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Old 19th January 2017, 13:27   #46
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Default Re: UM Motorcycles @ Auto Expo 2016

I have received my bike Renegade Commando and many others too in Bangalore.
Bike are now getting delivered regularly.
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Old 19th January 2017, 13:42   #47
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Default Re: UM Motorcycles @ Auto Expo 2016

Saw couple of UM motorcycles yesterday, a maroon UM Commando at my workplace and a matte green UM Renegade in the evening. Seems like deliveries have started across the country.
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Old 20th January 2017, 11:35   #48
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Default Re: UM Motorcycles @ Auto Expo 2016

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Originally Posted by lateshnair View Post
I have received my bike Renegade Commando and many others too in Bangalore.
Bike are now getting delivered regularly.
Congrats, being first on Team-Bhp to buy a UM bike. Please post photos, plenty of them, and of course your review.
Abhay.
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Old 20th January 2017, 19:29   #49
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Default Re: UM Motorcycles @ Auto Expo 2016

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Congrats, being first on Team-Bhp to buy a UM bike. Please post photos, plenty of them, and of course your review.
Abhay.
Thanks Abhay I did not know I was the first in Team-Bhp family, feels good

Am not that great with writing Reviews but will try. And pics sure, am going for a ride tomorrow morning, will post some pics once am back.

Cheers!
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Old 29th January 2017, 21:48   #50
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Default Re: UM Motorcycles @ Auto Expo 2016

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Originally Posted by lateshnair View Post
Thanks Abhay I did not know I was the first in Team-Bhp family, feels good

Am not that great with writing Reviews but will try. And pics sure, am going for a ride tomorrow morning, will post some pics once am back.

Cheers!
Hello there, enjoying your ride? Waiting for your review. I am sure, many of us are waiting for it.
Regards,
Abhay.
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Old 1st February 2017, 20:15   #51
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Originally Posted by Dr.Ameya View Post
Has anybody who has booked the bike received it yet? I have not yet seen a single UM bike on the road. At least not in Mumbai. I was interested in the commando but except for reviews by magazines i have not yet seen a ownership review on youtube.
The following newsclip mentioned Aizawl:

https://www.team-bhp.com/news/um-mot...etwork-details

Having seen a UM Commando running in Aizawl's market last week (I'm visiting the city at present), I happened upon the showroom today, which I can confirm is very much up and running. Workshop also said to be functional and stocked with spares. It opened here in December, and the proprietor says he's sold ten of them in the past month. Looks promising. I was offered a test ride and will try and take a good long one tomorrow and report back.

There are several of these (the Commando; the Renegade Sport is slated to arrive here next month) in the showroom, and first impressions are that it is a real, substantial, full-sized bike with long wheelbase, beefy-looking components / tyres, and a sort of neo-classic (not typical cruiser), almost militaristic look. My concern is that it weighs as much as a Bullet and has less displacement than even their anemic 350, but I expect it to be more refined than the UCE's, and think that riding on these hills I should be able to assess the performance pretty well. A V-twin (a'la Hyosung Aquila) might've been more inviting, but "You can't always get what you want". I hope the brand develops and does well in India - at least better than Hyosung has. It seems like something truly fresh/unique that deserves a market niche at least.

I might mention that the marketing-hype re: the UM's American origins is stretching it a little; The metallic-blue 1970's Chevy Camaro in the background of their webpage photo is an impressive attempt at bolstering this contention, but while the company may be U.S registered, the bikes themselves are completely unknown on American roads and I'd doubt whether a single flat-washer had ever passed over American soil. Post 1980's Honda Rebel 250 (V-twin) / Ninja 250's you can hardly find anything as small as 300cc there, much less a single, and at this price besides, it's clearly aimed at something other than the Yankie market. I'm going to venture a guess and say Taiwan or Korea design (assembly is Uttarkhand), and maybe American-cruiser attitude and styling inspiration??? But then again, the website is Spanish/English and founder's ancestry seems to be hispanic. Hmmm.... Interesting.

In a similar connection, I hear that Foster's is a virtually unknown beer in Australia So none of this to say the UM mightn't be a great bike. I'd just like to know its true origins before ending up with one. Worst comes to worst, if the company doesn't succeed, I'd still be able to order my spares from abroad.

More later.

