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Old 19th January 2010, 13:21   #1
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Default A Dichotomous Soul: RE Classic 500 or Pulsar 220 DTSi

For those who wish to cut to the chase, please proceed to the Epilogue.

Prologue: The Awakening

A rather strange 'what bike' comparo, I agree. Let me start with my rather limited 2-wheeler history.

In April 2009, I purchased a second hand 2000 Standard 350 since I always wanted a bullet and had finally attained some sense of financial freedom. I did it up to the best of ability to make it look like a modern interpretation of the war era bullets and I loved it.

I still do, but have come to realize over the course of this past year that it doesn't allow me to do what I feel epitomizes biking as a passion (as opposed to a necessity): the freedom to go anywhere, any time while still retaining the excitement of being one with the bike and the elements around you. Don't get me wrong, I love driving cars as well, but I have not yet reached the stage in my life where being in a climate-controlled bubble gets my heart racing. My bike hasn't been reliable enough for me to even consider making a 300+ Km trip. Even spirited riding within the city leaves it dripping oil in my garage until its next, inevitable, visit to my mechanic. And my definition of 'spirited' with this bike is generous to say the least. On my occasional trips to Mahabs with my friends on their ZMAs, R15s and 220s I have often just ended up stranded on ECR for 15 minutes since my engine decided to take a break while my friends disappeared through the haze.

I do not resent my bike for it. It was made for a different era. Where potholes and cows limited riders well within thumping speeds and national highways were a distant dream. I am well aware of Bulleteers who ride across the country on bikes far older than mine, but much to my disappointment, I am not disciplined or mature enough to be able to pull it off with my own.

Chapter 1: A New Hope - The Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTSi

When the Pulsar 220 DTSi was launched, I was informed that it had resolved some niggling issues of the DTSFi and had become a whole lot cheaper. What really drew me to it was its headlamp. Company-fit HID projectors for 80k is a steal. Yes, there were refinement issues and the occasional oil leak, but coming from an Enfield with 50+ year old technology, I was sure that it would be with tolerable levels. It also has what is of prime importance to me: a comfortable seating position. Maybe not in comparison with an enfield, but definitely compared to its competition.

Chapter 2: Puppy Love - The Royal Enfield Classic 500

When I heard the Classic 500 was, indeed, coming to India, I immediately started reading ownership reviews on the enfieldmotorcycles.com website. It seemed like a dream. All of the character of a large capacity single, with none of the 'quirks' of 50 year old tech. Oil leaks were limited to around the same of what I heard from P220 ownership experiences. Owners casually talking about 3 hour rides at 75 mph on the freeway without any incident. I was hooked.

When the Enfield brand store in Chennai got their test ride bikes I took the 500 for the spin and was blown away by its engine. The new wheels are a blessing as well. I was in love. The aesthetics and comfort levels almost identical to my current standard 350, but the performance and reliability of a modern bike. The perfect combination.

The only issue seemed to be its VFM factor. 1.4 lakhs seemed to be a lot of money. In comparison with the 220, I was getting nothing for it. A regular halogen headlamp, no tacho, and apparently even the fuel injection system has been dumbed down for the Indian release which may cause concern in the future.

Chapter 3: Procrastination and the art of puppy-cide

I decided to wait for the Auto Expo in January to see if there would be any news of a release of an affordable twin (ala the Comet). As many bikers may realize, the Expo turned out to be a major disappointment.

Later, I realized that even though the 500 was significantly more expensive and less value, I could stil afford it without affecting me financially (God bless loans!). I thought I might as well go with what my heart said rather than my head, and regretting it later.

I returned to the brand store and asked what the booking amount and waiting period was. I was informed that since my last visit, the waiting period had gone from 2 months to 4! I was floored and devastated. I half heartedly asked the manager about the financing schemes they had. I didn't even pay attention to his answer. I was just thinking if I could consider waiting 4 months for a c5?

I went home and started to pen down this post.

Epilogue:

Here I am, back at square one. I have to choose between getting a Pulsar 220 within a couple of weeks, or what I really want, the Classic 500 in 4 months.

