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Old 8th March 2011, 02:52   #1
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Default Confused! Modify my Pulsar or Buy a Bullet

Some of you may know me from the other sub-forums on this site, but I am very new in the motorcycles section. I hope you'll be patient as I explain my story:

My experience with motorised two-wheels has been limited to a 1987 Bajaj Super, my current ride, a 2005 Bajaj Pulsar 150 DTS-i (17" steel wheels KS model: a rarity in itself) and a lot of borrowed bikes and scooters including a 1968 Jawa.

My Pulsar has been highly reliable for almost 50,000 km now which has never stopped anywhere on the road except for two punctures. It's original clutch plates, valves, chain set and rear tyre have been replaced once each within the last 2-3 years. Off-late, this vehicle has run only 5000 km in two years, so I am spending more on maintenance than on fuel!

The thing is that I find it tiring to ride this bike because of a shoulder-heavy riding posture, the bane of Pulsars. I always knew it was a problem but over the years my back and shoulders seem to have become less used to the abuse. Post-30, my attitude to driving (and riding) also seems to have changed!

Now here's the problem. In about 15 months from now, I shall be moving to a new home which will add 30 km each way to my daily commute, putting my car to an enormously high usage. I plan to offset some of that by biking more than the token amount I do now. However, when I picture this plan with respect to the highly unergonomic riding posture of my current bike, I shudder!

There's also an urge to move on to a different experience, perhaps a bigger, heavier bike more inclined to cruise than to zoom (without sacrificing city maneuverability).

I would also like to spend as little as possible over what I get by selling off my current ride, which is barely Rs 17,000/- or so.

I am a safe rider and (touch wood!) have been accident- and fall-free so far in almost 75,000 km of two-wheeler riding. Amen! I am not very slow, but I am perhaps not capable of (or inclined to) handling baby super-bikes and track-focussed machines like the Ninja or the CBR 250 or even the R15. I like the Fazer / Fz but at the end of the day its another 150-cc.

I have thought of the following possibilities:

a. Sell the Pulsar and buy a Karizma ZMR (reliability remains, heavier bike though not much more powerful, better riding position and stress-free cruising).

b. Sell the Pulsar, buy a used Bullet for 25-30,000 rupees and rebuild it slowly (Not to mention RTO hassles for a 15-yr plus bike).

c. Sell the Pulsar, buy a new Bullet. (Again: bigger problem is which one: Electra, Standard or Classic 350 / 500). Most expensive option.

d. Modify the Pulsar saddle and handlebar and be happy. Cheapest option.

I am sure you must have figured out by now that (c) is the most expensive yet tempting option. If we continue with (c), here are my issues.

1. I like the illumination and other niceties of the Classic, but the initial stories are not very encouraging in terms of reliability. I don't want my bike stopping at night on the roadside in the lonely suburb where I am moving to soon. I would prefer the Standard or Electra in that case.

2. I have a fair idea of what I am getting in to as far as Enfields are concerned but I am not a hands-on biker so far. I am willing to learn but I want a reasonable level of reliability.

3. I have heard that the Classic seats are not so comfortable. So does that mean that it's better to go for the Electra / Standard and add a disc brake?

4. I have an idea of the Classic and Standard but I can't figure out where to place the Electra. What is different in the Electra vis-a-vis the Standard?

5. I am not sure of the TBTS, because I find they age much worse and faster than the other Bullets and I did not find the dynamics very suited to a small-framed guy like me (5'-6" and under 60 kg). I was happier with the Electra (being the lightest with a swept back handle).

These are my questions. I am in no hurry, since I am not losing much on depreciation on the current bike anyways. So just let me know what you guys feel. I am happy with my Palio Multijet as well, but then one should always have a bike to ride!

Last edited by architect : 8th March 2011 at 02:55.
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Old 8th March 2011, 08:30   #2
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Default Re: Confused! Modify my Pulsar or Buy a Bullet

I would suggest the Karizma option. It's the most comfortable IMHO, and reliable too.

For those of us to whom "maintaining" a bike means giving it to the authorized centre for service regularly and not being concerned about doing things hands-on, enthusiasm for Bullets wanes quickly. It is a shame because the core product is very good but its build quality spoils it, and the authorized cervice centres are few and far between. At least this is so in the case of the CI engine Bullets, not sure about the newer UCE Bullets.