-Eric

Last edited by khan_sultan : 18th May 2017 at 10:10. Reason: Please do not type... like... this...
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Old 3rd February 2017, 22:44   #52
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"Can I take it on a kinda long test ride?" I asked. The young salesman at the Aizawl, Mizoram showroom said I sure could. I threw a leg over the demo bike - a Renegade Commando, one of several units sitting there available for sale. It had a full tank of fuel in it. Despite the low seat, the thing felt heavy - really heavy - 170kg's heavy. I thought back to my many rides over the years on similarly weighted RE iron/AVL/UCE 350's, all of which I felt were sorely underpowered. I prepared myself for what seemed inevitable disappointment: "With only 300cc's, this thing's going to be a complete dog" I thought, "especially in these hills with all this mass to drag up them". And this thing is supposed to be "American" - and a cruiser; So clearly, it should be a V-twin, even if a small one, shouldn't it? This single - especially one making its max power above 8,000rpm - is just not going to be a good match at all, I thought. It doesn't even fill up the frame the way a current Bullet's broad cooling fins do. This has just got to be the worst kind of poser.



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I backed it out of the showroom and turned, paralleling the curb. Hmmm... My 6'2" frame stretched over the thing in utter comfort, boots placed firmly on the far-forward pegs leaving knees bent at a comfy obtuse angle, arms left horizontal with hands lightly gripping the high handlebar. Finally riding a bike sized for people like me, I thought (been on a Navi the past few weeks - a real blast but definitely on the tiny side). I hit the starter button, whereupon the liquid cooled 279cc (not even 300) engine awakened with a suprisingly healthy roar - "They've removed something from the silencer" the salesman said. Seems the Aizawl service dept. has added this to their pre-delivery protocol, and vs. the stock version he fired up for comparison, the thing sounds a LOT better - they've not got it perfectly "right" yet - it's a little raspy in certain ranges and when off-throttle decelerating - but it's a big step up and sounds positively wonderful - like something you could wreak a lot of mischief on - at most loads/rpms. I twisted the grip and it revved so freely, so immediately. No heavy flywheel/crank here, but no harsh vibes, either. Hmmm... typical small single, just as I suspected.


Wanting to get out on the road, I eased out the clutch. It stalled. Restarted and tried again / stalled again. I think someone had left it parked in third gear. The shift-lever felt imprecise and sticky, but I kicked it down once, twice... Ah, yes, that was it. I'm in first now, point it across the road, hit the throttle - and the thing simply takes off. I mean in the way that my KB125 takes off, with real punch! Wow! The response is amazing, the amount of pull from this modestly-sized mill utterly surprising, the roar and crackle from the pipe invigorating. It's no thumper, but I found it'll tool along at a fairly relaxed rpm and still pull hard from that range when you get into it. And if you open up the throttle full in the midrange, you're rewarded with an increasingly strong surge right up into the upper ranges. Which is to say that it's pretty flexible, especially for a single. No tach, so one's left guessing here, but flexible engines don't really require them, there's no harshness / strain apparent anywhere, and it just feels so eager and healthy.


I ran briskly down the road a half-kilometer or so to where the pavement turned rough, broken, and dusty - which the fat tyres / plush suspension took really well. Riders of other bikes were bouncing around me on every side, while I just carelessly plowed right on through it all without changing course, without slowing down at all. And my spine / bum were none the worse for it. Absolutely posh. Suddenly someone on a scooty in front of me suddenly braked for a deep crevice in the road... I was too close and hadn't realized what he was doing, so had to hit the front brake hard; The heavy beast stopped immediately. Good enough brakes (at these speeds anyway), and a very wide-section front tyre. The thing is just so confidence-inspiring - a revelation.



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Rode back to the showroom in a spirited manner and stopped at the door: "I'm going up that way, towards Durtlang" (a high ridge far above the city) I shouted in - The young salesman came out and climbed aboard - "I'll come along with you" he said. Perfect, as this would be a long, steep uphill run and I really wanted to test the bike's power. Took off and stalled it again. And again. First gear is really tall and you've got to feather it; the showroom here is trying to source a revised chain sprocket to help with this (it's got six gears and should certainly be able to manage higher speeds even with a little lower final-drive ratio), and anyone thinking they'll take one of these to Ladakh this season definitely ought to be thinking about that, too. Never mind - it's a blast once the clutch is out and you're rolling.


The uphill run was thrilling. Even with me at 80kg's and a pillion, it had plenty of reserve power. I managed a couple of mildly heroic overtaking manoevers, downshifting and letting the thing wind out into its peak power ranges, where it felt really, really good. All this was all on steep gradients, mind you. Someone in R&D really spent their time getting this thing tuned properly for the weight of the bike. I just haven't ridden anything like this in India to date - ever: Heavy AND responsive AND smooth / refined. Just flew right up the few km's to the top in no time - the salesman was like, "Wow, we're here already!!" I don't think he'd ever been up that stretch as fast. The bike just feels like it'll do whatever you need it to do. I don't mean wheelies, jumps or peg-scraping, of course - in which case a different type of machine is in order - but just good, responsive, strong, steady, smooth acceleration as and when you want it, as much as anyone probably is going to need for normal road use at sane speeds. It occurred to me that the thing couldn't be properly run-in yet, and that I probably shouldn't be thrashing it, but hey, this is why they've got demo/test-ride bikes, right?