Some may suggest that I keep my standard 350 and get the 220 as a second bike and get the best of both worlds. Use the 350 for casual city rides\commute to work and the 220 for everything else. The problem with that, is the 'everything else' part is not done often enough to warrant owning a second bike. I go on long trips at most 3 times a year, and hit the race track twice at most. This is not an option.
  • Option 1: Get the Pulsar 220 and get it over with
  • Option 2: Book the Classic 500 and wait for 4 months. It is more likely that any issues that have been reported to RE will be ironed out by the time I actually receive my bike.
  • Option 2.1: Pay the booking amount for the Classic 500 and while waiting for 4 months, keep an eye out for any new releases that were not announced during the expo. I read some news that Mahindra may be looking at the performance segment and will be releasing new bikes this year. In case they do release a good bike, cancel my booking and pick up a new bike. If nothing is released, I have time to find a buyer for my current bike, arrange the loan and collect the C5 when ready.
When it comes down to it, my requirements are as follows:
  1. Comfort (40%)
  2. Reliable performance (50%)
  3. Value (10%)
I look forward to your inputs on my situation. It can include options in addition to the 3 listed above, and even suggesting a different bike (I doubt I would consider any other bikes on the market currently, though).
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Old 19th January 2010, 13:34   #2
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first up, you are comparing apples and oranges.

being an RE owner, you would really appreciate the positives of the 500 over your present 350.

the P220 is a good bike but nowhere in the league of the 500 Classic. If you can afford it, buy the Classic. keep the 350 for another 4 months till the Classic is delivered. also, if you are planning on taking a loan, the additional 60 k for the calssic would work out to about 1200 p.m. on a 5 year loan. see if this works for you.

just my two cents.
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Old 19th January 2010, 13:45   #3
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Hi Himanshu, thank you for your feedback. The money is not an issue here. The p220 comes to 2500 pm for a 2 year loan while the 500 comes to around 3200 pm for a 3 year loan. Both are well within my 4k pm budget.
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Old 19th January 2010, 14:45   #4
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Dear GreaseMonk

You need to understand your own problems first. Your 350 is not reliable & leaks oil but you never said you feel it is less on power. What you are looking for is a more reilable & less oil leaking RE. If i understand correctly, when you dont get it then you think of Pulsar 220.

In That case why go for classic. Just take STD 350 /500 (or even an electra). That Ways

1. You save Money
2. get more reliable bike
3. No / Less leaking oil
4. No waiting period
& you get best of both world.
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Old 19th January 2010, 15:10   #5
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Hey Dichotomous soul. Samtheleo's suggestion is quite good. I think you should also test ride the HH Karizma (if you don't want any of the other bullet models).

PS: If you get rid of the old bullet, how will you continue to spread the goo?
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Old 19th January 2010, 15:50   #6
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I think you're more attracted towards the look of the 220 & repelled by the price tag of C5; probably your heart says C5 & your brain says P220 - this is the impression I get.

Do not compare the head lamps & tachos; when you ride, you just ride, you hear the noise of wind, the noise of the thump & everything else is left to dust. Afterall, are you planning to ride the bike every night? I'm sure C5's headlight is nothing less either.

Sam's speaking very good logic, go with it; or settle in for C5, you'll never regret & your bike will stand out in the crowd. Did you try test drive with P220? What's your opinion? Going by the comfort & reliability factor of yours, C5 always stands ahead of any competitor. Go for C5 only on long term ownership & if you're serious about comfy long rides atleast once a year.
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Old 19th January 2010, 16:58   #7
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As a Bullet rider for last 7 years i will vote for C500.
Also P220 is a good bike. But you cant compare it to the C500.

According to your requirment, C500 would match the best. Go for it, you will never regreat on your decision.
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Old 19th January 2010, 19:00   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamtheLeo View Post
Dear GreaseMonk

You need to understand your own problems first. Your 350 is not reliable & leaks oil but you never said you feel it is less on power. What you are looking for is a more reilable & less oil leaking RE. If i understand correctly, when you dont get it then you think of Pulsar 220.

In That case why go for classic. Just take STD 350 /500 (or even an electra). That Ways

1. You save Money
2. get more reliable bike
3. No / Less leaking oil
4. No waiting period
& you get best of both world.
Actually, the reason my bike ended up stranded on ECR is because I was pushing the engine too hard to keep up with the other bikes. At the moment, the only bikes of RE on offer are the TBTS, CL350 and CL500, I do not like the styling of the TBTS, and the waiting period on both the CLs are insanely long. So between the two I would definitely prefer the 500.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
I think you're more attracted towards the look of the 220 & repelled by the price tag of C5; probably your heart says C5 & your brain says P220 - this is the impression I get.
Actually, I hate the way the p220 looks. What attracts me to it is the amount of kit and performance you get for the price you pay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Do not compare the head lamps & tachos; when you ride, you just ride, you hear the noise of wind, the noise of the thump & everything else is left to dust. Afterall, are you planning to ride the bike every night? I'm sure C5's headlight is nothing less either.
I come home at 11:00 pm every weekday :P

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Sam's speaking very good logic, go with it; or settle in for C5, you'll never regret & your bike will stand out in the crowd. Did you try test drive with P220? What's your opinion? Going by the comfort & reliability factor of yours, C5 always stands ahead of any competitor. Go for C5 only on long term ownership & if you're serious about comfy long rides atleast once a year.
Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by KALINGA View Post
As a Bullet rider for last 7 years i will vote for C500.
Also P220 is a good bike. But you cant compare it to the C500.

