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Old 23rd March 2015, 13:51   #1
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Default Reasonable charges or Royal loot? 1977 Enfield Standard 350 repairs

Dear All,

I had negligently left my bike to sleep over for 2 years and it had gathered rust on rust. The bike in question is a 1977 model standard 350cc Royal Enfield.

Rewind to 2012- The engine on that had been done new with lots of parts from Meerut when I was in Gurgaon. My usage had drastically reduced post that though it was initially in good running condition.

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2014 in Namma Bengaluru- I shifted to Bangalore in 2012, had gotten married, did a Leh road trip (Car), bought a cycle, traveled across the globe, Built my Own house, finances issues blah blah blah but had completed ignored my Bike.

My Wife finally managed to save up some money and we ordered parts for the bike from New Delhi (Royal Enfield Zone). Included new seats, fuel tank, both Rims, mudguards, silencer, wheels, headlamps and tail lamps and some other accessories. We got the Painting for all these parts done on our own. For the repair of the bike, one of my wifeís friend recommended a Mechanic in Shivaji Nagar, Bangalore. He took 5 whole months sleeping on the bike. Even I didnít bother him too much since I wanted the bike to come out well. The end result is the after Pic
But this was just the start of the story. He had not yet billed for the parts and hadnít even told me what all has been done. One fine day, he came over to my house and dropped the bike. He told me to ride it for a few days and then we do the adjustments. He also told me that since the bike had been kept open at his workshop, water has seeped into the engine bay. Hence, he had to completely rebuild the Engine. He also claimed he had to take it to the lathe to remove the bend, painting the chassis was very difficult etc.

After Repair

Reasonable charges or Royal loot? 1977 Enfield Standard 350 repairs-after.jpg

Day1 of Testing- Tried starting the restored bike. Took about 5 minutes to start. Tappet had lot of noise. Thought of taking a 10-15km ride. It was running slower than a Luna and I could easily feel that it had absolutely no power. And I could hear the mistimed burning as well (missing). When I pulled over and called the Mechanic, he said no issues, and that the problems would sort out after some more riding. After about 15km, the engine had royally overheated and stopped. When I tried to start again, the air filter and probably tappit area made a huge noise and then it completely died. Not even an ignition was possible after that.

Day2- I had to tow it to the mechanic from Yelahanka to Shivajinagar.

Day 15- The Mechanic worked on it again for 2 weeks. When I went to him this time, he said everything is ready. But the bike wouldnít start. Then he said maybe the carburetor is gone. So I paid him for the carburetor there. Finally, the bike started and I started biking back home. I could still feel the loss of power and the tappet noise. But he had again managed to tell me that this would go away after 100-200km. Now two days post that, bike again doesnít start and this Mechanic has given me this loot bill on a Bike which was running in better condition when I had taken and dropped it to him.

Attached are the bill details he has given me. I have paid about half of it. I do not even feel like paying him even a penny now and would want to take it to another Mechanic. He has been absolutely pathetic in my opinion. But maybe I am wrong since he is a known mechanic (atleast to my Wifeís friend)

Suggestions Required

1. Any idea on what the problem with the bike is?

2. Looking at the bill, can you please suggest what all I can check now and try to catch him red-handed with the wrong prices and maybe Work he has not even done?

3. If any of you could help me out with contacts of a reliable mechanic near KR Puram/ Yelahanka/ Hennur to do an assessment of the work done on the bike already and undertake the remaining work, would be of great help.
Attached Thumbnails
Reasonable charges or Royal loot? 1977 Enfield Standard 350 repairs-loot-bill1.jpg  

Reasonable charges or Royal loot? 1977 Enfield Standard 350 repairs-loot-bill2.jpg  

Reasonable charges or Royal loot? 1977 Enfield Standard 350 repairs-loot-bill3.jpg  

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Old 23rd March 2015, 14:30   #2
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Default re: Reasonable charges or Royal loot? 1977 Enfield Standard 350 repairs

From a non RE owner, it looks like you've been taken for a ride!! And here're my reasons...
- 5 months to restore a motorcycle? Unless its like Norton, Ariel or BSA or even RD350 it doesn't take these many months
- When he has given you the bike for test ride, it should've reflected his quality of work; tappet noise is one the basic things that has to be checked & if there's a noise on it, then that's the kind of lousy guy & the job he has done
- If he has admitted that there was water seepage in the engine, then he must have been such a careless guy, which obviously will reflect his workman ship
- Painting a chassis & that too difficult!! unless he's learning how to paint it all by himself, yes, its difficult OR worst case...he doesn't know how to put back the bike after stripping it to chassis for painting
- Looking at the bill...Engine work Rs 3000, buffing Rs 3500 & Plating Rs 3000 (not sure what were buffed & what were chromed) & not to mention a huge labor bill of Rs 6500 sounds a little fishy to me. And why's the Bore rebore work of Rs 150 not covered in the Engine work Rs 3000? And there's a plating charge for Rs 3000 & nut bolt zinc (which is essentially chroming) for Rs 1200? Why?
- Why is he charing Rs 850 for engine oil? Its the price of fully synthetic engine oil, which need not be used on RE (Bulleteers pls correct me if my understanding is incorrect here)
- And what cable kit are we talking about here for rs 650? From my understanding there can be speedo, throttle (may be oil also) & clutch cables. Why do they charge Rs 650 for it?

