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Old 1st December 2020, 17:57   #721
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)

Quote:
Originally Posted by yesyeswe View Post
Gt 535 was the bike which made me fall in love with the cafe racers, i think i still have the pictures saved in my Google photos somewhere. And when RE launched the Gt 650, i was sold! Interceptor might be comfortable but an old school cafe racer has its own charm.

"My mind is firmly made up that a Royal Enfield 650 would slot in between them just fine!" hahaha i'm sure it will.
Honestly, I was never really a Royal Enfield guy till I test rode their Continental GT 535 way back in 2014. It was love at first ride and as you said, an old school cafe racer has its own charm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by surjaonwheelz View Post
Thanks for your feedback on the chain products.

RE will get these products only in our dreams! Except the Cruiser 650 nothing seems on the horizon on the 650 platform. All others are only custom and racing concepts and would never make it to production. RE please prove me wrong.

- The Malle Rally Royale, Bike Shed MC
- The Flat Tracker
- Your type of GT, Custom Race (Bike Shed MC)
- Scrambler

Alas, they're all RE show bikes!
You missed the Busted Knuckles Build-Off project series in Australia and New Zealand! I love the INTERTRACKER custom build from that series. Whatever people might say about the company, I dont think any global motorcycle manufacture has invested as much into promoting the custom build after market as Royal Enfield have in the last few years.

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INTERTRACKER Custom Build bu Wanaka Powersports


I have high hopes for a production version of the Nought Tea GT 650, even at the 6 minute mark, the Royal Enfield chap in this video does mention that everyone at Royal Enfield would love to see such a kit available.


Quote:
Originally Posted by surjaonwheelz View Post
RE has recently told the press that they'll launch a new bike every quarter for the next 7 quarters (apart from color changed variants). So 6 more to come in 2021-22, we still have hopes!

- RE Classic 350 J1 (Meteor engine)
- RE Bullet 350 J1
- RE Sherpa/Hunter (Smaller engine, lighter bike)
- RE 650 Crusader (Cruiser, I'm giving it a name)

You can guess the other 2

Your CGT535 has aged well

/surjaonwheelz
The Crusader sounds like a nice name! I have a feeling that Royal Enfield will reintroduce the Thunderbird name for the bigger 650. On the 650 cruiser, a fellow biker had shared that he and his friend have spotted it being tested around Madras on at least 10 occassions. So hopefully that should come out sometime next year. I have a feeling that Royal Enfield might be focussing on the Classic and Bullet 350 with the new engine, since those are the volume bikes for them.

Number 5 should be the bigger Himalayan, Im guessing it will go up to around 42 HP but it may not be the 650 engine. Number 6 should be the faired sporty 650, with alloys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rakesh_r View Post
And I am one of those fools sitting over the fence with the belief that a Himalayan 650 (or whatever) will come out.
@Neil- I thought the GT had some good quality parts or maybe I am expecting too much from RE.
Rakesh_r, unfortunately no sightings of the bigger Himalayan yet, mean that it may not be number 1 on their release list. As for the rust, I would blame the high humidity here in Cochin and some neglect from my side, as a factor that has accelerated the rust issue. Last year also I noticed a bit of such rust but I was able to address it in a timely manner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roshith View Post
Great to see that you have maintained it in its original form. I sometimes miss the original set up which i had on only for a brief time.

This is how my GT looks. Have been on long rides like the last Rider Mania on this and she has never missed a beat
That looks nice Roshith! What handlebars are those?
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Old 9th December 2020, 22:53   #722
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Default Part hunting

Towards the end of October, I had requested the guys at Republic of Bikers (RoB) to procure the spares required for the front suspension work on the Continental GT 535. I subsequently found out that these specific parts of the GT 535 are not easy to get and on following up with the RoB folks, I realized that they had not been able to source the parts, even though over a month had passed. I then asked a fellow TBHPian to enquire in his city as well but none of the spares were available there.

I checked with the service center of Kaizen Motors and they told me spares are quite hard to come by these days and none of the parts that I asked for, were in stock.