It felt solidly stable in the turns on the way up, and while it's too heavy to call it "flickable" it really seemed to only require a light touch to re-point it where you want it to, and it doesn't pull you into the turns like a couple of cruisers I've ridden (Honda V45 Magna being one example). Great stability yet easy to change course - a difficult balance to achieve, and even my pop-in-law's comparatively light, short-wheelbase FZ16 feels a lot more heavy/cumbersome/fatiguing in the handle.


Turned around atop the ridge and headed down, the gutted silencer crackling all the way, the brakes proving their worth. The top layer of pavement was peeling off the road surface here in many places, and I'd taken a real beating a couple evenings before astride the FZ, my wrists / bum protesting badly. But on the UM, again there was really nothing to it at all. Just completely pleasant over the rough stuff. I was talking over my shoulder to the sales guy the whole way, telling him how much I liked this thing. They'd sold ten of these and have a goal of sending out fifteen before forming a local club, etc. I told him that would be an easy goal to reach, and sure enough, by the time we got back to the showroom, a local former Bullet owner - who'd been around a few times already for test rides - had come by with payment and was about to take delivery. Four more to go then. I'd bet it'll happen long before our time here is up in a few weeks.


I had the salesman snap a couple photos of me on the bike - figuring I'd post here; And I told him to take one with his own phone as I was surely the first Yank in the city to be riding one of these "American" bikes, and it could be good promotion for them. Later on he told me to come by anytime and take one, ride around town on it for that very purpose. I am very likely going to take him up on that offer.


Anyway, I wanted to put in a good word here for UM, who I feel is taking a pretty bold step in entering the Indian two-wheeler market. I'd heard of their plans some months back, but it wasn't till I saw one in person here being ridden downtown that I remembered anything about it. The bike's true origins may still be a mystery, but let me say that though it is pretty doubtfully American in any real way, it is one of the most compelling bikes that this American has ridden in the past decade or more - I think just because it is easy to feel directly connected to it; Apart from the kind of nasty/binding-feeling gear-lever (which I hope was specific to the freshness of that test bike), there was nothing that felt distracting or limiting at all about the machine, allowing me to easily focus on the riding itself - perhaps one of the better measures of a good bike. I hope that many others in India will test ride these and find them as inspiring as I did, and that the brand will become established, because they seem to have a good, unique, appealing product here; seem to be putting together attractive showrooms and getting their service / parts-supply channels in order (slow at present in Aizawl, being as remote as it is). They've got the branded apparel (even socks!), and there are supposed to be a lot of accessories coming up soon, including metal side-covers and chrome bits and the like. I'm very interested to see what the future holds, and at 1.78L this doesn't seem like a bad deal at all - in the U.S. market there's no bike that can be touched for that price, AFAIK, and maybe one day these Uttarkhand-assembled units will even be exported there! As for me, I'm pretty dubious about finding a showroom closer than about seven hours from Manali, so for now UM ownership might remain a dream - but if that should change sometime in the days to come, I'm going to be seriously tempted. REALLY like this bike! Styling-wise somehow the Commando in the glossy colors doesn't do it for me (the upcoming Sports S model looks better), but in matte olive green it becomes a REALLY fine looking machine.


Okay, this is all sounding like extreme fanboy-ism or an actual undercover marketing ploy, right? Sorry 'bout that. I certainly haven't ridden everything there is to ride out there in the Indian market, but I've been astride a pretty wide range of machinery both here and abroad, from a Moto-Guzzi "Robin" moped to a Ducati ST-5, from Honda XL600 to Triumph Bonneville, Yezdi Roadking to the RE 535 Lightning, from Zundapp Explorer to Pulsar 220, Rajdoot to Karizma, and well, I just liked this thing a lot in terms of riding feel, what can I say? And I was never much of a cruiser guy.


Of course it's going to come partly to the question of what else can be had for 1.8L or less on-road, and how these compare to the UM. As "real" American cruisers (a.k.a. Harley) cost multiples more, it is not right to put them alongside. Same goes for 300cc twins like the Ninja/R3, which are likewise a lot more expensive and anyway in a wholly different category. The 400 Dominar seems a supreme value, but then again if it's a long/heavy/low/laidback cruiser you're looking for it isn't going to fit the bill. Same could be said for the Mahindra Mojo, which I guess is around the same displacement / price.


