #19
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Madras-Pondycherry-Madras ride report & 1000 km update

Lobo and I did a successful run to Pondy and back yesterday (Sunday), and I cannot begin to describe just how good it felt to do a decent run on a bike after more than half a decade. I only have 2-3 photos from the ride (sorry, was too caught up in the enjoyment of being on a bike on the open road to stop for pictures), and will put them up shortly.

Left home at 8:00 AM after breakfast, and reached Hotel Ajanta Seaface in Pondy at around 11:30 AM. Distance reading on the trip meter was 164 km (seems a little excessive, maybe 8-9 km extra?). I made two 10-15 min stops along the way - one just after Crocodile bank at around 9 AM, and one a little before Kalpakkam for coffee and a smoke at around 9:45 AM.

After the second stop, did a straight run to Pondy and reached Ajanta (used to come here with friends ages ago when we did our beer runs to Pondy, so decided to revisit the site of our past shananigans!) on the seashore. Cleaned up, ordered fish and chips, relaxed for a bit, and was ready to leave by around 12:30.

On the way back, I decided to test and condition Lobo's endurance a little bit more, so rode non-stop from Pondy all the way back to the Spartan pro gear store just beyond the final toll booth on ECR. Gave Lobo a breather there while picking up a new pair of gloves and an extra visor for my MT Axxis. Left, entered the city after three cop stops, tanked up and got home by 4 PM, with the total trip distance reading 324 km.

Since this was the first time I was taking Lobo on anything more than a 40 km run one way, I decided to keep cruise speed down to around 70 kmph, with increases only to overtake, and he responded beautifully. The engine had a contented, muted thrum at that speed, with a deeper, throatier rumble when opening up a little further to overtake. Still not at the limit of his cruising ability, but I prefer to get there over time and with care.

The weather was wonderful in the morning (rain in the wee hours, dried up by the time I was riding but still overcast). Slightly sunnier in the afternoon, but nowhere near normal Madras standards. Ideal riding weather all round.

East Coast Road was its usual self - good road surface, some light traffic at the very beginning but eased out considerably after Mayajaal. Saw a number of other riders on Triumphs, Harleys and other REs, but don't think too many went as far as Pondy. Not a technically challenging ride on a Thunderbird, more relaxed and laid-back than exciting. You'll need a much faster bike for ECR's lazy sweeping curves to be exciting. On this ride, it was much more about a steady throttle hand, judicious deceleration instead of braking where appropriate, and just soaking in the atmosphere.

Lobo seemed in fine form, and the ride was completed with no misadventures or mishaps. As for the fuel economy? Well, I last tanked up at 430 km on the odometer, and filled again when the reading was 959 km. That last fill took 13.2 liters. That gives me a FE (tankful to tankful) of 529/13.2 = ~40 kmpl. I'm a little shocked by this figure. Even allowing for the lying odometer, that's around 37 kmpl, which is way higher than most figures that I've heard for the fuel injected 500 cc engine. Maybe because most of my riding is on the highways and I've not pushed the bike yet? Whatever the reason, I'm not complaining.

Two things stood in my mind from the ride that I wanted to share with everybody:

1. Probably my favorite moment from the ride was when I stopped for team and a smoke at a small tea, tiffin and snacks stall in the morning. Standing there with a glass of chai, chatting with other people eating their breakfasts, regardless of social standing, clothing, money, privilege, etc., reminded me powerfully of why I love biking so much. It connects me to my roots, where I come from, and takes away so many of the surface differences that divide people.

2. I got stopped by the cops three times, and each time, being fully geared saved me time and hassle. When the cops asked for my papers, I told them that they were in my knapsack and to reach in and take them out. Each time, the cop just laughed and waved me on. Time saved, effort saved.

I'll put up what pics I did take in a few hours (after work). Safe riding, everybody!
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Old 11th November 2014, 13:39   #20
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Review - Back to the Future

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Hi everybody

My name is Anand,

I thought it might be nice to start off from the booking phase, and document each activity (from booking to inspection to delivery to actual riding) as it happens.

The Buying Decision - Background
Anand, beutiful writeup and a lot of it felt as though I was reading my biography.

You brought out a lump in my throat

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I realise now what my kids are going to remember of me.

The same with my dad, who finally sold his Deluxe after having her for 15 years and moved on to a scooter.

Its part of our racial DNA.
Aye Aye Sir !

Best Regards & Ride Safe

Ram
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Old 11th November 2014, 14:04   #21
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Review - Back to the Future

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Anand, beutiful writeup and a lot of it felt as though I was reading my biography.

You brought out a lump in my throat.
Thank you for your kind words, Ram - I'm so glad you enjoyed the write-up!

Warm Regards
Anand
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Old 12th November 2014, 11:54   #22
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Review - Back to the Future

Wonderful writeup... Congrats on the TBTS500. Wishing you many many more happy and safe miles. You are also getting amazing mileage.

