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Old 5th September 2021, 19:38   #1
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Default My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review

My White Horse, RE Himalayan BS IV 2018 - ownership saga

Intro

It’s been a dream of mine, to ride kilometers after kilometers, with a song like “Old Town Road” running in the background

“Yeah, I'm gonna take my horse
To the old town road
I'm gonna, ride 'til I can't no more”

The Himalayan ticked all the boxes for me in that sense. The riding position, comfort, basics of the bike, its ability to take me places, not so expensive maintenance and easily repairable. It was a vehicle that could take care of all requirements for me be it touring, mild off roading or daily use to commute to office.

My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review-cover-photo.jpg

Ain’t that a head turner!

Rightly so, I used to call her my White Horse, now I call it Junk Metal; transition from “her” to “it” has been gut wrenching, for it’s a lovely bike to ride on. Only if it starts and runs when you need it the most!

So, this is not a typical review of the bike but an ownership experience, the thick and thin with RE’s kith and kin.

I have also come to see that its either a hit or a miss with the Himalayan. Mine’s a miss for sure and so are a couple of my close friends’ and relatives’.

So, this thread is limited to the 2018 Model of BS IV version of my Junk Metal.

Prologue

I have used rental bikes for a few rides and of all the bikes, I must say it’s been a pleasure to ride the RE Classic and Hero Impulse. Be it on an open tarmac or a beaten track, it has always taken everything that is thrown in its stride. Though not in the same category of bikes, the seating posture that the Impulse offered or the lazy riding with a good amount of low-end torque which the RE Classic had, these were the two bikes that impressed me a lot. I am not a huge fan of high speed anyway, so I always wondered what if these two were combined.

Then the Ladakh ride happened (https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ld-bullet.html (Ladakh ride on an Enfield Bullet) ) and the RE Classic impressed me to the core! So much so that I decided to buy a RE! The thing to note here was that I have always used “rental” bikes and never “owned” a RE myself. Then there were rumors of the Himalayan being in the pipeline followed by its launch. I must say, I was on cloud nine! That is when I decided to buy the Himalayan. I however opted to wait for some time after hearing about the initial ownership experiences. Looked like someone in RE forgot about the testing phase before launch, suddenly remembered and said, “oh hey, let’s do it on the customers”!

Test ride and Booking experience

After that, I kind of got busy with my business, the end of it, start of new job, changes of job and other things. Himalayan took the back burner and the wait got longer. By then, there were news of BS4 models coming by and that the company had “taken care of” all the “niggles” that came out during the testing phase (on customers) in the BS3 version.

So, with renewed hopes and the new job kind of settling in, I went to the nearest RE showroom on Rajkumar Road near Navarang theatre for a test ride. I was with my brother and signed up for a test ride expecting to take my brother along to get his inputs on pillion comfort. The lady at the counter sarcastically declined the request and told me if I wanted a test ride, it will be with the mechanic riding pillion and a pre-determined route which was full of traffic. If I wanted to know the pillion comfort, he can ride the bike and I can sit as a pillion. I took the test ride, and the mechanic was sitting as if he was holding on for his dear life and pulling the bike sideways many a times. The experience was bad, to put it in simple terms. My brother also told me that the lady gave some taunting looks when I left for the ride which kind of left a bad taste of the whole experience.

My brother then suggested to try the CVS showroom near Cauvery Talkies and so we did. The salesperson who attended to me asked for the license, made note of details and handed me the key to the bike parked outside. I asked if he would accompany and he said only if I insisted! I then took my brother along for a short ride. Feeling unsatisfied, I asked if I can take another ride, a little longer, the salesperson happily agreed telling there are no other test rides scheduled and we can indeed take the bike for a spin again. That, I must say, was the best test ride experience, totally in contrast from the earlier dealership! They also made note of the feedback on hard gear changes and the engine going breathless sometimes. He mentioned that the bike had been used for a rally and had not got serviced, hence the issue. He offered a ride again the following week when the bike would have been serviced. I agreed and went with my wife for the final test ride. Took a long test ride again only to return happier, but with the same feedback of the engine going breathless. I was worried and checked if it has got some engine issues for which he mentioned that the bike was abused in the rally and hence may be the issue. He also mentioned that all the issues in the bike were ironed out with the BS4 release. I took his word (also since both my brother and my wife gave very positive feedback on pillion comfort), no reasons to doubt and made the booking in March 2017 for a Snow-White color with a promise of delivery by May, a perfect Birthday gift for myself I thought! In the hindsight, I now realize that I was signing up for stage 2 of the testing phase.

May came and went but no sign of my bike though deliveries had started. I got a little busy with my work and couldn’t follow up with the salesperson. Then in October, I started getting mails that I had requested them to postpone the bike delivery. I called the salesperson, but he didn’t answer nor did he call back. I messaged him only to get redirected to another person who conveniently ignored my calls. This happened for another month and in December I again got a postponement mail when I decided to visit them personally. When I met him, jokingly asked him if the bike is only named “Himalayan” or do I need to go to Himalayas and do some meditation to get the bike delivered! He got the drift, didn’t utter a word, took me to the adjacent building and introduced me to some random person, told me to talk to him for anything further regarding the bike delivery and left! That was the last I saw him. I had never seen any salesperson treat a prospective customer that bad. It was the very same person that ensured we had a great test ride experience, hard to believe but the scenario had changed. But I was in a hurry to get my hands on my bike and decided not to pursue that matter. There were promises made but only to receive another customer-opted-postpone mail. I dropped a mail to RE with all the screenshots of follow-ups and showroom visit details and asked if they are willing to sell me a bike. Wrote the mail on 13th Jan 2018 and the bike was delivered to me on 30th Jan 2018. The Area Sales Manager of RE gave me a call and arranged for the bike. I had to wait a bit further since I insisted for a 2018 model. I must acknowledge that the response from the company was swift and they were helpful!
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Old 6th September 2021, 11:33   #2
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Taking Delivery

To sum up the experience in short, it was lousy! Absolutely nothing worth remembering!

