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Old 29th November 2020, 12:34   #1
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Default Electra 350 as someone's first motorcycle?

Hi fellow BHPians,

I have been an avid reader of Team BHP for a while.
Recently, I have also started writing travel blogs on my recent adventures, and another one is in the pipeline.

With my first job just started, I was planning on buying a bike that would be mainly used for long-distance weekend escapades and city commutes.

I recently got the opportunity to buy a Royal Enfield Electra 350 UCE ES, of 2013 model and am in a dilemma right now. The vehicle has been run for less than 10K kms. It hasn't been run for a year now since it's last service. I took it for a short run and the ride felt supple and smooth. I need to take a long-distance ride to get better knowledge of the suspension and the engine.

I would like some advice from my fellow Bulleteers and Enfield riders. This will be my first bike if I buy this and therefore, I needed to know if I buy a Bullet that old would it be reliable enough, and light on the pocket maintenance wise ?
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Old 29th November 2020, 16:56   #2
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Any special reason to go for a Bullet. You would get better suggestions if you would provide an estimate of your budget and the kind of rides and speeds you are planning to do.
Personally, I don't get why would anyone buy an older bullet these days when there are a lot more options out there. I own a 97 Bullet 350 and I am hanging on to it just because it has been in the family for so long. I hate it's vibey and uncomfortable ride and that's why it has never been ridden a lot. If I ever buy a bike again, comfort and a smooth engine will be on top of my list especially if one plans to do any long distance rides.
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Old 29th November 2020, 20:12   #3
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Default re: Electra 350 as someone's first motorcycle?

apart from vibrations above 70/80 kms per hour, RE is generally a great bile with good slow speed balance and the torque makes it very easy to ride. Within a few days you get used to the weight. Buy it if you are getting a good deal as repairs etc are very reasonable.

I find the torquey bikes much easier to ride as a starter or beginner, and would choose easy torque over light weight.
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Old 29th November 2020, 21:14   #4
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Default re: Electra 350 as someone's first motorcycle?

Hi,
One of the gurus in the forum remarked its better not to buy a poorly utilized vehicle as its more likely to be neglected. 10thousand is too less for a 7year old bike. Before you decide please go through the thread in team bhp on check list before buying a 2nd hand bikes. To put it short take a mechanic with you who knows the bike, cross verify the papers and do take a short ride in varying terrains. Having said that any problem you run into post purchase can be sorted provided you know a good mechanic. But do you really want to spend your time in the mechanic shop rather than enjoying the ride.
IMHO, if its going to be weekend escapades and short rides there are lot of better options rather than this and if its bullet you are after I am sure you can find better choices.
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Old 29th November 2020, 21:20   #5
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Default re: Electra 350 as someone's first motorcycle?

Bullets from that era are not reliable nor light on maintenance. They are somewhat like a fussy girlfriend. They do what they want and need lots of attention and expenditure.

The bullets do make an interesting 2nd bike, on days they start

During my 'Bullet days', a clutch cable, accelerator cable, fuses, spark plugs, puncher patches were constant companions on rides out of the city. I have not toured long distances.

Many people swear by the Bullets though.

The modern bullets are a different story!

Last edited by Mafia : 29th November 2020 at 21:23.
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Old 29th November 2020, 23:22   #6
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Default re: Electra 350 as someone's first motorcycle?

I had purchased a used 2012 Electra that I sold it in just 11months of ownership (clocked close to 9000kms in that period) and finally sold it.

The 350cc RE bikes are perfect as a weekend leisure vehicle, not as a daily commuter or regular mile munching workhorse.

They tend to have too many issues post 30,000 kms.
If you are looking for a second bike, yes go for it. If this is going to be your primary vehicle, better to look elsewhere.

The following issues are unique to electra
35w dull headlamp bulb
Wiring issues
Skinny rear tyre.

There are two desires that should not bite your wallet - Jeep and Bullet. As both are time consuming and thirsty for Vitamin M.
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Old 30th November 2020, 08:53   #7
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Default re: Electra 350 as someone's first motorcycle?

I own a 2018 make Bullet Standard 350 and being a 2018 make it doesn't have ABS or self/electric start, kick start only!

Here's my two cents to answer your questions-

To start with, a 2013 make Bullet ES isn't really "old". Yes there are no bells and whistles, you get a manual odometer, no ABS but being an ES variant you do get a self/electric start.
My Bullet 350 is my first big bike and for anyone who says Enfields are not great bikes to start with are partially true if not entirely. Bullets are heavy and that's the first thing you need to get a hang on, being a non ABS variant, you have to be alert while riding the highways since for a 200kg motorcycle the drum brakes do their best but the braking distance is still far more than the rest of it's competition.

