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Old 15th September 2016, 06:08   #1
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Default My Enfield Classic 500 Chrome - Ownership Experience

“Made like a gun, Goes like a bullet.”

There exists a kind of mortals who wake up each morning to live and not just lug through. And to deal with the whims of such, man probably made motorcycles.

Introduction:

Royal Enfields need no introduction to anybody. While manufacturers harped on modernity and technology, RE didn’t even bat an eyelid to such words (until the recent RE Himalayan of course). They carried on unchanged, and continue to do so, basking in the glory of their past. The ubiquitous bullet has been selling on forever with some major and some minor revamps. They lack speed, quality, refinement, efficiency and everything else that makes a journey hassle free and yet, we Indians love our Royal Enfields.

I too love the beloved Royal Enfields. The cons aside, all that metal, chrome, weight, the glory of that thump, they all bring in some indescribable nostalgia to these bikes.

Choice:

My father’s physique could be described as heavy and strong. One look at him and you will know nothing other than an Enfield would match his hunky persona. Thankfully, he too thought the same way and thus came home the Royal Enfield Classic 500 Chrome.

The day she came home:
My Enfield Classic 500 Chrome - Ownership Experience-img_3919.jpg

My Enfield Classic 500 Chrome - Ownership Experience-img_3928.jpg


Buying Experience:

Boy oh boy! It was horrible to say the least. But this is a known fact and when the demand is more than the supply, customers have to dance to the tunes of the dealerships. Having decided upon the choice of Royal Enfield, I called up almost every RE showroom in Bangalore to enquire for the shortest waiting period. Teknik Motors, Indiranagar responded with a rather optimistic one-month waiting period. Though it seemed too good to be true, I hurriedly went to them and paid the booking amount. Through this process, I kept asking them if the wait really was one month only and each time, although patiently, they lied. Having taken their word for delivery within a month, I went home and the anxious wait began. I called them after a month and they said the bike would arrive in a couple of days and that we would have to pay the remaining price a week before the delivery. After about 15 more days of useless telephonic follow ups, I went to the showroom to find out that I will have to wait for another 15 days at least. On hearing this, immediately some other angry soul must have taken over my patient self and all I can remember after that is, within a week, I rode home on a new Classic 500 Chrome; wonder what happened. :P

Never the less, on the D day, I was kept waiting again. However this time, I kept my calm because I was lost wandering in the showroom deciding which helmet would match the Enfield. After about three hours I see the Enfield arrive outside the showroom. What a sight it was!

Shining under the light of the dusk, standing in the midst of the chaos, it was a sight to behold. Following the customary pictures taken at the showroom, my mother and I went to the temple on the new motorcycle for some blessings. To get some background about the purchase, this motorcycle was supposed to be my father’s; it was his dream since childhood to own one and here, my mother and I rode it out of the showroom because he was out of town with some official work. He was brooding over this matter and had to content himself only with the halfhearted pics I took.

I say halfhearted not because I didn’t want to show him the bike but because my heart was set on only riding it out through the night. Never did I feel this way about CBR. I did ride the CBR an innumerable number of times through the entire night but it was only out of compulsion and not out of the desire to ride. And now, here I am standing next to the Enfield making time to ride on the empty streets through the night. Sorry CBR, I still love you!

That night I put on 120 km on the odo before I was put to senses by my mother’s calls. On the fifth day, the motorcycle finished it’s first service and currently the odo is closing in on the 6000 km mark.

Standing next to my beloved CBR:
My Enfield Classic 500 Chrome - Ownership Experience-img_3954.jpg

Random Click:
My Enfield Classic 500 Chrome - Ownership Experience-img_3970.jpg

Alternatives considered:

None. It was my father’s dream to own an Enfield and one never has alternatives for such, do they?

Looks and the thump:

She is a looker. I never grabbed so much attention on my shiny red CBR as much as I did on the Enfield in one day. When the CBR was new, it looked big, fancy et all and thus grabbed eyeballs and as time passed and its population increased, the charm just seemed to fade away. The Enfield silhouette is probably as old as time and yet manages to look handsome to this day. Park it somewhere and just start looking at it; it is scenery by itself. And when you observe, it can make even a frail man riding it look all hunky-dory. Such is that charm. Coming to the famous thump, Enfield enthusiasts say that the UCE has lost that deep bassy thump. I understand what they mean but I love the sound track the C500 plays. Be it at idle or higher revs, it is comfortably loud and pleases the ear. I would have probably loved some more depth, bass and decibels but I am quite happy as of now because a louder note could get annoying on longer rides. Special mention about the exhaust: The C500 has a rather ugly looking exhaust that runs for at least a mile behind the back tire. This makes it scrape the ground on those rare occasions. There are umpteen after-market choices; I am aware and I will change to one when I get the right mix of performance, sound and looks, in the same order of priority.