I went at the designated time with my wife. After making us wait for a while, they made me complete some formalities and handed me a RE helmet and the keys to the bike. Helmet was of good quality, but the key came with a cheap rubber key chain. The advisor doing the paper work asked me if we need a temp number and said it would cost us some money. Don’t remember how much he quoted, but he said it will be required if I am planning for a ride before the registration number comes. I declined saying I do not have any plans as of now and I will manage. Guess what, the bike did have a temp number scribbled on it anyway! Then what was the money asked for? Just another gimmick? I didn’t bother to check.

A mechanic then guided me out and the bike was parked on the footpath covered in a soiled bike cover. The bike was a little dusty, but I was excited. I noticed a rusty bolt just below the silencer and asked if they can replace it. He mentioned that the service team will help when I drop in for the first service. Also noticed some number written on the pillion seat using a chalk piece. When asked, I was told it’s done for identification and will vanish with a water wash. I asked why did they not make it vanish before they delivered, but no response. The number is still visible after 3 years and looks shabby!

Below is a snap of the stock seat with the chalk mark just before installing the Sahara seat cover.

My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review-seat-cover-chalk-mark-after-3-years-jan-19th-2021.jpg

The person hurriedly pulled the bike out before I asked any further questions and asked if I could manage the bike! I said thanks and left the place. No photographs asked, none taken. It was a bad way to deliver a bike. The ride home did feel awesome! I was happy!

A few snaps in front of the house

My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review-day-1-shot-1.jpeg

My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review-day-1-shot-2.jpeg

My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review-day-1-shot-3.jpeg

Cost On Road and accessories

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The only accessory I purchased was the crash guard costing INR 2,000/- (which is listed at INR 1,350/- on company website). It is of a pretty good quality. The representative tried hard to sell me the puncture proof sealant which I politely refused.

Further accessories I have bought are as shown below

My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review-list-accessories-cost.jpg

A few snaps of the bike with the accessories I have installed

Sahara Seat cover - Comes with a layer of cushion inside and has been comfortable. It sure is better than the feel I get on the stock seat.

My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review-sahara-seat-1.jpg

My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review-sahara-seat.jpg

My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review-sahara-seat-side-view.jpg

Top Box and Can Empocher

My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review-top-box-can-empocher.jpg

My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review-top-box-can-empocher-2.jpg

Aux Light - I have pasted a yellow plastic sheet on the glass to make it look like yellow lights. The light is still effective and also saves me from the traffic stop!

My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review-yellow-light.jpg

Service intervals, cost and details

The Service intervals are either 5000 kms or 6 months whichever is earlier. Only the first service is within 500kms or 1 month time. We are given 4 free services. The cost I have incurred and details are as below. I have missed the service during the last 1 year. I got the fluids checked at a local garage and also gave a call to the service center with his assessment and was told it was good enough since my riding was close to nil during the past year or so.

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Love/ Hate

Things I love,
  1. Looks and road presence, subjective but I love it.
  2. Availability of parts and their cost.
  3. Comparatively inexpensive to maintain.
  4. The ergonomics are spot on! I can ride the bike mile after mile and day after day, without any issues subject to the speed under ~80kmph. Pillion comfort is also great.
  5. Availability of customization options. Saddle stay, lights, aux lights, GPS mounts etc.
  6. The way the bike rides on bad roads is simply awesome!
  7. Low end torque and linear power delivery.
Now for the things I hate,
  1. Number of service center visits to get the bike niggle free.
  2. Upto 80kmph, the bike is free from vibrations. Any speed above it, the bike vibrates freely!
  3. Mirrors are round and yes, at speeds above hundred they do go around!
  4. Coming to the braking of the vehicle. I am fairly confident that the bike stops when you apply brakes. The only uncertainty there would be whether before or after hitting the obstacle in front!! Brakes, I think are lame and I hope they have improved in the stage 3 of testing (BS VI).
  5. Hard gear shift, especially the first and sometimes second gear. A couple of times, my father has asked if something broke, It’s that bad!
  6. Headlight is inadequate.
  7. Lack of power for highway rides.
  8. Tube tyres, always a worry.
  9. Finishing could have been better for a 2+ lakh bike.
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Old 6th September 2021, 12:15   #3
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Biking Experience and issues on my Himalayan

Now to the main part, the part for what I bought the bike. Let me start with the positive experience first since it’s few and far in between.

Firstly, it’s not a fast bike like the KTM, but I somehow personally prefer the Himalayan for its low-end torque and linear power delivery. The optimum speed free from vibration is about 80kmph on my bike. On a long stretch of a highway, it does miss out on that extra power which kind of makes it boring to ride. If I am riding 10-12 hours a day, that extra 30 kms per hour translates to quite a huge difference in either the distance covered, or the time taken which I think is a bit of sore point. I remember riding to Mangalore on my brother’s KTM Duke 390 and effortlessly touching speeds of 140+ (I would not recommend such speeds though). That apart, it is a breeze to ride a Himalayan on any kind of roads. Where you will always have to be on your guard looking out for potholes or bad patches riding other bikes, I simply slow down a little and stand up on the foot pegs and the Himalayan just glides over the undulations. It is simply effortless, and I love the bike for that!

Further, anything over 80kmph gives me real good vibes, err vibrations I meant. The massive 411cc monster of a vibrator wakes up at around 80kmph mark! The last ride I went was for about 700kms in a day on the Mangalore highway. I pushed the bike to see how it performs and though I could reach speeds of 120kmph, it took time and effort to reach those speeds. End of the day, left me tired and I could feel the vibrations even after an hour post the ride! It was bad and the bike is not meant for that I felt. Riding at speeds free of vibration on this bike means you have to see people on Splendor, Pulsars and sometimes even Activa whizz past you. The only folks whom you overtake are Grannies and Gramps either working in the fields or riding bicycles!

