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Old 10th May 2016, 13:14   #1
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Default Back Pain - Which Royal Enfield? Classic vs Thunderbird vs Himalayan

Hi

I had owned a 2002 Electra when I was in College & had sold it 2 years later & bought a 1982 Bullet; modified it & it is still under modification!!! (got conned) – well that's a different story. Now I'm planning to buy a USED Royal Enfield Bullet for my everyday commute of 40km. I rode both 350 & 500 at a dealership in Coimbatore; while the 350 had adequate performance; the 500 impressed me with better performance; had I not taken a ride on the 500, I would have settled for the 350. I rode the Himalayan; I like the purposeful build, well cushioned seat, performance & slightly forward leaning riding posture of the Himalayan too. But since the waiting period is 6 months & it will increase my budget I'm not considering it now.

In the 500 CC, there are 3 options - Standard, Classic & Thunderbird.

Standard - would just meet my minimum requirement of a 500 cc RE Bullet. Doesn't look as good as Classic or TB; I don't know if lack of FI is a boon or a bane.

Classic - Liked the sprung rider seat (absorbs many small imperfections on the road), riding posture. But I'm quite wary of the Rear Brake lever hitting the speed breakers & the awful vibrations.

Thunderbird - The looks are good, the (slightly) feet forward riding posture is good, the instrumentation & integrated locking is good; Rear disc brake is a boon; Since the foot pegs are mounted on a sub-frame the vibrations are less pronounced. I was disappointed with the hard seat & poor head light.

One common problem though. I rode both Classic & TB for about 3-5 km but I got back pain. I'm currently riding a Pulsar which has a forward leaning (slightly) riding posture while both RE Classic & RE TB have upright riding posture. I didn't get any back pain while riding the Himalayan though. So I've realised the riding posture is causing the Back Pain. Earlier in my Electra I used to get back pain if I ride for more than 50km at a stretch; but the foot-peg position & handle bar are altogether different in these new UCE bikes.

I'm 6'1" tall & weigh about 110 kg. In my Pulsar I used to get back pain; but after I got a VATERRA Saddle bag for my rather heavy Laptop bag which also acted as a back rest, my back pain woes were no more.

Is this (back pain) common for RE Classic & RE TB - considering that many people do 100's, 1000's of KM on these bikes on the harshest of terrains. Is there any remedy to this problem - like a back rest - or has anyone tried any other solution.

It is good I realised this problem before making a purchase. Or should I wait for the Himalayan.

Also please suggest what are the things that I need to watch out for when buying a used Bullet. Are the Fuel Injected Bullets reliable or should I opt for the Std 500.

Last edited by GTO : 11th May 2016 at 12:41. Reason: Language
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Old 10th May 2016, 13:46   #2
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Default re: Back Pain - Which Royal Enfield? Classic vs Thunderbird vs Himalayan

Owned the TB500 & currently with Himalayan...Would suggest you to take a test ride with it before putting the monies on the TB500.
You get a fantastic suspension setup with Himalayan and the seating posture is very neutral. For your height Himalayan should not be a problem at all. Only thing you will miss is the truck-loads of torque that the TB puts out at lower revs which the Himalayan manages to do in slightly higher revs.
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Old 10th May 2016, 14:12   #3
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Default re: Back Pain - Which Royal Enfield? Classic vs Thunderbird vs Himalayan

Quote:
Originally Posted by kestersujay View Post
I'm 6'1" tall & weigh about 110 kg. In my Pulsar I used to get back pain; but after I got a VATERRA Saddle bag for my rather heavy Laptop bag which also acted as a back rest, my back pain woes were no more.

Is this (back pain) common for RE Classic & RE TB - considering that many people do 100's, 1000's of KM on these bikes on the harshest of terrains. Is there any remedy to this problem - like a back rest - or does anyone has tried any other solution.
While a good suspension helps, IMHO bikes like pulsar (mine was 2005) help better. The slight forward (not fully forward like R15) stance shifts the weight onto your thighs which absorb the shocks better.

Sitting up straight transmits the shocks onto your back.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motorb...back-pain.html (Bike with no back pain) can give a perspective.

I have three prolapsed discs and every time I shifted back to my pulsar for commuting, instead of using a car.