JR and Sons once again came to my rescue and I was able to source the following from them
- Dust cap
- Oil seal and dust seal that came in a combo pack
- Circlip

The dust cap cost me the princely sum of Rs 15. The circlips (snap rings) cost Rs 16.80 in total and the seals cost Rs 1,165 for the pack. From the billing details, it appears to be a shared product with the Thunderbird Twin Spark model.

I placed the order for the link rod assembly with JR and Sons. They did tell me that it is impossible to predict when it will arrive, as Royal Enfield's component manufacturers / plants are currently running at very low capacity, due to the direct impact of Covid. I have made my peace with that reality, this is part and parcel of owning a bike that sold in very limited numbers and is currently discontinued.

I had plans to replace the fork spring as well but it only comes as a package and it made absolutely no sense in placing an order for the whole thing, so Ive given up on that.

Since JR and Sons do not get a steady supply of 650 twin accessories, they could not provide me with the fork gaiters or the front resevoir cap and asked me to check with the company SVC at Edapally. I did try that out but predictably, it was not available. So I guess I will just have to live without those damn gaiters, that are, for now, unavailable everywhere.

Overall, it isnt very easy living with a bike with limited spares availability, and this was even before Covid came around, but it certainly helps that I have a good parts distributor in JR and Sons that is willing to place orders for my bike. In other cities, I know that parts distributors just dont take orders from customers like me. Ive placed orders for parts with showroom service centers in Cochin and never heard back from them after that. So two thumbs up for JR and Sons.

Im thinking of going with 5W Liqui Moly fork oil instead of the 2.5W Royal Enfield fork oil. I really liked the feel of the bike with the OEM fork oil for the first few years, but to be honest, my weight has gone up a bit in the last 6 years and I havent been able to get the fork spring spares. So to counter these two, a heavier oil should do the trick. Or so I think! Since elections are on this week, I will have to get the suspension work done in the coming week.

Meanwhile, I grabbed a little test ride on the Continental GT 650 and I was surprised to find that my right foot was not noticeably fouling with the engine this time. That was one thing that really bothered me on previous test rides and this had made me gravitate towards the Interceptor instead, but for some strange reason, it no longer was an issue.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-20201209_113132.jpg
Test ride bike - Hot stuff!

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-20201209_120051.jpg
Doesnt help my cause when people come and park their Interceptor next to my bike

I'll be honest, I had a huge grin on my face after taking the test ride of the GT 650. Most people probably would have just sold off their GT 535 and bought the much more modern and capable GT 650 or the Interceptor instead, but the ol 535 does have a special place in my heart. If only all of us could buy all the bikes that we wanted, the world would certainly be a better place to live in.
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Old 10th December 2020, 00:07   #723
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Default Re: Part hunting

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post
T
I had plans to replace the fork spring as well but it only comes as a package and it made absolutely no sense in placing an order for the whole thing, so Ive given up on that.

I did try that out but predictably, it was not available. So I guess I will just have to live without those damn gaiters, that are, for now, unavailable everywhere.

Im thinking of going with 5W Liqui Moly fork oil instead of the 2.5W Royal Enfield fork oil. I really liked the feel of the bike with the OEM fork oil for the first few years, but to be honest, my weight has gone up a bit in the last 6 years and I havent been able to get the fork spring spares. So to counter these two, a heavier oil should do the trick.
You can try the gaiters (bellows) from old Enfields from thesparescompany. The swing arm pivot covers are listed at Rs 100 a pair. You can get your original RVM set here.

Have you checked the option from way2speed for the suspension springs change as opted by few 650 twin owners?

Refresh your CGT535 for another year by then CGT650 Ver 2.0 will be available with:
- LED DRL Headlight
- New instrument panel with gear indicator & Trip F meter. Tripper
- Alloy wheels (17") - existing owners will fume including me!
- Pre-load adjustable front forks (being greedy)

I always felt that the twin was born in the CGT form, the Interceptor was an afterthought! But glad they made the Interceptor, I could upgrade to it.

/surjaonwheelz
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Old 10th December 2020, 11:49   #724
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Default Re: Part hunting

Quote:
Originally Posted by surjaonwheelz View Post
You can try the gaiters (bellows) from old Enfields from thesparescompany. The swing arm pivot covers are listed at Rs 100 a pair. You can get your original RVM set here.?
How did I not know about this site till now? Thanks for sharing, this is extremely useful. I will definitely use this as an option while looking to procure spare parts for my bike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by surjaonwheelz View Post
Have you checked the option from way2speed for the suspension springs change as opted by few 650 twin owners?
That option never even crossed my mind!