I myself own a TBTS500 since last few months. Its a pleasure to ride and so far no niggles (touch wood).
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Old 12th November 2014, 12:33   #23
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Review - Back to the Future

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Wonderful writeup... Congrats on the TBTS500. Wishing you many many more happy and safe miles. You are also getting amazing mileage.

I myself own a TBTS500 since last few months. Its a pleasure to ride and so far no niggles (touch wood).
Thanks so much for your wishes, Basil, and congratulations on your own TB500! I hope you continue to enjoy riding it in the months and years to come.
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Old 16th November 2014, 23:48   #24
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Review - Back to the Future

Madras-Dindivanam-Madras Ride & Bike Update

It has been raining this week, and I was only able to take Lobo to the workplace once, so I made a snap decision to take him for a short sprint this afternoon. He had run beautifully when I had him reined in at 70-75 kmph on the Pondy ride, so I wanted to push him a little bit further today. I ended up doing about 230 km in total in about 3 hrs 15 min, and thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

I geared up and left home at 3:15 PM, and quickly got to the Maduravoyal junction of the Chennai bypass road and headed south. I didn't really have a destination in mind, only wanting to be back home by 7 (had to take our dog to the vet for immunizations). So I decided to just ride until around 5, and then turn back. Some things to share:

Road Update: That bypass road is just pristine. It isn't something that will enthuse the corner carvers, but for anybody wanting to just settle into a rhythm and enjoy the feel of the bike under them, it is perfection itself. After you get past the first toll booth, long sections of the road are lined with trees down the middle dividing it, and you get beautiful pastoral views of wooded hills, verdant fields, quiet townships, river beds, water reservoirs, temple tanks... you get the idea. All of it is lush green right now due to the monsoon, so it looks even better than usual. The road surface is uniformly good, with very few potholes or sudden bumps to kill your buzz, and has a minimum of two lanes plus service lane throughout (three lanes in many places).

Bike Report: Lobo is definitely no longer a cub, and is well into his adolescence. The run to Pondy seems to have done him a power of good, and he was flawless throughout this ride too. The gearbox has settled in nicely, and the engine is turning over smoothly with no severe vibrations coming through. Today, I got him up to a cruising speed of 90 kmph for the first time, and he absolutely loved it. When cruising at 90-95 kmph, the exhaust note almost disappears - you do not get the percussive thump of older CI Bullets. Instead, the engine rhythm, exhaust note and wind blast combine to produce a resonant thrum that is more stealthy than stentorian, like a roomful of monks humming to a set rhythm.

Bullet purists will probably hate it, because it sounds nothing like the old CI Bullets did at full pelt. I like it personally - it feels like every part of the bike is in perfect resonance, and I love that feeling of gobbling up the road like a stealth bomber.

The tyres felt solid, and braking is competent. The rear brake, while being a disc, still does not have great feel, but it'll do. The ride quality was great, and the suspension soaked up all minor ripples and bumps with ease. This bike rides great on these kinds of roads, very planted and linear.

RE have really thought about the gearing and torque spread in this bike. I'm quite bemused by reports from people about this bike's torque in low gears. What torque in the low gears? There's hardly any in 1st, and you use it just to get rolling, beyond which revs climb way quicker than speed. 2nd is also a low speed stroll gear, mostly being useful for heavy traffic conditions. You start feeling the torque come through with real meat only from 3rd onwards, with 5th really opening the gates. On 5th, it is like the bike urges you not to drop below a certain speed, and surges forwards with poise and predictability whenever you open up the throttle and ask for grunt.

With this kind of torque spread, the bike is really easy to take through slow speed traffic by sticking to 1st and 2nd, but also had the legs to really stride along in 5th, never making you feel like you aren't able to move quickly enough for the road. RE has hit the sweet spot for both these riding conditions, which is impressive. As for really belting it? - this is not a performance sports bike, so while you can give it the bees and pretend all you want, you're never going to be going too fast on it.

I've personally not tried to max the gauge, simply because the bike feels like it was never meant to be redlined like that. The TB500 has a certain dignity and poise in the way it rolls along, and I'd rather enjoy that rather than trying to go as fast as possible and ending up riding a horribly shaky or vibrating bike. I plan to enjoy touring with Lobo at ideal cruising speeds (70-100 kmph), and I'll wait to get a proper sportsbike for my performance needs later.

I turned around at the outskirts of Dindivanam at around 5 PM and rode back home, and rolled to a stop at home at around 6:30 PM. The last 40 minutes of my ride was in the dark, and I used Lobo's lights on a fast cruise for the first time. They are great, much better than the lights on the HD750 for sure.