So I guess we're down (as usual) to the Enfields. A couple years back when I had cash in hand I went up to the RE showroom figuring I'd probably buy a CL350. I test rode it all over and liked the vehicle dynamics / ride, which were indeed confidence-inspiring; but I just knew I wasn't going to be able to live happily with the limited power output, the harsh vibes, the mechanical clatter. The Standard and CL500's solved the power issue handily but were even more vibratory. Pre-owned AVL/iron 500's would be a little better that way but are just extremely difficult to find / maintain at this point, they're thirsty, nor do they have much more actual peak power output. And none of these Bullets / T-birds have a wheelbase as long or as purely cruiser-ish a riding position as the UM's, On another tack, I loved the RE Himalayan conceptually but found it rides harder than it should (at the rear in particular) on rough tracks, and while the enhanced midrange power and relative smoothness the balance-shaft provides are welcome changes from the longstanding RE status-quo, the mechanical noise is still there, and the whole bike just feels heavy, anything but truly responsive, in truth a bit of a chore to manouver.


I'm probably missing something here. Ahhh, yes. My disclaimer: In all my raving, I'm only talking about the "feel" of this bike, the way it rides, subjectively, for ME. I also have no idea where the actual design / components are coming from, and it is entirely possible that in terms of service / reliability / longevity there will be nothing to rave about at all. This is a new company, the webpage doesn't say anything about the warranty offered, and a lot will remain to be seen. You buy one, you may be satisfied longer-run, you may not be - you're a guinea pig - it's that simple. But if it ends up being reliable and stays as tight-feeling as the new one I rode was, this is going to be a really nice bike to own and ride longer-term, and if the size/feel appeal, as yet I don't see anything being offered by the major manufacturers that's even remotely like it (in a whole different league vs. the Avenger 220, mind you) as an alternative.


Interestingly, the Regal Raptor, another claimed U.S.-origin bike (which I can guarantee is NOT being used in American Police service as the website seems to depict, and which any web-search reveals is very clearly of Chinese origin), is a twin-cylinder machine also about to make its debut here in Aizawl shortly. Perhaps that will provide my next raving review - I do appreciate the fact that on the parent website, nobody's trying to hide its true Chinese origins. Mr. Horse Z something or the other was feeling dejected in his career as a lowly manufacturer of motorcycle handgrips, thinking there must be more to life, then somewhere near rock-bottom, a flash of inspiration came and Lifeng Motors was born (great story)! I doubt any twin is going to cost under 2L, but if it does it could give the UM offerings and and really the whole Indian market a little shakeup. Question is whether either of these are actually good quality bikes. Let's hope they are - and they may prove to be real bright spots in 2-wheeler the market.



-Eric

Last edited by khan_sultan : 18th May 2017 at 10:12.
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Old 4th February 2017, 12:09   #53
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I'm feeling compelled to get up on my soapbox now:
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinit.merchant View Post
All the fears reasonable, but proven to be not so now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
A warning for anyone considering UM Motorcycles. Tread with caution. Deliveries are getting continuously delayed. An email that I've been copied on, between a customer & the company:
Same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by payeng View Post
Overdrive is out with its Review as well. And boy, they have been brutal.
Quote:
Originally Posted by v12 View Post
Autocar India's review on the UM motorcycles. As expected, it fails on the quality. front
.

Found these reviews pathetically biased. "Fails on the quality front" - Why??? Because it has plastic side panels, like every single other Indian-built bike besides the RE's??? The Renegade Sport "isn't pretty" because... uh... it doesn't fit that journalist's personal tastes (I think it looks absolutely great!)??? The reviewers even recommend looking at the "solidly built" Mahindra Mojo instead, which besides not being a cruiser, they'd never ridden! (and is the Mojo's engine supposed to be anything but Chinese origin itself - hasn't anyone noticed that their scooters still have the Chinese "Sym" name on them)? The reviewers complain about the UM's vibes and running out of steam at 110kmph, when the only real competing bikes in India - the RE's - certainly vibe a LOT more, are severely underpowered (350) and are not really high-speed bikes themselves.