On some ride:
My Enfield Classic 500 Chrome - Ownership Experience-img_1103.jpg

My Enfield Classic 500 Chrome - Ownership Experience-img_1238.jpg

Ownership:

I can extol all day long about the Enfield’s virtues in the city. It is joy to ride this motorcycle in the city. The torque is just so addictive. City commutes no more feel like a chore. Slot her clunky gearbox into first, and slowly release the unusually heavy clutch and that is first time you realize you can probably even pull the earth with this motor; such is the torque on this. As you quickly move through the gears, there is just more and more of that torque. The most rewarding way to ride the Enfield is shifting through the gears relatively quickly. Revving her hard is an absolute waste of fossil fuel and time because there is no gut, whatsoever, at the top end.

Don’t be disappointed yet, because she makes you smile with whatever little useful rev range she has. She feels so energetic through the gears; not in the Duke ball park at all, mind you, but energetic enough to keep the ride entertaining. She has the right size and weight to criss cross heavy traffic. Compared to my CBR, her turning radius is a breeze so you can push yourself into seemingly impossible gaps. I did not get any bulky looking crash guard for this particular reason. I do realize it’s importance but I am waiting to find something that is a notch less bulky and plenty appealing.

The entire Classic range comes shod with a 280 mm disc up front and a 153 mm drum at the rear. The front has ample bite to bring the vehicle to a stop but I wish the back brake was a disc too. Not even 6000 km and the brake liner had already given up. I am not complaining since I am aware of Enfield’s notorious quality but I wish it did come with the TB500/TB350 disc brakes at the rear. The front brake too is nothing to write home about but it does the job. The split seats look comfortable and are fine for short journeys. However, longer hours on the saddle left my back side sore; my CBR’s seat felt slightly more comfortable or I am just too used to them.

On the highway it is a completely different story though. She is disappointing on the highway. For a 500cc motor, she deserves much, much more power and with all that metal, she needs it all the more; at least 6-8 BHP more to satisfy some urges. 27BHP just doesn’t cut it. Before you write it off, let me tell you, she can cruise all day long at 120 kmph. But anything above that takes years to get to and then she tops out at 140ish. And at those speeds, all you can remember are the vibrations. The bike rattles your bones out of their place at such speeds. Even at 100-120 kmph cruising speeds she is no good with the vibrations seeping in from the pegs and handle bars. 100-120 kmph is a decent sane pace for most Indian highways. But the reason I don’t like to loiter on the highways with the Enfield is because she is disturbed at those speeds. I am not talking about the motor but the motorcycle in entirety. The engine feels just about alright at those speeds with almost zilch mechanical strain but the bike does not perform in harmony and one tends to feel fatigued because of that feeling. There is some kind of cohesion that seems to be missing. The vibrations, the stability or the lack of thereof while changing lanes, the faint brakes, the cornering disabilities, all add to the misery out on the highway. But if calm cruising is your thing, this motorcycle sure has that on top of its resume.

Enfield aficionados might argue that she is not meant to be ridden that way, but hear me out before I am detested because I am writing this as a motorcycle enthusiast and not as an RE fan-boy. Remember, I too love them.

Straight line stability is fine but aggressive lane change maneuvers are not executed with as much finesse as one would have liked. It could be twitchy at times. Blame it on the 19” front tyre maybe. However, the MRFs come off as a decent set of shoes for this bike although I wish I can get something more grippier to compensate for the braking disability.

Riding her through the twists, you have to constantly remind yourself that she is not supposed to be taken knee down. Although on paper she is heavy, the chassis lets you change directions with surprising ease and doesn’t let you feel the weight. This gets you thinking that she can corner as well as any bike in that price range and you start leaning in. Suddenly you hear a very disturbing scraping noise and your heart skips a beat; the rear brake lever loves kissing the tarmac at every possible opportunity. You barely begin to lean and then that heart-clenching noise shouts back at you to chill out and remember it is an Enfield. I really wish I can do something about the brake lever.

The ride quality is quite good in almost all scenarios. The inherent weight of the bike irons out most imperfections on the road. Even at higher speeds, C500 tends to take small to medium sized potholes in its stride. Credit here could be given to the large tyres as well. One does hear the front suspension crashing sometimes but most of the time, she is fine.

The fuel consumption is also not bad. For a 500 cc, the thumper is efficient. Figures would be in the range of 23-33 kmpl based on your style of riding and the traffic conditions.