So, the first month of ownership was quite uneventful since I was busy with work and did a couple of planned outstation trip with family in the car. I just took the bike out for a 50 kms ride on the day of the service just before the visit. Since it was already a month, I had to drop it for the 1st service to keep the warranty intact. I forgot about the rusted nut and remembered at the time of taking delivery. The service center manager at CVS (Palace road) said it can’t be done then and asked to remind on the next visit. The bike was performing ok and had no reasons to complain. Though I did a couple of long rides, I did not use the bike to my liking during the first year. I had clocked about 7,500kms and completed 2 services with the 3rd due at the end of year.

The bike started developing stiffness on the handle post 3rd Service. I had a ride to Hyderabad coming up and didn’t want a hard handle to play spoil sport. I went back to the service center to get a resolution and the folks were pretty quick to diagnose and rectify. The issue resurfaced in a couple of days and I again had to rush to the service center. Again, same result. The explanation given being something tight near the cone set which was readjusted and the issue resolved, again. The day before the ride, the same issue cropped up again and I gave a call to the service center. They assured me that there will not be any problem because of that and I can drop in again post the ride to get the issue rectified. Though I had other issue on the Hyderabad ride, the handling did not become a show stopper. Post the ride, I took the bike to a private service center near Hennur and the service person there said it’s a cone set issue which needs replacing. Since they were unable to procure the required spare, I was asked to go to the authorized service center to get the same replaced. I dropped in to CVS (Palace Road) and asked for the cone set to be replaced, I was asked if the bike has crossed a year mark. Within a year, they could replace it free of cost is what the service manager mumbled. He then called for a technician whom I had not seen earlier. The guy took my bike for a spin and said its just a hardened grease issue. Degrease and it should be fine. But again, a catch, the person who does this was on leave. Yes, another visit lined up and I was getting fed up already! I had to take time off from work to get the issue rectified. It did get resolved (fully) with the degreasing and hasn’t given me an issue till date. So, the lesson I learnt was to find the right guy who knows the stuff, else everything done will only be a short-term fix. Four visits to the service center to get a simple issue fixed!

The number of service center visits over the past 3 years of owning a RE is easily more than the cumulative number for the past 20 years of owning my Rx135 and my dad’s Bajaj Super. The feeling that makes you want to relocate your residence to a service center is priceless. I in fact asked the service manager there if they can allot me some space within their service center so that I can put up my residence there. I can that way get my bike serviced daily before leaving for work and be confident that the bike will surely run properly for the day!

I have covered at least a couple of lakhs of kilometers over the past 20 years. I am fairly confident of riding a bike following all the rules for safety. So, it kind of felt a bit odd when the service manager decided to give me a lecture on how to ride carefully, when I dropped in with the cone set problem! Not that I am a pro in riding bikes but I told him that this is neither my first bike nor first time riding, still he said that I should ride carefully on bad roads or when there are unpaved roads etc to avoid issues like this. I asked about the tag line of the bike being “for all roads or no roads”, he still stuck to his statement of being careful while riding! So much for an adventure bike!

The nutty affair

The adventure of looking for a spares shop when a crucial nut (apart from the one riding the bike) on your bike decides to jump off during the ride! Yes, it has happened twice on my ride to Hyderabad which unfolded something like this. I had stopped for a tea break at a dhaba when an old man with his grandson approached me for a quick chat. The boy was well aware of the bike and was aspiring to own one. He even knew the specs and issues which the earlier bikes had! I was pleasantly surprised because he looked not more than 10 to 12 years old. His grandfather said that he is crazy about bikes and Himalayan was his favorite. The kid was inspecting the bike and liked the stickering on it. Just then, he pointed to the rear axle and asked, should there not be a nut holding the wheel? That’s when I was aghast to notice the axle nut missing! Asked if there was an automobile repair shop nearby and was told that the nearest town was at least 15km, but not sure if they had a RE shop.

Since I had not experienced any wobble or anything, I thought it must have fallen off somewhere close. I along with the kid, looked around the place I had parked and the main road and returned back empty handed after about 5 minutes. By then, the elderly gentleman had gone looking for someone who knew how to repair machines. He came back with someone who in turn made some calls and two others came, now about 5 people trying to fix the issue. One guy said he has a nut which might fit though its not of this bike. He went and came back with a few of them nuts and one of them was a proper fit. Issue resolved thanks to helpful strangers! They refused to take any money for the help as well!

I was glad to have met such blessed souls though I would have liked a better way of meeting them! Thanked them profusely, bought the kid a chocolate bar and asked him to stay away from this bike! He laughingly agreed and I left. I made it a point to inspect all the crucial nuts every time I stopped for a break from then on. I could not inspect while coming back since it was already dark and guess what I noticed the next day! Yes, a nut holding the alignment adjustment rod decided to jump off. Suicidal nuts I must say! Thankfully it was not that crucial and I had fastened 2 nuts just for safety and only one jumped.

Must say, the search for the axle nut was nothing short of a treasure hunt. Come to speak of the joys of owning a Himalayan! When I mentioned to the service center folks about the nut jumping (I do not remember if I mentioned that it was the axle nut or just mentioned a nut fell off!), I got a casual reply saying it sometimes happens because of vibrations in the RE bikes! Seriously??!! To be fair, not sure if he would have responded so casually if I had mentioned the axle nut or not sure if I did and he failed to register that in his mind, I’d give that benefit of doubt to him. But I still maintain that no nut or bolt, however important or not, should jump unless the nut riding the bikes asks for it to jump!