According to your requirment, C500 would match the best. Go for it, you will never regreat on your decision.
Thanks!

Quote:
PS: If you get rid of the old bullet, how will you continue to spread the goo?
As long as you're still in town ive got plenty of 'goo' to spread.

Last edited by GreaseMonk : 19th January 2010 at 19:03.
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Old 19th January 2010, 20:10   #9
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Hi GreaseMonk,

I'm a bullet rider myself (2008 Machismo LB500cc). Four months may seem like a long time but the CL500 will make you very happy. Its a very nice bike, and it will be worth the wait. Just go book the machine, and continue doing what you do everyday and before you know it you'll be going to pick it up from the dealer

With a few tweeks, you'll be the one waiting for your friends to catch up

If hadn't spent so much money modding my bike, I'd sell it at the drop of a hat and book me the CL500.

All the best!
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Old 19th January 2010, 20:22   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreaseMonk View Post
Actually, I hate the way the p220 looks. What attracts me to it is the amount of kit and performance you get for the price you pay.

I come home at 11:00 pm every weekday :P
Me too don't like the look of P220; but P200 is real good one to me. But the "S" version of 220 is good looking. Say a 220 CC engine on 200's look, hope you don't see it to add more confusion.
Source - Bajaj Pulsar 220 S Launched

The problem that I see with Bajaj is the lack of the rigid quality right on the entire bike as such from the days of RTZ. The RTZ had a good engine but the body was weak to withstand the engine & vibrations & the life of the bike was limited. The same goes with Pulsar or any Bajaj family bikes that the vehicles rattles & vibrates a lot after 2-3 years. This is my observation on Bajaj family of bikes.

Fix a 100/90 & you'll see the headlamps equivalent to a car.

In my opinion, you're all set to book for a C5 man. Go for it & happy thumping
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Old 19th January 2010, 23:39   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreaseMonk View Post
  • Option 1: Get the Pulsar 220 and get it over with
  • Option 2: Book the Classic 500 and wait for 4 months. It is more likely that any issues that have been reported to RE will be ironed out by the time I actually receive my bike.
  • Option 2.1: Pay the booking amount for the Classic 500 and while waiting for 4 months, keep an eye out for any new releases that were not announced during the expo. I read some news that Mahindra may be looking at the performance segment and will be releasing new bikes this year. In case they do release a good bike, cancel my booking and pick up a new bike. If nothing is released, I have time to find a buyer for my current bike, arrange the loan and collect the C5 when ready.
Option 1 : A sound and safe choice. Get the 220 and leave the niggles aside. Its also a financially safer choice.

Option 2 : You could wait, but dont wait in anticipation that niggles would be ironed out by RE during that time. It has never happened and will never happen.
RE is pretty lethargic when it comes to proactively improving their products in such a short span of time.

Option 2.1 : Do you really think, anything other than announcements will come out in the 4 month wait? And throughout these 4 months, you will just agonize some more over pros and cons of the CL500.

Seriously, Just borrow someone's Pulsar 180/200/220 whatever, and ride it some, just to get a feel. Try spending some time with the bike. You will mingle well with the crowd, and you just might as well like the "point and shoot" nature of the bike.

But If I were you, I would then just go out and make a deposit for CL500. It just pulls the heartstrings. Plain, simple and beautiful aspect of Motorcycling. One which matters to me utmost.

But not everyone is made the same way. My perfectly rational friends would buy a splendor and wont give too hoots about Motorcycling. They like the money that they save.

One more thing, you may just get plain lucky and get the CL500 sooner than you think. A lot of folks chicken out during wait times for an RE.
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Old 20th January 2010, 02:09   #12
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GreaseMonk : Do yourself a favor and get the Bull. Judging from what you have written even if you buy a Pulsar you will be still yearning for the Classic,its in your heart.
Once you like something you will always want it.Trust me mate I have lots of experience with matters of the heart.
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Old 20th January 2010, 05:56   #13
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Just wanted to show you about the C5 Chrome, that may be launched in India. Check this URL -
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Old 20th January 2010, 09:39   #14
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Dude..get a bull. Dil ki suno. Else you gonna regret it for life.
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Old 20th January 2010, 10:41   #15
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I would suggest go for the Classic 500 . That seems to be your first choice as well.

As someone said, if you are happy with the power levels of a 350, why not look at the classic 350?. Reliable UCE engine and great comfort over any of the sporty bikes on the long runs and less of a waiting period too I guess.

You save money and still get a RE bike which definitely ticks 2 out of your 3 boxes (reliable and comfort)

Also after getting a C500/350 probably you will want to make more than 3 trips per year on it
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