I can certainly entertain a "wait and see" attitude but all this energetic lambasting sounds like serious prejudice against a particular nation, more than unbiased assessment / reporting:

Quote:
Originally Posted by amitc7 View Post
It looks like cheap Chinese junk that they sell in Egypt and Africa. Some copied engine platforms from Jap manufacturers and borrowed or hacked chassis from old 90's light bikes. Finish looks all shiny, but after 2-3 months you will be lucky to have a chassis and engine and maybe a seat to sit on. It is as American as dumpling. God bless you early birds and [hope] for your sake I'm wrong.
They copy certain Jap engines because they are the best, most reliable world-class designs out there (Duh...). Taiwan was making Honda XL250 near-identical copies that were said to be every bit as good as the originals. On a cruiser, what's the problem with a borrowed 90's chassis? What could "hacked" possibly mean? The best-selling "cruiser"-style bike in India has a 60+year-old chassis design, and riding dynamics are actually one of its (few) strong points!

Importantly, even the Manali RE showroom owner referred me to an RE-origin article explaining WHY RE's are more maintenance-intensive, why components may have a shorter service life (500UCE crankshaft = 40,000km, IF treated well!) than other bikes. And it is cost-reduction, plain and simple. On the upside, "more" bike, and more riding pleasure for the money, but you have to accept that ongoing costs will be there. Reasonable. But if UM's end up demonstrating the same reality, we will not accept it: They're Chinese and they're "junk"! Ridiculous!

It is a fact that hardly anyone out there badmouthing Chinese bikes have ever ridden one or known anyone who owned one, nor do they realize that their manufacturers are able to produce products of world-standard quality WHEN clients are willing to specify / pay accordingly. Such bikes will only last three months??? So are all the Latin-Americans / Thais / others buying, say, Lifan bikes all these decades really just that stupid - they like throwing money away time and again when so much better Jap machinery is available right alongside?

Anyway, the mystery's solved, and in the end UM is not some fly-by-night company: Origin actually in Colombia (which is certainly among the nations of the American continents, though in no way associated with the U.S.A. or its stars/stripes or heritage bikes); And tie-ups with Taiwan/Korea/China manufacturers and office/design studio in Miami. They sold re-badged Hyosung's in the U.S. briefly:

http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/hy...asian-invasion

The article is dated and I don't know how much real progress there's been, but it is pretty fair and optimistic regarding the global futures of these East Asian companies. Having relatives in Central America myself, I've seen bikes by a lot of these manufacturers when visiting and been able to compare from the saddle vs. competing Honda/Yamaha, too (in the case of dual-sports). I do believe the perception of quality is better among the Jap bikes (and they do command higher prices), but a lot of potential there, as the designs / component selections / specs are right:

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KMF-branded China bike in Central America - 250cc, dual discs, upside-down forks, alloy rims and plenteous suspension travel. Why couldn't Hero have made my Impulse more like this???

As it regards India and other apparently more discerning markets, it all depends on materials/QC and after-sales support now.

-Eric

Last edited by ringoism : 4th February 2017 at 12:21.
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Old 4th February 2017, 13:30   #54
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Default Re: UM Motorcycles @ Auto Expo 2016

Quote:
Originally Posted by ringoism View Post
I'm feeling compelled to get up on my soapbox now:


All the fears reasonable, but proven to be not so now.



They copy certain Jap engines because they are the best, most reliable world-class designs out there (Duh...). Taiwan was making Honda XL250 near-identical copies that were said to be every bit as good as the originals. On a cruiser, what's the problem with a borrowed 90's chassis? What could "hacked" possibly mean? The best-selling "cruiser"-style bike in India has a 60+year-old chassis design, and riding dynamics are actually one of its (few) strong points!


It is a fact that hardly anyone out there badmouthing Chinese bikes have ever ridden one or known anyone who owned one, nor do they realize that their manufacturers are able to produce products of world-standard quality WHEN clients are willing to specify / pay accordingly. Such bikes will only last three months??? So are all the Latin-Americans / Thais / others buying, say, Lifan bikes all these decades really just that stupid - they like throwing money away time and again when so much better Jap machinery is available right alongside?

Anyway, the mystery's solved, and in the end UM is not some fly-by-night company: Origin actually in Colombia (which is certainly among the nations of the American continents, though in no way associated with the U.S.A. or its stars/stripes or heritage bikes); And tie-ups with Taiwan/Korea/China manufacturers and office/design studio in Miami. They sold re-badged Hyosung's in the U.S. briefly:

http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/hy...asian-invasion


Attachment 1604071
KMF-branded China bike in Central America - 250cc, dual discs, upside-down forks, alloy rims and plenteous suspension travel. Why couldn't Hero have made my Impulse more like this???

As it regards India and other apparently more discerning markets, it all depends on materials/QC and after-sales support now.

-Eric
Eric,

I live in Egypt part of the year and UK too, besides India and I don't say a word without sampling and trying the vehicles. The Chinese stuff are all crap, even in China those who can afford go for Jap bikes (I verified this as I have a Chinese connection).