A snap of the Axle nut that was replaced, one alignment rod nut missing and the other waiting to jump! The other side of the wheel have both the nuts in tact!
My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review-nutty-affair-collage.jpg

Brake pad issue

In another case, the brake pads on the rear wheel were rubbing against the disk (it still does). I was told that since the vehicle is heavy, this happens! I mean, does that really happen? Should the wheel not run freely without hindrance? I tried reasoning with the Service manager, but in vain. The brake pads and disk rubbing against each other meant their replacement frequently (increases wear and tear on both brake pads and the disk). I use engine braking as much as possible and do not apply brakes suddenly (except in case of emergencies). When I pointed out that this issue will result in the wear and tear increasing, the service manager gave another lecture on how to use the bike! I highlighted this issue in each of the services and got the same reply from CVS palace road. On the 5th service, when I visited CVS Hebbal, the manager looked at other bikes and said the other bikes are also “almost” same and was dismissive of the issue! It’s a simple thing that the pads should not be rubbing against the disk while running, right? Or am I missing something here?
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Old 6th September 2021, 12:47   #4
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Major issues

I did a few rides in the 2nd year of owning this bike and I must admit, it is an adventure bike for sure! To own one itself has become an adventure I can say! Each ride, irrespective of I discover a new place or not, entails discovery of a new issue! The latest Bisle Ghat ride for instance, lights went out, horn out, bike started stuttering sometimes and the bike went into reserve running about 220kms on a tank full! Lights and horn came back on later during the day, but the discovery was about the range. Was it a drop in mileage or was it “just” an issue of a faulty fuel guage? I tanked up again near Kukke Subrahmanya and it filled about 11 ltrs which meant I still had about 4 ltrs when the reserve indicator kicked in. Discovery – faulty indicator, I think! Further to add to such adventures, the nights during my rides in remote places where creepy thoughts come to my mind like what if the bike doesn’t start, or what if the bike stalls or other random thoughts, these are for sure adventurous. The ecstatic feeling when I overcome the obstacle of starting the bike after an overnight halt gives an unmatched adrenaline rush that even the best of the rides failed to give. Yes, the bike has 2 major issues, one of which is still unresolved.

Issue 1 – bike stutters, kind of suddenly gasping for air or seem to shut off and then start again.

Issue 2 – starting problem. If the bike doesn’t feel like riding, it doesn’t start, period!

Current status, Issue 1 remains and Issue 2 looks resolved till it reappears. So let me start with the issue that has been resolved.

Starting problem

First time - The first time it happened was while I was riding the bike to our flat. The bike suddenly stalled and wouldn’t start. After many attempts, the bike would start and then again shut down as soon as you start moving in 1st gear. After a few more attempts to start the bike, it started to respond and this time, I put the bike in 2nd gear, pushed a little and started riding and could ride for some distance without the bike shutting down. The engine malfunction light on the console started glowing and then I headed back home and sent the video to the service advisor at CVS Palace Road.

A couple of videos attached below to indicate the issue -





I went and dropped the bike the next day to the CVS Palace Road service center. This time though, the bike started promptly and without the Engine malfunction light flashing on the console. It took a day or two I think for the issue to be resolved. I was told that there is a kind of switch which cuts the engine off when the bike takes a fall to prevent further harm to the engine. That switch was malfunctioning and was the reason for the bike to frequently shut down. I was assured it will not repeat. I was baffled, but took the explanation with a pinch of salt and left with the bike.

Second Time – Once when I walked my 3-year-old daughter to play home, she fondly asked me to get the bike to pick her up. She reasoned out saying she liked going for rides on this bike since it is very comfortable on it as compared to my brother’s bike (Duke 390)! I couldn’t agree more and was on cloud nine! Later during the day, I went to pick her up. Had to wait a few minutes for her to come out of the play home and hence, chose to switch off the bike and wait. My daughter saw the bike as was very happy, she came to me jumping and shouting - bike ride; bike ride! Then it happened, the bike just wouldn’t start. I could see the disappointment on my daughter’s face. Tried to push start the bike a few times, but couldn’t. Then parked it in the opposite lane, sent location to the service advisor and asked him to come pick it up. For almost a month after that incident, my daughter either refused to come with me on the bike or taunted me if I am taking the bike for repair, each time I took the bike out. Sometimes she randomly used to ask if the bike would start again or if it’s gone kaput!

The video where i tried starting the bike



Surprisingly, the folks who came to pick my bike could push start the bike which didn’t happen when I tried! I got a call saying the bike had battery issue and the reason for that was the USB charger drawing power directly from the battery. I tried arguing that the charger had a power switch and that it would not draw power since most of the times the switch is off. Also, all other functions like lights, indicators and horn that depend on the battery power were working fine. That explanation obviously didn’t fly through and they stuck to their point. When asked to pay, I politely declined saying its not my issue and I was ok to leave the bike there and go. I was allowed to take the bike and I left without paying. I was pissed off to say the least because of the disappointment it caused for my daughter and the blame was fixed on me saying it was because of the accessory I had installed! Came home and disconnected the USB charger and decided to move on.

Third Time - I had planned for a weekend ride and taken a day off on Friday as well. In fact, I cancelled a get together with a few close buddies of mine to make this ride happen. I quickly wrapped up my work on Thursday and packed up all my stuff, ready to take off on the ride. I thought of leaving early in the morning and hence wanted to fill petrol on Thursday night. I tried starting the bike and this happened!



It was working fine till that evening and all of a sudden, out of no where came this jolt! I guess the bike was too tired for the ride! If one observes, there is still power in the console even after I removed the keys, wonder how! I sent the video over to the service center folks at CVS Palace Road and asked the bike to be picked up. I knew they would come up with a battery issue and hence I got the battery checked early next day. The battery was working fine and had no issue. I plugged the battery in and waited for the guys to come and pickup. The mechanics came and to my surprise, jump started the bike and took it away. Wonder how that worked since the battery was already checked and found correct.

After a day or two I think, I got a call asking me to come and pick the bike. I went and got an explanation that the issue was because of battery drain and probable cause was the direct wiring of the USB charger to the battery. I explained how 1) the USB charger was already disconnected and 2) I had already got the battery checked and further sought explanation for the light in the console even after removing the key. They were again linking it to the USB charger drawing power from the battery and unable to explain the other issue. I left with the bike.

Fourth Time – And the next afternoon, its back to square one.