My Enfield Classic 500 Chrome - Ownership Experience-img_1484.jpg

Build and Service:

Coming to the quality of the motorcycle, I am actually quite surprised how it is holding up. Although 6000 km is too small to comment, she has not been ridden gently post her first two services to say the least. She has been put through her paces most of the time and I am almost impressed. I say ‘almost’ for the small niggles I am facing. And the RE ASC around my house is just appalling. They pay no heed to the problem being described. But that is because of the sheer number of motorcycles showing up at the service center each day. Royal Enfield needs to do something about this before one starts looking away from buying their bikes for the lack of good service centers. In the mean time I shifted to a RE ASC on Kanakapura Road which is slightly difficult to get to but the mechanics there seemed to know their stuff. Also the advisors there seemed to understand the problem and not just enter what I say on the job card. Decent folks.

Pros:
1. Torque
2. Some more Torque
3. Comfortable ride and decent build
4. The looks are definitely the major USP of the motorcycle
5. Probably indestructible for a million years if one takes good care and also keeps a keen eye for rust

Cons:
1. Vibrations are horrible at higher revs
2. Average performance for a 500cc
3. Brakes are mediocre to say the least
4. Bad VFM considering the price bracket this bike falls in

Verdict:

I respect this machine. I see it as a motorcycle that has stood the test of time. What attracts me to the bullet is it is nonchalant to modernity. It didn’t see the need to evolve and yet soldiers on just perfectly. I do personally wish that the bike had a wee bit more power, a wee bit more refinement, a wee bit less vibration, and wee bit higher foot peg for those moments of corner cravings. But if all that happens, it would no longer pass of as a true Royal Enfield. It is these small spots of imperfection that makes the Enfield the machine that it is. And I still don’t see a reason not to love it.

My observations of the RE might differ from the common notion due to my expectations after having owned the CBR250R for 4 years and riding it for 50,000 km.

Some more pics:

My Enfield Classic 500 Chrome - Ownership Experience-img_2089.jpg

My Enfield Classic 500 Chrome - Ownership Experience-img_2096.jpg

My Enfield Classic 500 Chrome - Ownership Experience-img_1099.jpg

My Enfield Classic 500 Chrome - Ownership Experience-img_1430.jpg

My Enfield Classic 500 Chrome - Ownership Experience-img_2100.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 15th September 2016 at 09:54. Reason: Spacing :). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 15th September 2016, 13:48   #2
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Default Re: My Enfield Classic 500 Chrome - Ownership Experience

Unbiased and wonderfully put together. Its not often that you find such objective feedback about a vehicle, let alone a Royal Enfield.

I agree with you about the ASC, its going downhill. And the sheer number of vehicles getting serviced only adds to the owes. My last service was the worst (at a franchise). The service advisor was pushy to get various things done on the bike. And when I went to pick up my TB almost all the chrome bits had oil smudges (exhaust looked the worst).
I am surprised that you managed to get her to 140. I cannot handle the vibrations at 120.

PS: Lately I have been thinking about selling my TB500 (3 years old) and getting a used CBR250R. You might just be the person to go to for some advice.
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Old 15th September 2016, 13:51   #3
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Default Re: My Enfield Classic 500 Chrome - Ownership Experience

Congrats on your new acquisition. I was not a big fan of REs because of their mediocre performance. But rode a rented bullet 500 in ladakh for a couple of days and I kind of fell in love. Classic chrome is the best looking, but maintaining the chrome surfaces will be one heck of a job.
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Old 15th September 2016, 16:25   #4
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Default Re: My Enfield Classic 500 Chrome - Ownership Experience

Congrats siashivaj on your new Enfield!!
I have owned an Electra 350 since 2008 and everytime I kick start it, I fall in love with it all over again.
In these 8 years I have shifted base 4 times and in every city, I have been getting it serviced from a non-RE ASC mechanic (after the initial 3 services). The reason is simple - these mechanics have been working on REs since ages and are well trusted among the RE community. They basically know their stuff. My suggestion would be to find one such mechanic near your area and entrust him with the maintenance of your bike. You can ask around in the various RE clubs that would be active in Bangalore. They would be more than happy to help.
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Old 15th September 2016, 17:58   #5
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Default Re: My Enfield Classic 500 Chrome - Ownership Experience

Nice Photos !! The Chrome stands out !!

Welcome to the world of niggles and absolutely bad ASS !! As long as you keep the bike running regularly, the issues will be less. Moving from a no-nonsense reliable Japanese to a pseudo-English machine requires some courage.

