6 reasons why I would never buy a Royal Enfield!

Recently I came across an old article by Yogesh Sarkar, where he discussed why he would NEVER go for a Bullet in his life. In my 60,000 kms of riding, I have mounted a Royal Enfield on very few occasions. I have ridden all of their creations, except the Continental GT, although my combined distance on the 500, 350 and Thunderbird would be nothing more than 50 kms.

I was born and brought up in the unofficial capital of Royal Enfields – Punjab. People here know only 2 kinds of bikes, the Bullets, and everything else. I have seen them, lived among them, and hated them since I can remember. So when I read that article by Yogesh, it brought back all of those memories. Here’s my take on why I would never go for a Royal Enfield, even if they were the last 2 wheeler manufacturer in the universe. In this article when I say Bullet, I mean all of them – 350, 500, Classic, Electra, Thunderbird 350 and 500 and whatever else there is.

1. Bullets are fucking slow

Never thought you heard “Bullet” and “slow” in the same sentence? Welcome to India. I have heard quite a few Royal Enfield riders, and RE officials explain this:

Bullets are not about speed, they are about the feel of riding.

Bullshit! What the hell does that even mean? They might as well have said this:

Bullets are not about speed, or agility, or braking, or acceleration, or leaning, or comfort, or stability, or fun, or safety, they are about the feel of riding.

Let me give you an example. During the India Bike Week, Goa – 2014, I was riding from Mumbai and had reached about 50 kms off Vagator beach. I had ridden alone the past 400 kms, and was a bit bored. Looking for some company, I found 2 guys on Bullets. I had always wanted to feel what it’s like to ride like a Bullet-eer does, so I started following them.

The worst hour of my life! These guys never went above 65 kmph, a speed where I am barely able to shift into 6th. The road in front of them was wide open, no traffic, nothing to stop them, but their top speed for the entire section was 69 kmph. How can someone ride like this? Why would someone ride like this?

Some people might argue that these guys were good riders and were following the speed limit. I beg to differ. In my experience, it is much safer to ride a bike above speed limit in India than it is below it. It’s like they say, when in Rome do as the Romans do. No one in India rides on the speed limit, so if you are below it, you are likely to get something jammed up from your behind. Yes, we must do what we expect others to and all of that shit, but I am talking real world practical stuff here, not imaginary goodwill and random quotations.

I also strongly believe that speed limit should be a matter of good judgement, not some bureaucratic rule. If you can see the road is wide open, nothing should stop you from riding at a comfortable speed, above the specified limit.

2. Royal Enfields are unreliable

This is something everyone knows, but the fanatic bull riders chose to make it heroic. Ever met one of those Royal Enfield riders who brag about how their 200 kg piece of metal got stuck somewhere away from civilization and how they got their hands dirty and used jugaad to limp it back valiantly to a mechanic?

Royal Enfields belong to a museum. They might be fun to drive if the highways are happy and luck is on your side, but on a rainy day they can throw up quite a tantrum. Using old technology and hand-crafted parts on a machine that is expected to take you safely to the end of the world, just in the name of tradition and charm, doesn’t work well with me.

When I was coming back from Khardungla in Ladakh, I met a couple from France who were going up on their Bullet 350. They were stranded on the side of the road, their chain had come off the rear sprocket and was stuck between the rim and the swing arm. A taxi driver had stopped to help, but with his tools he wasn’t able to reach the rear axle nut.

With nothing more than human power, we 3 guys wrenched the chain out from there and put it on the sprocket, but it was too loose. Since we weren’t able to loosen the axle nut we couldn’t tighten the chain up. It was 2 in the afternoon, so I advised them to go back and get the bike repaired, because going to the world’s highest motorable road on that bike was just plain stupid.

It is possible that the rental bike these French people had taken was badly maintained, and I have seen the chain acting up like this on Pulsars and Unicorns. The problem was that the bike’s design didn’t allow this simple problem to be rectified easily.

3. Bullets are noisy – and the bad kind of noisy

I am not talking about the stock exhaust note of any Royal Enfield bike, I like them all. The problem is, very rare people let their Bullets have that sweet burbling sound. If you are in Punjab, REs will have that explosive, crackling noise due to exhaust modification. In Maharashtra, Bullets have that irritating high pitched noise due to some stupid rubber attachment.

Add to that the crazy amount of vibrations at the handlebars and foot pegs, and you might feel like you are on a tractor. The instrument console vibrated so much I was afraid it was going to fall off. My hands are feet were completely numb after riding a Thunderbird for about 20 minutes, I have no idea how these Bull riders continue going for hours.

Thumpers have a characteristic bassey sound that you can feel on your heart, but people want to make their presence well known, even if you would rather not. A high capacity engine like the Bullet is bound to make a hell lot of noise even if the least bit of tinkering is done with the stock setup. It’s exactly like the Harley riders in US, they think with their big V twins and loud exhausts that they are king of the highways. In reality, they are loathed and considered attention whores. If you have a Royal Enfield, do me the favor to keep it the way it was born.

4. Bullets have really bad brakes

Things have improved since Royal Enfield started putting disc brakes, but they haven’t improved as much as I would like them to. The disc brake improvement has come way too late also, at a time when ABS is starting to become standard. The older versions that I drove simply refused to stop when told to. With their huge bulk and shitty tires, the bad brakes are the last nail in the rolling coffin.

It’s a good thing that Bullets are so fucking slow, otherwise you would have found a Bull kissing the pavement every second day. For something that is supposed to be a mile muncher, Bullets sure do manage NOT to tick all the right boxes.

5. Bullets give shitty mileage

When was the last time you ever spoke to a Bull rider who was getting more than 35 kilometers to the liter? I never have. Even the most well maintained RE will not cross 40. And they don’t have extraordinarily big fuel tanks either, so what you end up with is a small range on full tank.

I ride a Duke 390 that gives barely 230 kms on full tank, so I know how much pain small range can be. But you know what? The Duke gives you massive amount of fun with whatever fuel you give it. Again, all I am trying to say here is that for a bike whose purpose is supposed to be tripping 365 days a year, the engineers didn’t care much about how far you could go with how less fuel. There appears to be no aim to the bike, just old-style charm bullshit.

6.Bullets are unnecessarily heavy

Bull riders very proudly proclaim that all of their bike is made of metal, no plastic like the Duke or the Pulsar. I personally feel that if you are more concerned about what your bike is made of as opposed to where and how it will take you, you need to seriously reconsider your biking ideology.

Bullet riders have an explanation for this as well:

The heavy weight of the bike keeps it stable on highways.

Excellent! If that is your logic, why not tie 25 kg dumbbells all over the bike until there is no space left? I bet even Zeus will not be able to throw you off balance then. Jokes aside, this explanation breaks up even further in when you consider it for Indian circumstances – what highways? How many highways did you ride on during your Ladakh ride? What about central India? East India? India has roads with no roads, random off-roading spots and overall unimaginably horrible road infrastructure. A heavy bike is nothing more than a pain in the ass, especially when you have a break down.

Sometimes when I look at a Royal Enfield, all I can see is a big blob of metal shaped into the approximate form of a bike. Tomorrow if they invent a bike made of cheese and spaghetti that goes smoother and corners better than my Duke, I wouldn’t waste 2 seconds to get on its saddle. What would a Bull rider do? He would probably grate the cheese on the spaghetti, eat it in a metal bowl and keep praising how awesome REs are.

So there you have it, my reasons for never buying a Bullet, ever. It is possible that you might not agree with what I have said here, but that’s OK. This is my perception, yours might be completely different. I am happy on my Duke as of now, and looking for something bigger in the future. Until then, ride safe and have fun!

UPDATE: In the 1 month this article has been live, it has become the most read post on my blog. Some people agree with it, some people don’t, and some people just hate what I have said! All I can say is, I respect your opinion, even if you don’t respect mine.

In the discussions, I found one more reason why not to go for an RE. So here’s a bonus 7th reason why I would never buy a Royal Enfield.

7. Bullets have spoked wheels

Say what again? Why do Bullets have spoked wheels? Spokes are generally considered good for hardcore off-roading activities, because even if they do bend a bit, they can be repaired with ease. I don’t think you can do a dime worth of off-roading with an RE, at least not comfortably, so why then have they not got alloy wheels and tubeless tires?

Because alloys are an update on spokes, and Royal Enfield doesn’t believe in going for newer things. Anything piece of tech or engineering that isn’t at least a decade old, doesn’t fit the criteria to be used in a Bullet. Some people say spokes ride better and softer than alloys, but I have never felt that difference. Many Bull riders update to alloys, but that’s not what the company thinks is best for them.

The biggest nightmare with spokes is that you can’t use tubeless tires on them. In a world where almost everybody is moving away from tube tires, RE is still giving them the thumbs up. It is so hard to fix a tube puncture! You gotta remove the rear wheel, deflate the tyre, take the tyre off, find the damned nail, find the damage to the tube, rub it with sandpaper, apply that gluey thing, press it, put it back in, put back the tire, inflate it, and put the wheel back in its place.

All of this become so much more difficult because of the added bulk of an RE. For a tubeless tire, all you need to do is remove the nail, push in the sealant strip and voila! End of story. You can even go for Slime, that immediately plugs any holes and keeps your tires puncture free. But that is too easy for the hard-core bikers that ride Royal Enfields. Oh, and tubeless tires can be ridden even with a puncture, all you need to do is keep pushing some air in over small distances. Because tubeless tires lose air very slowly, you can go a long way before any damage will happen.

Tube tires just blast away like a party balloon, sometimes putting you off-balance. Imagine you are riding to Ladakh, next to a 1000 foot drop, and your front tire suddenly goes bam! Your steering veers to the left, right towards a long and painful death, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. For a normal guy, this would be strict no-no. For a Bull rider, this seems like another part of their so-called adventure.

UPDATE 2: How could I have missed this? I have no idea why this isn’t the number 1 reason not to go for a Bullet, but here it is at number 8

8: Bullets have a fucking long waiting period

Why do Bullets have such a long waiting period? Oh yes, I remember, they are “hand-made”. Awesome, cool. All Bullets are hand made, and all of them look the same. What’s the point of a hand-made machine if it is not unique? Again a bunch of that tradition bullshit. Why don’t you go for a 1970’s color TV? Or a Pentium 4 computer? Why not just become an Amish and stop the debate once and for all?

My roommate had to wait 4 months for a Thunderbird 350. The waiting period for some specific colors goes over a year. 6 months is a generally agreed time frame required to own a Royal Enfield these days. Why the hell? In today’s motorcycle market, people are getting new, better, cheaper options every other day. How can someone wait for 6 months to own a giant piece of metal?

I don’t understand the point of this, do RE people think this makes their bikes kind of exclusive? Like only the people stupid enough to wait for so long should get to buy one? Have they not heard of a production line? Machines? Automation? I bet you a 1000 dead fetuses, if RE bikes are made quicker and with less manual intervention, their reliability will increase. But no! That’s not cool with the Bull riders.

But I guess it’s OK. People who care to wait for such a long time to own an inferior machine deserve it all. Royal Enfield is a company that survives on mass idiocy today, I mean no guy with half a brain will even consider going for an RE in the present scenario. Yes, 20 yrs ago Bullets were the best, but time goes on! A Bullet is kind of at an awkward stage right now, not old enough to be an antique, and not young enough to be useful. It’s kind of like a living fossil, an obsolete craze, a useless necessity.

UPDATE 3: Recently I’ve had a few deep conversation with loyal Royal Enfield owners about why they continue to support such a brand that produces sub-standard motorcycles. Apart from that, I’ve noticed a lot of Bullet owners facing problems with their bikes and getting the middle finger from RE. This brings me to the 9th reason why I would never buy a Royal Enfield, and perhaps the most important one!

9. Royal Enfield doesn’t give a shit about its customers:

We hate the company, but we love the bikes. 

This is the gist of every talk I had with most of these Enfield owners, something that I have to admit I don’t really understand. If you have reasonably good enough number of biking friends on Facebook, it’s a daily routine to find some RE owner hopelessly bitching about his bike, swearing against the company, begging for help.

Somebody destroyed the chassis, someone else lost all their authorized service points, some dude went to the service center to get 1 problem fixed and came back with 11 more. If you are in warranty, you are in luck, if not, you are fucked. I’ve seen so many complaints falling on deaf ears, and it’s really easy to understand why.

Royal Enfield’s revenue model is different from most other manufacturers, it appears skewed heavily towards service and spares. Think of it like this, when you buy a Honda, it’s like converting to Buddhism. You get something, and then you are left alone to find your way with it. When you buy an RE, it’s like converting to Christianity. You get something, and then you pay to stay with it, pay to keep it happy, pay to find some use for it. Also like Christianity, the real fun begins with death.

Another thing that can give you an idea of the arrogance of this company is the Rider Mania. Royal Enfield hosts something of its own at Goa, while the groups do something of their own with the BOBMC RM. The biggest defining feature of the Royal Enfield “brotherhood” in India is the maddening number of riding groups that can be found in every nook and crannie all over the country. If that fact that riders prefer to host an event on their own rather than associating with the manufacturer doesn’t tell you how much Bullet owners hate RE, I don’t know what will.

2,256 thoughts on “6 reasons why I would never buy a Royal Enfield!”

    1. Bhai Akhilesh, most of what you said is true but I guess lot has changed now for new RE models, besides try convincing a Soldier or a Cop to like plastic bikes over RE, I bet you will never succeed in that in your entire life.
      (no offence, even I like duke but I chose to buy RE not to show off but I really like riding it compared to anything else for touring)
      Happy and Safe Riding bro!

      1. Haha, yeah, convincing anyone is a hard thing to do Abhay, as I’m sure you can see in the comments 🙂
        Have fun on your RE! Cheers.

      2. Akhil bro,
        I use to ride road bikes and kinda hated RE for its weight and noise before I actually drove one myself. I rented RE in Delhi for 6 months and it was my very 1st experience with RE without any influence and I admit I struggled 1st month to get use to its weight and size , thunderbird 2007 model from karol baag, it had superb pickup with chilling vibration and speed upto 110, it had punjab big mouth silencer, and dude for some reason riding that thing made me feel completely different, I never thought I’d fall in love with such a heavy bike, I really don’t know how I started loving those things I hated the most until I experienced it myself, and from that time on I never considered any other bike to ride, I gave up my brand new bajaj 200 NS for new 500 CC fuel injector RE classic, and even though I spend more on maintenance every month I still don’t feel anything bad about it. And it could also be a matter of age as I was 26 when I started riding RE but if I was any younger than that I am not sure if I would have enjoyed experiencing all that illogical toughness.
        Maybe it is matter of few years for you before you go through the same experience, and maybe you haven’t had the privilege or haven’t given yourself enough time to experience and understand that illogical feeling that most of us RE riders have!
        I hope someday you will try crossing that fence again buddy, cause trust me it is worth, you just need to give it little more time ☺
        It’s just that some men prefer playing with real guns!