I decided to escalate. I had the RE area sales manager number which I had obtained when I escalated for delay in giving the delivery of the bike. Called the same number and asked if I can get a service manager contact. He was initially surprised how I got his number and then I refreshed his memory and updated him of the bad quality of the bike. He immediately got into action mode and got me in touch with the service manager in charge of the CVS dealer. The service manager asked me to drop the bike to the service center. I politely declined and said I am fed up of the bike and service. I explained how many times I have already wasted my time visiting the service center. Then went on to tell that I need this bike to be taken to some other service center since I genuinely doubt the competence of the CVS palace road guys. He then asked me for sometime and then got back saying they will only come to take the bike and will take it to CVS Hebbal. He assured me that it’s a new service center and he will personally ensure that the bike is niggle free. Another couple of days and I get a call from the service center manager saying the bike is ready. There was some issue with the charging of the battery and hence the issue. The issue is now resolved, again! He asked me to come and pick the bike. I said, please drop it or you can keep it. The bike was later dropped at my place and no documentation provided.

One thing to note is that I have asked the service center folks to give me a job card or service history of what was done to the bike, but I only get one or the other excuses for not giving. I still haven’t given up, every time I visit the service center, I do ask for it and get another excuse!

Fifth time – I think it happened a couple of times again, and I quite don’t remember how many times it actually happened (I have missed 1 weekend trip as narrated above and 2 other day-rides because the bike wouldn’t start), so let me close it at the fifth time. I finally called the RE service manager to tell him that I don’t want the bike. He was firstly baffled as to how I got his number. I again had to refresh his memory and told him that nothing they were doing was actually working. He again asked me to get the bike to the service center for which I again declined and told him I would prefer to dispose the bike off rather than waste my time at the service center. I am ok to get the bike at my expense to the RE office (not the service center/ showroom of the authorized dealer) and drop it off, once and for all. He then arranged for the pickup and this time, there were a lot of tests and replacements done. They even replaced the battery and gave a new one. The service center manager at CVS Hebbal said that a few parts were also replaced and called me to pick the bike. He requested saying that they are short of folks to do a drop and I agreed not wanting to cause too much trouble. Clearly a mistake! When I arrived at the service center, he backed out. Then gave an excuse saying he wanted to explain the issue in person so that I understand better. I made him understand, in a stern way, that I did not buy the bike to become a mechanic (though I’d love to learn and become one someday), so he should stop wasting my time! (I have learnt some skills of carpentry and have undertaken a few DIY stuff like making a study table, a bed and a book shelf (which was a gift for my wife) as well. Likewise, learning to become a mechanic is also on the cards, but not right now.). If he made a mistake of calling me and realized the issue was not resolved, just tell that. I can understand, but do not give me some cock and bull story to cover up some crap. I left disgruntled! The bike was later delivered to me after another day or two. The RE service manager was not bothered to check if the bike was fine nor not. Thankfully, after that, I have not faced the starting problem issue again so far.

Over to the next major issue,

Stuttering issue – Not sure what to call it, but it feels like the bike stutters and gasps for air.

The “close to heart attack” feel I get when I am comfortably overtaking a heavy vehicle on a highway and the engine decides to gasp for air, it goes breathless and seems to shut down! Now that gives me a kick (literally as well, for buying the bike) that many people won’t get even on a sky dive!

The last time it happened was on a two-lane state highway (without dividers) near Arsikere en route Kodachadri (near Shimoga). I was nearing 80 kmph and was all set to overtake a KSRTC bus when I spotted another one coming from the opposite direction. It was at a fair distance for me to do the overtaking comfortably and leave ample time for the opposite bus to pass me. I was almost 70% through with the overtaking when the bike did a k k k k k kirannn on me like how Rahul (shah rukh) does in the movie Darr. And the fear was real just like how Kiran (Juhi Chawla) must have felt. They say in Kannada, “beeja baayige baro feeling” (a polished translation being Kidney coming to your mouth). The bike started to stutter and I had no clue what had just happened. Speed reduced and dropped to about 50kmph. I think the driver of bus I was overtaking noticed me falling short of speed while overtaking him and reduced his speed since the bus on the opposite side was flashing his lights and now fast approaching. I also noticed the bus approaching me make a little space by moving to the side, a really nice gesture by both the drivers I must say (not sure how much each of them may have cursed me)! Just then the bike woke up from the stutter and rushed past the bus. All this, in a span of a few seconds. This incident shook me up and I literally had to take a break for “air intake” after the incident. Such stuttering or gasping for air has happened at least thrice at crucial times and many more instances when it was not that crucial. The service center guys are least bothered about it. They just dismiss it as a small issue and “resolve” the issue every time I visit them! It again happened on my latest ride to Bisle ghat, but was not that crucial since there were hardly any vehicles around. But yes, it’s a disaster waiting to happen! The issue is not resolved yet, but I have lost the patience to follow up with the service center. I will have to drop the bike for service soon, for one last time before I dispose this bike off. Will make an attempt to get this cleared so that at least the person buying from me will be benefitted.

Some may see this as an isolated incident and such things don’t matter when you are on a 6-lane toll highway. Well, wrong! I was once riding on the Mumbai highway. There was a light vehicle on the left lane and I tried overtaking it from the right lane. A car was fast approaching and I planned to overtake and move left. I in fact turned my left indicator ON to let the car know that I would soon move left and he was soon closing the gap between us. And, the stuttering happened. Had I applied brakes, the brake light would switch ON and let the people behind us know that the bike is reducing speed or trying to stop. Not in this case right, since I had not applied brakes but the speed drastically reduced. I immediately took my left hand off the grip and indicated a “slow down” wave which I think the car noticed and I could hear a bit of a screech followed by a loud horn. The incident passed with just a glare given by the driver for my mistake but imagine what could have happened. It’s not just a niggle, but am sure a serious issue.

There are plenty more niggles with the bike, but since I’ve bought the bike, I choose to live with those because its not life threatening. And more often than not, when it gets embarrassing, I explain to folks as a feature rather than a niggle. So, I’ve listed down a few of them for the benefit of others as well.
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Old 6th September 2021, 13:13   #5
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Special features of the bike

We have so far seen the normal features that are normally available to read on all the threads as well. But here are a few special features that needs to be highlighted to show how distinct the bike performs.