As for long distance touring and highway cruising they fair well, a high sitting position gives you a great view for riding. Engine is smooth for relaxed highway cruising but don't expect to push it too hard, there's significant vibrations post 90 kmph. But then again, Bullets are cruisers and if you're expecting to do some serious speeding look elsewhere. If you're a fan of munching miles at cruising speeds and with the oodles of torque it offers a Bullet ES is a great choice!

Happy Mile Munching, cheers!
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Old 30th November 2020, 18:45   #8
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Default re: Electra 350 as someone's first motorcycle?

Hi everyone,
A little about my biking experience. I haven't owned a vehicle till now. With that being said, I have ridden extensively during my road-trips and I have been using rental bikes for those. I have used cruisers, sport-bikes and mainly driven 200+cc bikes. My main weapon of choice during these trips was usually an Apache RTR 310, Dominar 400, and Royal Enfield Classic 350.

Actually my workplace is in Bangalore, and I had initially planned on buying the bike a year from now and using the rental bikes for these weekend escapades. My neighbor was selling the Electra, and since it was a low-run bike I thought of giving it a thought. The easily accessible torque and comfortable seating position of the Electra would be very useful during the trips. The fact that it would be a second-hand bike, which would reduce the investment cost is an added bonus. I believe a second-hand bike would be a better approach at bike-ownership. Your suggestions are welcome.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rdst_1 View Post
Any special reason to go for a Bullet. You would get better suggestions if you would provide an estimate of your budget and the kind of rides and speeds you are planning to do.
Personally, I don't get why would anyone buy an older bullet these days when there are a lot more options out there. I own a 97 Bullet 350 and I am hanging on to it just because it has been in the family for so long. I hate it's vibey and uncomfortable ride and that's why it has never been ridden a lot. If I ever buy a bike again, comfort and a smooth engine will be on top of my list especially if one plans to do any long distance rides.
Hi rdst_1,
No specific reason to go for the REs. Yes, you are right. Newer Enfields are more reliable and the new modular J-platform with the new engine is appearing to relatively vibration-free throughout it's powerband. The new engine in the Classic 350 layout would be a perfect companion for long rides.

My main doubts were if I were to buy an Electra of this year, would that give me trouble? Also, the older Enfield vibe a lot post 90kmph, which could be a deal-breaker. Will that be troublesome and if so, is there a way to reduce that ?



Quote:
Originally Posted by gautam99 View Post
apart from vibrations above 70/80 kms per hour, RE is generally a great bile with good slow speed balance and the torque makes it very easy to ride. Within a few days you get used to the weight. Buy it if you are getting a good deal as repairs etc are very reasonable.

I find the torquey bikes much easier to ride as a starter or beginner, and would choose easy torque over light weight.
Hi gautam99,
Thanks for the advice.

Exactly the reason why I even considered purchasing this vehicle. I have driven the Enfields before and was instantly hooked on to their wide powerband. I'm 5'10" and didn't mind the added weight of the Bullet. Considering the low-seating position, I didn't even have to tip-toe myself on it. Weight might be a bit of problem in the cities, but I'll mainly be using it for the weekend trips.




Quote:
Originally Posted by drrajasaravanan View Post
Hi,
One of the gurus in the forum remarked its better not to buy a poorly utilized vehicle as its more likely to be neglected. 10thousand is too less for a 7year old bike. Before you decide please go through the thread in team bhp on check list before buying a 2nd hand bikes. To put it short take a mechanic with you who knows the bike, cross verify the papers and do take a short ride in varying terrains. Having said that any problem you run into post purchase can be sorted provided you know a good mechanic. But do you really want to spend your time in the mechanic shop rather than enjoying the ride.
IMHO, if its going to be weekend escapades and short rides there are lot of better options rather than this and if its bullet you are after I am sure you can find better choices.
Hi drrajasaravanan,

Thanks for the advice. Yes, I'll be taking the vehicle to a FNG, and get his inputs on the vehicle.

Last edited by SubodhRage : 30th November 2020 at 19:06. Reason: Changes to a couple of words
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Old 30th November 2020, 19:05   #9
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Default re: Electra 350 as someone's first motorcycle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mafia View Post
Bullets from that era are not reliable nor light on maintenance. They are somewhat like a fussy girlfriend. They do what they want and need lots of attention and expenditure.

The bullets do make an interesting 2nd bike, on days they start

During my 'Bullet days', a clutch cable, accelerator cable, fuses, spark plugs, puncher patches were constant companions on rides out of the city. I have not toured long distances.