      3. Yes.. I’m owener of 500cc Desert Storm & its easy cruising speed is 80-90kmph. If you try to race then it easily goes upto 130kmph…Author said wrong. I agree with you. RE is RE, everybody has diffrent taste. I am proud to be Indian & using Indian (Chennai) made bike as well.

  1. Totally agree with you. When I was doing my leh trip, I couldn’t figure out why were there so many bullet wale bikers. Like you said, there were two kind of bikes on the road: bullets and not-bullets. Then, just for the heck of it, me and my buddy decided to ditch riding our bikes for one leg of the journey and rent bullets for the leh pang gong-leh ride to experience the feeling that bullet riders keep going on and on about. When I took a test ride of a tbird 500, it was by far the worst handling bike I’ve ever ridden. It wasn’t very powerful either, and the tyres were awful. As we didn’t want to get killed, we dropped the idea of hiring bullets.
    Now I don’t mean to disrespect bull riders, but all I want to say is there are much better options in the market today. Why would you intentionally make yourself suffer by riding a quarter ton pile of metal with wheels?

    1. Glad someone agrees with me! And you are one of those rare people who got the point I was trying to make in this article.

    2. Hindi ka ek muhavara yaad aata hai. “Jab Haathi sadak pe chalti hogi, ……………………..”
      Haan ye baat bhi sahi hai ki kutch kamiyaan hote hain. Unhe bhi RE ko door karna hai. Har ek machine maein kamiyan hote hain. RE mein kam – If the machine is new, then severe vibration is there. After 2 years / 15000 km it is very smooth. Only for your knowledge. Not for debate OR Argument.

    1. @Akhil – It seems that Mr. Roy intended pun, rather than actually meaning it. He owned it for 15 years, so you might understand how much he loved it. Bullets are worth even more than that 🙂

  2. I own a Cast Iron Bullet and the New TB500 … I inherited the Former and purchased the Latter, and have always thought RE could have done a much better job on the Built and Ride Quality on the New Motorcycles.
    Nevertheless, I am guilty of buying the TB500 for the RE Charm albeit a new age attempt by the company.
    I wont get into the tech of the situation, but, have to say, I agree to every word You have said in this article. Take a Bow.
    And yes The KTM forever.

  3. 2 weeks back an asshole on a RE 350 challenged me on a drag race.
    I would have said no. But he said in front of all that he would pay me 10,000 if I won.
    So, I thought, easy money! Why not?
    Asshole chickened out the next day. Said he was only joking.

      1. And why exactly you feel no one else should go for it? Because that’s not a “cheaper” Harley like the 750. Would love to know your experience.

  4. I couldn’t agree more, I personally find bullets so primitive in terms of technology, comfort and performance, which the RE riders are more than happy to compromise just for the sake of tradition, their 0—60, and 0—100 times are pathetic and so are their top speeds, ppl whine about miniscule levels of vibrations on other bikes but not a word for the REs , which technically is designed for vibration, and I am bewildered when people claim that it’s a go to bike for a ride into the himalayas, my god, I am sure they inject themselves with some steroid shit just before the ride, i think their yearly R&D budget doesn’t cross a few thousand bucks, in the end I feel it really is about the lack of options rather than tradition for the RE lovers.

    1. That may be true in the past Absar, but now they have plenty of other options that are better in every department. I think the only positive point of the Bullet in the past was its comfy seat, but the new split seat has taken away that as well. Rest everything, you said it!

  5. Kindly read the problems the duke has…
    it is about enjoying the ride on the bike u own

    KTM Duke Issues and Troubleshooting > Problems that KTM duke faces regularly,Duke issues


    06:12 PM 10-31-2013

    1.Engine heat is a problem in KTM bikes.But its normal in any high performance liquid cooled bike.It is felt when the radiator fan switches on.
    2.Leak in coolant-In some dukes,coolant gets leaked and needs to be top up within small kms.
    3.Chain slapping the swingarm-While driving on Indian roads,chains are mostly getting badly loosen causing uncomfortable riding conditions.
    4.Before first run-in, Engine seizures occur in dukes-This happens to people who do not run their machines properly.Engines gets badly affected by it.On its warranty time,if any engine seizures occur,company will replace it with a newer engine.
    5.Feels Hard seats for some riders-Some riders complaints that the seat seems to be bit harder and they don’t get couch-like comfort.This is mainly complainted by the riders who sits in their office on their bums in the chairs.
    6.Gear stuck with Neutrals-When a upshift or downshift from first to second gear or vice versa occurs,gear gets stucked with neutral.This problem is found in Hero Honda karizma ZMR too.If this problem occurs between gears check the linkage of the gear shift.
    7.Another major problem is that bike sound like a tractor.At first time we will be quite disappointed about the sound of KTM bikes.Sounds of many v-twins especially those do duty on the Ducatis and the KTMs are same.But we will be addicted to the sound after long rides.
    These are the major problems owners have with duke.And these are not that much large issues because these issues can be solved by the proper servicing and handling of vehicle.

    1. Hey man, this article is about why I won’t go for a Bullet, but let me share with you my experience on the Duke 390, after 2 services and 9000 kms on the clock.
      1. Engine heat: Yes you can feel it in city traffic, but even with riding pants on and full riding gear, it isn’t a deal breaker for me.
      2. Never faced this coolant leak problem, never seen in other bikes either.
      3. Chain slapping is definitely there, but it doesn’t seem to create any problems, just a sound on bad roads. Chain never comes off.
      4. Yes, I have seen engine seizures on some bikes, don’t know why. All I can tell you is KTM replaces them very quick and without any hassle.
      5. I rode a Pulsar 150 before this, so the Duke’s seat is like a water bed for me. Rode on it 14 hours straight, Bombay to Bangalore. 1000 kms.
      6. Never faced this gear stuck in neutral problem, haven’t heard from others either.
      7. Haha, yes the bike does sound like a tractor, or an auto-rickshaw to some people. But now I love it.
      As you rightly said, all issues can be handled with proper servicing and handling of vehicle. Cheers!

  6. The current state of affairs in Royal? Enfield is because for so many decades their R&D dept. are the world’s top winning team in playing cards and carom and other silly like their bike board games.
    Having personally used a friend’s “bullet” for 2 years plus only after he got a disk brake put I can tell you that if you’re into slow it’s not half bad…if you’re into slow. The suspension is crap and the seat is bad for your balls….and back. The engine thump is not bad…it’s a real thumper….if you’re into slow. On rainy days you have to leave it on on the side of the road or else it won’t start again post shower. Lights are crap and so are all the electricals…The Royal Enfield is technically a paanwalla bike because of reliability issues….it’s a BIG bike for small people who know no better. The kids hear it and get amazed …grow up and feel cheated and stupid….that essentially is the “Royal” Enfield experience. …. by paanwalla I mean not to be taken further or seriously more than 2 km each trip.

  7. here! here! totally agree with you!

    i have ridden my brother in law’s bullet for a total of 15 minutes, and got my hands numbed.

    plus the weight? really?

    and i would NEVER buy one, since i commute in the city more than ride on highways…give me the humble 150 cc bike anyday!

  8. Akhil, I rode a kawasaki bajaj 100 cc two stroke for over 150000 kms. It was an awesome bike that touched 100kmph a couple of months before we sold it. And then we bought the Bajaj Splendour. Horrendous is the only word for it. Backaches were de rigeur. It had to be balanced ALL the time. 2 years and 25,000 kms is all we could take.
    Years later, we’ve got our Thunderbird. It gives 45 kmpl. Its the most comfortable bike to ride. and yes, it reaches 100 quite easily. The brakes aren’t as good as I’d like them to be, but then I don’t want to do a stoppie either.
    Tried the Duke. Sorry to say – its meant for young bachchas for short rides. Try doing a hundred km on it and you will have a different story to tell. So, unless you have enough experience on enough bikes, take a chill pill.

    1. OK, first of all, is that 1 lac 50 thousand kilometers or 15000? Because if it is the former, you are my god.
      True, the Duke seems like more of a young fad. But my friend, I have ridden a thousand kilometers on it in 12 hours. So yes, I do have a bit of experience, although not as much as you 🙂 Right now I am on a 5000 km journey from Mumbai to Himachal and back, on my Duke.

    2. “And then we bought the Bajaj Splendour” : WoOoOo…WoOo… WoOoo…Thats not Bajaj Splendour Big guy!!! Either its Hero Honda Splendor or Hero Motocorp Splendor!!! You might got that backaches b’coz of your Duplicate “Splendour” by “Bajaj” 😛 😛

    3. Ah… there u go.. Its only logical why you are trying to downgrade the entire RE squadron. Its because u own a KTM Duke..a stupid looking bike meant to be driven by adolescents maybe. Do yourself and others a favour. Keep your thoughts n opinions to yourself. Its okay if you don’t like an RE bike..but don’t try to infuse your opinions on other people’s mindsets. Don’t want to argue..just wanted to express what I feel.

  9. Dude : If something is not ur passion , dont de-fame it . Get a life and try a Cycle (and lets see the leg power you have got). Get real Bro. Everybody has a passion, and your six reasons are just right for you. Dude: what do you ride , Mustang….if yes then WOW….anything else you drive or ride become shitty and i could give you 1000 reasons why you cant see beyond a passion

  10. the bull has the charm…of course i have ridden a 390 also and its fun but noone wants to rip all the time……u need to understand the nature of the rider…..some people ride to think and dont need a death machine under their asses……they need something nice and slow…and if it gives them the feel who cares…plus used a tb 350 for 6 yrs and never had any issues pl,us weight is subjective who a persons strength…ya i just got a cafe racer and agree the 390 is a better bike at the same price but then its the feel and charm….noone would buy muscle cars if everyone wanted a ferrari…….some people like the perception of having a manly bike if not in performance by presence…..its all upto the rider… i have 2 harleys still never bought a sportsbike……faster yes.. tech yes but feel no…so its also on the mentality of the person…also the greatest way to start a war.. try to make everyone think like u do

    1. Lovely comment man, very logical and balanced. I am in no way trying to make everyone feel like me, that would be awful. Just discussing my thoughts.

    2. Everything is fine upto the point when bullet guys start talking crap about other bikes and try to make non bullet riders look stupid. And as many of you might know, this does happen quite often. As Dr.Music rightly said, it’s a big bike for people who know no better.

  11. My take is that the idea of tradition, power, love, respect and other such aura-inducing adjectives ended for Royal Enfield when they released the first AVL Thunderbird. Ever since, RE has been in the middle of an identity crisis. The whole living in the past has blurred their vision for the future. And that reflects in their present stable of offerings. It’s not my crime, but I do own a Cast-Iron 350. And me being on the heavier side of the scales, maneuvering was not that much of a hassle. But I always feel, it is lacking a lot for a 350cc motorcycle. But, riding it and pushing it to the limit, I daresay it does take a beating before giving up. I did buy a Classic 500 but sold it within 10 months. The build quality was horrendous, I had to buy new sprockets as often as buying groceries, it was a disaster. Yes, it was progress in terms of the engine, the power, etc. but the overall package made me think that the older machines are way more reliable.
    I for one have never liked to much electronics on my bikes. The dependency on technology takes away a part of the joy while riding. But that is my opinion. I fear being stranded in the middle of nowhere staring at a blown fuel pump or injector, thinking of how a carburetor would have been a better option. But that’s just me.
    I agree with your reasons for not riding a Bullet, which is why I use mine to do the things it is supposed to do. Ride slow, soak in all that is happening around you, enjoy the thump when you are doing 45kmph in top gear, etc. Yes, there are those demon days as well when I really feel the need for speed. And for that, I have a 1984 RD350. Forgive me for succumbing to old-world charm again on that one.
    I guess, riding a Bullet comes with a mindset. A mindset that I too have never been able to understand too well. A mindset that I thankfully did not inherit from my father and is best left to my uncles to praise after a few whiskies. Which is why I use my RD350 every day and leave the old thumper for that small round the block.

    PS: Sorry if this reads too long.

    1. You hit the nail on the head man, riding a Bullet comes with a mindset. I, like you, don’t understand it. My only concern is that some bull riders sometimes try to sell this mindset as logical, which it is not. I have no problem if you choose to tour the world on a bullock cart, but please don’t tell me that your wooden wheels give the best riding pleasure possible.
      RD350 is something that I haven’t been lucky enough to hump till date!

    2. Oh My Gosh!! Ajay Kurpad mentioned “The Mindset” … Yup those are exactly the words I was looking for when I got the TB500… I had waited for them RE boys to Plonk their 500cc engine into a TB chassis. 9 years on and they did, with a better front fork and a redesigned swing arm and better power. I was sold. Guilty. The Mindset took over. I love the ride. And I love my CastIron 350 as much if not more too. Now my girlfriend and I planning to get her an RD350 or a Duke 390 … Work in progress.
      Both of us being Dual Sport People we’d probably wait for the 390Adventure to hit the roads.
      Sorry to have popped up again. This has to be the best blog post I’ve ever read and involved myself in.

      PS – I do not hate the RE. I love them in fact. And I Motorcycling as a concept. I’d like to call myself an Equal Opportunist Motorcyclist. Got two wheels and an Engine, let’s Ride.

      Have a look at this – http://Www.YouTube.com/Motoreels .. Let me know what You think. Make some noise for me if You like what You see. We have a lot more on the Production Table.
      Leave us a line if You will. Would mean the world to us.