1. Auto Noise reduction - I discovered a new feature on the Bisle ghat ride I did somewhere in August this year. It has an automatic noise reduction feature when the bike enters a forest zone. So, the horn stopped working when I entered the reserve forest area! It mysteriously came back ON near Hassan on my way back home. Inexplicable!

2. Aux light sensing Headlamp – Not sure what happened, the bike’s low beam stopped working after a couple of days of installing the Aux lights. I thought the bulb might have burned out and changed, same results though. Got the wiring checked with the local mechanic who says nothing wrong with it. Since the Aux setup covers the short throw as well, I guess its again a feature to save on the battery power! Imagine getting stranded owing to a battery drain resulting from the extra power drawn out by the aux set up, no one wants that right! Since I came across this feature during the corona period, I am yet to take it to the service center to get it checked and confirm.

3. Daylight sensors – Again on the latest ride to Bisle ghat, I started at about 4.30AM and the high beam was working fine till about 6.30AM. When I stopped for a break, the bulb refused to light up which made me think the bulb got burned. But with visibility near zero at the Bisle ghat, the high beam surprisingly came back ON, but was out when I stopped to refill petrol. Guess because the visibility was much better there! It later came back ON again when I was returning through the ghat and this time, it stayed ON till I came back home that night!

4. Speed sensing mirrors – Stage 1 activates around speeds of 80kmph when both mirrors start vibrating and stage 2 is activated around 100kmph when the mirrors just tilt down rendering the mirrors useless! Stage 2 is also called the Street Hawk mode where you just bend your head down and think you are just flying away!

5. Mood-based lighting – It had been a long time since I had taken the bike out and hence decided to take it for a short spin around the road I live in. It was early morning and hence the bike was a little moody. The three videos sum up the mood-based lighting –

a. 6.22 AM – Switched the ignition ON and no light – Drowsy mood I guess.
b. 6.25 AM – got the bike out, started the bike, went to close the gate and came back. Guess it sensed a ride and got a high, High beam started working! – Getting High mood I think.
c. 6.28 AM – Came back from the short spin and voila, bike was happy and in good mood! The low beam is also working now!

Drowsy mood


Getting High mood


Happy and in good mood - Contented mood


6. Networking feature - It has an uncanny knack of making you meet helpful and interesting strangers! For example, the ride to Hyderabad was getting boring with a slow bike and beautiful roads. Just then the bike decides to send you on a treasure hunt for the axle nut and introduce you to helpful strangers! Now that’s an awesome feature! To further elaborate this feature and to highlight that the Hyderabad ride incident was not an exception, I need to narrate an interesting incident which happened on my recent ride to Bisle Ghat.

There was a land slide on the Shiradi ghat and vehicles were stopped at Gundya check post. They were redirected either through Bisle ghat or go back towards Charmadi ghat. I returned towards Bisle Ghat since I had decided to end the ride. Enroute, I was stopped by at least 2 cars coming from opposite direction for information on road closure. Then, there was a big bike coming by and he flashed twice. Now picture this. I slowed down and moved to a side while looking at the rear view. He did the same. I stopped and turned to look back and so did he. He then took a U turn and came towards me. I thought its either someone I knew or again a case where he needs information. It went something like this,
He – Hi Wassup.

Me – Hey; hi, nothing much. You tell me. (Still wondering why we made the stop, remember he flashed).

He – (Surprised tone) You asked me to stop, you tell me!

Me – (Its now my turn to get surprised) When did I ask you to stop, you flashed and I slowed down. I thought you needed some information about Shiradi.

He – Well, you flashed first and I was just responding!

Me - Mate, my lights aren’t even working, what do I flash man (showed him toggling the high beam switch, which at that time; didn’t work!).

He – (bursted out laughing) I swear you did a high beam flash twice and I responded.

He pulled up in front of me and got down, came to me laughing. He checked the switch and was still laughing, this time probably laughing at me though! We then shared an “air intake” break when I explained a few special features of the bike and had a hearty laugh! He was on his Tiger and told me that his bike fortunately did not have such special features. Yet another instance where I got to meet a nice chap because of a great feature on my bike. After a while, I did notice the Blue high beam indicator come on a few times (kind of flicker), so I must have flashed. Now I could gather what would have happened!

Fall out of owning this bike

The “What-if” Syndrome – what if the bike doesn’t start, what if there is a puncture, what if the lights go out during a night ride, what if the bike stutters/ stalls again when I am overtaking, what if it stutters on a winding curve (sure to take a fall), what if the chassis breaks over the next pot hole, so on and so forth. No end to the what ifs while riding the bike. Again, I would not have thought of my wife so many times in the 9 years we have been married that I have thought of the issues with this bike on a single ride! It sucks big time.

RE and its service in my experience

The beauty of this bike and the quality of service is, each time there is a problem, it is promptly attended to. Sometimes it needs escalation to RE, but the issue is taken care of. So, you can rest assured that all the issues are sorted out and you won’t have any issues, ANY ISSUES - until next time. Now, that next time; is sometimes a month away, a couple of months away or just a day, really depends on your fate. So hey, don’t blame the bike!

The other thing I observe is the service center folks being dismissive of an issue or saying all the RE bikes have this issue or giving some other excuse. The fact is, we have paid so much money for a bike that should at least ride niggle free. Not to feel great about having issues with the bike and feel further proud that the company has not only fooled me, but thousands of others as well! I was appalled to see these folks take pride in saying the bikes are full of such niggles or issues! I was given instances of how customers identified issues and discussed with service center and the service center rectified it for the customer. It’s as if they are doing a favor for the customer! It’s all stories of how the bike gave up and how the rider had to salvage the day by finding help at the right time, now that’s ridiculous in my book. I’d rather have stories of places I managed to visit or the journey itself without any issues with my ride!