I am planning on getting preload adjusters for the front suspension on my Continental GT 535. It is another thing that my Street Triple doesnt have the same, but Im quite happy with the suspension setup on that bike with just the adjustable Ohlins at the rear.

Speedmonks in Delhi is now the official importer for TEC parts and they have listed the preload adjusters for the 650 twins and GT 535 for Rs 11,000. It is a straightforward fit for these two GT bikes while the Interceptor will need to have bar risers to accommodate the kit. I was waiting on long term user feedback from a few members here on our home grown options before deciding between them and TEC. Since the fork seal is slowly giving up, I plan to get the fork oil changed for now and then I'll add the preload adjusters at a later point of time, hopefully Q1 of next year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by surjaonwheelz View Post
Refresh your CGT535 for another year by then CGT650 Ver 2.0 will be available with:
- LED DRL Headlight
- New instrument panel with gear indicator & Trip F meter. Tripper
- Alloy wheels (17") - existing owners will fume including me!
- Pre-load adjustable front forks (being greedy)

I always felt that the twin was born in the CGT form, the Interceptor was an afterthought! But glad they made the Interceptor, I could upgrade to it.

/surjaonwheelz
I would add new paint schemes for the GT 650 on that wish list. To me, the Interceptor offers much more attractive paint schemes than the GT650. I remember asking a Royal Enfield sales guy about the highest selling colours for the GT 650 and he told me that Ventura Blue gets sells very rarely, while the Ice Queen is their best seller with the blacks come in second. Ive not been a big fan of the white Ice Queen paint scheme and feel it looks way to plain for such a sporty(ish) bike but maybe, that is just me.

I would also like to have two fairing kits as factory options. The first one could be a simple bolt on half fairing kit and the second one can be a full fairing option. Similar to the bikes that the French Royal Enfield dealer, Tendance Roadster showcases on social media.

This will of course push the pricing of the GT 650 even higher, but it is the slower selling of the two 650 models and at least this way, it gets the full fledged sporty looks to differentiate it even more, from its sensible twin brother, the Interceptor.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-129898776_10158916603449176_1030424779073155342_n.jpg

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-124567309_10158849316384176_2068290980815341867_o.jpg

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-124027108_10158846078419176_1153335057065431660_o.jpg

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-124328199_10158849316389176_2171784895682772761_o.jpg
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Old 10th December 2020, 11:52   #725
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)

@neil Jericho

The black and gold one is yummy enough to eat man!

Drooling, Doc
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Old 10th December 2020, 12:49   #726
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Default Re: Part hunting

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post
How did I not know about this site till now? Thanks for sharing, this is extremely useful. I will definitely use this as an option while looking to procure spare parts for my bike.

I am planning on getting preload adjusters for the front suspension on my Continental GT 535.

Speedmonks in Delhi is now the official importer for TEC parts and they have listed the preload adjusters for the 650 twins and GT 535 for Rs 11,000.

I would also like to have two fairing kits as factory options. The first one could be a simple bolt on half fairing kit and the second one can be a full fairing option.
Hey Neil,

I came to know from TBHP, a thread was created for online motorcycle parts. (can't locate it now)

For preload adjusters, refer this post (Ridden: Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 & Continental GT 650 Twin)
I'm waiting for ku69rd's feedback on the mod. He has already put in the heavy fork oil. I've already put the risers!
FYI, nasirkaka has the way2speed fork internals + adjusters. The kit comes with heavier fork oil also. So you can do the math all at once or step by step!

Autologue Design was selling a similar quarter fairing in RE custom colors (now sold as a body kit)

RE is custom friendly though you've kept it stock which is great. I had kept my RE CL350 stock except for ergonomic changes to the handlebar, seat and pillion backrest for 5.5 years 43k kms!