After the initial few months, we tend to get irritated with the way the carb has to be tuned often, engine stalling occasionally at signals, rusting so quickly (mine showed rust in a few days of buying it - I was shocked) etc. Mine was a new Std 350 which I bought in 2009. After one year I got sick of the trouble and sold it off. But of course... I do miss that heavenly ride . What to do - one should be ready to work for something good, which I found out I am not. I expect my bike to run without any problems for at least a few months after servicing it. Now I ride a "fill it, forget it" bike - Yamaha FZ. When I touch the starter button, it just starts without fuss. And when I ride, it, it runs without fuss. Has never stalled, or caused any other kind of problem that I know of. From my side, I keep it clean and service it on time. That's how a bike should be IMHO.

If you do decide to go in for a Bullet: As you are in Delhi, maybe you can find a used Bullet. I am told those were much better quality build, and also you will have extra $$ to spend on re-tuning, adding side-boxes, split seats etc. And later if you find out you want to change your mind, you can probably re-sell and get back most of the money you spent on it.
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Old 8th March 2011, 09:11   #3
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Default Re: Confused! Modify my Pulsar or Buy a Bullet

Quote:
Originally Posted by architect View Post
The thing is that I find it tiring to ride this bike because of a shoulder-heavy riding posture, the bane of Pulsars. I always knew it was a problem but over the years my back and shoulders seem to have become less used to the abuse. Post-30, my attitude to driving (and riding) also seems to have changed!
Agreed. This makes riding a Pulsar very cumbersome. Totally unlike an Enfield, that is quite comfortable on the handlebars.
Quote:
Originally Posted by architect View Post
Now here's the problem. In about 15 months from now, I shall be moving to a new home which will add 30 km each way to my daily commute, putting my car to an enormously high usage. I plan to offset some of that by biking more than the token amount I do now. However, when I picture this plan with respect to the highly unergonomic riding posture of my current bike, I shudder!
An Enfield would not be terribly good mileage, mind you.
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Originally Posted by architect View Post
There's also an urge to move on to a different experience, perhaps a bigger, heavier bike more inclined to cruise than to zoom (without sacrificing city maneuverability).
Nothing like an Enfield in that is the requirement.
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Originally Posted by architect View Post
I would also like to spend as little as possible over what I get by selling off my current ride, which is barely Rs 17,000/- or so.
A bit confusing... Are you looking at spending only 17K, or the cost of a used bike PLUS 17K?
Quote:
Originally Posted by architect View Post
a. Sell the Pulsar and buy a Karizma ZMR (reliability remains, heavier bike though not much more powerful, better riding position and stress-free cruising).
But, not a different experience significantly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by architect View Post
b. Sell the Pulsar, buy a used Bullet for 25-30,000 rupees and rebuild it slowly (Not to mention RTO hassles for a 15-yr plus bike).
Very good option. In fact, there is a friend of mine who is selling a Low KM Stock Machismo 2003 model. PM me if you want details.
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Originally Posted by architect View Post
c. Sell the Pulsar, buy a new Bullet. (Again: bigger problem is which one: Electra, Standard or Classic 350 / 500). Most expensive option.
Very expensive option, but very satisfying.
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Originally Posted by architect View Post
1. I like the illumination and other niceties of the Classic, but the initial stories are not very encouraging in terms of reliability. I don't want my bike stopping at night on the roadside in the lonely suburb where I am moving to soon. I would prefer the Standard or Electra in that case.
Stay away from the Classic. Reliability issues and concerns with the engine. Electra is always a safe bet, or a pre-Twinspark Thunderbird.
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4. I have an idea of the Classic and Standard but I can't figure out where to place the Electra. What is different in the Electra vis-a-vis the Standard?
Mostly the looks, and ergonomics.
Quote:
Originally Posted by architect View Post
5. I am not sure of the TBTS, because I find they age much worse and faster than the other Bullets and I did not find the dynamics very suited to a small-framed guy like me (5'-6" and under 60 kg). I was happier with the Electra (being the lightest with a swept back handle).
TBST is kinda bad. The old TB was very good. I have one myself. But, definitely not for a small frame.
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Originally Posted by architect View Post
These are my questions. I am in no hurry, since I am not losing much on depreciation on the current bike anyways. So just let me know what you guys feel. I am happy with my Palio Multijet as well, but then one should always have a bike to ride!
Of course!
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Old 8th March 2011, 09:16   #4
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Default Re: Confused! Modify my Pulsar or Buy a Bullet

@architect, the answer to your first question is easy, it has to be the bullet over anything else. A bullet is not for everyone. She commands the full attention of her owner and in return rewards him/her with an experience that is matched by none. So don't get disheartened by 'maintenance' issues, just take the leap and join the bullet 'family'.