The first couple of times when I left the bike for an issue, I was asked to pay. I politely refused saying it was a defect in the bike that led to a breakdown and hence either give me the bike or you can keep it. After the first couple of times, even the service center stopped asking me to pay! Guess they realized the quality of the bike they were dealing with!

I can digest the fact that the machine needs maintenance, may be more than other bikes. But, stalling during the ride, unable to start the bike often, nuts falling off, handling becoming hard, are these common? And do we need to deal with these things paying 2 lakhs?

Now with all these, I was planning for India perimeter ride with an estimate of 20,000 kms over 3 months. I was having second and third thoughts about taking this bike on such an expedition till the latest ride that I rode to Bisle ghat. Now I am clear, I will not be using this bike anymore. The issues and niggles are perpetual and I neither have the patience to bear with the niggles nor the risk appetite to risk my life on the bike. My home minister, who had earlier approved this ride, has now withdrawn the approval till I get a sturdier and more trustworthy bike!

In all these, I must say the company has been very prompt in responding. I escalated the matter to RE and the service in charge had my vehicle picked up and dropped post rectification, every time though for the same issue. I must appreciate the quick turnaround, but the issue remains.
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Old 6th September 2021, 13:34   #6
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Realisation

Buying a RE has become like marrying a home sick girl who wants to keep visiting back home. I thought of moving in with her, but her folks wouldn’t allow me to move in. So, every now and then, take her there and come back or ask her folks to come and pick her up and drop her back!

I sometimes think that the RTO should register RE bikes only if the rider is a mechanic himself/ herself, else married to one or he/ she has learnt the skills needed to become a mechanic.

At the end

At the end, I have already stopped using the bike. I love this bike with all my heart, but the risk is just too much for me to carry on with the bike. The next step would be to sell/ dispose the bike at the earliest.

It feels very sad that a bike with so much potential failed to deliver. Not that I have set very high standards for the bike, but it’s a shame that it cannot keep up to the bare minimum of the expectations like running without issues or give a niggle free peaceful ownership experience.

I still think with a few more workshop visits and discussions with the service center folks, the bike can be made niggle free. But I’ve lost the patience for it. Also, I just cannot come to trust the bike anymore.

They say, at every ending, there’s a beginning. Here starts the beginning of lookout for a new bike! Cheers!


------------------------------------------------------------------------
A few snaps to close out

Junk Metal with its elder sibling

My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review-white-horse-its-elder-sibling.jpg

Just before the ride

My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review-ready-raring-go.jpg

On one of them early morning rides

My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review-leaving-early-ride.jpg

Anyone for a cuppa coffee?

My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review-cuppa-coffee-ride.jpg

On a break

My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review-break.jpg My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review-break-2.jpegMy White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review-break-3.jpeg

In the pipeline? Never know

Pic courtesy - Internet
Name:  In the pipeline.JPG
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Size:  35.8 KB

So long, Cheers!
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Old 7th September 2021, 05:53   #7
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 7th September 2021, 08:44   #8
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Default Re: My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review

Dude! you are a writer!

Hilarious and sad! I can feel your pain and disappointment!

My experience with the RE somewhat reflects yours. After learning the hard way, I never rode alone on my RE. Always carried fuses, cables, fuel. Not enough parts can be ferried.

I eventually had to give up. One thing the RE did for me is, I will never own a classic bike ever. I will buy new and sell it once the bike reaches a certain age.

I can't have the bike decide what to ride and where to go
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Old 7th September 2021, 09:39   #9
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Default Re: My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review

I too own a RE Himalayan BS4 and understand the pains you are going through. I have faced the two issues that you have mentioned-Starting Issue and stalling, the latter being damn scary which has shaken my confidence, especially while taking turns. The funny thing is, the culprit is common between these two issue and that is the damn Evap canister. There are three things that needs to look into and needs to be addressed-
1- Cable routing of the Evap circuit- The circuit basically consists of rubber houses which if gets pinched somewhere causes choking and hence causes the bike to stall.
2- The purge valve- you can get it checked at RE or an expert Technician
3- The Evap Canister- basically made of charcoal gets choked over a period of time and needs o be replaced.
In my case I all together removed the damn thing,it was too much of a headache for me.
At any point of time if you have filled the tank to the brim and kept the bike on side stand, you will face starting issues simply because petrol enters the Evap circuit and clogs the lines hereby choking the circuit. Next time (assuming you haven't tried this) simply open the tank lid and close. This issue also occurs when you park the bike under sunlight especially during hot summers or if you have got the bike pressure washed. Long story short, never fill the tank to the brim.
And yes, i am also considering selling off my bike, not because of the above said issues, but because of the infamous "Frame Cracking" fiasco.
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Old 7th September 2021, 10:27   #10
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Default Re: My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review

Just sell it off before it breaks into two. You seem to have had your fair share of pain and paid your due to RE. I had the 2005 Electra for over 13years on which I did all my trips up in the mountains for 7years. But even after all the abuse it took to, the Electra was no match to the Himalayan when it came to causing grief!

I sold the Electra after reaching the exact same point as you - I just didn't feel like riding it anymore and it simply stood in the parking for over an year!

But what a good read your ownership experience is - you sure can write!
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Old 7th September 2021, 10:46   #11
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I thoroughly enjoyed your writing - You are one heck of a writer, sir!

While I feel so sad for your experiences, I (like every other RE owner says) had gotten used to such issues. I rode the BS4 Himalayan for 3 years and although some of these niggles existed, I found my way out. Luckily I didn't have to make so many trips to RE Workshops - in fact, none for any explicit repairs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thepilgrim1424 View Post
2. Aux light sensing Headlamp – Not sure what happened, the bike’s low beam stopped working after a couple of days of installing the Aux lights
I had the same problem of low beam not working (although I did not have AUX lamps). I guessed that something was wrong with the switch. If I held it pressed at the low-beam point, then, the low-beam would turn on. If I take the pressure off, then, goes off the light. During the service, the service advisor wanted me to replace the switch console. I just had him spray WD-40 into the switch right in front of me and boom - the low-beam was back to life.
RE bikes being notorious for letting water in (where not) and messing things up, I am guessing, some moisture in there was the issue.