/surjaonwheelz
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Old 13th December 2020, 10:49   #727
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)

Hi Neil, your GT 535 thread has been a valuable reference source for me and my GT. Thanks! And if you don't mind, I'd like to show off a recent addition to my GT - a stainless steel chainguard from Hitchcock's:
Attached Thumbnails
Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-img_20201212_132141.jpg  

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-img_20201212_132147.jpg  

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-img_20201213_095904.jpg  

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-img_20201213_095916.jpg  

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-img_20201213_095936.jpg  

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-img_20201213_095947.jpg  

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Old 19th December 2020, 08:31   #728
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)

Quote:
Originally Posted by flotsam View Post
Hi Neil, your GT 535 thread has been a valuable reference source for me and my GT. Thanks! And if you don't mind, I'd like to show off a recent addition to my GT - a stainless steel chainguard from Hitchcock's:
I'm glad that the thread has been helpful to you, flotsam. Do share more pictures of your bike, I believe you have a red one. The Hitchcocks chain guard looks to be very nicely built. How did you source it, I havent seen it available in any stores in India.

Signing off with a picture since we all know that this thread can never have enough photographs of the Continental GT 535.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-20201218_195625.jpg
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Old 21st December 2020, 11:09   #729
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Default Suspension work completed at Motonerdz (Trivandrum)!

It has been almost 2 months since one of the front forks started slowly leaking and my FNG was on the lookout for the necessary parts but that search ultimately proved to be futile. Once I sourced the parts myself, I decided to head to Motonerdz in Trivandrum to get the work done since it wasnt an easy task and I preferred to have the professionals do the work. Currently, Motonerdz is widely considered to be the top third party / non OEM garage in the state and what sets it apart is that it is owned and operated by motorcycle enthusiasts, one of who is a Team BHPian. Here is AP's experience with them - Link (MotoNerdz: Big Bike Shop at Trivandrum, Kerala).

I set up an appointment with Motonerdz and rode down from Cochin to Trivandrum, more details of the ride and routes will be up in a subsequent post. The OEM fork oil is 2.5W and it is available with the Royal Enfield parts distributors. However, the spring has seen 6+ years of hard usage and since it is not available, I finally placed the order with JR and Sons for the parts combination that includes the new set of springs. Based on discussions with the Motonerdz folks, I decided to go for the heavier 5W fork oil from Liqui Moly. This was procured a few days in advance of my service appointment.

Soon after I reached Motonerdz, the bike was put on the center stand and the team of mechanics got to work. There was none of the we will slowly attend to it or oh, we forgot that part and need to go buy it now, like one usually experiences with other motorcycle FNGs. The right tools were used and the mechanics worked efficiently and disassembled the old forks.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-20201218_120603.jpg
Old fork oil

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-20201218_120518.jpg
Liqui Moly Fork Oil

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-20201218_120711.jpg
Being carefully measured.

I had asked for the fork oil to be changed at the Royal Enfield service centers a couple of times earlier. So the bike wasnt on the original fork oil with which it came to me in 2014. You can see its current condition in the pictures above, I feel that motorcycle suspension is the most overlooked aspect of motorcycle ownership in India. You will find pages of discussions on coolants (!!), engine oils and sprockets but hardly anyone talks about replacing fork oil periodically in India. Im not surprised to see the amount of front end dive in so many bikes, it is very noticeable if you look for it, even if it is in city conditions.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-20201218_123442.jpg
Forks being refitted

Back to the Continental GT 535, each leg needed 430 ml of fork oil. The team reattached the forks and then got to work with bleeding the front brake. I had got the front brake pads replaced in October but on the ride to Trivandrum, I felt that the brakes had lost a bit of their sharpness and I was experiencing some brake fade as well. Considering the riding conditions, Im not surprised and when I stopped to check it, I found some slight brake dust as well which I wiped clean. Anyways, I asked the Motonerdz team to check the front brakes and they found some air bubbles in it, which they removed. After bleeding the brakes and using some new DOT 5.1 brake fluid, it was back to being perfect. The rear brakes were also cleaned.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-20201218_124731.jpg
Brakes being cleaned thoroughly


In addition to this, I asked for the rear suspension to be tightened up by 2 rings. Unlike the 650 twins and other bikes which come with 5 / 6 step adjustable rear suspension, the Paioli rear shocks come with almost infinite adjustments, so you just need to tighten it based on the number of rings that you see on the shock. The same is visible in the post by flotsam on this page. The adjustable suspension does make a big difference if you try working it to your weight and riding style, as I have experienced earlier. When I got the old leaking shocks replaced last year, I had the new ones adjusted to a comfortable setting, considering my general usage. One pro tip that I learnt from Motonerdz is that, not only should we adjust it and check it based on the number of visible rings, we should also measure it carefully to see that both sides are equally setup.