Having owned a Machismo 500LB for 8 yrs, I piece of advice that I would give it find a reliable mechanic nearby and service your bike there instead of Company Service. If you still want to go to company service center , talk to fellow Enfield bikers and figure out who is the best mechanic in Company service center, make friends with him, grease him with some tips. He will take care of your problems.

Happy riding !!
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Old 15th September 2016, 20:12   #6
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Queryanalyzer View Post
Unbiased and wonderfully put together. Its not often that you find such objective feedback about a vehicle, let alone a Royal Enfield.

I agree with you about the ASC, its going downhill. And the sheer number of vehicles getting serviced only adds to the owes. My last service was the worst (at a franchise). The service advisor was pushy to get various things done on the bike. And when I went to pick up my TB almost all the chrome bits had oil smudges (exhaust looked the worst).
I am surprised that you managed to get her to 140. I cannot handle the vibrations at 120.

PS: Lately I have been thinking about selling my TB500 (3 years old) and getting a used CBR250R. You might just be the person to go to for some advice.
Thank you for your kind words.
I really hope service centers care more for these beloved machines!

Since you had a T500 I am going to safely assume you love touring. CBR250R is a lovely motorcycle for such a purpose. I just did a 5 day-5000 km round trip on it with absolutely no issues. For any advice you need on the CBR feel free to ask.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gildarts View Post
Congrats on your new acquisition. I was not a big fan of REs because of their mediocre performance. But rode a rented bullet 500 in ladakh for a couple of days and I kind of fell in love. Classic chrome is the best looking, but maintaining the chrome surfaces will be one heck of a job.
The Enfields really make you fall in love with them I agree. I also love them

And maintaining the chrome is not as hard as it looks. One just needs to be aware that there is chrome all around. Flinging keys or helmets or fingers with ring around is a strict no-no near mine :P

Quote:
Originally Posted by royalbeat View Post
Congrats siashivaj on your new Enfield!!
I have owned an Electra 350 since 2008 and everytime I kick start it, I fall in love with it all over again.
In these 8 years I have shifted base 4 times and in every city, I have been getting it serviced from a non-RE ASC mechanic (after the initial 3 services). The reason is simple - these mechanics have been working on REs since ages and are well trusted among the RE community. They basically know their stuff. My suggestion would be to find one such mechanic near your area and entrust him with the maintenance of your bike. You can ask around in the various RE clubs that would be active in Bangalore. They would be more than happy to help.
Quote:
Originally Posted by junkishya View Post
Nice Photos !! The Chrome stands out !!

Welcome to the world of niggles and absolutely bad ASS !! As long as you keep the bike running regularly, the issues will be less. Moving from a no-nonsense reliable Japanese to a pseudo-English machine requires some courage.

Having owned a Machismo 500LB for 8 yrs, I piece of advice that I would give it find a reliable mechanic nearby and service your bike there instead of Company Service. If you still want to go to company service center , talk to fellow Enfield bikers and figure out who is the best mechanic in Company service center, make friends with him, grease him with some tips. He will take care of your problems.

Happy riding !!

Call it a mental block may be but I am scared to get it serviced with an outside mechanic. I do agree that there are some wonderful technicians who really know their stuff but having maintained my other vehicles at their respective ASCs I am scared to go to the local guy. But if I do find someone worth the try, I might. The last service center I tried seemed promising as I mentioned in my post. So i will probably make friends as junkishya said.

Last edited by GTO : 16th September 2016 at 11:42. Reason: Merging back to back posts
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Old 17th September 2016, 01:18   #7
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Default Re: My Enfield Classic 500 Chrome - Ownership Experience

Congratulations Sai!!! The showroom and ASC satisfaction levels are going down the drain. I had a similar experience when i visited Teknik Motors to inquire about TB350. I stood there for more than 10 mins like a stranger and not single store worker bothered to ask why i am there. Eventually I went to Sai Ram Autocraft at Mahadevpura to get my queries answered and there i booked my bike
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Old 18th September 2016, 10:35   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krishchatterjee View Post
Congratulations Sai!!! The showroom and ASC satisfaction levels are going down the drain. I had a similar experience when i visited Teknik Motors to inquire about TB350. I stood there for more than 10 mins like a stranger and not single store worker bothered to ask why i am there. Eventually I went to Sai Ram Autocraft at Mahadevpura to get my queries answered and there i booked my bike
Thank you krishchatterjee. The same happened to me at Teknik until I made them believe that I was actually a real human being who walked into their showroom that too after a phone call about the booking. Glad you found a showroom to book your dream bike. I really hope RE realises before things go out of hand.

Happy riding.
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