That said, washing the bike was always a night mare. You don't want those jerks caused by water that seeped in through the petrol tank lid

All that said and done, just last month, I sold my Himalayan to a friend, another Royal Enfield enthusiast who happily welcomed it with open arms.

He earlier rode a 500cc and is not new to RE niggles!
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Old 7th September 2021, 11:22   #12
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Exceptional, unbiased & detailed reviews of bikes that don't have an official review have started going to our homepage reviews box. It's the ultimate stamp of trust from Team-BHP (as a platform) because lakhs of visitors every month check out reviews from there & make purchase decisions.

Your review has also gone here. Thank you so much for sharing .

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Old 7th September 2021, 11:36   #13
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Default Re: My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review

Brilliantly written dude kudos
I was laughing for the first few sections before grimness of the shutoff incidents during overtaking sunk in but your writing is fabulous.
Looking forward to more threads from you but with happy experiences.

I have witnessed/experienced quite a lot of what you did at the RE service centers and know at least 2 people who sold their REs after getting tired of taking leaves and visiting service centers for recurring issues(Bangalore but not Himalayan though).
I can understand that like them, you're tired and want to sell it off but just adding some points in case you haven't/want to explore those angles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thepilgrim1424 View Post
Issue 1 – bike stutters, kind of suddenly gasping for air or seem to shut off and then start again.
Issue 2 – starting problem. If the bike doesn’t feel like riding, it doesn’t start, period!
Off the bat if it had happened to me I would just spray some WD40 into the switches and most importantly the ignition-lock cylinder and ensure that the contact is proper.
I had an issue with my scooter very similar to Issue 1 above but due to water ingress the key didn't make a "solid" contact and probably went on/off while riding. Suzuki scooters have a key-cylinder cover and that had also slid down a bit which immediately drew attention to the cause else I would have been left wondering. I reset the cover to it retracted position and firmly pushed the key to ignition and it was fine. Sprayed WD40 in the cylinder later and never happened since.
A similar situation could happen if your ignition switch/wiring is shorting internally causing faults and Issue 1/2.

I feel that it's source lies in the horse's mouth :P
I think all your reported issues(except the suicidal nuts and speed sensitive mirrors) are electrical in nature and located at the front assembly where IMO all the electrical points would connect/join.

From one of your videos
When you switch on the ignition both your indicator's indicator lights seem to blink for a split second in a non-normal way which I haven't seen in other Himalayans I have ridden.
This indicates something wrong with the electrical system/wiring which might also affect your ignition, in turn leading to Issue 1 and Issue 2.

If I had to resolve it, I would get rid of all accessories and restore the wiring to stock even if that meant changing the complete wiring.
Also get the front instrument panel checked.

If you do and I know its asking too much but be there(Covid protocols/concerns permitting) when they start to dismantle the wiring. Ask them to do it head first so if its an issue with messed up aux job or loose/short wiring from factory they can just fix it right away without having to go through the effort and cost of the entire wiring.
IIRC there was an issue with some bike(can't recall more details, too old an issue) where it used to shut off if the handle was turned full right, cause being improper wiring/cables.

Listing out the stuff to be checked if you haven't :
First : Since it has been used and seems quite possible as the reason and solution (Credits to Rakesh_r)
Quote:
Originally Posted by rakesh_r View Post
1- Cable routing of the Evap circuit- The circuit basically consists of rubber houses which if gets pinched somewhere causes choking and hence causes the bike to stall.
2- The purge valve- you can get it checked at RE or an expert Technician
3- The Evap Canister- basically made of charcoal gets choked over a period of time and needs o be replaced.
Second, in order : Since it's a guess
  1. key-ignition cylinder : Issue 1/2
  2. side stand engine cut-off sensor/system : Issue 1/2
  3. instrument panel and switch wiring : Issue 1/2 and headlight/horn issues
  4. electrical wiring : Issue 1/2 and headlight/horn issues

Hope you find your solution, whatever that is, soon and enjoy the rides.

Last edited by shancz : 7th September 2021 at 11:52. Reason: compacted
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Old 7th September 2021, 12:11   #14
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Default Re: My White Horse | Royal Enfield Himalayan Ownership Review

Hats off to you for your patience and passion for bikes. Most folks would have given up half way, if they went through your ordeal with the Himalayan.
Unfortunately this is the sad truth about RE bikes. Behind all the romanticizing the thump and character of the bike and talk of improved quality, the truth is, RE bikes still do not do what a commuter 100cc-150cc bikes do on a routine basis(run with basic maintenance). The same is the issue with Interceptor 650 also. Its an above average product let down by service and support from RE. It's a horror show when you see the SA and mechanics guesstimating their way around issues.

Please cut your losses and get out of the RE stable. It's well worth your time and peace of mind.
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Old 7th September 2021, 14:26   #15
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Glad to see you have kept your sanity and more importantly, your humour going through all that pain @thepilgrim1424.

Your testimonial just reinforced my belief that me and RE aren't just meant to be. I just do not have the level of commitment required to live with one.

Your mantra of a speed limit of 80kmph refreshed my memory of an experience I had- I was once riding the Thunderbird 500 which belonged to my cousin and I just kept gunning the engine through the gears (what else do you expect from a Pulsar owner?).

My cousin just stopped me and said in a mildly annoyed tone- "This is not how you ride a Thunderbird! It should only be ridden with relaxed throttle inputs at a max speed of 80kmph. By doing so, one can not only properly enjoy the ride but also avoid the risk of the gearbox housing bolts turning loose." And I was like

I quietly wrote a note to self, to never buy an RE and that was the end of my tryst with the brand

But for his part, my cousin seemed to be completely at peace with the above facts; something I never could understand. So here's a salute to all the bravehearts who own REs. You guys are made of something else!

Last edited by Romeo_Mike : 7th September 2021 at 14:28.
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