I'm not too convinced by the 'reliability' of the new 'UCE' engine being used in all the models today. A quick check with my mechanic had him tell me that the UCE engined bikes are good for 4-5 years, but the older CI engined bikes are for keeps. This is what i was told when looking for another bullet to keep the CI engined Electra of mine some company. Purists would even suggest you bikes that are even older.

My humble suggestion for you would be to go the pre-owned route. You are based in Delhi, so you should have a great market there. Take a look and may you find the 'thump' that you're looking for.

Cheers
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Old 8th March 2011, 09:42   #5
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Default Re: Confused! Modify my Pulsar or Buy a Bullet

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Originally Posted by St. Anger View Post
@architect, the answer to your first question is easy, it has to be the bullet over anything else. A bullet is not for everyone. She commands the full attention of her owner and in return rewards him/her with an experience that is matched by none. So don't get disheartened by 'maintenance' issues, just take the leap and join the bullet 'family'.

I'm not too convinced by the 'reliability' of the new 'UCE' engine being used in all the models today. A quick check with my mechanic had him tell me that the UCE engined bikes are good for 4-5 years, but the older CI engined bikes are for keeps. This is what i was told when looking for another bullet to keep the CI engined Electra of mine some company. Purists would even suggest you bikes that are even older.

My humble suggestion for you would be to go the pre-owned route. You are based in Delhi, so you should have a great market there. Take a look and may you find the 'thump' that you're looking for.

Cheers
The reply is OFF-TOPIC, but still here it is:

My RETB 2003, has not required any engine maintenance and engine parts replacement till date, and I am NOT a sedate driver. True, that this engine may not be as long lasting, relatively, as the Cast Iron engines, but that does not mean that it has a small life-span. The other downside is the THUMP, that is missing from this engine. The upside is the performance. It has better acceleration and tractability.

However, as you rightly said, it has to be an Enfield, over everything else. No one can give you that experience, for that price.
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Old 8th March 2011, 11:00   #6
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Default Re: Confused! Modify my Pulsar or Buy a Bullet

If the lifestyle you desire, then it has to be the bullet. Else, it has to be a Honda for the peace of mind. But that's assuming you NEED to change (I can sense the keeda/ boredom / desire to go BIG)

If its practicality, then your pulsar does just fine. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the riding position. At max, adjust the seat for your height (all of 250-300 bucks). The straight up riding position in cruisers is actually worse for your back.

As someone with 3 screwed up discs, I can confidently tell you that my pulsar is infinitely more comfortable anyday than either the Swift (with lumbar support), Alto or Indica Xeta or Accent.
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Old 8th March 2011, 11:11   #7
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Default Re: Confused! Modify my Pulsar or Buy a Bullet

Thank you for the quick replies. Without getting into quotes, I shall quickly state that:

1. The riding experience of the Bullet is unparalleled and essentially what I am looking at if I have to drive more than 50 km each way. It is what attracts me to a Bullet, otherwise I like a bike which is hassle free. I love the fact that my current ride starts by the 2nd-3rd kick even after standing for a month.

In 2005-6, I could drive to Manesar from Ashram everyday (40+ km) on my Pulsar but not anymore. Maybe I am getting old!

2. I am not a big fan of the thump. I would like my bike to be the quietest Enfield if possible. I am a low-key guy and don't want to be associated with anything loud or flashy. I am OK with the sound of some of the new Bulls.

3. From what I could gather, the UCE was desgined to be more trouble-free than CI, but feedback seems to be the opposite. Either UCE / CI is fine as long as it is more reliable and has a 5-speed gearbox.

4. I would prefer a new bike because I abhor paperwork / RTO jhanjhats and the habit of Delhi Police having umpteen challans against any registration number which never reached the owner and never got paid!