      Cheers!! And keep Writing.
      – Sigmund Quadros (One half of MotoReels)

  12. Dear AK,
    I’ve owned a c500 since 3 years now.In fact the company i work for had another c500 also.which was second hand like mine.Both bikes were given the occasional diesel wash and chain tightening once in a while, Swing arm bush was changed after 8000 km on one and one the other after 11000 km,which dint cost much at all.Even the clutch plates were fine.Mind you these bikes did a good 1000 km per month and some times more,because they were used as demo bikes for an add on ECU product and for demoing a power filter.Not to forget the countless times they have been banged,and rough ridden by many riders at events too.No engine problems whats so ever,,and fast enough even in stock mode to keep up happily with rd350’s .BTW i also owned a duke 200 and now since september 2013 have a ktm 390. and trust me i dont even dare take my ktm out of Mumbai at night on unknown roads due to the horrible magwheel quality..my rd350 members laugh at me,,for this,,but not even once have they laughed at my c500 bullet ,because it has never broken down even once,go check all my youtube videos if you have a doubt,and has gone for countless rides with them and different groups,not to mention my week end one day trips to Pune from Mumbai and then back again down to kalamb gaon 35km inside karjat which has horrid roads.lets see if any ktm owner will dare do even a constant 70km I have gone through rain and shine,on rajmashi road,on the fuckkiing beach also.. and i love my Classic 500 as well as a friends AVL 500,both bikes are lovely to cruise on and go happily to 110 or even more also.The Machismo 500 is so amazing on fuel average its shocking!!
    I personally ride quite fast on a bullet,it gets the same ride treatment as my ktm or rx135, or any other bikes of mine. Im surprised you favour your ktm so much,,which is a joke,,don’t believe me,join my ktm club,,and hear the natakas and complaints.Also the ktm 390 makes a hell of a racket even louder than my c500 bullet with a upswept silencer,so dont even go their. Its common sense to all riders ,unless your a daft and stupid imbecile to not realise that the older bullets had cast engines which were meant to cruise on and now bhago like a speed demon,so they do over heat.
    But theirs no problem in the Machismo AVL 350 or 500,the UCE Classic 350 0r 500.
    I don’t think you do your research throughly at all.Im sorry,your article is biased and disappointing,, maybe your not aware of the axle breaking off and rear wheel coming off on the ktm 200 while riding,which is a horrible nightmare,some in my own group have experienced first hand,thank God they rectified it in the 390,amongst other heat and fan related problems,,not to mention defective petrol tanks in the ktm’s,and y the way Ive owned an rd350 throught out my college life,it was my only bike then,I never did i once have to think of bad roads or need 3 people to lift the bike and balance it just to change a tyre of the rim,lol i guess you have never ever tried changing a tyre on the rear wheel of ktm 200 or 390,,it takes fricking 3 people just to hold and place the stupid wheel again.A lot of your statements are false and people have been going to ladakh on bullets since before you and me were born,This bullet bike got its name because it was a gun carrier it served in the wars.But you seem to be forgetful of that.However i respect it nonetheless. If you still have doubts on bullet,come ride my stock c500,which i can bhagao any day of the week and go anywhere in india without worry about octane and over heating and bad roads, lol. I guess you must like the free heat waxing effect the ktm 390 owner gets in traffic,not to mention engine switching off and plastic part vibrations.all this in just 4000 km in the ktm 390..and one trip to Goa. I personally love ktm products they give thrill and fun,,thats it period,they are not completely reliable,so get out of your bubble,stop this verbal diarrhea. Learn to accept and respect other people’s choices,because your not capable of enjoying them nor the way they like to ride,so stick to your own choicest bike brand,your personal opinion is so biased ,that it really hold no water and doesn’t matter to the rest.All bike brands have their issues,lets just keep it at that.In the end its about the rider taking pains or enjoying his ride,so live and let live respectfully.

    Yohan S Contractor

  13. To whom so ever it may concern
    The fact is “you cant afford RE”
    Agur khatte hai
    1. Milage is less = start earning more.
    2. Its heavy = start going to gym and eat healthy
    3. Its slow = may be you are too eger to reach hell.
    4. Breaks are weak = stop using your right hand too much
    5. Its mettle = you cant kill with a plastic bullet.
    6. Its too noisy = thats the beat of the beast.
    7. They arent reliable = depend on who you treat your girl. You ve loyal ( service it on time ) she’ll reliable.

    1. Love the response… And since I am on the receiving end of – its a heavy bike… how do you manage it? you should ride a lighter bike or rather a scooty, especially at your age… etc. I find it even funnier when guys half my age, 6 inches taller are cribbing about THAT! Seriously, do they pick up the bike and ride?

    2. First of all, I would like to appreciate the remarkable reply of yours (Western Enfielders). I found this comment most satisfactory to everyone who are keep spreading negativity about the RE. I want to ask the people that what is the need of this kind of negativity of towards particular one. I am a proud owner of RE Thunderbird 350 and never faced anything this kind of experience which has been posted out here for the readers which is completely injustice i feel.. Breakdowns are normal with almost every bike but one should not targeted solely RE. I have done many rides on my RE TB 350 with so much fun and happiness and it makes the ride adventurous with comfort. Please Stop Spreading Lies among the Bikers/Riders.

      1. Chill man! I fear you’ll be suing my ass shortly 🙂 This is just my opinion, and your comment is yours. Some people have supported my opinion, some have supported yours. This is a good discussion, I think.

    3. Dude there’s a marked difference between spending money and wasting the same. The Bullet is an overpriced piece of shit……………have owned and extensively ridden 2 of them (TBTS 350 and Machismo 500 AVL) for a period of 3.5 years to reach this conclusion. There is no great ‘affording’ factor with regards to a Bullet, its got the same cruising speed as a Tata Nano on highways. If one has to hit the gym to ride a motorcycle, then its incremental wastage coz however heavy a bike is, it should be balanced well in terms of weight distribution for an average human to handle it. The RE is NOT a balanced machine, forward weight bias is clearly evident on all its models. Look at the Triumph, its retro and heavy but has excellent weight distribution to be able to manage it in city traffic and on highways.

      About being nosiy, the thump of the Bullet is inversely proportional to its performance. Empty vessels make more noise, a phrase suited for both the Bullet and its owners. Most Bullet owners simply can’t digest the fact that they have paid a lot more for what they eventually got.

  14. Hey man,
    Agree to mostly all of the things that you said. There are a million faults with RE which should have been sorted out by now.

    Let me add one more to that.
    Bullets don’t leak oil, they mark their territory 😛

    You might have heard this thing also a lot, its a kinda cult. Its not meant for speed, period. For someone who wants to go from Point A to Point B in the shortest possible time, Bullet is the worst thing to buy. Its meant for people who want to enjoy the ride and not speed as such.

    Why to people buy Harleys? For that kinda money you will get a bloody fast bike with huge levels of refinement and better quality. But they do sell.

    I own a cast iron bullet and a KTM 390 as well.

    During one of the bullet trips the engine seized. Big deal, that happens. With hardly any compression the bike did come back 200 kms.
    My friend took the KTM on a 400 km ride and guess what, the gear lever fell off. He stopped at a fuel station and found out that all the bolts of the engine cover were lose so he tightened them. Talk about build quality.

    I ride both the bikes and enjoy them both. The KTM has its own charm so does the bullet. The KTM can’t do something which the Bullet can and vice versa.

    Like you found the couple in Leh with a slipped chain, they did manage to get it repaired, right!! What would you do if you find out that the engine bolts just fell off one by one. The KTM has been ridden for not more than 4000 kms. Its got nothing to do with poor maintenance.

    To each their own.

  15. Well the post may seem right to each of us here on their own accord. I agree you must have had your own dislikes about the machine but the hype we Indians have created around RE; i am in agreement with you however some points highlighted by you may be liked by others and hence they enjoy riding RE. I myself own a very old TB350 and i feel i am kinda satisfied with the performance while touring coz personally i dont like to ride at 120 -140kmph when i am touring… would rather enjoy the roads than concentrating where i would bang into.. Yeah i do miss the power and the adrenaline that fast bikes gives (my previous bike was a Pulsar 220 :P).. My conclusion: YOU KNOW YOU HAVE MADE A WRONG CHOICE IF YOU DONT GIVE YOUR RIDE A SECOND LOOK AFTER YOU HAVE PARKED IT!!!

  16. I own a RE classic 500 and i love my every ride on it (even to office).. I do agree that its irritating to hear other riders trying to explain why it’s the best bike to ride.. However to be honest , it seems kind of stupid to hear any rider for that matter trying to sell why his or her bike is the best.. Its not the type of bike or the speed that makes one a real rider ..The real riders are the ones who are so passionate that they don’t let the lack of options keep them from riding . I have friends who don’t earn enough to afford a RE or KTM but do not miss out on any opportunities to go on long rides.. So here’s wishing that we all can be those type of guys and happy riding.

  17. This article is very close to me, I can identify with it in every sense. Same goes for Yogesh’s article. I have owned and extensively ridden REs for almost 3 years and I couldn’t agree less with your opinion. I owned a Cast Iron Electra 5S initially, then a TBTS 350. Both were pathetic in their own ways, repeated visits to the mechanic was a norm for me those days. The day I exited the RE bandwagon and switched over to a Pulsar 220F, other RE owners who were in my contact list severely criticized my decision. They urged me to settle down with a Classic 500 but honestly, repeated test rides of that bike didn’t impress me. I found the P220F to be a far better bike to live with on an everyday basis, besides it was a potent tourer too. The egoistic RE riders are simply a turn-off, they look down upon all other motorcycles, probably this is because RE owners “pay a lot more for what they eventually get”. i shall continue to loathe RE and most importantly, its ‘egoistic insecure rider community’ who seem to have discovered that owning a RE is the only way for them to proclaim their man-li-ness.

  18. After Reading above article I’m really scared..I’ve booked TB 350 and waiting since I’ve no other alternative in this range :(.. The review is full of confusion…I spoke to some TB owner in my office compound and near showroom itself…they say they are really happy with new TB. But still not satisfied..most of they review only TB500 not TB350..Akhil can u plz review TB350 2014..

    1. It is true that there isn’t much option in this range Kishor, but the point of this article was that Royal Enfield have lost their vision for the future, and that their bikes don’t seem to have any practical purpose whatsoever.
      My roommate just got a TB350, and apart from crazy ass vibrations, like in all REs, things are looking good. Give me a week’s time and I will have a TB350 review for you. It will include general impressions and first service experience.

    2. Hey, don’t worry. There is no perfect bike, everything will come with it’s own limitation. Whether you want a bike which goes real fast or you want to enjoy the ride observing things that go on the road, should help you decide whether you made a correct decision or not. You can still cancel the bike before its delivered, in case you want something which goes fast.

      I recently bought a RE Classic 350cc, this is my first bike in 29 years of existence. My search for a bike started with Dio and ended with RE. The bike is about a month old. I knew about the sound, vibration, the weight and other stuff discussed here. I knew what I signed in to, so no disappointments. I am a guy who loves to ride at leisure, enjoying the surroundings. I don’t regret my choice!

  19. i also have always hated enfield.. the black colored ugly looking bike. that was when i was not riding one. 27 years of my life i never touched enfield.

    got hooked to electra (cast iron engine one) recently(only after my friend lend me his metal lump),it has digital ignition. only thing enfield india can manage to do in 50 long years 😛

    The torque on enfield is awesume. havent felt that on any other indian bike.
    in speed of 60-80 kmphr torque is mind blowing.max i could touch on bike was 97 and it had very bad vibrations.

    i have pulsar as a 2nd ride.. so when my bones cant take more of enfield jarred riding i switch to pulsar. i curse enfield for half hour or so and feel in awe how smooth engine of my pulsar is but soon enough pulsar seems boring.i start missing enfield and this has happened more than twice..

    yes it has excessive weight, wires snap,notoriously unreliable,bad breaks ,mechanic are expensive also bike is heavy on maintenance. only explanationis there is,this is the price you have to pay for a keeping a elephant aka enfield.

    as someone has properly put it. once you ride a enfield, you are fucked for life 🙁

  20. You lack perspective. A bullet is named a Bullet because it was one of the fastest bikes around. It isn’t anymore. In 1935 when the term was coined, it said “Goes like a bullet, Made like a gun”. It isn’t a corner carver. I have owned a Yamaha and a 2009 Machismo 500. You are trying to compare the Japanese philosophy of biking with the British philosophy. Which is, arguably, stupid.
    1) Having ridden @100+ kmph with a pillion and bike luggage worth 20kgs I dont think Bullets are slow.
    2) Bullets are reliable. If taken care of. They are not your regular “I shall change the oil and forget about it” things. They are more like people. But chuck it, you can’t understand that.
    3) Depends. Someone wants that crackling sound (and God knows I hate it). But you also find people with nice Goldstar silencers with glasswool.
    4) I wish my bullet had ABS. A rear disk brake will so to start with.
    5) you dont have a bike giving better mileage, so shut up. If a person on absplendour said so I won’t mind.
    6) I am kinda divided about this point. I like the weight and I dont like it.

    A bullet performs pretty well off road FYI.

    All said and done, when ppl were going all over the moon talking about the new KTM 390 and the loads of torque whichtranslated to 35nm@7250 rpm, I sat back silently sipping my tea. Smiling. And then one of the guys took my machismo for a ride. Came back with a wide grin. All he said was -“Its all torque. Won’t go beyond 120-125, but the torque is there the moment you twist the throttle”
    That is where 43nm@1850 rpm matters. Its not for the speed, or for the thrills of cornering.
    All said and done, I love the 390, and will possibly buy the RC, but even then, on roadtrips with my wife, I will prefer my Bullet. You don’t want the most important person in your life complaining about the lack of pillion comfort after sitting on something thats an excuse for a seat.

    And one last point, bullets are tweakable. When was the last time you saw a Kawasaki or a Duke bobber and a cafe racer?

    I think you need more exposure to various philosophies of motorbiking. Then probably you can compare A with B.
    I am expecting your next post to be about a Harley vs Hayabusa. Please prove me wrong.

    1. Hey man. I am not comparing biking philosophies here, I am trying to give out reasons why Royal Enfield’s have lost all purpose in today’s time.
      Can you seriously say ” They are not your regular “I shall change the oil and forget about it” things. They are more like people.” and think it is OK? What does that even mean? Why not just say they are not reliable?
      Yes I own a bike with lesser mileage, but it gives a whole lotta fun with each whisp of fuel.
      I don’t exactly understand what it is with torque? What do you mean by that? If you are trying to say a Machismo pulls better than a Duke, I don’t think that’s true.
      Where exactly does 43nm@1850 rpm matters again? You said yourself it is not for speed or corners.
      I agree with that, 390 is not meant for anything but the rider, pillion comfort is non-existent.
      I personally don’t like bobbers, just changing the looks of a bike doesn’t make it more desirable. If you are talking about the Continental GT, dude, that thing is everything but a cafe racer!

    2. Philosophies = Bikes. You cant switch them. You cant separate them.

      If to you reliability means that you shouldnt have to care to much about your vehicles, I cant say more. If you mean that it takes a fortune to maintain – yes it does.
      But can you tweak it? Yes. Can you tweak an EFI bike – not unless you have proper software for it.

      The 43 NM comes very handy while touring with pillion and luggage. But that isnt something you want. And well, the machismo pulls better than a Duke – purely in terms of torque.
      Can the engine be improved? Yes. I keep on finding ways to tweak whatever is possible.

      “Whole lotta fun” is a subjective thing. My Yamaha was a whole lotta fun. Was sad when my father sold it. My bullet is a whole lotta fun too. So was my friends CBZ. The LML Energy wasnt. Nor was the Scooty.

      When I said Cafe Racer – I didnt mean Continental GT. And bobbers arent just artistic expression. There is some history attached to it. The idea was – I cant afford a larger better engine – so I will make my ride as light as possible, so that I can go faster. (Same was applied in the US for HotRods – which eventually gave us muscle cars). Bobbers are also artistic expression. You dont like bobbers. Fine. Doesnt matter. People dont like Modern art as well. Doesnt mean London would tear down Tate Modern.

      And the Continental GT is a cafe racer – but still is from 1940’s. Which fits the style though. That’s when the pilots back from the war started to look for cheap thrills. Could it be better – yes, a twin would go a long way.

      I am loving this banter though. Its a fair exchange of ideas that I rarely get to hear in Bullet group (one of the reasons I stopped riding with them).

      If you like custom bikes, you will take a look at things like Rajputana Customs, Pipeburn, BikeExif, ItsBetterIntheWind.
      If you dont, well, no problem.