The Engines are poorly made copies at 1/5 the price, how can you make the same quality if the components are inferior. There are no quality control systems in the factories, most of the cylinder heads start leaking after a long run.

You have no clue how bad these things are, they fall apart within months!
Kymco and Hyosung are Korean and at least 20 years ahead of these Chinese junks. Taiwanese manufacturing facilities are ahead of Korea, 25 years ago Taiwan made products that were better than Koreans. Don't call Taiwanese products as Chinese.

Trust me when I say they all look great in the showroom and then the nightmare starts. UM being managed from the US was their claim, if they are from Colombia, case closed. You're being biased towards them for no reason.

BTW a Bajaj Pulsar 150 used to sell for EGP 10000 in Egypt and Hongda/Yahama 150 crap come for EGP 3000. This was when (1 USD = 7 EGP).
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Old 6th February 2017, 13:28   #55
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Default Re: UM Motorcycles @ Auto Expo 2016

Nice review there, by Ringoism.Very useful and honest. Hope, more and more reviews will pour in.
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Old 8th February 2017, 15:05   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amitc7 View Post
Eric.. I don't say a word without sampling and trying the vehicles. The Chinese stuff are all crap, even in China those who can afford go for Jap bikes... The Engines are poorly made copies at 1/5 the price, how can you make the same quality if the components are inferior.
Appreciate your sharing all that, Amit.

Well, having been some years in automotive component manufacturing myself: Same quality at 1/5 price? Impossible, BUT: Slightly lower quality at half the price? Definitely! IF it's done in very high volumes and labor is paid poorly, IF safety / environmental standards can be largely ignored, and moreover IF there's no fear of related lawsuits / government interference! Etc. There are good reasons that top-quality companies like Honda (automotive) and John Deere moved production to Mexico (which never had a reputation of doing much of anything conscientiously/well), and yet have been able to largely maintain their standards. I'm NOT saying it's good to support that sort of system;

BUT UM's case seems vastly different: It is being assembled in Uttarkhand, allegedly with 70% India-sourced components and a goal of increasing that to near-complete in-country sourcing in the future. I'd be willing to bet that RE's margins on the Bullet are pretty substantial; UM has likely been willing to take a little less profit in this startup stage, and if so, then offering big, liquid-cooled bikes at 1.5/1.8L (certainly not 1/5 the competition's price) puts it in a very different situation than the Egyptian Yahamas / Hongos at 1/3 the price of a Pulsar.

So contrasting this to the N. African/Chinese tie-ups, am wondering two additional things: First, whether what you've observed applies mainly to entry-level bikes for the economically choiceless, or to more premium offerings as well; and Second, whether (just as in India's case), you could allow the possibility of "export quality" offerings for more demanding markets being substantially better than what's typically produced for their domestic / lower-end export destinations.


Whatever, any Chinese preference for Japanese vehicles vs. their own proves little we didn't already know, and keeps them in pretty good company worldwide: Same holds true for many Americans / Europeans, and even here in India, the renown of early (Japan)-production IND-Suzuki / RX /KB /M800 practically guaranteed the success of the more recently entered parent companies. Jap stuff, despite humble origins, has proven top-notch for a long time now.


IMO the most important considerations in the context of India would be:
  • How far along are the Chinese on that presumably similar development curve that transitioned the Japanese from being earlier dismissed as makers of low-grade knock-off crap, to becoming benchmark-setters worldwide (I hear China already offers a decent [BMW]1200GS copy crate motor; Some makers have got into sponsoring motorsports, and have plans for indigenous superbike designs, etc)?
  • (Crucially), how does UM compare RIGHT NOW quality-wise to Indian competitors WITHIN its target sector? It's a somewhat unique offering (which has its own appeal) - but basically we're talking RE, itself not exactly famed for QC, yet selling smashingly well the past several years.
  • What are people in this traditionally conservative / pragmatic Indian market becoming willing to sacrifice lately for the sake of image and “feel”? How many truly comfortable bikes are there in the 150cc class (gotta have low bars, rear-set pegs and be a "sporting fellow", don't we)? How many people who’ve happily paid several lakhs for a Harley / Triumph are actively dissuading others from buying, only because they find (and I've seen it personally) their pampered chrome pitting and rubber disintegrating a couple years out of the showroom (when you can find 'em still clean on my outdoor-parked, coastal origin, snowbelt-residing, thoroughly neglected ’92 RTZ)?
  • At whatever points the Chinese finally offer truly great products to the market, what will it take for them to overcome their poor image, lack of real biking heritage/lineage and other prejudices (perhaps, as earlier with the Japs in former Allied nations, the reality of having been brutally at war with them sometime in the past few decades), and thus secure viable sales numbers?
Negatively, I believe that UM is trying to create the "heritage" they know they lack by setting up U.S. offices, depicting their bikes against American backdrops, plastering "Originated in U.S.A." stickers on their rear mudguards, etc. They may truly have done design work there inspired by classic American bikes, in which case a kind of stylistic "origin" / lineage could be claimed, but overall it seems a little misleading / sneaky. The desperation, though, points to the reality that they know what they're lacking (especially vs. RE) for this segment; Hopefully they'll seek to compensate for this lack in other ways, as the Japanese cruisers eventually succeeded in doing in the U.S. market.