5. Good FE, though preferred, is not so important, but anything above 30 kpl is fine. My point is to slow down the ageing of the Palio by splitting the daily distance between two vehicles, since I cannot afford a new car very soon. And what better way to do it but to buy a Bullet?

6. I gather that the Electra is a better choice than the Standard because of the presence of a disc brake and a more ergonomic handlebar (especially for short people like me). My liking for the Classic is because of its looks and the 55/60 W headlamp.

7. If I go for a used Bullet, I would ideally like to spend not more than 10,000-15,000 over the value of my current bike. If I buy new, I shall take a loan.

8. Maintaining a CI wouldn't be a big problem in Delhi, I know a very good mechanic who is a Bullet specialist and I know a whole bunch of Bulleteers!

That's the deal. I have spread the word that my Pulsar is on sale, although I am so paranoid about paperwork that I shall only sell it to someone who promises transfer of papers ASAP, or someone known to me. The used two-wheeler market is full of shady characters!

Keep passing on the ideas if there are any. Of course, the Karizma ZMR or changing the Pulsar seats are always there as plan B.
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Old 8th March 2011, 11:30   #8
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Default Re: Confused! Modify my Pulsar or Buy a Bullet

At heart, you long for a bullet..don't you?
Just go for it. These days the prices of the CI bullets have gone up very high. Down here in the south, junk pieces of a bullet tied up in a gunny bag sells for ~20k.
Since you are moving on from a Pulsar, I feel the Electra 5 speed (left side gear shift) with disc brakes and electric starter would be a good choice for you.

But then, if you can live with the kick start and the traditional right side gear shifter, everything else including the handlebars, seats, brakes, exhaust and electricals can be easily upgraded/customised within a budget.

During my short stint in Delhi, I had purchased a Machismo from a dealer in Karol Bagh and had a bad experience. Suggest to buy it from someone you know.

Last edited by jeeva : 8th March 2011 at 11:34.
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Old 8th March 2011, 20:56   #9
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Default Re: Confused! Modify my Pulsar or Buy a Bullet

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....
2. I am not a big fan of the thump. I would like my bike to be the quietest Enfield if possible. I am a low-key guy and don't want to be associated with anything loud or flashy. I am OK with the sound of some of the new Bulls.

5. Good FE, though preferred, is not so important, but anything above 30 kpl is fine. ....

6. I gather that the Electra is a better choice than the Standard because of the presence of a disc brake and a more ergonomic handlebar (especially for short people like me). My liking for the Classic is because of its looks and the 55/60 W headlamp.
Electra is the simplest or rather individualistic of the lot, not boasting of any puristic traditional features / flashy- vintage derived looks. In fact a plain functional priority machine it is.
Newer m/c's with stock silencers are pretty quiet. Look only at Avl's & Uce's for consistent 30+ mileage- CI's are temperamental. Any enfield except TB can have same ergo's of Electra with a seat-handle bar change. & yes it can run a 55/60 without any mods.

No Itchguard for bullet bug bite
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Old 8th March 2011, 23:55   #10
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Default Re: Confused! Modify my Pulsar or Buy a Bullet

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At heart, you long for a bullet..don't you?
Since you are moving on from a Pulsar, I feel the Electra 5 speed (left side gear shift) with disc brakes and electric starter would be a good choice for you.
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If the lifestyle you desire, then it has to be the bullet. Else, it has to be a Honda for the peace of mind. But that's assuming you NEED to change (I can sense the keeda/ boredom / desire to go BIG)
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No Itchguard for bullet bug bite
To be really honest, I have had only short rides on Bullets and I did not like it so much. Maybe it has to do with the condition they were in, as I never drove showroom pieces. The newest was 7 days old whose decompression lever broke in my hands!

It always feels like I am out of control, serious! The swapped gear / brakes setup makes it even more difficult. The brakes are non-existent as compared to my Pulsar. And almost all the Bulls I have driven (without gas shockers, though) have zero suspension travel as compared to my Pulsar. And I have driven a 535 Lightning, a Standard, an Electra and an old Thunderbird at least once. What I do appreciate is the bottom-end torque and the riding position. Looking at these reasons, I would prefer a newer Bullet with better ride quality and brakes. I am not sure how long it will take me to be in a position to drive these monsters comfortably. So I have not exactly been bitten by the bug yet.