      1. You know what, when I wrote this article I expect a huge backlash by “real” bull riders. Expected abusive comments, senseless logic and shit like that. I am actually surprised by how civil this all has been. Fair exchange of ideas is all I am looking for, and me and you Mahesh, have fairly different ideas about bikes 🙂

      2. “me and you Mahesh, have fairly different ideas about bikes” – Sums it up. Someday if we run into each other touring somewhere, we will still have different bikes and opinions, but it will still be as much fun :).

  21. So yeah. I’ve ridden a concoction of bikes from Kawasaki 100 rtz to the triumph speed master. No two bikes are created equal. Motorcycles from the royal Enfield stable (mistakenly called the bullet all the time) are slow, yes but not as slow as you claim. I’ve ridden my 2005 Thunderbird for well over 1,50,000 km and most rides i sis with my buddies we managed to have an average of 70+kmph. Now that’s average speed not speed at a particular point of time. We were mostly at 80 and i personally consider 80-90 to be fast enough in India. With the kind of crazy drivers we have I’m not even saf in cars beyond that speed sorta. My bike has always given me a mileage of 40+, my buddies new tbts gives an easy 45+. Yes they have problems, but so do dukes. The Duke has this annoying side stand sensor problem that renders it into a piece of junk because it won’t start post the sensor getting fried. I’ve experienced that first hand. The solution? A “jugaar”. The dukes chain needs to be lubed every 500km and tension checked and set every 2000 or it comes off the sprocket, yes it does. Some fun loving guy learnt that the hard way. Every bike has its issues. I’ve been stranded once with my Thunderbird. The strutter coil died after 80,000 kms of riding. I consider that pretty reliable. Vibrations? I hate them….. the new shockers are OK though. Just OK. there are reasons why I’ll never buy aktm Duke. 1. No space for a pillion to sit comfortably. I’ve never ridden without a pillion and luggage because we take loads of trips and have luggage. The seating posture on the Duke is uncomfortable for me. That’s the second reason. The third is that we travel up north a lot and with no roads in many places and lots of traffic in cities makes the Duke a bit difficult to steer. Also, I’m more used to the Thunderbird not the Duke. More as i crack the Duke to the 100,000 km mark. It’s a one man bike the Duke. No luggage no pillion. The pillion e is always”scared” sitting on it. No back rest no comfort. My two cents.

    1. I agree with that, Duke has no pillion comfort, but it can carry luggage alright. It’s awesome that you’ve munched so many miles on your steed, and got such high mileage.
      I haven’t seen that side stand problem in my Duke till now, or anybody else’s for that matter, so can’t comment on that. Sure, Duke’s have their own set of problems, but I personally feel a 390 is more reliable than any RE out there.
      It is recommended to lube the chain every 500 kms and check for tension every 2000. I recently drove my Duke about 4000 kms, without any chain adjustment. And it didn’t come off. So, yeah.
      Again, this article was meant to say that Bullet’s have lost their value in the present time. They might have been mighty beasts in 1940s, but barely upgrading for about half a century, just in the name of tradition, doesn’t go well with me.

  22. the one who has posted against RE, and the arguments r jst weird, u plz ride bikes like ct 100.. which hv a gud mileage, light in weight, etc etc…

  23. As you said there are two types of bikers – bulletier and Non-Bulletier’s. I think this will answer all your questions.

  24. Dear Akhil,

    I am sad that my previous comment didnt make it through.

    I am appalled that you like humping bikes (refer to RD 350 comment) – while they should be treated with respect.

    However, the following is my original reply.

    You lack perspective. A bullet is named a Bullet because it was one of the fastest bikes around. It isn’t anymore. In 1935 when the term was coined, it said “Goes like a bullet, Made like a gun”. It isn’t a corner carver. I have owned a Yamaha and a 2009 Machismo 500. You are trying to compare the Japanese philosophy of biking with the British philosophy. Which is, arguably, stupid.
    1) Having ridden @100+ kmph with a pillion and bike luggage worth 20kgs I dont think Bullets are slow.
    2) Bullets are reliable. If taken care of. They are not your regular “I shall change the oil and forget about it” things. They are more like people. But chuck it, you can’t understand that. Plus if they break down, you dont need to worry too much. They are simple things to understand. Unfortunately, in our time, anything that doesnt require a computer to understand isnt appreciated.
    3) Depends. Someone wants that crackling sound (and God knows I hate it). But you also find people with nice Goldstar silencers with glasswool.
    4) I wish my bullet had ABS. A rear disk brake will so to start with.
    5) you dont have a bike giving better mileage, so shut up. If a person on a splendour said so I won’t mind.
    6) I am kinda divided about this point. I like the weight and I dont like it. Weight is superb when overtaking trucks at 120. Terrible if you have fallen. But I dont fancy being pushed towards the divider on the Kolhapur Nippani stretch of NH4 while doing 110. So weight is good. Nor do I like being stuck in knee deep mud. Hence weight is bad. Hell, weight is temporary. You can always replace metal with plastic. Or better still – Air. A bullet performs pretty well off road FYI.

    All of that said, I do like other motorbikes as well. For eg. I would love to be astride an RD cafe racer carving corners. Or be astride a KTM 390 exploring some unknown place not worrying about “what if I fall”. Every bike has a sweet spot. And I would advise you to leave it at that. Stating otherwise – is just immature.

    I remember being at a biker meet, when ppl were going all over the moon talking about the new KTM 390 and the loads of torque which translated to 35nm@7250 rpm, I sat back silently sipping my tea. Smiling. And then one of the guys took my machismo for a ride. Came back with a wide grin. All he said was -“Its all torque. Won’t go beyond 120-125, but the torque is there the moment you twist the throttle” That is where 43nm@1850 rpm matters. Its not for the speed, or for the thrills of cornering.
    All said and done, I love the 390, and will possibly buy the RC, but even then, on roadtrips with my wife, I will prefer my Bullet. You don’t want the most important person in your life complaining about the lack of pillion comfort after sitting on something thats an excuse for a seat.

    And one last point, bullets are tweakable. When was the last time you saw a Kawasaki or a Duke bobber and a cafe racer?

    I think you need more exposure to various philosophies of motorbiking. Then probably you can compare A with B.
    I am expecting your next post to be about a Harley vs Hayabusa. Please prove me wrong.

    1. You are appalled that I like humping bikes? Lol.
      Sorry about approving your original comment late, both of them are up now.

    2. Hey Akhil,

      Please delete one of my comments, because it would add noise to the blog. I couldnt find the original one hence I posted this one. Fell free to delete it.


    3. It’s hard to stay on this topic without offending someone. Although I don’t own a Bullet I have ridden it enough. As you said, it was a motorbike made in the mid 90’s and perhaps was amongst the top back then. When rest of the world moved on, they chose to stay there.

      While I agree the RE uses the low-speed high-torque engines, we must also remember there is a gearbox/ drive-chain between the engine’s crankshaft and the driven wheel. An engine that is revving higher needs to be stepped down to make it usable at the rear wheel. Going by the numbers you have put up in your post up there, the Duke’s gearbox needs to step it down about three times more than the Bullet’s to be at the approximate same wheel speed (assuming both engines are at peak torque). So what the torque at the driven wheel on a Duke is far higher than what a Bullet can make.

      But then again, having toured with guys on Bullets, I know they see something tangible about riding a Bullet that I don’t. But as long as we’re riding – I am good with it!

  25. Hey Akhil! That’s a well written article there!

    Even though I own 2 REs and would be stereotyped a ‘Hardcore Bulleteer’ as per your article, I still believe what you’ve written is mostly true. But before you blame every one of us of being a mindless bullet-cult follower, just a point of clarification for you. Most of the older riders of the REs had bought their bikes when the only other option in the country were the crappy Pulsars and the dumb Karizmas. Yes, the people buying the REs these days just do so to be a part of the big following the brand enjoys in India. Plus REs were the only motorcycles to be performing to the same level even after 2 decades of usage. Such level of performance has just arrived in the country in the last few years.
    My 14 year old Machismo A350 still reaches a top speed of 110kmph, even though I am a poor maintainer. Just think of that! The RD 350 is the only other Indian bike that could perform that feat till now. The KTMs are excellent bikes… no argument on that. But both the bikes belong to different categories. Just tell me… would you ever compare an SUV with a Roadster? Would that really be a fair competition?

    I have at least 4 friends who own a RE and a 390 too. Infact I am planning on doing the same too. The bikes differ on their usage. If I would be riding down single to Goa from Delhi for the IBW, the Duke 390 would be a pure joy for me. But if I take my girlfriend/wife for a weekend trip to Lansdowne, the discomfort for the pillion rider is bound a get me a breakup/divorce! The laid-back seating position of my TB350 (coz of the custom backrest) would be a delight for my love. Plus its not always that we want to race every other vehicle we see on the road. The ‘slow’ cruiser would be definitely be my pick for a relaxing weekend ride even if I had a better bike parked at home. But then all of us have different opinions and it would be quite a monotonous view if everyone was riding the dark Enfields or the Vibrant Orange KTMs!

    Cheers to the love of riding that unites us!

  26. Point No. 1: I have personally, successfully and memorably made a trip to Kashmir in December, Himachal in August and Rajasthan in May on a 7 year old BULLET………………………
    Point No. 2: I have myself taken my 7 years old BULLET through two head on collisions and fixed it each time with a mere 1800 rupees…………
    Point No. 3: After fixing a carburetor of the Bajaj Pulsar 220 I have taken my 7 year old 350cc handcrafted BULLET to 130kmph………….
    Point No.4: My seven year old BULLET started with half a kick in spite of a cracked piston, no battery and one failed starter coil………
    Point No. 5: The same 7 year old Bullet has done 320 kilometers on a single 12 liter fuel tank at an average speed of 80kmph after a 1010 rupee servicing………
    Point No. 6: The very same 7 year old BULLET has kicked the sorry ass of a helpless Ducati Sport Classic 1000 rider on a busy Gurgaon Highway………
    Point No. 7: Dukes are great bikes….but please don’t brag about them as they are in the country only for the past 3 years….n not the ones that the ISRAELIS chose to ride to the Himalayas in the 80s………
    Point No. 8: The only motorcycle than can give you the thrill of riding 2500 kilometers in three days at a price tag of 1,20,000 rupees in 2014 is the RE 350……….
    Point No. 9: REs have always been silent, it is the people who like to amplify their throttle
    Point No. 10: REs are not the bikes that adapt to the Biker, rather the Biker should learn to adapt to them…if you can’t, go n cry to your Momma and move on with some other motorcycle…..ur call!!!!!!!!

    1. Hehe, either you have been very lucky Gokul, or a lot of other bull riders have been very unlucky.
      And really, cry to my momma just because I don’t like a bike? Dude? That is seriously funny.

    2. I guess u havent come across that many Bull riders Akhil, n I m sure I ve met numerous happy Bull riders…..Ya, the “cry to momma” part was intended to be funny……u dont get Bullets, but do get the humor…..Good for u…..

  27. Nice Read 🙂 again from a Cast iron 350 Owner.

    First of all, I totally agree with your view on egoistic Bulleteers with high testosterone production Fuck’em all :-p. But please understand Majority of them are not. I respect anything on two wheels. As a famous quote, “A four wheeler moved Body and a two wheeler moves soul”. If I ever want to own something other that RE that would be a KTM 990 :-p enduro.

    I recently did two long trips, NO nothing like 5000KM one way, just rode to Pondy from Bangalore round trip of 800KMs, she did not miss a beat. There is a reason I tell “She”. A bullet just behaves like a GF :-p You can take chances with your friends but you DARE take chances with your GF :-p BTW same goes for MiG21s :-p

    Why is it so? Bullet is designed during such a time when there were no six liners in country. Speed wasn’t everything But reliability was. All these reliability issues that everyone are talking is actually due to few reasons

    1) Bullet is the longest production run of any bikes in history of motorcycles, this contributed to lots of counterfeit parts in market. You have one in your bike, you are fucked.

    2) Typical attitude of mechanic who boast about their workmanship on Bullets but actually knows nothing. It is a simple machine most of the thing you can fix yourself if you don’t mind little wreching and getting your hands dirty.

    3) owners who would do Jugad work to save money ( Used parts etc)

    4) Ignorant owners.

    coming back to my point, around a month back I planned for a south India loop along with my friends, (you should ride this stretch before you die). 2 Ninjas, One pulsar NS220, 2 Thunderbirds, One RE desert storm 500, one Cast iron Electra 4S and my cast iron 350. Due to some situation, I had to pull back from the trip at last moment. But I was able get my approvals for ride at last moment :-p and had to start in a hurry. By the time I started, my buddies were at least 200 kms ahead of me.

    I rode non stop for 200 kms constantly on 80-90, at the first stop I see oil oozing out of by air filter box, mind you, bike never gave me hath, it was just that I noticed this when I stopped for a tea break. I had no idea what was happening. and I topped up 500 ML :-p later realized that my oil levels were far more than required and it is pumping the oil out, and I topped up again :-p. This would never be a problem if I ride in the city as you don’t exceed 50 – 60 in speed and 20 kms distance at a stretch.

    Whom would you blame? me or Bike?

    I kept draining the oil from Catch-can each time we stopped. At one such draining exercise, I managed to shot the wiring off as you need to remove the battery cover to get access to catch-can. while fixing the battery cover back I was careless and managed to burn the entire ground wire. Me and my friend sitting on the side of highway, under hot sun with a stranded bike as entire insulation burned and copper is exposed. we managed to find a piece of broken pipe and cotton rag and insulated till we caught up with others and fixed it permanently by a nearby auto electrician for INR 50 (gave him 100 as he did fantastic job)

    Whom would you blame? Me or Bike? And what would you do if this happens to a KTM?

    we reached pollachi, halted there for the night, just went for an evening stroll in the town and came back with an air filter to replace the oil soaked one 🙂 for INR 140. Pulled my friends leg who was riding a Ninja 300 and told that the same shop had Ninja fairings for sale for INR 2500 :-p

    Story did not end here, as we started climbing 40 hairpins to valparai, bike started acting up again with regular miss firings at low RPMs, but climbed all the way to valparai, and I was cursing the bike by this time, conveniently forgetting that it was due to my ignorance all these mishaps happend. I have had enough of the shit and I did not know what was this misfiring shit. Stopped at valpai for lunch (Tiny town on top of western Ghats) cursing the bike as we had another 100 kms to pass thru the thickest rainforest for south India. Friend comes and ask me to open the plug, trice the gap from the recommended level.

    Whom would you blame? me or Bike? for going on a 1200 km round trip with a plug used for 25000 kms that too without checking the gap? It never stranded me in a steep 40 hairpin climb though.

    again took a stroll after lunch and came back with a spark plug for INR 60, this time I pulled my Ninja friend’s leg stating that they stock ECU of Ninja :-p.

    From this point till Bangalore, for the rest of two days, I was the ride captain 🙂

    Overall it was me who fucked the bike, and she fucked me back, Royally. As I told you, you dare take chance with your GF, RE and MiG21 :-p

    Ride safe, and ride forever, no matter what you ride. It’s not the destination, but the path you take, and enjoy while you are on the path.