PS: Similar thoughts here: http://advrider.com/index.php?thread...estion.655879/
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Old 10th May 2016, 15:04   #4
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Default re: Back Pain - Which Royal Enfield? Classic vs Thunderbird vs Himalayan

Quote:
Originally Posted by kestersujay View Post
I'm 6'1" tall & weigh about 110 kg..Is this (back pain) common for RE Classic & RE TB
I am a six-footer [183 cm], weighing 90+ kg. I have done many long rides in my Thunderbird 500 without suffering from back pain, thanks to the contoured seat and the positions of handlebar and foot-rests. Recently, I rode the Golden Quadrilateral, in which I did the Cal-Del stretch without overnight halt. Earlier, I did many mega rides like Chennai>Kanniyakumari/Ooty/Kodaikanal/Athirapilly Falls/Gandikota-Belum Caves>Chennai without experiencing any pain. On the contrary, whenever, I ride my son's Classic 500, I get pain in my seat after a coupla hours of ride, thanks to the flat seat.
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Old 10th May 2016, 17:41   #5
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Default re: Back Pain - Which Royal Enfield? Classic vs Thunderbird vs Himalayan

Sir general observations are Classic has pain after some time, TB more comfortable.

Would suggest borrow Himalayan from someone for a day or two if possible and try it for yourself for longer durations.

Relative sold classic and got a TB 500 for back pain, though it's quite subjective who likes what
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Old 10th May 2016, 17:44   #6
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Default re: Back Pain - Which Royal Enfield? Classic vs Thunderbird vs Himalayan

Classic seats do give pain. If not back then specially the monkey bone area. I changed my seats to Imran seats with backrest. Much more comfortable now.

You can easily modify your seat as per your convenience.
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Old 10th May 2016, 17:51   #7
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Default re: Back Pain - Which Royal Enfield? Classic vs Thunderbird vs Himalayan

Quote:
Originally Posted by kestersujay View Post
Hi

Is this (back pain) common for RE Classic & RE TB - considering that many people do 100's, 1000's of KM on these bikes on the harshest of terrains. Is there any remedy to this problem - like a back rest - or does anyone has tried any other solution.
Dunno about TBTS, but I came back from a Mumbai to Bangalore ride just yesterday on my Classic 500.

The back pain is a big pain in the back. One thing I did was I kept shifting between my legs from the front pegs to the rear passenger footpegs, every 100 kms or so.

Keeping your foot on the rear pegs gives your more straight stance, like how you would have on a KTM (streetfighter style). Though the legs are far more back than normal, it takes most of the weight off of your coccyx, hence the back is very happy.

Though I DON'T recommend this position for normal city riding or when there's a lot of traffic on the highway. It's most effective when on an empty stretch, and when you're in the top gear.

Quote:
Classic - Liked the sprung rider seat (absorbs many small imperfections on the road), riding posture. But I'm quite wary of the Rear Brake lever hitting the speed breakers & the awful vibrations.
Rear brake lever doesn't hit the speed breakers. In case it does, you would need to adjust the lever height and/or the rear brake nut for adequate bite.

Quote:
Also please suggest what are the things that I need to watch out for when buying a used Bullet. Is the Fuel Injected Bullets reliable or should I opt for the Std 500.
Fuel injected bullets are pretty reliable. Throttle response is so much better than the carburetted ones. All you need to take care is not to ride the bike too much in reserve, always fill up as soon as the light glows on (in Classic 500). I've had my Classic for almost 4 years and 30k kms now. And haven't faced any problems with fuel injection/ECU.
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Old 10th May 2016, 18:08   #8
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodge_Viper View Post
Classic seats do give pain. If not back then specially the monkey bone area. I changed my seats to Imran seats with backrest. Much more comfortable now.

You can easily modify your seat as per your convenience.
Thanks. Can you post some pics

Thanks for all your responses & suggestions. So looks like I'm not the only one to complain of back pain. 😀

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 10th May 2016 at 18:10. Reason: merged back to back posts
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Old 10th May 2016, 18:18   #9
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Default re: Back Pain - Which Royal Enfield? Classic vs Thunderbird vs Himalayan

Quote:
Originally Posted by maker_of_things View Post
Fuel injected bullets are pretty reliable. Throttle response is so much better than the carburetted ones. All you need to take care is not to ride the bike too much in reserve, always fill up as soon as the light glows on (in Classic 500). I've had my Classic for almost 4 years and 30k kms now. And haven't faced any problems with fuel injection/ECU.
I own a Classic 500 Efi too and I havent had any problems with fuel injection till date too. I also do not ride the bike much in reserve as you pointed out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kestersujay View Post
In the 500 CC, there are 3 options - Standard, Classic & Thunderbird.