Also, the Motonerdz team identified that there was more than necessary slack in the throttle and they fixed this as well. My slightly bent front number plate, a victim of the earlier efforts in Cochin to fit the Thunderbird headlight, was also proactively fixed by the team.

How did this translate on the road? Well, the improvement in the bike's handling was immediately noticeable since the exessive front end dive had completely disappeared. The front braking was back to being completely confidence inspiring as well. While returning, I took a longer, winding route and the bike behaved absolutely perfectly, holding it's line without a sweat on its brow.

Overall, Im very happy that I took the motorcycle to Motonerdz for this important bit of work. I know that I may be more finicky about the following than many of you reading this, but that said, some of the things that stood out regarding the Motonerdz service experience are
- Well trained and meticulous team of technicians. They have hands on experience with different motorcycles (premium to litre class) and know their technical ins and outs and helped address any doubts that I had.
- Good supervision by the management.
- Required tools are all available, I have found that some of the local FNGs in Cochin do not have the necessary tools when needed, which can get a bit disconcerting and might result in some work being left undone.
- Right processes being followed. No shortcuts or jugaads anywhere. What was done was done correctly and by the book.
- Spacious premises with enough ramps for multiple bikes.
- It is a garage for enthusiasts that is run by enthusiasts.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-20201218_114848.jpg

More details on the interesting ride experiences to and from Trivandrum and thoughts from the ride in my next post.

Last edited by neil.jericho : 21st December 2020 at 11:12.
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Old 21st December 2020, 12:57   #730
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)

Good call on upping fluid viscosity, I can see that bottoming out has bent your stock number plate, which is not ideal. Has happened to me on my ZMA but that was when fluid was at the fag end of its lifespan, 10W from Veedol is what I recall.

2.5W is unheard of IMHO, if OCD permits you can get Bajaj fork oil that is the only multi-grade one I've seen to date, the grade is 10W20 as per service manual, they come in 160ml bottles though.

As for seals, my friend recently got oil seals by Freudenberg for Rs.70/- a pop from Expo, Kollam. Extreme VFM considering the brand is a reputed one.

Good call opting for Motonerdz, to date I've not seen any SVC be it ASC or FNG sport so many specific tools for the respective job, Subin was kind enough to show me their artillery and I was mighty impressed, this is something not only motorcycle but even car workshops should learn from.

Ride Safe,
A.P.
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Old 21st December 2020, 13:38   #731
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post
My slightly bent front number plate, a victim of the earlier efforts in Cochin to fit the Thunderbird headlight, was also proactively fixed by the team.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinprakas View Post
Good call on upping fluid viscosity, I can see that bottoming out has bent your stock number plate, which is not ideal. Has happened to me on my ZMA but that was when fluid was at the fag end of its lifespan, 10W from Veedol is what I recall.
Actually, the replacement Thunderbird headlight comes with a biggish screw at the bottom and when I was getting it fixed a few months ago, the screw was fouling with the number plate. To ensure that the headlight alignment could be set correctly, we had bent the number plate a bit and then eventually left it as is.