However, one does desire to experience something as iconic as this. All other bikes in my budget are merely an advancement in terms of experience over the Pulsar without much difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rennjit View Post
Electra is the simplest or rather individualistic of the lot, not boasting of any puristic traditional features / flashy- vintage derived looks. In fact a plain functional priority machine it is.
Newer m/c's with stock silencers are pretty quiet. Look only at Avl's & Uce's for consistent 30+ mileage- CI's are temperamental. Any enfield except TB can have same ergo's of Electra with a seat-handle bar change. & yes it can run a 55/60 without any mods.
If I were to buy a new one, I guess I would end up with an Electra. It doesn't look as nice as the standard, but it has the bits and pieces that count: disc brakes, left shifter (for a faster transition), gas shockers, et al. But a new Electra comes only with a twinspark engine.

Choices! Choices!

Last edited by architect : 9th March 2011 at 00:01.
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Old 9th March 2011, 02:01   #11
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Default Re: Confused! Modify my Pulsar or Buy a Bullet

Hi architect i just wanted to mention that if you do indeed want to go for a new bullet,its better you decide in a few months.

Because of a friend of mine today booked a classic 350 in bangalore today and they said all bullets now have a waiting period of 10 months!
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Old 9th March 2011, 02:19   #12
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Default Re: Confused! Modify my Pulsar or Buy a Bullet

You look for reliability, you are not bullet fan and you are not willing to spend much. Then why bullet?
Go for any other cruiser may be avenger....

If you at all going for bullet, you should consider Electra because of short height.
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Old 9th March 2011, 08:12   #13
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Default Re: Confused! Modify my Pulsar or Buy a Bullet

I am not sure if i agree with others when they say the old standards are troublesome and costly to maintain.

I just added another std 350 to my garage. The bike is close to 21years old. The only tune up i did was to do an oil service. My 500 STD is over 8 years old and i have not done anything extensive except the extra things like bigger battery, better lights and things like that.

Its easier to get the old classic fixed because the design is simple and fixing the bike is far easier.

I would still favor a Bullet over the modern bikes for i like low RPM-High Torque bikes over the high RPM/High Torque ones.

Its just a choice. Take a drive on both the bikes and decide which will keep you happy.
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Old 9th March 2011, 09:01   #14
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Default Re: Confused! Modify my Pulsar or Buy a Bullet

hey friend, an re is not exactly a fill it shut it forget it kind of bike but dont get me wrong it is not a maintenance freak either, apart from scheduled services u may have to go to the service center a few times for slight niggles nothing more, i had 3 bullets till date, 1st one being an old seventies model which i modified( sold off), second one being a new standard old ci model( sold off) and last one being a 500 lb machismo( have it) all of them were and the last one is a joy to ride but one has to visit to the service center out of turn now coming on to pulsars i had a pulsar 180( sold off) and currently own a pulsar 220 i never had a problem with them just the scheduled services and you are good to go, the usual bajaj product and you have kind of reiterated my view in ur first post so u know the deal, i will not make any suggestions as to what you should but i will point a few things which you may find worthwhile for consideration firstly i find pulsars more suitable for short city commutes( less than 50 kms) as they are more maneuverable and easy to ride, they are less tiring than an re, if ease is your prime criteria then dont take the re plunge, having said that if i were you i would keep my old pulsar and buy a new or used bullet and before doing so try to get my hands on someones bullet maybe a friends and to keep it for a day or two to get a feel of it, however il add this i have always been and still am a bullet fan so i will buy a new one even knowing that all the hassles that i might have to face as for me it is totally worth it, its like having a beauty pageant winner as your wife and expecting her to slice n dice your daily vegetables with the usual skill, just not possible(yet). enjoy her and learn to live with a few occasional tantrums
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Old 9th March 2011, 11:49   #15
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Default Re: Confused! Modify my Pulsar or Buy a Bullet

@architect - I own a CI Bullet STD 350 (2009 model) and here is my take :

Go for a bullet (new STD 350 UCE or Electra) only if you don't mind spending some time with the bullet in service stations rectifying some niggling issues. This means some of your weekends would be spent attending your bullet and keeping her in good health. This would make you enjoy your motorcycling to the fullest.

If this does not work out, go ahead with a Japanese bike. When you have already ruled out bullet, any Japanese make would do as most of them are reliable and low on maintenance.
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