Many people swear by the Bullets though.

The modern bullets are a different story!
Hi Mafia,

Ha ha! Yes, I guess the erstwhile Enfields are like these possessive, attention-seeking girlfriends who need all your attention all the time.
The modern REs in difference appear to be more reliable and relatively vibe-free.
During your Bullet days, were you able to resolve the vibration issues post 90kmph mark ? I've heard that the UCE engine series of the Enfields were more reliable than the earlier models, but I'm not sure about that and hence I thought of asking the question on the forum.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SS80 View Post
I had purchased a used 2012 Electra that I sold it in just 11months of ownership (clocked close to 9000kms in that period) and finally sold it.

The 350cc RE bikes are perfect as a weekend leisure vehicle, not as a daily commuter or regular mile munching workhorse.

They tend to have too many issues post 30,000 kms.
If you are looking for a second bike, yes go for it. If this is going to be your primary vehicle, better to look elsewhere.

The following issues are unique to electra
35w dull headlamp bulb
Wiring issues
Skinny rear tyre.
Hi SS80,

Did you sell it back mainly for the reliability concerns ?
Yes, I agree with all the issues you pointed specific to the Electra.
Regarding the headlight issues, I was planning on an upgrade. Are there any economical way-around the other issues ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS80 View Post
There are two desires that should not bite your wallet - Jeep and Bullet. As both are time consuming and thirsty for Vitamin M.
Haha ! This is a quote to live by !


Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyline_GT View Post
I own a 2018 make Bullet Standard 350 and being a 2018 make it doesn't have ABS or self/electric start, kick start only!

Here's my two cents to answer your questions-

To start with, a 2013 make Bullet ES isn't really "old". Yes there are no bells and whistles, you get a manual odometer, no ABS but being an ES variant you do get a self/electric start.
My Bullet 350 is my first big bike and for anyone who says Enfields are not great bikes to start with are partially true if not entirely. Bullets are heavy and that's the first thing you need to get a hang on, being a non ABS variant, you have to be alert while riding the highways since for a 200kg motorcycle the drum brakes do their best but the braking distance is still far more than the rest of it's competition.

As for long distance touring and highway cruising they fair well, a high sitting position gives you a great view for riding. Engine is smooth for relaxed highway cruising but don't expect to push it too hard, there's significant vibrations post 90 kmph. But then again, Bullets are cruisers and if you're expecting to do some serious speeding look elsewhere. If you're a fan of munching miles at cruising speeds and with the oodles of torque it offers a Bullet ES is a great choice!

Happy Mile Munching, cheers!
Thanks for your suggestion Skyline_GT !
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Old 30th November 2020, 21:30   #10
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Default Re: Electra 350 as someone's first motorcycle?

Bullets as a first bike would only be recommended if you know to manage the weight, by that I mean learning to park in tight spots et al. On the move, the bike is lighter to drive and the long wheelbase makes it a stable tourer.

And Bullets require a lot of patience and wavelength, it should be remembered that it's not a fill it shut it type of bike. The bike does not adjust to you, you have to adjust to the bike :P

If you do not bother about the fact that you can drive at 80 to 90 kmph speeds for a long time, I would say go for it. The electra is a better buy in the 2013 era compared to the classic. Longer wheelbase and better seating position, simple repairs are a bonus.

And do remember it does not come with all the gizmos or features, so if you are ok with a bare basic bike I would recommend it.

If you have decided to get the bike, few points to be done as a cleanup. I would highly recommend the following things to be done:

- Start with a normal mineral oil and run it for about 100 kms to get the engine cleaned up.
- Post that, pour the engine flush and run it for another 20 kms. Then change the engine oil to Shell 15w50 synthetic oil
- Replace the Battery if it has never been changed, 7 years it should be dead fish by now.
- If the tyres are good, run it for sometime and then change it to Michelins (both front and back).
- Disc oil and pads, air filter, brake shoes (rear), fork seal/oil and lights to be checked.
- Few essentials like the tank cover can be put which would help in touring.

It might sound a lot, but most of them come under routine servicing. The electrical (esp. electric start) were the main culprit for few electra's at that time so keep an eye on that.

Engine flush -
Mineral Oil - Any brand would be ok since it will be replaced soon anyways
Motul 3000 should be fine
There is Liqui moly kit you get, would recommend this as a one stop solution.



Apart from few initial caution, the bike is a delight to ride. The feeling of riding a bullet is very real and a charm always. No other bike comes close to that feeling, but there a few tradeoffs.