However, I assure you, these guys are having super ability to rig the bill in such a way that everything looks legitimate & upon asking, they can come with c(r)ooked up answers that seems justifiable for the moment.

The above are my observation from a person who have been there, experience that, however hard core Bulleteers can give a better picture if those charges are acceptable or not
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Old 23rd March 2015, 14:59   #3
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Default re: Reasonable charges or Royal loot? 1977 Enfield Standard 350 repairs

The worst mechanics in the world would have at least 4-5 customers who would sing praises for them, so you can't blame your wife's friend, they might not be with him for quality of work or timely delivery, it could be as simple as, he picks the bike services it and delivers it back to home. You are to be blamed a bit for not doing periodic checks. If you don't followup they do it in their spare time and that happens only when they don't have any work. A non working mechanic is a guy in heavy debt and in india no body understands that your monthly expenses don't come from one customer, had this been a 10k job you would have ignored most of the niggles, having said that you should have not be taken for a ride. Now couple of things you have to remember is the Shivaji nagar mechs are absolute goons, it would be better if you pay up and settle it than finding out the consequences yourself.

Now regarding your bike, you should have done a lot of it before going through this ordeal, but I will tell you what "it" is. Go to forums like xbhp they have s lot of biker gangs going for rides, find out who does their bikes. Go to the person ask him to tell you what is wrong with your bike, what I am going to tell you now is very important, don't say a word about your previous experience. Take a quote, take it to the next guy and repeat the whole getting a quote exercise.

Make a call based on what you learned and finally hand them the bike, find out how much time they want and also make sure you don't use the words like "make it perfect" or "like butter smooth" these are the keywords for I am a cash cow

Make sure you visit periodically, once you get the bike take it for a longer ride, (after all it's your bike) make a list of things, tell him all of that and fix the price before diving deep further, as regards to the money you paid, consider it as a fine for your lack Of proper research. Feel free to reach out if need be.


Last edited by pramodkumar : 23rd March 2015 at 15:01.
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Old 23rd March 2015, 15:52   #4
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Default re: Reasonable charges or Royal loot? 1977 Enfield Standard 350 repairs

As per the bill all seems fine, there are some irregularities but that's fine. You have been charged more than double for Buffing.

Labour charged is too much. He charged 3000 for engine works it seems and another 6500 as labour, it is bit steep.
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Old 23rd March 2015, 19:24   #5
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Default re: Reasonable charges or Royal loot? 1977 Enfield Standard 350 repairs

Very sorry that have had to go through this ordeal.

Its quite common for mechanics to dupe the owners especially since you have gone for a full restoration.

In the bill you have provided there seems to be a lot of rounding off done. About 10-20 rs or so off on ALL of the cheaper parts.

The glaring bits that I found
  • Buffing shouldn't cost more that 2000.
  • Chroming for 3500 is another over estimation
  • Piston costs 425 Rs ( If its the standard size)
  • Enginework, since theres a new piston I assume that he has added a new sleeve and gone back to the standard size. Should cost ~2400 done from the best of the lathe shops.
  • Engine oil will not cost him more than 400 Rs

I don't really know how it would work out if you refuse to pay.

Get your motorcycle in whatever running order is possible from him, then start with the trial and error method of finding a suitable mech. Go about it slowly.

Knowledge is key in dealing with mechs.



Last edited by B O V : 23rd March 2015 at 19:29.
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Old 24th March 2015, 10:19   #6
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Default re: Reasonable charges or Royal loot? 1977 Enfield Standard 350 repairs

Dear Daart,
I would advice you not to bother about the bill and first get the bike running in best possible state from him. Tell him to resolve all issues and only then you will pay him. There are some additional cheese applied in the bill but I guess that is expected from any mechanic. I say this from experience.

Btw, your bull looks neat. Get it running smooth.

Happy Riding!
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Old 24th March 2015, 10:38   #7
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Default re: Reasonable charges or Royal loot? 1977 Enfield Standard 350 repairs

DAART looks like you were taken for a Royal Ride by this mechanic in question. Riding and Owning Enfields all these years it is crystal clear to me that he has royally fleeced you. Whatever has happened has happened you got to learn from your mistakes. Dude as a fellow bulleteer I would advice you to know some basic things about your Bullet. There are tons of materials on the internet for you to research, although the best source are fellow bulleteers. Firstly one should always take quotation from different "known" mechanics by asking them to identify the problems and possible solutions. Ask them what parts need to change and why? probe them? reason with them? Next make a list of parts in your mind that would be needed. Make a list of parts and go to the nearest RE authorized spare parts dealer to get a quotation. I have seen mechanics adding 50 to 100 to 200 odd bucks on every part they buy. Imagine if they are buying 10 different parts how much more you will have to pay over and above the MRP.