I don't know if lack of FI is a boon or a bane.
Having Fuel Injection is no doubt a boon. This thread is a testament to all people who criticize fuel injection. JRavi sir did a golden quadrilateral on his TBTS 500 Efi. Golden Quadrilateral (Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 : My Motorcycle Diaries)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kestersujay View Post
Classic - Liked the sprung rider seat (absorbs many small imperfections on the road), riding posture. But I'm quite wary of the Rear Brake lever hitting the speed breakers & the awful vibrations.
Classic spring seats make me nervous on the highways. It just does not inspire confidence at high speeds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kestersujay View Post
Is there any remedy to this problem - like a back rest - or does anyone has tried any other solution.

Also please suggest what are the things that I need to watch out for when buying a used Bullet. Is the Fuel Injected Bullets reliable or should I opt for the Std 500.
Here is a pic of my bike (classic 500) and I recommend using Ride On Air. Air Cushion RIDEONAIR

And I got my seat made up at Perfect Seats - Imran Andheri Mumbai.

All I can say is that I enjoyed my last ride a lot without any back pain or butt sores. This combination increases the ride time with much more comfort than the stock seats.
Attached Thumbnails
Back Pain - Which Royal Enfield? Classic vs Thunderbird vs Himalayan-2.jpg  

Back Pain - Which Royal Enfield? Classic vs Thunderbird vs Himalayan-1.jpg  


Last edited by The Great : 10th May 2016 at 18:20.
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Old 10th May 2016, 18:18   #10
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Default re: Back Pain - Which Royal Enfield? Classic vs Thunderbird vs Himalayan

Here it is, if this angle helps.

Back Pain - Which Royal Enfield? Classic vs Thunderbird vs Himalayan-img_3798.jpg

And yes, I also changed my handle to RD extended, since I am 5 11' and stock handle felt a bit low when I leaned on the backrest.

Last edited by Dodge_Viper : 10th May 2016 at 18:21. Reason: Blanking out number plates of other bikes
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Old 11th May 2016, 12:51   #11
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Default Re: Back Pain - Which Royal Enfield? Classic vs Thunderbird vs Himalayan

Just sharing some related threads in case it helps anyone:

1

2
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Old 11th May 2016, 17:00   #12
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Default Re: Back Pain - Which Royal Enfield? Classic vs Thunderbird vs Himalayan

I own a 2010 model Classic 500 and not faced any issue with FI system except black spark plugs. I am 5' 11" and once made 450km stretch without break and the ride was absolutely comfortable!
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Old 11th May 2016, 19:19   #13
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Default Re: Back Pain - Which Royal Enfield? Classic vs Thunderbird vs Himalayan

You should forget upright riding posture if you want to save your back. Upright riding posture on a Bullet means your spine becomes part of the shock absorption process. Look at bikes like the Mojo or a used Inazuma for ultimate comfort.
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Old 11th May 2016, 20:22   #14
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Default Re: Back Pain - Which Royal Enfield? Classic vs Thunderbird vs Himalayan

Hey!

I have tested the TBTS 500 and the Himalayan back to back, multiple times. I find the Himalayan more comfy of the two. The TB might have the better seating posture, but the shocks on the Himalayan just soak up the bumps and undulations insulating you spine from all that. Plus the seats are plush. Am not sure how Himalayan would fare in the long haul, but my bet is that both these should do much better than the Classics. I am 6'3 and 100kgs so can relate.

P.S. Off topic, but I had a CBR 250 till a few months back, I have found it extremely comfortable for long hauls. It might feel bit cumbersome in the city though. I once rode Cochin - B'lore in 9 hours flat without any aches.
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Old 11th May 2016, 21:07   #15
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Default Re: Back Pain - Which Royal Enfield? Classic vs Thunderbird vs Himalayan

No contest, the Himalayan hands down. Ever so slightly rear set pegs do not stress the knees, but help you lock on the bike much better. The contours on the tank help too, as opposed to the rounded sides of the other enfields. You sit with the slightest of forward lean towards the handlebars. This means your back is spared from the jolts and you are comfortable longer. Plus, the ergos of the Himalayan mean you can easily stand up on the pegs and actually ride long-ish distances, including changing gears

If all that was not enough, the engine vibes are almost non existent in comparison to any RE ever. A big plus when it comes to comfort. And that long travel suspension will actually work overtime to keep you happy. Its the best motorcycle in the entire RE line up IMO
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