Positively, the UM has firmly injected into their present offerings some of the core qualities that made the classic American/British players popular in the first place: Namely good levels of style / performance / handling / feel-good riding pleasure / great sound (with modded baffles) at a feasible price. Any shortcomings aside, these pluses carried the Euro/American marques a long way (many decades in the Bullet's case), and so long as the UM’s don’t end up being outright disasters mechanically, I'd say they deserve to share in a bit of that same success.


In closing, folks up here in Aizawl tend to fearlessly run after fashion / raw appeal more than boring and rudimentary considerations such as cost, maintenance, practicality. They've received UM pretty enthusiastically thus far, and thus should serve as excellent guinea-pigs for the rest of us ; Surely there will be feedback coming in from the mainland as well, but I'll be VERY interested to see how these bikes are running, and how/what the brand is doing, a couple years from now when I'm likely to be up here again. I do know that very unpopular bikes can prove themselves highly satisfying rides and good ownership experiences, when well-maintained with reasonable expectations: a friend's bright-red, lightly modded Hyosung GT250 Comet being my personally most lustworthy example (he orders and receives spares from Korea more punctually than I can for my Impulse at the Hero showroom).

RE: any biases of my own, as you said no reason for any, as I've got considerable investments in Inda and none in China / Colombia / Miami. End of the day, I simply loved the way the Commando rode, which any biker knows carries a lot of weight. With the broader reality being hard to yet ascertain, my short time in the saddle at least made me a believer in its possibilities.

Ahhh... there IS one ulterior motive, I guess: Thing is, if people lambast it and it turns out to be a terrible bike and it fails, I'm solved a lot of headaches. But IF it's a great bike that the broader market rejects on what ultimately turns out to be no reasonable bases, then operations will fold up, plenty of people here in India will be out of work, and I'LL never get to own a bike that the was first in quite some time (apart from the Navi, for wholly different reasons!) that I thought I could REALLY enjoy riding over the long-term (I might mention that I rode a Benelli yesterday - and for me, no contest). So let's all watch this closely and try to be reasonable / unbiased. If the bike doesn't deserve to survive, so be it, but if it DOES, let's not trash it / make it fail. You could end up keeping me (and maybe even yourselves) from a real (frugal-man's) dream bike!!!" :-)

'Nuff said.

-Eric

Last edited by ringoism : 8th February 2017 at 15:33.
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Old 8th February 2017, 17:57   #57
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Default Re: UM Motorcycles @ Auto Expo 2016

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Appreciate your sharing all that, Amit.

-Eric
Bro, you are brave enough to defend UM, why not put your money down and give us a long term review over 12 months.

We'll take your word for it, whatever the result.

I won't look at a another Chinese vehicle for another 10 years at least, they will be better than the Japs by then.
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Old 17th February 2017, 23:55   #58
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Bro, you are brave enough to defend UM, why not put your money down and give us a long term review over 12 months. We'll take your word for it, whatever the result. I won't look at a another Chinese vehicle for another 10 years at least, they will be better than the Japs by then.
In either event, you'd better consider more than this one man's word; And not quite "defending", just saying it's not right to make assumptions / automatically dismiss it, or to fail to compare apples to apples considering its target market. Since UM has done business with the Koreans and Taiwanese too, this all could be a moot point; there may not be a single Chinese-origin component in these bikes (and do remember it's a South American company); But even if there were, I was saying there's no need to reject it out of hand - did some research on Chinese scooters since they're selling a lot of them in the U.S. now - and unlike earlier, there really IS a huge range of qualities available, some of them really getting decent (not easy to know which is which, but there are some ways of discerning).

