Head vs heart: Should I sell my Apache 200 & buy a used Thunderbird 350

There are no issues with my current motorcycle, it's just that I've always wanted to own a Royal Enfield.

BHPian saifybhp recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Dear motorcycle enthusiasts,

A bike under the RE branding has been a major craving for me. The Bullet 350 being the apple of my eye for a very long time, I was always on the lookout for a decently maintained second-hand RE. (I thought of settling down with a Thunderbird too due to my limited budget). With all these in mind, I casually keep scrolling OLX only for REs.

Now some background on my current situation:

I am married, have a 2-year-old son. I currently own a second-hand Apache 200 4v (2017, carburettor). I bought this in Sept 2020, from a guy who had maintained it in top-notch condition (23.5k kms ridden). He was very much in love with this bike but still wanted to upgrade to a better one. It was an emotional send-off for him. I brought it home. (15 KMs from his place). I could understand why. The bike was smooth. Very smooth. I immediately fell in love with this. Having bought it during the pandemic, I use it as my daily driver for short errands of 10 to 15 km per day. Even if my office re-opens, as it is very near to my house (5kms), my daily usage would not exceed the current limit.

I have been majorly using this bike on highways. I have taken this on several trips where I have covered 350 to 500Kms in a single day and still never had any issues. I took all the maintenance inputs from the previous owner and have been following it religiously (each time, TVS Authorized service center charges me 2.5k to 3k). On top of this, I had installed new tyres, both front and rear (Ceat and Apollo respectively, cost me around 5k).

Then this happened. I found a well-maintained RE Thunderbird 2013 on OLX. Initially, I thought that it was too good to be true as the specs read as below:

  • Owner: 2nd
  • Maintenance: Only showroom service
  • KMs driven: 15000
  • Engine Condition: Perfect

I could not take my eyes off it. And to match all this, the bike was very near to my place. I contacted the guy, went to test ride it and saw that the details mentioned in the OLX ad were indeed true. This guy was very genuine and I could understand that he was not lying about it. The bike was without any scratches. The rust in the exhaust was negligible. The engine sound was music to my ears.

I rode it. Loved it. But then it struck me.

It felt like a downgrade to me. The manoeuvring of Thunderbird was not something I had experienced earlier. I have ridden Classic 350s before and I knew the handle position was very different in Thunderbird. But only after riding it, I realized what I would be missing if I sold off my current bike.

The Apache 2004v feels as if it was made keeping my body dimensions in mind and how perfectly I fit into it. Then came the power part. Despite this being a 350cc, my Apache 200 felt way more powerful. The 20.07 PS @ 5250 RPM was no match to the 20.82 PS @ 8500 RPM in the Apache. I understand that both the bikes are for different purposes, one being a cruiser and the other one being a sports bike.

I still do not know what to choose between the love of my life and the arranged marriage I am very comfortable with currently. Should I just keep my Apache or shall I go ahead, sell it off, and buy this RE? The resale value for RE would not deteriorate as much as it does for Apache. Say, next year I found a better RE, I would not be able to sell my Apache for the price at which I could sell it off now.

Or should I just keep this Apache, buy a car in a year or two when my son becomes too big to fit into this Apache along with my wife? And postpone the RE plans to God knows when.

Request your inputs. Your comments could help me decide on how to proceed.

Here's what BHPian Geo_Ipe had to say about the matter:

I'll try to answer your queries from the perspective of someone who has a multi-vehicle garage purely for the want of it and not the need!

If you have been craving for a Royal Enfield motorcycle, you should go in for it now. The differences you feel are looking too pronounced as you are just too used to your non-RE motorcycle. Once you start using the Thunderbird, you'll definitely get used to it. If possible, have a 2 bike garage and enjoy the best of both worlds - head & heart.

Regarding the car purchase, I feel that should be a priority, especially with your son who will outgrow the petrol tank of a motorcycle in no time. The motorcycle is not a safe mode of family transport, period. There should not be any circumstance where you postpone your car purchase because you're changing your motorcycle. So go in for the RE only if finances aren't going to be a deterrent for your impending car purchase.

Hope this helps! Happy shopping!

Here's what BHPian neil.jericho had to say about the matter:

To me, the answer to your dilemma is fairly straightforward. At your stage of life, the safety of your family should be your number 1 priority. Save up for a car. Once you have purchased that, then save up for your dream Bullet 350. Until then, there will always be motorcycles that catch your fancy.

Most of us keep scrolling through OLX, wondering about motorcycles that we shouldn't seriously consider. I can guarantee you one thing, the day you bring home this 2013 Thunderbird, is the day that you will wonder whether you should have waited and bought a Bullet 350 instead! So, save yourself the headache and buy a car first.

Here's what BHPian nibedk had to say about the matter:

If finances allow, get the car first and then plan anything else. I still ride bikes and sometimes do take my daughter out for a ride or to drop her off at school. But it isn't meant to be a tool to ride along with your family, especially in a country like India. I had learnt it the hard way (that story for some other time) and bought a car. I could afford a car back when I bought it but was just postponing waiting for something new to get launched.

The RE can wait and mind you there are bikes a lot better than the REs in the market. You can very well invest the time to research on better bikes. Get the car first.

Here's what BHPian shancz had to say about the matter:

The RE you are talking about needs a much higher effort to ride and maintain, quite unlike your RTR or any motorcycle of that type.

I have never dreamt of/owned an RE because I think that in case of a face off the motorcycle will always win and disregard my intents and inputs. That is something I cannot live with.

Although the Himalayan is different and have heard similar stuff for the 650 twins too. RE is changing and for the better.

So if you want to own a RE the later the better, IMHO. The latest Classic with the J series engine is the best till date.

What I would suggest is, as the REs get better, replace the RTR with a newer gen RE when the time comes. For now, enjoy the RTR and get the car when you need.

Why not rent a RE for a weekend and see how it feels to live with it?

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

A helmet will save your life