    1. Awesome story man! And this is also something that I don’t understand. You have to admit that you enjoyed all of this, the breakdowns, the shenanigans, the trouble. You like getting your hands dirty. It’s like you like fighting with your girlfriend, then making it up to her, only to fuck things up again, if you know what I mean. My trips are so much less remarkable, they are just thousands of kilometers of riding, the occasional food, and empty thoughts. In other words, me and my girlfriend rarely fight.
      From the outside, it looks like your experiences are much richer, you get to know your bike so much more deeply. But I don’t think I’ll ever understand the fun in that. Hats off to your spirit! Cheers 🙂

  28. There is NO fun trust me. This is the last thing you should experience while you are riding, but after all these when I look back, It was due to my ignorance I had to go thru this. I don’t blame my bike for that. It’s just that I love to tinker around to avoid a mechanic visit for oil change and regular maintenance during that time it’s fun because you are in your basement with few bottles of beer to give company 🙂 NOT when you are riding. and FYI, I never broken down except for the burned ground wire, which was again my mistake.


  29. Are you married Akhil? If yes, you can relate to what I’m trying to say here. Not trying to make a lot of sense but you should get the drift!

    Duke/Pulsar/ZMA/Hunk/Etc/Etc/ are like a mistress. They look fantastic in a night gown, maintain that 36-24-36 figure, are always available for you, more reliable, don’t cost as much to own/maintain, would not ask for your attention. And you won’t care if they break down, you’ll just switch to another one!

    On the other hand, A Royal Enfield is like a wife : She’ll give you sleepless nights, comes in plus sizes, would not ‘start’ when you want her to, would throw tantrums, would be expensive to maintain, would have a fight with you saying that you don’t have enough time for her! But, at the end of the day, you’ll still want to go back home to her & spend the rest of your life with her..

    A perfect life would be in which both exist & know of your relation with the other. Else, I’ll prefer my wife over a mistress!

    1. One wife is enough, and I am glad it is a human being that I love. Bullet is a product manufactured and marketed to mass hysteria ..collective madness which does not acknowledge the obsolescence of the technology. Bullets could do with complete re-engineering of their engines, suspension, They should build something like this http://powersports.honda.com/2014/cb1100.aspx . Now that is what I call proper classic bike. It retains and captures the mood of vintage, but still offers the troublefree experience and leverages all modern technology to offer your peace of mind ownership and all the thrills of modern technology. What Royal Enfield is done is to make a big fool out of all your bullet fans and cleverly market a mediocre aging product !

  30. As I look at what is pushing the true biking experience in India is still RE. I wish more and more people buy bullet which can enable more competitors to join this market and manufacture cruiser bikes giving great options to the biker. Only competition can keep RE on their toes and shift their focus towards R&D in big way and improve biker experience. My point is to encourage RE (with all its limitations) for better cruising in near future. Or can we build a bike ourself!!

    Duke and RE are completely different.. one is Sun and other is Moon

      1. Maybe you haven’t tried asking! I have ridden my 390 more than 1000kms in a single day, what more cruising prowess could you want?

  31. Eh? Why would someone want to compare a RE with a 390. I would rather compare a 390 with a RD350 to be fair enough. You don’t compare cruisers to racers. I’d rather suggest you compare apples to apples. My point is exactly how what Mr. Mahesh Lal said. You cant compare a Harley to a Hyabusa.

    But on the other side, about the RE and its problems. I own one.. Completely agreed..

    And When you compare a RD350 to a 390, is when all the fun begins… 😉

    1. I tried my best not to compare an RE with my 390 Rustom, but I guess since I own it, all comparisons automatically were directed to it. This article is simply meant to describe my opinion about Royal Enfields, nothing more 🙂
      RD350 vs 390 would be interesting for sure!

  32. Dear Akhil,
    There are a couple of articles which do compare a 350 with a 390. But somehow they were not fair enough. For example Motor Beam ( http://www.motorbeam.com/bikes/ktm-duke-390/ktm-duke-390-vs-yamaha-rd350-shootout/ ) did not compare the right choice. I still feel that the RD 350 is much faster than a 390. I have tried both and owned one for 15years. There has’nt been a 500cc or less bike that could beat the shit out a machine that ruled the road for 30 years. Well there are some drawback on the 350.

    1) No auto-start. (but least of my problem).
    2) NO disk brake. (major problem). But now even those are available. Not from Yamaha. But custom ones are available for both front and back. Heck even my RX100 has a front disc brake.
    3) No ABS after disc brakes. (Ya I miss that feature too. But there are certain wheelies and stunts which cannot be performed on the ABS.
    4) Sound. (Ya, the sound of a RD is pure music). Just like one of the articles listed above qoutes

    ” Kick start the engine and it comes to life with a loud soundtrack. Sounds like some creatures in the engine sacrificed their lives to bring the motor to life. Give it some revs and pop the clutch and the front is lively and wants to touch the sky. Open the throttle and it will scare the hell out of you at first.”

    5) Colour. Yuck i personally hate orange. From all the colours in the world, an orange. Seriously, the duke would have looked better in red and black. But to each his own.

    From my Perspective, comparing the 390 to a LT 350 was not fair. The LT was created for India with a better milage at reduced power. If the comparisions was 390 to 350HT., I am quite positive it would have been otherwise.

    The results would vary on the following.

    1) Most people now use CDI. Keeps both Pistons in sync but compromises power. The points howerver, are much better. But both engines need to pump together and it take a little bit of adjusted around 500kms.

    2) Secondly, there are a lot of folks that are experts with Yamaha customization. I personally believe that Yamahas have been best when it comes to customization.

    I have an RX100 which beats the craps out of all Indian 250’s including the CBR.(only a 100meter drag). Not beyond that. Coz the top is around 135kmph. And yes before you ask it has been customized. A LOT…

    You have to respect the Japanese for the RD and RX series. From my opinion there never was and will be another RX and RD. 🙂

    But thats just my two cents …..

    Maybe you can compare the 350 and 390 fair enough.

    1. Rustom, truth be told, I have never ridden an RD! The day I can swing a leg over one, a new review will be born 🙂
      Thanks for your detailed comment! The RD is surely a legend.

  33. why have I heard only sports bike owners who don’t own a royal Enfield commenting on bullet…its a low rpm bike with loads of torque..its not for boys who want to ride fast or make a stoppie or wheelie …its all about power and don’t be mistaken with horsepower …bike accelerates or pulls because of torque..just lake a tractor …once I pulled another bullet up a hill …while I was in ladakh…its a puller bro… And who says its not fast though…find me on the tarmac on …I will tell you what a classic can do… lol..grow up boy this classic on my side has been to ladakh twice in 2 years …with not even a clutch wire replaced …
    And why do we hear that re owners are driving same bike for 30years ..again its a low rpm bike..the life of the engine is defined by the number of times it has to spank the piston …and the quality …I don’t think there is a bike better to travel India than a bullet .. I do own a pulsar 150cc too that has done 1,06,000km and a bullet 17,000km ..both are good bikes …I have maintained the pulsar quite well ..and it touches 120mark quite frequently even with an aged engine.. And so does the royal Enfield …well you don’t need to be foolish enough to ride faster than that in our country… But I seriously recommend royal Enfield to people who want to travel and for the comfort it gives…

    1. If being a boy and not growing up means riding faster, better and more advanced bikes than the Bullet, I would heartily stay a so called boy my whole life.

  34. Hey why should we even compare Duke with RE……….i mean there is no comparison in terms of money,performance,dimension,…etc……

    1. There is one similarity Bibhas, the engine capacity 🙂 Anyway, as I have said before, this article isn’t meant for a Duke vs RE comparison. It is just my personal thought over the market sense of something like a Bullet.

  35. Well,To start with,I ride a CBR250R ABS and had been to Leh in August 2012.On the point about spoked wheels,One sight that i came across repeatedly was that of Bullets parked on desolate stretches with one of their wheels missing.

    Just imagine being stranded in such places because you are still stuck with tubed tyres and cant repair punctures yourself .Or you could repair them by putting in so much effort which is absolutely unnecessary,that too at above 15000 feet where oxygen levels are really low!!!.The poor guys had to remove the wheel and then either repair it themselves or take a lift to the nearest mechanic to get it fixed.In places like Leh the mechanic might be at-least 50-100 Leh-kms away!!!

    To say that someone does this by choice or likes this is something I will never understand neither want to understand.

    You can always say that go ahead and get after market alloys,fit tubeless tyres etc but why would someone want to do that after already paying more than a Lakh for the bike in the first place.

    Bullets might have been the best/only choice people had for such trips at some point of time.Not anymore.

    1. hi,
      i am neither a 390 owner nor do i have a RE…but i have ridden both….if bullet is such a bad product, heavy on maintenance poor on parts quality and poor on craftsmanship which is an open fact…why didnt the company shut down?

      A Duke would lose its aura in next 3-5 years as the technology develops and finally get outdated.incompatible to the new technology, production methods,part cost etc. and i am sure after 10 years you ll
      just try to get rid of it and go for what’s hot in the market. coz bike feels old outdated and simply not cool.just like the fate of a bajaj chetak.

      But RE would still be there standing proud.

      1. Sure, just 2 days back I saw a 26 year old RE, still running good.
        But then again I’m not a really “faithful” guy, I would always like to ride new bikes, better, faster and safer. I don’t really go all sweaty and emotional about my bike, it is a beautiful machine, but a machine afterall. I loved my Pulsar 150 before this, and now am enjoying the Duke. I do feel like there is a connection between me and the bike, but that’s the good thing about the bike being a bike and not my wife, can always go for something better!
        That’s just me 🙂

      2. I have two words for you Mass Hysteria ! Madness at a magnitude to support production and sales. Well madness and marketing. That is what this is ! Ofcourse in 3-5 years duke 390 will get updated . oh yeah I know that I am going to buy the new bike as well. That is the way technology works. Do you still have your pentium processor ? Yep still it works ..But it is obsolete. But in its time it was the best and you bought it right ? Hell I am not buying my bike to pass it on to my next generation. I am buying a bike which is the best today . . I am not afraid of future. And you yourself is not future proof. One day you will grow old and die . But that does nt stop you from enjoying your life today !! And buying KTM 390 is more future proof than buying a dinosaur on two wheels ! Trust me I loved Bullets and Ambassador cars. But cant use them for daily use ..And I was quite shocked how underpowered these metal junks really are when I rode on recently ..Twist to the throttle only produces vibration ..No movement. I bet even Apache RTR 180 is much more fun than Bullet !

  36. yo bro wake up. which year’s model you are talking about……………..perhaps REs of the 70s I wonder

  37. Well, I love bikes. Bikes are my true love if not first.
    So I don’t really like to criticise any bike. I recently booked an RE TB350.

    I was confused whether I should go for an RE or should go for a sports bike. (Again, I love them all)

    Since I intend to buy another bike in 3-4 years time, my decision was simple.
    In 3 years time all Yamahas, Hondas, KTMs will have advanced in technology whereas RE will still be the same.LOL

    So better by an RE now and buy a more advance sports bike in future. 🙂

    Malkam Mogal

    1. @ Malkam – Honda and KTM products are NOT sport bikes, the KTM Duke and Pulsar 200NS are a “Street” category motorcycles, the Honda CBR250R and the Bajaj Pulsar 220F are affordable “Sport Tourers”. Its clear that your knowledge about motorcycles is feeble, so best you go ahead with your RE. Coz RE motorcycles are ‘exactly’ meant for idiots like you. This is exactly how a bitch of a company like RE survives, coz it thrives on frantic idiots like you.

      1. What made you think I was talking about the 200 to 250cc range when I mentioned sports bikes. If I’ll surely look beyond 350+ after 3-4 years.

        And coming to the adjectives you used for me, I’d not like to drag myself down to your level.

      2. ^^ u r such an idiot…hv u ever been on a road trip or off roading….the idiots like u take a sports bike on tough terrains to fuck up the bike as well as urself…RE on other hand is a heavy duty cruiser which can tolerate the most tough conditions….no wonder army appointed at the borders use RE for their patrolling….and as far as speed issues are concerned just go for the test ride of TB500….am sure watever byk u ride right nw would fizz off in frnt of it….!!
        ^^ LOSER

        1. Akhil, IMHO, Reeto is at fault here. I guess we all should be refraining from commenting further on a continuation of this comment.

          Our earlier conversations have been civil, and except for that one comment from Reeto, I dont remember any other provocative comment.

      1. Hi Malkam, I’ve got my TB350 a month ago. After my 1st service i.e., after 500 km I stated facing issue like break was making noise like a Truck/ jammed iron and getting noise from front suspension as well. I took it back to the service center they fixed the suspension noise but for the break this is the third time I went to showroom.
        Now It’s two days they are still fixing this issue…I checked with some more people in the showroom with TB350 and they said this issue exist in almost all the TB350.
        I feel this is high time Royal Enfield should address this issue before Triumph or HD take over the market.

  38. This is so much like japenese car guys vs the american v8 monsters. Both kind of bike have their own charm but one thing i hate about new re is the cheap build and faulty uce engine. And btw re riders usually cruise at 90-95.

    1. This is not a comparo Ishan, and I have rarely seen an RE above 80-85, I think the vibrations become too much to handle.

    2. japanese cars vs american v8 monsters… noooo…. its war between european monster and indian oldie.. i meant to say indian crap… even if american muscle lacks handling it goes faster than Japanese cars. RE cannot b compared to any bike … it has its own feel… unless RE engineers can cook up some new technology into bullet without changing the looks and feel , make it reliable… RE was stuck at 100kmh on the my ride to goa. who knws that was just a speedometer reading.. the automagazines say theres a lot of speedo error in RE,.. i guess it might be going even slower.. no handling . bad braking… not a bike for a performance enthusiast..

      1. It’s not a bike for ANYONE Avin, except people who ride them. It has nothing over any other bike out there.

  39. I Kind of agree with you on the points you stated,and I think they are on the dark side of being a practical machine
    but….that what makes it a Royal Enfield,having spokes,being handcrafted, conventional Engineering,the thump(pre-modified factory one)…these are some of those essential factors that has made it a legend,that’s its image..its character.

    1. Hat’s off Akhil, I am really impressed with your writing. What you said above is absolutely true and as a RE owner( and a happy one too despite the glitches, I love my ride) for the past three years only the ‘egoist bull riders’ would shower ‘bullets’ on you. What ever these R&D guys are doing they better find a way to reduce weight, fix the ‘long’ throw gear shifts, low beam lighting and a decent rear braking. However I find my previously owned P180 glitch free and comfy, I still love riding my Bullet. 🙂

      1. Thanks Balu, and I appreciate your honest comment! That’s always been my point, I have no issues if you feel Bullet is the best motorcycle in the world, just don’t push it onto others 🙂 Keep riding my friend, cheers!

    2. Ehh..?? What..?? I never mentioned anything about magical feelings dude. And you know nothing about Royal Enfield’s character so don’t just write stuff just for the heck of it. That’s just small talk coming out now since you really don’t have a relative answer that makes sense in the first place.
      The very fact that you discontinued me from replying further is a testiment to that.
      Whatever. I don’t give a rat’s ass either.