Interestingly, while I was at a motorcycle accessories shop in Cochin, a couple of bikers had come there asking replacement number plate holders for their Karizma. The front number plate was bottoming out against the front fender and had left several scratches on it. I checked the dive on the front suspension and there was near zero compression with slight rebound. Dangerous! The bike had done 47k kms and was 7 years old. I told them to replace the fork oil and if possible, the springs also since the suspension was at the end of its lifespan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinprakas View Post
2.5W is unheard of IMHO, if OCD permits you can get Bajaj fork oil that is the only multi-grade one I've seen to date, the grade is 10W20 as per service manual, they come in 160ml bottles though.
When digging up the technical details for the suspension work, I heard of 2.5W for the first time! I briefly thought about going even higher than 5W but realized that it is better to take this one step at a time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinprakas View Post
As for seals, my friend recently got oil seals by Freudenberg for Rs.70/- a pop from Expo, Kollam. Extreme VFM considering the brand is a reputed one.
Thanks, never knew of them and this will be a good option to have since getting OEM parts may not be very easy these days. What I have heard is that several motorcycle companies are having trouble with ensuring availability of spares due to production constraints caused by the Covid crisis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinprakas View Post
Good call opting for Motonerdz, to date I've not seen any SVC be it ASC or FNG sport so many specific tools for the respective job, Subin was kind enough to show me their artillery and I was mighty impressed, this is something not only motorcycle but even car workshops should learn from.
I completely agree! Having the right tools and the trained staff means that everything can be done then and there. In some of the Cochin FNGs, the bike has to be taken elsewhere so that more specialist technicians can do the specific work while you are waiting and wondering how the work is progressing.
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Old 21st December 2020, 16:56   #732
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post
I'm glad that the thread has been helpful to you, flotsam. Do share more pictures of your bike, I believe you have a red one. The Hitchcocks chain guard looks to be very nicely built. How did you source it, I havent seen it available in any stores in India.

Yes, mine is red. I bought the chainguard directly from Hitchcocks: it arrived in 3 days, but Customs took 2 weeks to clear it. Duty was rather high... but, for me, quite worth it. Here are some photos of my GT:
Attached Thumbnails
Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-gt01.jpg  

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-gt02_li.jpg  

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-gt03.jpg  

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-gt04.jpg  

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-gt05.jpg  

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-gt06.jpg  

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Old 26th December 2020, 14:20   #733
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)

The ride to and from Trivandrum was around 430 kms in all but it was quite the experience. I started from Cochin at around 6.20 AM and followed the Cochin - Allepey - Karunagapalli - Kollam (bypass) - Attingal - Trivandrum route. It was an absolute nightmare and it will probably be the last time that I ever use that route. Whether it be drivers of cars, buses or trucks, or people on two wheelers, just about everyone either had enough of 2020 and wanted to meet their maker or wanted to help reduce Kerala's population by mowing down as many people as possible. Even the strongest of atheists would have uttered a prayer or few, to the man up above, had they been on this road.

On the plus side, the weather was good and I only needed a couple of short stops, one for fuelling up and the other by Kollam's new bypass for a bit of a stretch. Otherwise it was largely 2 lane roads with a lot of towns on the way.

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Kollam Bypass

Google Maps must have been as bored as I was on this trip (minus the frequent frights of my life), and sent me down one narrow, broken by lane in the town of Attingal, which had an equally steep climb that was more suited to Xpluses and GS310s. Once in Trivandrum, Google Maps sent me through some slushy back roads that again were more suited to offroaders and all this, while my bike's front suspension was slowly leaking fork oil! Eventually, I reached Motonerdz at 10:55 AM, while Google had predicted an arrival of 10:45 AM when I started in the morning.

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Somewhere in the capital of Trivandrum, just dont ask me where!

For my return, I had no choice but to take the MC Road route, which is basically Trivandrum - Kottarakkara - Chenganoor - Thiruvalla - Kuttanad - Allepey - Cochin. If you are travelling from south Kerala towards central Kerala, do not even think of following the route which I took in the morning and only stick to this route. Even if you save 6 kms and 10 minutes by taking my morning route, the mental agony is not worth it at all.

The MC route has nice winding roads which are wide and more importantly, traffic sense is a lot more normal here. Unfortunately, I didnt manage my time well and left rather late from Trivandrum (3:20 PM) and then encountered some rain along the way which meant that I had to pull over and wait for the heavy showers to pass. I had my Royal Enfield Khardung La touring jacket with the rain liner, so I was dry but I didnt want to ride in such strong downpours. The only problem with this route is that when you do hit the few towns on the way, you will lose some time if you are in a car, but if you are on a bike, you can snake your way safely through the stationary traffic and reach the signals.

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Short stop to pull out the rain liner

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Heavy rains

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By the Pushpagiri Medical Hospital, Thiruvalla

I had kept stopping every hour or so, to take a short break. After topping up in Kuttanad, I reached Allepey and it was complete mayhem, once I was out the city. It was back to the suicidal and homicidal traffic conditions that I encountered in the morning, so I pulled over into the my usual coastal route and continued home.