Try riding the bike for a few days to see if you like it, before going for a purchase if possible since it your neighbor's.
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Old 30th November 2020, 22:46   #11
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Default Re: Electra 350 as someone's first motorcycle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SubodhRage View Post
I would like some advice from my fellow Bulleteers and Enfield riders. This will be my first bike if I buy this and therefore, I needed to know if I buy a Bullet that old would it be reliable enough, and light on the pocket maintenance wise ?
I own a 2014 Electra. Have been rigorous about service and maintenance. Multiple long rides as well. No major complaints till now and I am a happy owner.

Despite this, I would not recommend a 2013 Electra in 2020. Because what you are looking to buy definitely has an old world charm. But at the same time, is also riddled with old world problems associated with Royal Enfield bikes (lack of quality control, refinement, advanced safety, etc). My suggestion would be to stay away.

There are much better options out there in new as well as used market from RE itself if that’s what you are looking for.

Last edited by warrioraks : 30th November 2020 at 22:50.
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Old 1st December 2020, 00:58   #12
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Default Re: Electra 350 as someone's first motorcycle?

Absolutely go ahead and buy it!

This is my 2011 Electra which I sold at roughly 50,000 kilometers - because I was a foolish young man full of hot blood who thought faster is always better and I was so blinded by the lust of speed that I sold my Electra and ended up buying a KTM. Textbook case of the Rabbit laughing at the Tortoise.

Two years later - I ended up buying an RE again (a Himalayan) because I absolutely missed the low end torque, the sheer grunt of the engine and the ability of the RE's to potter around town without having the need to change gear's every few seconds.

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motor...l-enfield.html (My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield)

If your intention is to ride around town and go long distance cruising - with the operative word being Cruising - go right ahead and buy the Electra. My 2011 Electra is still doing duty with my friend who I sold it to and he absolutely loves it and even takes it for long rides.

However, if you feel that you value top speed OR the ability to hit top speed at a faster rate, then please stay away from the Electra.

Dont worry about the maintenance - get it serviced every 5000 - 6000 kilometers and you will be fine. Oil the chain regularly though - thats the one single part of the motorcycle which starts to act up if it is not lubricated properly. And carry an extra clutch cable / accelerator cable on long rides.

This is my motorcycle in the Rann of Kutchh. It had a locomotive of an engine with some of the best low end torque I had ever experienced. At very low rev's - it pulls even better than the Himalayan.

Buy the motorcycle if you feel that you would enjoy travelling to far flung off places at a sedate pace. Nothing would come close to an Electra 350 (except maybe a Bullet 500 if you can get your hands on one).

Its not only in storybooks that the Tortoise has the last laugh - its often in real life too.
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Electra 350 as someone's first motorcycle?-electra-lrk1.jpg  


Last edited by rahul4321 : 1st December 2020 at 01:12. Reason: Typo
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Old 1st December 2020, 04:31   #13
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Default Re: Electra 350 as someone's first motorcycle?

Irrespective of whether you buy the Motorcycle or not you'll definitely regret something later on, that is just that, so just get the damn Motorcycle!

Haven't owned a Bullet yet, but I've spent some time behind the handlebar and am quite mechanically knowledgeable about their various iterations, just that I've not yet found one in my budget.

Considering the motorcycles I currently own the Bullet irrespective of whether it's AVL or UCE is going to be nowhere as reliable but the privilege of owning a pushrod is what's going to make it all worth the effort.

So once again, Get the Motorcycle!

Regards,
A.P.
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Old 1st December 2020, 05:59   #14
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Default Re: Electra 350 as someone's first motorcycle?

Stay Away if you plan to ride long distance and reliability is something you value. Let me share my experience. Bought the same vintage brand new. Did frequent rides such as frequent Delhi-Srinagar (Kashmir), Delhi-Banguluru-Goa and many more. Ended up planning more for motorcycle than for trips or fun. The worst was when it left me stranded with sprockets going bad on the highway. The pathetic service support accentuated the bad experience. I did not have many options then but looking at what India offers now, you can go for more reliable machines.
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Old 1st December 2020, 07:50   #15
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Default Re: Electra 350 as someone's first motorcycle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinprakas View Post
Irrespective of whether you buy the Motorcycle or not you'll definitely regret something later on, that is just that, so just get the damn Motorcycle!

Regards,
A.P.
+1 to this. A royal Enfield may or may not suit you. But the only way to know this is to own one. And what better way than to buy a known used one? Buy it and if it does not work out, you don't lose much in selling it. As Ashwin says, it will always be nagging you to know that you never owned it.

I was in this dilemma in 2016 and ended up buying a new thunderbird. Never regretted it.
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