      1. You keep saying why people ride a bullet can’t be explained, that’s magic for ya! You keep explaining all the drawbacks of the bike as its “character” or “way”.
        Please tell me more about the Royal Enfield’s character. And this is not a sarcastic question, I am looking for concrete, logical stuff here. Please don’t say it’s heart and shit. Everything is explainable at some level, except magic.
        And you couldn’t reply because our discussion reached the limit of nested comments.

      2. Well I mostly agree with Akhil but i would really appreciate Mr Ovais if you explain your counterlogic in a more unbiased way. It doesnt appeal to my conscience at all

        1. “If Bull riders could think in an unbiased way, they won’t ride a Bull anymore” — I dont agree Akhil.

          As mentioned earlier, I own a Machismo 500. I have owned a Yamaha. In the future I hope to own a RC390 / Daytona 675R / Triumph Thruxton / The Harley Davidson Forty Eight / An improved version of the Continental GT (and I sincerely hope RE gets their act together else is gonna be Ambassador for them too in a few years)

          You need to shed this opinion that “all” RE owners give in to dogma. There are many who understand the limitations, but will still try tweaking it to make it more pleasurable, more reliable to ride.

          And am frankly surprised that people are still commenting on this thread. I guess every point in or against RE might have been covered here 🙂

  40. Hi everybody.
    First of all I would like to congratulate Akhil for the way this discussion has been going so far…very civilized, descent and mostly rational. Criticism has also been taken healthily.
    I am a hardcore kitchen head and own a restaurant at Colaba (family buisness). I barely get time go to the front mingling with guests or counting cash at the counter. I work 10-12 hours at a stretch in our centralized back kitchen. I cook first-handily on the range seven days a week with barely one or two offs in a month if I’m lucky. Hard life. But my mantra to unwind – Life on Two Wheels. I do have a driving license but never in my life have got behind a steering wheel. Reason..well, I live in Boombaii City. I’m sure you understand what traffic is like over here right. ‘Traffic’ is not even a word for what goes down on our so called roads which by the way are a rapidly extincting breed amongst potholes if you know what I mean. Another reason being..I’d hate to be the family driver for no fun of my own. Lol. So, I have been riding only two wheelers since Std.X..or IX I think.
    You know..practicality…it’s a whore.

    Anyways, although on a practical level I do agree that Royal Enfields have a lot of room for improvement even with the new models. But the reason why a Royal Enfield rider shudders to imagine himself on any other machine than this one..is well, pretty darn impossible to describe in words frankly. I could barely attempt a pathetic try..to get what it is all about in words.

    Before I get to the discussion, Reeto..please stay away from this one, because I’m done with my schooling and I have no intentions of getting into a quarrel with one of those imbred ridiculously retarded cocky junkies who simply lack the IQ to even bother learning. I’m still being comparatively polite. This looks like a ‘Mature Public Discussion’ so google the term, please spare us.

    First of all..a Royal Enfield enthusiast would never really consider buying one if he had to analyze the bike under normal parameters, you know.
    An enfield is not just a bike..it’s a different biker relegion alltogether.
    You don’t just buy the product when you buy this particular two wheeler…you enter a whole new breed of passion riders.
    A true Royal Enfield bug stung biker just cannot be satisfied with anything else on two wheels even if it is a 24lac Harley Davidson or a 28lac Triumph for that matter. It just has to be a Royal Enfield. The answer to exactly WHY..?? ..still not known to mankind, I guess. But there sure is something about it that churns out such massive emotional connect and cult following worldwide…gotta respect that.

    And honestly, I don’t think comparing a Royal Enfield to anything else on two wheels..with due respect..makes sense at all.
    You don’t have to be quick and agile or fast enough to overtake..everyone makes way for the good old thumper. You roll on a royal enfield on the road and bam..you’re way past comparing yourself with others and demanding respect, no…you Command respect aboard all its glory (which again, is a highly misunderstood phenomenon to which I’ll get to..further).

    As far as your post is concerned, I think it is full of points that are not entirely wrong but definitely not entirely true either. I don’t feel the need to respond to or defend on each and every point though, it’s baseless. At the same time, even though I’m a die hard Royal Enfield fanatic (probably one of the most wicked devotees Enfield will ever have), I am not offended by this post. I’m a passionate biker and you evidently are one too. I respect that and as a consumer you definitely have the right to analyze your options before taking a decision. But then again, taking a step further and defaming a cult brand/product with such misleading allegations on such a strong medium as this blog is very inappropriate and looks very petty brother. I think it is very immature and shallow Akhil (which btw, as a person you don’t seem to be…I guess).
    Don’t get me wrong, my own brother has a ktm 390. I have never ever ridden that bike after the first time ever, even after he offered it to me a lot of times. I think the seating position is very weird, it is neither a sports bike like position nor an upright street bike one. Seat itself is also very uncomfortable and the rear seat was probably designed with a ‘fuck the stupid pillion’ attitude. The exhaust note is indeed similar to an auto which you’d enjoy anywhere above 100kmph but it certainly is nothing short of annoying in city traffic. Engine heats up crazy in no time. Then there is so much rattling noise from all plastics, saree guard, scary swing arm noises and God knows what. Underquality rims, dangerous….confused ergonomics…overall look…lack of character and originality…..it all just didn’t appeal too much to me. And ofcourse the spare parts are ridicucously expensive and not easily available in remote or rural areas. May God be with you on your Ladakh journey man.. I sincerely wish you best of luck and have a safe journey dude.
    Despite all these problems..I won’t say it is a bad bike altogether. Just because it does not appeal to my taste doesn’t mean it is a poor product for someone else too, you know. That’s the way I think. I have a very sober biking attitude and a wholistic view on such subjective matters.

    After all, no matter how much or how often we discuss, debate, argue, quarrel or even brawl over such issues we have to realize that we infact are a part of a much much larger picture or rather family…the ones who experience life on two wheels. As Bobbee Singh from Old Delhi Motorcycles rightly quotes “It is barely 5 feet of space between two wheels. And yet it is billions of dollars worth industry worldwide…There must be Something no..?”. It is this ‘something’ that at the end of the day differentiates us from regular masses. Passion bikers regardless of their religion, race, community, culture or country is a different breed alltogether. And this indeed is a different subconscience – biking. And it has so many different dimensions if you dig deep enough, that even a lifetime worth of experience and knowledge remains merely a fraction of what life on two wheels has to offer. So comparing two such vaguely different two wheelers with such different aspects of biking with a spirit to compete in order to ascertain who’s better than whom..I think is just such a waste on so many levels.

    And as far as what you get for the amount you pay is concerned.. Lemme put it this way..why do you think a humble 2bhk beach facing apartment costs almost as much as a small villa in the outskirts..??
    Its not just about the carpet area you get for the amount you pay..but the lifestyle and social status that comes with that particular property ain’t it..?
    It is somewhat similar when it comes to other mid sized bikes and specifically a Royal Enfield, but only for an enfield enthusiast ofcourse. And the same goes for many other breed of motorcycles. If you really are a hardcore passionate biker, then no matter what niggles you have with your machine, it’ll always be worth it.

    Now, as far as the brash bulleteer attitude of recent times is concerned, I highly condemn such behaviour. This is not the case with many hardcore bulleteers but recently, you’ll find a lot of wannabe bulleteers also. Any bulleteer who looks down upon other bikers, who doesn’t respect other motorcycle breeds, who thinks he can dominate just because he has an Enfield does not realize that he’s whole thought process is very self contradicting. Royal enfield is the world’s oldest motorcycle manufacturing brand still in production. It is undoubtedly one of the early pioneers of motorcycling industry. It has always been associated with pride to early armed forces. The brand’s debut in India itself owes credibility to our glorious Indian Army. It is a brand which has world heritage status in biking industry. And hence, these machines too are supposed to be nothing but a gentleman’s ride. You see some hypocrite bulleteers not eager to help other breed of motorcyclists in need and some would ride very rashly on the road endangering other bikers as well as pedestrians. You think you really are unbeatable over a royal enfield whereas there is absolutely no need of such immature competetiveness on the roads, especially (in some cases) when you can barely control the heavy mammoth. You want a royal enfield just for the brand value and so called status on road and misbehave if you don’t get that respect from others. You want to unecessarily customize your exhaust and put shady rubber flaps to make even more noise which is rather annoying than the sweet thump enfields are known for, and you call yourself a true biker and a hardcore bulleteer you attention seeking low expection having low life motherfucker..!
    This is by far nowhere close to what true bulleteering is all about. They’re supposed to be ridden with the same old vintage grace and discipline that the brand’s pride is all about. It’s about respecting your country roads and others on the road. It’s about making yourself useful and a contributing member of the society by lending a helping hand to whomsover you find in distress stranded in the middle of nowhere. It’s about having a noble way of commuting on a day to day basis and most importantly giving respect to others in a gentlemanly down to earth manner regardless of the turn of events. This is indeed the only way to earn being a Bulleteer in its true sense and hence Commanding respect on road rather than demanding it. This is after all, what Royal Enfield’s heritage is all about.

    So yes Akhil, you’re not completely wrong. It does mostly not make any sense. But then again one doesn’t go for the thumper using one’s brain..it is the beating heart that does the talking all the way. God knows mine does…and the same goes for every other truely passionate biker out there. When you think about it…Life on Two Wheels..it is way way deeper than it appears.

    Thank You so much for your time and consideration.

    1. Wow, ok. First up, I REALLY didn’t intend to compare the RE with anything, but I guess that happened itself.
      Second, I think you can see the reason for this post in your comment – brash bulleteer attitude. Every bike has problems, and no one really cares. I won’t mind if you pick a 1969 toilet seat, attach two wheels and an engine to it and ride the world. I would probably cheer you on. But when you start shitting on other 2 wheel riders, telling them their machine sucks and they suck with it, that’s when I don’t like it.
      My biggest problem with REs is reliability. I would love to thump around the world on my Bullet, but that thing breaks down just too often – especially the new and “improved” ones. And I also feel that bulleteering has become a cult devoid of all logic and reason, but you said that already.
      Enjoy your rides man, and I am in Navi Mumbai, let me know if you want to catch up sometime! Cheers.

    2. As I mentioned earlier..that brash and inappropriate attitude is really empty and base less emotions that drives dumb Wannabe bulleteers..not the real ones. And that attitude is not only confined to royal enfield riders I’ve seen many otherbike monkeys like that. You say you don’t like such losers who think no one else is better than them or their machines and hence wholistically look down upon everyone else…but if you think about it since you’re the one who’s accusing all royal enfield riders and machines of whatsoever reasons, you’re realky being a hypocrite yourself. You cannot generalize on every royal enfield rider to behave like that..nor do all royal enfield bikes.

      There is a cult following not just in our country but on a global scale also. I don’t think such massive emotional connect and fan base is created on baseless feelings. There undoubtedly is tradition and heritage linked to its sheer existence since ages which makes for the very foundation of such huge cult following, but as I have mentioned in my previous comment it is a highly miunderstood phenonmenon which not even all bulleteers understand…let alone a non bulleteer like you. And yes, just because you cannot see, feel or understand something does not make it shallow or non existent. You just have to be mature enough to move on to what you do have passion for rather than concentrating on what’s wrong with the world. I mean, I don’t think I would ever setttle down for anything else except a Royal Enfield not even a Harley my friend, but you don’t see me looking down upon other breed of motorcycle or riders..you don’t see me nagging over something that I am irked with over internet or other such mediums. That’s because I have a wholistic aproach towards biking and a sober subconscience towards the motorcycling alltogether with a broader perspective looking at a much bigger picture. Think about it.

      And as far as reliability is or any other problems you percieve to be prominent amongst these bikes are concerned…I’ve already said it, their mostly baseless. There is no major problem with the bike itself, the problem lies with their owners who don’t understand that such different bikes need a different approach towards their general upkeep and maintenance. And there are more complains reported for.newer models.because more and more novices and wannabe bulleteers are entering the Royak Enfield fraternity without really knowing what Royal.Enfield is all about. They expect the brand value and want the Royal Enfield experience but are not willing to understand how to really take care of the machine. And then again, the machine itself is nothing like a yamaha, honda or anything else for that matter when it comes to being forgiving. Even the slightest of imperfection or faulty setting will affect your ride significantly on a long trip..that’s just the way it is. Doesn’t make it unreliable..just very strictly set in its own ways, which when somebody doesn’t understand..faces problems and then eventually starts nagging about it. That’s very ignorant and frankly dumb.

      1. Hehe..sure it’s leangthy but I must say it is not helping much as you don’t seem to understand the very gist of it man. I don’t understand why someone content and relevant with what he posesses would go on to undermine a different phenomenon altogether and actually go on to such an extent of blasphemy..?
        You listed several things you don’t like about Royal Enfield..please list one more. What is it about Royal Enfields that makes you so insecure and so much so that you go to the extent of writing a whole blog about it…?? If you really think enfields are so horrendous and crap worthy, why do you even bother…?? Why not just shrug it off and move on to what you are passionate about rather than waste your time and others’ on a thought you don’t even wanna get anything out of..?? That is some approach you have there towards biking my friend. How graceful and rational thinking is that..! Kudos man. God bless.

        1. You are right, I don’t get it. I don’t get the “magical” biker feeling that you say comes with riding a Bullet. I don’t get it why people keep waiting for and buying them even when there are better options available. I don’t understand how a simple thing as biking has been converted into a convoluted religion of unexplained emotions and hate.
          And why did I even bother to write? Because I wanted to know what others thought, I wanted to know if it was just my point of view. And if you browse through the comments, I think you’ll see.

      2. Man you write big comments!
        I really don’t think my duke 390 is the best machine in the world. I wrote a post listing its negative points! It’s possible this post looks like hypocrisy, but my intention was solely to list out my points against REs, irrespective of all other bikes in the market.

    3. Thank You Very Much Ovais ! Putting straight your opinion ! I am in same opinion with you !
      It was my 10 years long dream to own a Bullet and I am pride owner of Bullet Electra 350 !
      And as far my experience new Bullet gives a ample of Mileage (Close to 50) and RIDE is un imaginable. BULLET is not for Speed, Even though I cruised this BIKE till 110KMPH.

      I know there are Bikes which can overtake BULLET easily, No doubt in that. But look at the power and off-roading capacity, You can Ride this bike where there is no Road.
      Try putting 2-3 heavy weighted people on KTM Duke or ay other Bike and do the same with Bullet and you will come to know the POWER of this Bike, It will ride with no difference attitude irrespective of weight.

      About Expensive – Yes these Bike are expensive but maintenance is lot more cheaper than Pulsar, forget about KTM and other bikes.

      As Ovais said – BULLET Riders are not hustle rider or competitor to other Bikers.

      BULLET Rider – Enjoy the Ride, Respect traffic Rules , its a religion and remaining points already mentioned by Ovais.

      Now about turning this Bike on corner – I never felt I am falling off, you feel whatever matters you are not going to fall down, the Road grip of this Bike is UN-comparable.