So that was the ride for this weekend. I'll be alternating riding Lobo and the HD750 to my workplace all of next week, so I'll put up a post comparing and contrasting the two at the end of the week.
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Old 17th November 2014, 10:28   #25
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Review - Back to the Future

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Madras-Dindivanam-Madras Ride & Bike Update

I'm quite bemused by reports from people about this bike's torque in low gears. What torque in the low gears?

With this kind of torque spread, the bike is really easy to take through slow speed traffic by sticking to 1st and 2nd
Good to see you munching miles with your Tbird500. According to my riding style I like the bottom end torque from the standstill and that is the torque I am talking about in the low gears. The roads that take me to my office have some steep inclines and major ones at that one. The bottom end torque delivery that I get on this bike from standstill on first gear is amazing. To give you an example I weight around 85 Kgs and one of my colleagues who accompained me once weighs around 95 Kgs, now combine this with the bikes weight of 200 Kgs we easily surpass 380 Kgs which is more than a quarter ton. The way the Tbird500 handles this weight from standstill on an incline is truly amazing and mind you that incline has a bottleneck at a place where there is a turn which is quite a task to maneuver and the Tbird500 shines while taking that turn with a steep incline at crawling speeds with its sheer bottom end torque burst.

Like you rightly said the lower gears are very good for city bumper to bumper traffic riding as the torque just keeps flowing seemlessly. I have noticed the never ending overflowing torque on higher gears at moderate speeds of upto 60 KMPH (I am not going beyond the specified speed due to running in period). I am sure as you told the torque would be available on higher speeds as well, RE engineers sure have worked on this motor for such a juicy torque and needless to say it is a 500 cc and torque is what makes it a day for me.

Last edited by navin_v8 : 17th November 2014 at 10:30. Reason: additional information
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Old 17th November 2014, 10:57   #26
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Review - Back to the Future

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The way the Tbird500 handles this weight from standstill on an incline is truly amazing and mind you that incline has a bottleneck at a place where there is a turn which is quite a task to maneuver and the Tbird500 shines while taking that turn with a steep incline at crawling speeds with its sheer bottom end torque burst.
Hmm, you may have a point there. Madras being one of the flattest cities in the country, I've really not had the chance to experience bottom end pull on inclines yet.

I think I'll take Lobo to Yercaud soon to handle the switchbacks on that hill climb. Maybe then I'll experience that oomph that you're talking about!
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Old 18th November 2014, 14:58   #27
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Review - Back to the Future

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Today, I got him up to a cruising speed of 90 kmph for the first time, and he absolutely loved it. When cruising at 90-95 kmph, the exhaust note almost disappears - you do not get the percussive thump of older CI Bullets. Instead, the engine rhythm, exhaust note and wind blast combine to produce a resonant thrum that is more stealthy than stentorian, like a roomful of monks humming to a set rhythm.

Bullet purists will probably hate it, because it sounds nothing like the old CI Bullets did at full pelt.
I agree with this feeling and it was something I enjoyed always when on long trip on my CI500.

And weirdly enough, I always got that feeling when the bike was in top notch. If the timing was off or engine overheating , that sweet spot could never be reached and most of the times, it happens in the early morning / evening times due to cooler air.

That is the rpm at which maximum efficiency is gained and is good for the engine as well. It is like the momentum of the bike is more than the power of the engine and that feeling is just like you explained. On the CI, the 'loud' note dies down and its just a humm and that is what cruising is all about.

If there is a similar sweet spot on the new breed of Enfields, that's awesome because that was one of the main points I thought was missing in the UCE.
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Old 18th November 2014, 19:31   #28
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Congratulations bud!

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I've loved fast, sharp handling, sporty bikes.

I've ridden the Bullets and the Yezdis, but naturally had more of a preference for sharper performers

I naturally started looking for bikes with sharpest performance characteristics ..... - the KTM Duke 390.

The Duke 390, IMHO..........I was certain that I had found the bike for me, until I hit an immovable object.

My wife.

.....My KTM dream was stillborn. :-(
Next time your wife gets all excited about some jewellery, clothing etc, tell her you are "not comfortable" and she must look for something thats more to your liking, like a woman married to a non fashionista would
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Old 19th November 2014, 12:35   #29
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Next time your wife gets all excited about some jewellery, clothing etc, tell her you are "not comfortable" and she must look for something thats more to your liking, like a woman married to a non fashionista would
I did this yesterday, and enjoyed what was probably the most hilarious 30 minutes of my life with her as she squirmed.

I let up on her in the end, but now I've got this in my back pocket until I buy a bike of my choice, and what's even better, she knows it.

It isn't the use of it that will play havoc with her peace of mind, it is the anticipation.
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Old 19th November 2014, 12:54   #30
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Review - Back to the Future

Thank God I am not married yet, else the "immovable object" would've fainted after knowing I own five motorcycles and all of them are Royal Enfield. Silverflash mate enjoy the ride

Last edited by navin_v8 : 19th November 2014 at 12:55.
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