Always get involved with the repair works and do a regular follow up with the mechanic, also tell him clearly not to change any parts without your permission. Buy basic things like engine oil, oil filter, air filter, lubes, etc. on your own. I know we are all busy but as a Bullet owner one should be more proactive when it comes to repair and restoration jobs. Daart as others have said ask that lousy mechanic to rectify all the issues and only then pay the balance amount. Tell him loud and clear not to change any parts without your permission. Do a thorough testing before paying him that hard earned money.
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Old 24th March 2015, 10:58   #8
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Default re: Reasonable charges or Royal loot? 1977 Enfield Standard 350 repairs

Thank you all. I have been in touch with the mechanic this time and have clearly told him that I wonít be paying a penny more till the issue is solved. Luckily, the bikeís at my place now. He has promised to come and have a look. A big part of the blame is on me that I had left the bike with him for a real long time L. Reasons genuine but not unmanageable.

Have been getting some fantastic replies here. So have been trying to search for the correct prices on the internet. Will try to go to an authorized Spare parts dealer here. I would have been glad to pay 10-20% over the bill had he done a good job rather than make it run like a Luna.

Any other Indicators please?
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Old 24th March 2015, 13:07   #9
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Default re: Reasonable charges or Royal loot? 1977 Enfield Standard 350 repairs

Originally Posted by DAART View Post
Any other Indicators please?
Connect with fellow Bulleteers in TBhp, xBhp, Facebook, blah blah, Bangalore Bulleteers, Bangalore Black Bulleteers, Bangalore Bulleteers 1977, Bulleteers Restoration club...

Just find all the possibilities of connecting with PEOPLE who're subject matter experts, talk to them & mingle with them. There're good chances someone might know this mechanic & get pull up his socks or a better mechanic to get you out of this ordeal. Just go offline to connect with people & stay online to gain knowledge about your bull.

Ride safe & have a happy ending to all your ordeals
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Old 16th June 2015, 20:18   #10
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Default Re: Reasonable charges or Royal loot? 1977 Enfield Standard 350 repairs

Hello DAART,
I'm sorry you had to learn this the hard way. But isn't that how most of us learn!
Looking at your 'bill' these are the most suspicious charges slapped on you.

1) Engine work - 3000 - Ask him to elaborate what he did and ask for an itemized break up for this 3 grand

2) Buffing - 3500 - Should not cost you more than Rs. 1500-1700 given the fact that he's billed you 6000 for labor.

3) Plating - 3000 - This need not have even been done in the first place. Chrome plating does not stay put on buffed aluminum surface. Soon, the plating will start peeling off leaving your bull cosmetically challenged!

4) Engine baring - 1500 - Ask him for exact specs. In case of a bullets, even the most sophisticated ones shouldn't cost you more than 400-500ish

5) Whell baring - 600 - I recently replaced my wheel bearings costing about 80 bucks apiece

6) Nut bolt - zing - 1200 - Ask him what this is. Zinc nuts are known to have a slightly longer lifespan. But nonetheless, the normal Iron nuts/bolts hold up pretty well for a bull. Whatever be the case, 1200 is a little too steep

Enough talking about the mechanic. I have a few questions for you.

1) Didn't you ask him for an estimate to start with?
2) Didn't you check with any other mechanic for a second opinion?

While I have nothing against ladies talking motorcycles, I find them mostly unreliable. I do have very few female acquaintances that know their rides pretty well. But sadly the other women no nothing about engines.

And hey, why not learn servicing your motorcycle by yourself? Esp. with bullets, I believe, servicing it by yourself
1) develops a better bond between your ride and yourself
2) saves quite some money
3) makes for a nice weekend hobby

Once you start servicing your bull by yourself you'll realize how surprisingly easy it is. Easy maintenance albeit the compulsory regular basic care, is quintessential to bullets.

I've been through the same situation you're in bro (got my fingers burnt pretty bad with a similar mechanic in Bangalore). So don't worry. Once the bull hits the road and some good road trip's in place, all this'll be forgotten.

Good luck!

Last edited by Rhoads : 16th June 2015 at 20:22.
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Old 16th June 2015, 21:18   #11
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Default Re: Reasonable charges or Royal loot? 1977 Enfield Standard 350 repairs

Between the last two posts there is a gap of roughly 3 months. Can you update on the status? Is the bull now working fine? Did you pay in full or left the amount unpaid?

Since you are from Gurgaon, you should be aware that if you ask the price of a cup of tea before ordering, it is 15 bucks. But if you ask after you have it, its 80 bucks.
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