      About heavy weight – Once you are familiar with this Bike, you can control this machine the way you want, RIDE this BIKE through your heart it will listen. You need to be settled with this BIKE once you start using this.

      Like you I am hardcore KTM Duke heater, annoying sound, weird design but still I respect other Bikes and Bikers and their choice. This the first post in my life where I expresses my opinion.

      For the waiting period – there 2 Points. 1. If you are hardcore Bullet Fan you will wait other wise no body is stopping you to go and buy another one. 2. BULLET has doubled it production plant now and waiting period is lesser now.

      Regarding your ALLOY Wheel point – you can go anti-puncture solution which is far better than tubeless tyres.

      1. Chandra: Why would I ever put 2-3 heavy weighted people on any bike? If you meant that Bullets can carry a lot of weight, I did Ladakh on a Pulsar 150, with a fully loaded saddle bag and a fully loaded tank bag. A lot of bikes can do better on/off road stuff than any RE.
        I disagree. Pulsars are dirt cheap to maintain! Even KTM has double the service interval of an RE.
        Yes! It is a religion!
        Please try a 390 on a corner, then you’ll truly understand what road grip is.
        I don’t want to control the bike like it is some rabid dog! I want it to always be under my command. And the heavy weight of the RE doesn’t help with that.
        Didn’t know anti puncture things are available for tube tires. How does that work?

  41. Other sports bike r Japanese bike will adopt with us and do whatever we command them. But for bullet we have to adopt with it. There is a strong bond between bullet and bulleters for generations.

    From our grandpa, Dad, us and our son still RE will be there forever. Can u tell any Bike will come till long forever.

    So talking in a small topic will never change the mind of a bulleter.

    1. Again, nothing logical or concrete, all vague here. What do you mean you have to adopt with bullet? What’s the point of a bike which makes you the slave of its whims? Why is the bond between bullet and bulleteers stronger than others?
      I could name so many different bikes that have survived many decades, there’s nothing special from that angle about an RE.
      I know nothing can change your mind, like nothing can change the mind of scientology followers that their religion is exploiting them for no good.

    2. adopting to bullet?? its like adopting to blackberry for their security…. n look where blackberry is now… if royal enfield dont change(ADOPT) they ll b in a lot of trouble…

  42. I have found a weird but workable logic to this. We all watch porn and love it too !! But sometimes we watch some specific scene in the movie which is related to a kind of fetish. Then we find ourselves looking for similar scenes in other movies and before we know, we become addicted to that fetish. Its not that we dont like other scenes but we love our own fetish the most. It happened to me in similar fashion with respect to bikes. A friend of mine owns a RE Classic 500 and praises it all the time. I am a fan of two wheels since childhood and I admire all kinds of them. I had chance to rode the RE once or twice and I got into the FETISH. I still love and admire sports bikes, dirt bikes, etc. But I love my fetish – British style thumpers !!! Similarly you must be having your own fetish as well, may be sports bikes or street bikes. People often find reasons suitable to them to prove that their fetish is the greatest one. But its a lie. You can also praise your bike based on some factors, yada yada. But you have chosen those supremacy reasons. I own a classic 350 and I am fully aware of the minuses (lots of them). But I love it and I dont have to have reasons for it.

    Bottom-line? LOVE your fetish but respect others’ too. Happy riding !

    (FYI: My classic 350 touches 110 km/hr easily which is not so great but still it gives 35 kmpl. I am sure whatever power/economy figures you have mentioned for RE would hold good for older models.)

    1. Yesterday I met a Desert Storm rider who was giving me (d390) and Ninja 650 owners competition in acceleration and top speed. It’s all about personal preference, and it’s much more about tje rider than the ride!
      Having said that, RE definitely needs to improve the quality of its products.

    1. I read your article, multiple times. I don’t want to sound arrogant here, but most of the reasons you cited simply pointed to “others”. Because heroes came on a Bullet, because people who came on a Bullet got respect, because people close to you came on a Bullet, and because you get to part of a big group of other Bullet riders, you got a Bullet yourself. Doesn’t that sound like you don’t ride a bike because you love riding, but because other people do it?
      Point number 4 says the ride quality is nice, no argument about that. It is a very comfortable machine. The old ones were more comfy than the new ones though.
      Point number 5 says it is not a high maintenance machine, I disagree. Compared to any other bike up to 2 lacs, Bullets are much more high maintenance bikes. This has been proved time and again by people’s experiences, take a look at the other comments on this post.
      Point number 7 says Bullet isn’t an inanimate machine. Unfortunately, it is. So is a Hero Splendor, or a BMW S1000RR, or a Duke 390. These are machines, and as much as we would like to think of them as living, breathing partners to us, they are not. Just because you had to push the damn bike to the nearest petrol station under searing heat many a times, or you have got stuck in traffic many a times due to the engine overheating, doesn’t mean it deliberately tried to fuck your day.

    2. Hey akhil, thanks for reading my post multiple times (didn’t think it had so much gravitas when I wrote it). U r right abt the reasons I stated to buy a bullet – the influences or the ‘others’ that u mentioned. Well, I wuz just stating the truth as to why that desire to own a bullet was created in me. Think abt it – isn’t that how it is most of the times? Also abt bullets being inanimate, ur explanation saved me a trip to the shrink:) nah jus kidding. I know they are, man. But it’s fun to imagine that they’ve life. Try it sometime – it’s fun. Chill – don’t take life so seriously. Ur site’s cool btw.

  43. I agree. Bullets need a technology revamp.

    What’s the point of a 500 cc engine if you can’t race a 250.

    PS: to those who are in love with the sound. Get a set of Good speakers and play the sound

  44. Wow as much as i agree with this article of yours regarding the bullets i would love to own one when im crossing 40 years… 😛 or mayb harleys will dominate us by then so ill pick up a cruiser then.. but til then i shall jus admire the bullet owners and zoom past them 😛

  45. Hell man. I always argue with my friends that RE sucks. They say dukes are bad and bullets are awesome and they say they are very stable. Bullshit stable. If you lean it to one side it feels as if its going to fall down. Today one of my friend said that if you go fast on a duke and brake hard the bike will just flip over and cart wheel and get destroyed. He also said that if bullet goes fast and brakes hard nothing happens and it will stay in control. As soon as he said that I felt like slapping him. REs are good for nothing other than cruising on highway. Shitty bikes. KTM all the way. A huge thumbs up to this article and the publisher.

  46. Killer man… awesome thread.. I think you wrote the blog with the best of intentions but a few digs are there and this makes it super awesome funny. If we look at both the bike manufacturers separately RE’s are just way too backward but does the world need this.. probably yes. But I am picking a 390 and it just blows me away… bring in the new stuff I say.. because that is what experience is.

  47. Every bike has its own advantage and disadvantage.
    Mine grand dad owns bullet 350 I have not I see few advantage and disadvantage

    Its a cruiser not off roader … Considering this its not that bad

    Advantage is that its comfort to ride for pillions if u usually ride with pillion .. Weight does not affect its handling in cities not that tough really. Whoever said engine is not reliable they have to look at bajajs engine.

    It has huge disadvantage why should a 350\500 cc engine would have a so less power for a heavier bike and a poor milage . it has a power of a quarter liter engine in a half litter engine,most say engine is powerful, for a 500 cc engine it is not even close to what called power . Bad tires to accommodate to its weight . brakes are not that bad what spoils it are the tires . body is made of metals and are chrome plated which adds weight and are prone to corrosion easily .. I like the design that’s may not be to everyone.

    Power full engine , feather weight chassis and good fat tire would make bullet a appealing motorcycle for RE fans … Tank capacity is low for a bulk bike like it.
    That’s my view.. Proud Owner of duke 200 going to upgrade to 390 ..

    1. It looks like the powerless engine, heavy ass chasis and skinny tire is what Bull riders love in their bike, if you change it the whole character of the thing will change!

    2. A Bullet is not a cruiser, it was built as a general purpose motorcycle, and that is what it is. If anyone finds it hard to believe, they must watch this interview of Siddartha Lal, CEO of Royal Enfield.


      Now, with that out of the way, here’s a fact about Bajaj engines. Back in 2010, they ran their Pulsar engines on full throttle for 300 hours on a test bench. That is putting the engine through more abuse than it would ever face in real life.

      1. Ha, ha! Just to be clear – I am not a Bullet fan; never was, and it’s unlikely I ever will be, unless, of course, they pull in their act together!

        My previous comment was in response to one that mentioned:

        1. Bullet was not an off-roader, but a cruiser.
        2. Bajaj engines were unreliable.

        My comment shows the CEO of RE mentioning that Bullet is not a cruiser, but a general purpose motorcycle. The latter part of it points to the fact that Bajaj were testing their engines for a full 300 hours at full throttle, which shows that their engines are indeed, reliable!

        I had blogged once about the deficiencies of a Bullet a long time ago. I had an interesting discussion post that. I’ve come to learn that you cannot reason with someone who’s riding a Bullet – it’s kind of like discussing religion. So now, I only point out facts, instead of trying to reason with anyone who believes that the Bullet is the next best thing to have happened after sliced bread!

  48. Not a bulleteer myself, but being a passionate biker, I know that bulleteers buy RE for the “feel” of it, and I can relate because if I have the money, I would buy MV Agusta F4, no matter how much better is HP4 in comparison.

  49. 1.Bullets are fucking slow
    Ans: Lions walk slowly to show their pride
    2.Royal Enfields are unreliable
    Ans:Indian Army is using it for more than 50 years
    3.Bullets are noisy – and the bad kind of noisy
    Ans:It is a roar of Lion
    4.Bullets have really bad brakes
    Ans:Friend of the road so It doesn’t not want to stop
    5.Bullets give shitty mileage
    Ans:Royal people doesn’t care for money
    6.Bullets are unnecessarily heavy
    Ans:Tanks are always heavy
    7.Bullets have spoked wheels
    Ans:King always travels with vehicle containing Spoked wheel
    8.Bullets have a fucking long waiting period
    Ans:For royal and Best things u have to wait

  50. AK — I won’t comment much but just let me tell you. Returning from Goa to Bangalore on my Cl350, cruising speed around 90-95, on a stretch (yes absolutely no stops at all) covered 200 kms.

    PS: That 640 odd kms from Goa to Bangalore was covered mostly at the cruising speed of 85-95 with occasional 115s and 120 (120 was the max it could go on speedo)

  51. 1. 140 Kmph my top speed on B’lore Hyd Highway….
    2. Have rode continuously 1Hr 20 Mins non stop @ Speed of 120Kmph (Without Breaks & Brakes)
    3. 15000 Kms & No Hassles (Just the regular timely servicing done)
    4. When I Ride, I rarely see any vehicle overtaking me. (Even Cars… They can overtake me only if I let them, or else I can cruise away from them at higher speed… Cars Do have that potential, but I haven’t seen many doing that with me)
    5. Comfortable…. I can’t even compare it to any other bike…. Especially for my back
    6. The seating posture is straight instead of leaned forward which makes it more comfortable
    7. When I ride other bikes after my ThunderBird 500…. They all feel like Toys
    8. Stability at curves even at the speed of 90s-100s is unmatchable
    9. With 20L (17L in exact) Fuel Tank I can ride 500+ kms without any refuelling tension.
    10. And Yes Its Royal

    1. Akhil,

      Having ridden other bikes on ghats and curves, I would say that —>

      It is sure stable on curves. Specially the flowing ones. Or ghats. Its an absolute joy to ride.
      You do need to spend some time getting it right though. The first time I leaned in on my brother’s Electra, I had my heart in my mouth. But then, the bike held on. The size of the wheels and weight aids it a lot in that aspect.

      You cant do the lean in and kneesliding though – it will oversteer.

      My motorbike has done more than 40000kms – no hassles. Till now. But I know I am lucky with that.

      1. No Akhil, I am not saying it can be done better on an RE than other bikes. The company MRF are terrible (hence they went for a pirelli pair on the Conti), but still, dont give way on curves. Except for once when the road was REALLY wet and I had an old tyre. The brakes have to be improved. But in no way are you out of control while pushing the bike into the corner.
        It is flickable – if you are using the countersteering technique.

        What is a chicken strip by the way?


        1. Ok, I guess it’s all relative!
          A chicken strip happens when the center of the tire is worn out, but the sides are not, indicating the biker is too scared (or chicken) to lean into the corners aggressively.

      2. Mahesh my friend, I think the general perception about enjoying curves is that you should always be in control, be able to lean, and pull out with speed. Yes because of the weight of the RE it will feel planted, but how can the bad brakes and the bad tires inspire confidence? And how can you enjoy the curves when you are not 100% confident? 🙂 Also, corner fun happens when the bike is easily flickable from one side to the other, would you say that can be done better on an RE than some other bikes out there?
        BTW I am not a heavy leaner on corners, my tires have huge chicken strips always!

    2. Ritesh, my friend, I’ve ridden a TB500, and yes you can do 140, but it feels like either you will fall off, or the bike will break into a 1000 pieces.
      As far as riding continuously without ever braking for a freaking hour at 120, I really doubt you can do that in the US, less so in India!
      15000 kms and no hassles, then you are a lucky one. My roommate spends almost every weekend at the service centre, and has done just 3000 odd.
      Ok, again, nobody can overtake you? Dude, please stop exaggerating, there are plenty of bikes out there who can overtake you with ease, and almost every car can.
      Yes it is comfy, no 2 ways about it.
      Lol, ok, they feel like toys. Have you tried riding an actual toy sometime? Maybe that’ll tell you the difference 🙂
      Oh my fucking god, dude! “RE” and “stability at curves” in 1 single sentence? My man, you’ve never ridden a shits worth of bike other than the Thunderbird, or you would have known REs are the worst things out there to attack corners on.
      Yup, you can go a long way in 1 fuel stop.
      Who gives a rats ass it is royal?

    3. Ritesh, most speedometers over-read. The Continental GT is the fastest motorcycle that RE (India) has manufactured and even that does not do 140 kmph.

      And about maintaining 120 kmph for 1 hour, 20 minutes is hard to believe. I don’t think there is any stretch in the country where you can do this.

  52. Dude… get some life… Lets talk abt Duke 390 and and RE on a public forum who all r bikers.. No doubt you might be a helluva rider, we respect your ride, tht doesnt mean tht u go saying RE is bad and your DUKE 390 is good…

    1. I don’t know how many times I’ve said this already, this is not a comparison of the 390 against an RE. Through this article, I have asked the questions many people have asked me – why the hell do people still ride Bullets? It is an outdated, archaic, moody machine that can throw tantrums anytime it wishes to.

  53. Ever sat on a RE, how can you drive sitting on a duke for hours? One can drive for hours on an RE. Royalty maintained. Its a head turner.

    1. Have you ever ridden from Bangalore to Bombay on your RE in a single day Sai? I have done it 4 times now. Times ranged from 12 hours to 20 hours, depending on my mood.
      RE a head turner? That thing can be seen EVERYWHERE! Royalty I won’t comment on man, that’s too much for me.