I'd buy one personally. BUT it should be considered that 1. Of a few dozen vehicles I've owned, only ONE (my Impulse) has been brand-new; 2. Having three bikes already, don't really need / want another motorcycle at present; 3. Even if I did, as mentioned, don't have a UM showroom within 12 hours of my usual residence. Been trouble enough procuring parts / service for the Hero from the showroom an hour away.

That said, I was down at the Aizawl dealer again today, just to see what was up. They've sold 14 total now since December, which is good for a small city. Just got the Sports S model in, which I think looks pretty good stylistically (but regional rep says they've stopped producing the orange... WHAT???!!!). The silver/black version exhibits a very pretty coarse metal-flake in the paint, with nice black pinstriping besides.

In view of some of the negative responses here on the thread and elsewhere re: fit/finish, I really gave the bikes in the showroom (eight of them) a careful looking over, especially in comparison to a very nice new Bullet CL (that lovely rust red color) that was sitting outside on the other side of the glass.

My observations: Weld quality on the UM chassis looks good (a lot better than my Hero, anyway); Found no issues with panel alignment; Engine castings are very smooth/nicely done. Front shockers are Gabriels, it's got a genuine OSRAM 60/55 made-in-Germany headlight bulb. Hoses/pipes/clamps (apparently an indicator of lower-end Chinese) seem to be of good materials.

Turn indicators are the absolute WORST imaginable - I just can't believe anyone would've actually selected those thinking they'd be appropriate for a bike of this price; Paint quality is generally good but not without flaws. Tanks / frames basically nice, but found lots of orange-peel and even a small run on the rear mudguards, and a noticeable flaw in the striping that had been clear-coated over. Sheet-metal forming seems imperfect, both on rear mudguards and a couple of the tanks I saw, as well.

But the biggest minus for a lot of people is going to be all the plastic. Not that it looks bad, really, in a different sort of way. But does it fit the image? Side-covers would be okay, but do we need to have so much of it around the radiator, ahead of and under the tank, and holding the rear license plate, and atop / side of the petrol tank? The bike is supposed to mirror classic American cruisers, right? Well, plastic doesn't go down too well in that crowd. A few years of harsh UV for unprotected parkings, and I don't doubt these will look BAD all over. It might be high-grade plastic in which from an engineering standpoint there really are no issues - but it's a problem of perception.

I long ago realized that any Bullet appeal I could muster up in myself was due to their solidness, their all-metal construction which pointed to the possibility of lifetime ownership, of being substantial enough that they were worth rebuilding time and again. In all honesty: 1) most people will trade Bullets off many decades before they die, so it's mainly perception vs. pragmatism; 2) The UM really doesn't strike me as a "lifetime" kind of bike. 3) UM is supposedly planning to introduce accessory chrome bits, and the side panels in metal.

That Enfield parked outside really did look good, the engine all polished and the bike just gleaming everywhere. I just wish that engine ran as well as it looked. Maybe a Bullet with a (polished) Himalayan engine would do it for me? Its paint/sheetmetal weren't perfect either, but they were a bit better than the UM's. RE's just been at it for a LONG time and have probably learned something and in these mass-market times refined themselves a bit. Whereas very likely the staff at the UM factory are all kind of somewhat in a learning-curve. As a new product, it's not looking bad - but if they survive, I'd assume they'll learn to do everything a lot better in the future, too.

I think that in this "wait & see" stage the people taking the plunge will be those who 1) just want something stylish / different / are bored to death of RE's (though one could have a new Himalayan / used Conti GT at the same price, which are fresh in their own respective ways); 2) See the merits of liquid-cooling; 3) Just love (like me) the way these bikes ride.

Re: the rest, We'll know more only later.

They told me today there's a new "Classic" model coming, that has a windscreen and etc. Hopefully a little more metal, as well???

-Eric

Last edited by ringoism : 18th February 2017 at 00:00.
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Old 18th February 2017, 17:00   #59
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Bro, you are brave enough to defend UM, why not put your money down and give us a long term review over 12 months.

We'll take your word for it, whatever the result.
Exactly the same sentiment that I share for "ringoism"


Also @ ringoism, your posts are awfully too long to read on a smartphone screen

Last edited by payeng : 18th February 2017 at 17:04.
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Old 18th February 2017, 19:30   #60
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Default Re: UM Motorcycles @ Auto Expo 2016

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Also @ ringoism, your posts are awfully too long to read on a smartphone screen
Share your same view here; what I typically look is for a short, crisp, positive & negative notes on the vehicle's capability & that should not take more than 5-6 seconds to get a basic understanding.

Then comes the big masala flavored unbiased factual write-up that contains the ride/drive experience, NOT the personal feelings. Typically MotoHive & TBhp write-ups are the ones to attract & retain readers.
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