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Thiruvalla - Kuttanad stretch is quite beautiful

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Coastal road

Now that the travelogue part of this short day trip is done, how did the bike behave? More on that in the next post.

Mileage: I filled up at an IOCL pump that was around 80 kms into my journey towards Trivandrum. Distance covered : 200.2 kms. Petrol consumed : 6.62 litres. Mileage:30.24 kmpl.

On my return, I filled up at a BP pump in Kuttanad. Distance covered : 268.7 kms. Petrol consumed : 7.1 litres. Mileage:37.85 kmpl and is testament to the easy going nature of the MC route. Mileage since day 1 finally crosses the 28kmpl barrier and goes to 28.08 kmpl. I found that 8 out of the last 9 top ups this year have yielded mileage numbers above 30 kmpl, this bike so seems to be improving its mileage as the years go by!

Last edited by neil.jericho : 26th December 2020 at 14:40.
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Old 29th December 2020, 11:38   #734
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)

Given the prevailing constraints of the road and traffic conditions in this part of the country, riding the Continental GT 535 for 10 hours in a day through mixed conditions helped shed light on both it's strengths and weaknesses. I know that I am occasionally guilty of looking at the Continental GT 535 with rose tinted glasses, but days like this help knock some sense into even the most hard headed of riders.

Morning Ride (Cochin to Tvm)
The 200 odd km didnt really feel like a highway ride, to be honest. It was almost like driving on Bangalore's Outer Ring Road or one of Bombay's Expressways, without the medians but with a lot more maniac drivers trying to eliminate you. If you ever want to test your reflexes or bike's braking, this is the place to do it. Trust me, nothing will make you test the combined braking of your motorcycle than the sight of a KSRTC bus, pulling out of its lane and heading straight towards you on a narrow two lane road.

Working the gears, accelerating up to highway speeds and braking continuously, for so many hours, meant that the vibey characteristics of the Continental GT 535 came to the fore and grew to be tiring.

Evening Ride (Tvm to Cochin)
On the return, with the firmed up front end suspension and the winding roads, the bike was in its element but what let it down, was the engine. I had to work the gearbox (2nd and 3rd as far as I can recall) which meant going up and down the vibey mid range, though I didnt have to encouter a lot of braking or frequent slowing down to signals. Having to experience the mid range vibes all day did take out the fun element from the return journey.

So does that mean the Continental GT 535 is unfit for inter district highway riding? Certainly not. It all comes down to the type of traffic and highways that one encounters. For travelling between say Bangalore and Coimbatore, where we have wide 4 / 6 lane roads, minimal traffic and stopping for towns, the Continental GT is just brilliant. All you need to do is put it in the top gear and enjoy the creamy wave of torque with near zero vibrations. Easy cruising at 90 / 100 / 110 kmph in such conditions is a given. One can do Bangalore - Coimbatore and back in a day and still have energy to go for a ride the next day.

For more ahem, spirited riding, where you have to be aggressive with the throttle and want to throw in some hard cornering, a distance to around 200 - 300 kms in total, is what I would recommend.

In summary, even with its aggressive seating position, the Continental GT 535 is quite comfortable in the city. It's engine is quite engaging and it has more than enough torque low down to be usable in both slow and fast city conditions. The mid range is fun but if it is being used all the time in highway conditions, the vibes are a buzz kill. Using the vibey mid range to go corner carving though is a different story, one that is extremely fun. The top end is poor when compared to say the first gen Duke 390 (which cost exactly the same as this bike at the time of purchase) and at highway speeds, the bike is happiest with smooth and easy cruising.

On another note, the Covid crisis has meant that 2020 has been a dreadful year for so many of us. My limited solo riding has meant that I barely got to clock any kilometers at all, and that too in the year when logistically I had got things in place for me to be able to do a 2 / 3 week motorcycle ride. As the saying goes, Man proposes, Covid disposes.

Here are some numbers from my mileage tracker, the only positive seems to be that the mileage figures are going up year on year, this seems to be at odds with Royal Enfields in general, which get thirstier as they get older.

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Hopefully 2021 has better things in store for all of us - more motorcycles, more rides, more adventures, more friends and more motorcycling memories.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 22:30   #735
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Default Hitchcocks Motorcycles Levers

I usually dont do a lot of night riding but recently while doing so, I had a slow speed fall. There were no street lights in the area and as I was slowly taking a right turn to climb up the small bridge, I suddenly found a lot of sand in the middle of the road. Before I knew it, the tires had momentarily lost grip and I dropped the bike. Since I was wearing my riding gear, I didnt have a scratch on me but the bike suffered a little damage.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-20201219_112230_hdr.jpg
Damaged!

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (27,000 km and 6 years)-20201219_112206_hdr.jpg
Dented!

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The scene of the crime, I was riding in from the opposite side at night. You can see the sand on the road

The imported (likely from China) adjustable front brake lever had taken some damage but it continued to work perfectly. The right side rider foot peg had also snapped off but I was able to keep riding by placing my boots on the stub of the foot peg. The nice windscreen also got a few scruff marks and appears to be slightly bent towards one side. But that is noticeable only if you look at it carefully.

First things first, I headed to JR and Sons to get the foot peg. They had it in stock and I picked up one for the left side as well, you never know when you might need it. The front brake lever for the Continental GT 535 is not available as a stand alone unit, you have to order a full combination kit. I wasnt keen on spending all that money for parts I didnt need so I decided to look at other options, both cheaper as well as more expensive.

I searched some of the usual stores in Cochin for the same inexpensive replacement Chinese levers but none were available at that time. I asked one of the stores to arrange for it from their sister concern and they promised to do it but it got delayed from their end. Meanwhile, Speedmonks in Gurgaon had been appointed as the official importer of TEC motorcycle parts and I reached out to them for the levers of the Continental GT 535. The introductory price was around Rs 5,500 or so. Unfortunately they didnt have any stock left and were unable to tell me when they might receive their next shipment. So that was the end of that option. This is the link to the TEC levers - TEC.

Since I had decided to go in for the TEC levers if they were available, I thought I might as well reach out to Hitchcocks Motorcycles in the UK regarding their adjustable levers. They dont have any Indian importers as of now. I sent them a couple of emails and they replied back with all the details of international shipping charges and how I could place the order. I decided to go ahead with the order and bear whatever customs duty gets imposed. This is the link to the Hitchcocks levers - Hitchcocks

Price of the adjustable levers - GBP 32.50
Price for international shipping through Royal Mail - GBP 19.00

I was sent the tracking details to enter on the Royal Mail website and it was delivered to me in 3 weeks. It took a few weeks to clear customs and came from the Delhi postal center to the Cochin one. The local postman brought it to my place and handed me the slip with the total charges and I paid him the amount of Rs 1,484. As per my postman, every order that is coming in now is getting slapped with the correct customs duty, so if you are placing an order dont hold your breath on the customs officials being in a good mood.

Customs duty - Rs 1,384
Handling / convenience fee for post office - Rs 100

I was not sure what exactly to expect from the Hitchcocks CNC levers, I knew they would be of good quality but would they be worth the price?

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Neatly packed

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Opened box

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Fantastic piece of kit!

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Dripping in quality

After examining them closely, I was amazed by the levels of fit and finish and the overall premiumness of the product. I have been known to spend a lot of money on my motorcycles and this certainly felt like it was a worthy investment. I will admit this, I had a nagging feeling that post installation, the levers would stand out as the most upmarket part of my Continental GT 535!

If you ask me is it a value for money product, I cant really say that it is. It is expensive but the quality of the Hitchcocks adjustable levers felt better than that of the adjustable OEM levers on my Triumph. I dont know if spending nearly 5-10% of a motorcycle's IDV just on top notch adjustable levers makes sense to everyone reading this but it is does in your mind, you get it.

If it doesnt, there is one last option. You can always get the brake lever from the Interceptor / GT 650 which is sold as a stand alone unit and costs around Rs 200. It is a direct fit on the Continental GT 535.

I will post more details on the installation experience at F Motors and my initial riding impressions with these new levers in a couple of days. I want to get some time on the saddle with the new levers before posting some definitive feedback.
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