  54. Your attitude towards this bik is sik …… I dono y ….its not so very bad as u hav described it …..but v all respect n lov our dukes n bullets n etc….so chill ters evry bik wich has its ups n downs….happy riding:)

  55. Akhil.. Kudos you are “the” conversation starter… It has taken me over an hour to read the entire blog with comments and all and i have enjoyed the entire thing… .

    I have owned a bullet (STD 350) for almost 10 years now and rode it to various places and had a blast while doing what i did… but fact is the bike (and when i say bike i do not necessarily mean my bike but all RE bikes in general) lacks a lot.. unfortunately for enthusiasts and fortunately for the company the “Brand” RE is big and that is why you have legions of fanatics who are willing to tear you from limb to limb… also since demand exceeds supply RE remains stagnant when it comes to developing a “product” which is comparable to most other high end (or for that matter even economy) bikes.

    Now i am no expert, do not have any technical nor engineering knowledge but would like to share my 2 cents… RE particularly the old ones are based on a design from 1955 and remained in production till about 2010…. and if the government had not enforced the emission norms RE would not be proactive enough to even get to where it is today. Since this enforcement they have come-up with bikes which looked different (Thunderbird being the most notable) but never researched technology which has seen them develop and discard almost 2 or 3 engines (AVL/LB) before somewhere settling down with a UCE engine which is in use since the past couple of years.

    The fact is the company is lethargic and is looking outwards to cater to international markets when there is tons of money, goodwill, customer loyalty which can be generated/encahsed at home… take for e.g. the biggest PAIN which all bullet owners have – after sales there is hardly anyone who ever steps into the service center … apart from the free servicings and even those are buggered up by them.. i mean i will never even dream about sending my bike to one of their workshops i rather trust my local oldie who has about 30 years of experience to fix my bike…

  56. Oh! well.. it seems that i will soon have to write an article titled: 100 reasons why i hate this article. Some of the points mentioned appears to be completely logic-less. I started reading this article expecting something complex, but the stuff in total seems to be shitty amateurish.

  57. If you so much so hate it, why bother writing about it Mr Author?

    PS: Title: 6 reasons | Received 8

  58. In every tangible way Royal Enfield are not good bikes. While in every intangible way they are among the best bikes around. In my view Royal Enfield buyers are like those who buy expensive paintings, sculpture etc. But the problem comes when those buyers try to justify the purchase by representing the practicalities instate of the artistic value.

    ……. Most Royal Enfield are for middle ages crisis (Stereotype) 😀

    1. I agree with you totally on the points of the bullet being a heavy, noisy, archaic design. To be honest with you i used to HATE them with a capital H. All this changed when I rode a shitty ill-maintained 1993 standard of my cousin for the IBW chai pakoda ride 2 years back.

      This made me realize that Royal Enfield does not produce products, they make platforms. Just like ford makes the platform called Mustang and Mahindra makes the platform called Thar.

      now here is my point by point rebuttal.

      1. Enfields are not slow – there are a breed of enfield riders who like to go dug, dug, dug.. then there’s another breed who goes WOT at all possible times.

      2. Who says enfields are not reliable ? Enfields are very simple machine, and any bloke with half decent mechanical knowledge and a decent toolkit and tear the bike down and rebuild it. You are supposed to take care of a few things by yourself.

      3. Ever heard a nicely tuned performance exhaust for a RE ? I am not talking about the local crap thats marketed by your friendly neighborhood RE mech.

      4.Bullets don’t need brakes, if you know how to engine brake.

      5.You buy a 350CC bike and look for average ? It is not mileage. mileage means the age of your machine in terms of miles.

      6. Bullets are a platform, remove the weight at your own leisure with the help of few spanners.

      7. Bullets will survive a nasty thud across our fabled highways and will also be able to go and come back from Lonar with a bent rim. Your KTM 390 duke goes home at the first crash into a indian pot hole.

      8.Why do bullets have waiting period ? you tell me ??

      1. Agree everything needs a brake, but on an enfield most of the braking is done with engine braking. The current enfields have the same components from Bybre as you get with a P200 or FZ.

        You need to tweak the bike to get performance, it is not as simple as your fill it shut it forget it bike.My 9 year old bike does a 10 second 100 run. and can run at WOT for 45 minutes flat at 42 degrees ambient. Let me know if you want to watch a video of the same.

        Coming to reliability – there are a couple of known suspect parts, blame it on bad design or cost cutting or whatsoever. But the good news is the fix is easy, but, a big one.. you need to know what you are dealing with.

        Coming to removal – let your imaginations run wild man.. leave the rolling chassis and you can remove almost everything else in an hour and swap with plastics.

        D390 rim busting is not a myth. It has happened with me while out on a friends bike, and it was scary to say the least.

        Waiting list – This is purely my theory. Our generation read that as the ones born after 85, lusted at the sights of enfields and the macho persona that is associated with it. With a rising disposable income, most of us now can actually afford to own and maintain one.

        Last bit – the enfield community is a tightly knit one. Let me tell you my story of picking up the bike. I met Vamshi (fellow bulleteer) in a few social outings and we were acquaintances. One fine day i call him up and ask if he can spare some time to help me pick up my first ever RE from the list of used ones i saw on OLX. Without a second thought he left office, came over with me and spent the whole day finalizing a bike for me. If i see another biker (any make) stranded by the road side, i ensure to stop and ask if he/she needs help. Most RE riders do that, i have never seen non-RE riders being so biker, when the need comes the most.

        1. Sure let’s see the video!
          OK. Point taken.
          OK. You can. But that bike will no longer be a Bull, would it? And I have never seen anyone do it.
          OK, didn’t happen with me, but if you say it did, it did.
          OK. I never lusted for one, and bought the 390 as soon as I had enough cash. But that’s just me.
          Agree with this, although have heard only such stories. I ended helping Bull riders on a couple of occasions, never needed help from one.

        2. I do not agree with the point when you say Bikers apart from bulleteers do not stop to help stranded motorists. I do, I know people who do and I’ve seen people do. If someone does not help out, then he aint a biker.
          SecondlyI know a guy whom I mostly met on rides and in service centre and he did the same as your friend Vamsi when I planned to get a used bike(lets not dwell on which bike it was, it wasn’t a RE though) and he rides a Ninja.
          So if you wanna say the above things are done only by RE owners, Then I beg to differ with a capital D..

      2. Even the fastest rider on a Bullet can never keep up with a KTM or even a Pulsar 220.
        Whay you are saying is that break downs happen, but they are easy to fix. My point is why buy a bike that is EXPECTED to break down every few hundred kilometers?
        Dude, everything needs brakes!
        You don’t get performance, you don’t get safety, you don’t get anything! Is expecting average (mileage) too hard a thing?
        What will you remove? I am talking about the stock bike.
        That is a myth my friend, my 390 has gone in and out of potholes at speeds bull riders can’t even image.
        I don’t fucking know!

      3. Reliability is defined as:
        1. The ability of an apparatus, machine, or system to consistently perform its intended or required function or mission, on demand and without degradation or failure.
        2. Manufacturing: The probability of failure-free performance over an item’s useful life, or a specified timeframe, under specified environmental and duty-cycle conditions. Often expressed as mean time between failures (MTBF) or reliability coefficient. Also called quality over time. See also availability.
        3. Consistency and validity of test results determined through statistical methods after repeated trials.

        Being able to fix it yourself makes it simple, not reliable.

        1. So After writing the above two posts, i went on a whirlwind trip across the Himalayan mountains with a bunch of friends on their RE’s.

          1. My 10 year old 350 cc TB,kept up with larger 500 cc bikes. (Why – “Dont change your exhaust and carb, valves pe load girta”, which is exactly what I did, and enjoyed the journey to the fullest.)

          2. What fell off – ( The rear tail lamp assembly along with the number plate, made my bike a shade more lighter)

          3. What worked ( For most part the torque, helped pull the bike+rider+gear+stuff through. Again a few others had issues. The kind of riders not knowing how to lean/ rich the mixture to adjust the altitude.)

          4. What could have been better – For the himalayan ride, nothing. I feel my TB is custom made to dune bash thru, though i envied the two Impulse guys blasting past me during the run up to khardungla.

          5. What busted – the crank gave up at srinagar, i didnt realize till mandi. The tractor derived motor kept chugging thru, making weird noises.

          Then after a few months of rest, and leaves getting approved i went home (bhubaneswar.) solo ride. Smooth fast NH all the way from Hyderabad to bhubaneswar. Manic run, no luggage whatsoever, no stoppages whatsoever.

          1. What i missed ( i had done this same stretch earlier on my Avenger 200, and i could maintain a 120 (on speedo) for hours together. On the TB that speed means i have to stop ever hour to give relief to the buzzing fingers.

          Come February 2015, and i ride with two of buddies to bhubaneswar again.

          1. Three enflieds two TB 350s, and one C500. Comfortable crusing speed 100 kp/h.
          2. Anything more than that sets of the vibes and you have to stop to rest your fingers.

          Thank you for reading thru the above BS.

          What i want now, a 2005-2006 Zma, with spoke wheels, round headlamp and a visor that i can use to tour.

          Do i keep my TB, hell yes. That thing is tailor made for the mountains, that thing has taken me around half of India and has given me a tons of friends.

          1. Well, I keep getting email notifications whenever someone comments here and I go through all the comments patiently. One thing that I have noticed is how most RE lovers bash other bikes and the people who love those bikes. Honestly, I feel most of these RE lovers don’t have any reason to love RE other than it being cool. That’s it. True RE lovers will accept the shortcomings their bikes have without any shame and still love their bikes. Another thing I have noticed, most of these believe only RE bikes can climb up mountains. To all these retards, it is not the brand that decides whether the bike is capable or not, its the stats. If the bike has enough Torque, has good sticky tyres and good brakes, it will climb no matter what. Even a 200cc bike generates enough torque to pull the bike on a mountain. There is no pride in claiming that a RE bike climbs mountains, it has to climb considering it’s engine. If a guy with a 125cc Platina claims his bike was able to climb up, then it’s a matter of pride because that bike is not built for hill climbing and still was able to.
            Also another request to most of the RE lovers, just follow something because of the herd mentality. If you actually like the bike ONLY after riding it, follow the brand. Don’t follow a brand because it is cool to do so

  59. You have been with the wrong riders
    I invite you to come to Delhi and ride with us
    Mail me for further details if you want

  60. This article should go to Indian Army. They are the biggest fools using RE for many year and also made guinness world record on RE. They should learn something.

    1. Your comment is an example of why people should study history.
      In 1947, when we became independent, we had to decide on a motorbike to patrol our borders. Of all the options available, the RE was the cheapest. Not the best. Not the most reliable. Not the most maintainable. Not the fastest. It was the cheapest. You could feed it engine oil and fill up the gearbox with grease and chug along with a fellow Army person as pillion with a load of files that you want to deliver from point A to B, or put a sidecar and lug it along,or carry weapons and patrol the borders.
      And that is why it was decided upon.

      Over the years, the Indian two wheeler market grew – but the options were Rajdoot and Yezdi. But by that time, RE had a factory in India, and had a unit who were ready to train the Army to fix the bikes. This and the lack of options made the Bullet a de facto choice for the Army. Having a steady market, Enfield refused to innovate. Indians respect their Armed Forces a lot, which generated even more market for RE.

      Fast forward to now – we have better motorbikes. Manufacturers who compete with each other. People have more options to choose from. Which is a superb scenario!! The key is Enfield isnt learning from it. Their motorbikes are still best suited for the Army. Reason – they are simple to maintain. Most of the enfields that the Army has are pre-1985 – after that its been a lot of CD 100s.

      As far as calling them fools, I would request you to kindly tone down that attitude. In a democracy, the elected representatives have power over the Army. So, even if they want to upgrade stuff, our beloved politicians and babus should approve the purchase requests. Unfortunately, this doesnt happen.

      1. Mr. Mahesh Lal: I hope you understand the sarcasm & I very well know the history. I commented in reply to the actual post by Akhil. I wanted to highlight that our Army which is our nation’s greatest force is using RE since decades & they have created guinness world record of creating human pyramid. I also saw one video on youtube in which one army officer clearly mentioned that they tried many other bikes but only RE was capable for what they wanted to do. I will search for that link & post here.

        1. “Only RE was capable”, really ? Then they must be exaggerating. If RE 500 can do it then a similar bike like Kawasaki w650 , Triumph Bonneville must be able to do the same too.

    2. Army is the reason why Royal Enfield built its factory in India. So they had a sweet heart deal with them from day one there were not many other options available to the Indian Army. The record shows the brilliant skills of the Indian army not the bikes. If you’ll give time and other bike they’ll able to recreate the same. I am not a hater of Royal Enfield but in a pragmatic way I feel that they should change the big single cylinder with a parallel twin for a smoother ride. Once that vibration is low everybody will be happy. 🙂

        1. He told “It is the most powerful bike”, do you believe that ? don’t take him for his words. I am 100% sure apart from Army’s old engine bullet they’ve not tried anything practical for the job. And you please understand I am not writing hate comments. I like to see a better Royal Enfield as much as any other guy. But I feel they need to change otherwise after 15 to 20 years they’ll fail (in 60s same thing happened to them in UK).

  61. 1. Nobody is Stopping you from speeding, any bike u go in design speed u ll get the benefit…. I don think i ll be going in 60s if i get an empty road.
    2. Lack of service ll always lead to problems, not specifically to RE.
    3. One of very few bikes with Heartbeat u can actually feel.
    4. There is nothing like bad brakes in bullet. U need to check it regularly n fix. its ur ignorance causes the accident.
    5. Yes.. Mileage is less.. Even BEnz Do have the same problem !!
    6.That heaviness saved me from so many near misses.
    you can try following simple experiment. Go in 60-70kmph put sudden brake with a Bullet n ny other bike with less weight, u ll find the difference
    Nb: Have some insurance back up!!!!

    1. What?
      Sure. The problem is with RE, even abundance of service doesn’t help sometimes.
      Do you have a recording of this heartbeat?
      How did heaviness saved you from near misses?
      OK. I did the experiment, Bullet didn’t fucking stop for a few meters, then the rear tire slipped and I had to control the bike or it would have fallen. Then after a long time, it came to a halt. On my 390, I brake, I stop.

  62. Hey buddy you can not generalise everything. Most of your opinions are based on one or two experiences. Not that I am just one of those RE lovers who think there is nothing better that Royal Enfield in this world. I have owned 4 different bikes including TVS Centra, CBZ, Pulsar 200 and Bajaj Avenger but amount of trouble I had with these bikes is nowhere close to my Standard 500 or else lemme say it I did not have even a single break down on my Standard 500. This might be a shock for you. So lemme break some of your conception point to point.

    1.Bullets are fucking slow
    – maximum I have done on my Bull is 145 kmph when I had to wait for my fellow bikers none of which was a RE rider for 5 min after covering a distance of 30 km. and just for your knowledge that wasn’t by fluke my standard 500 does 130 kmph very easily. And I don’t think so you consider this as ‘Fucking Slow’.
    And about your encounter with two bulleteers on your way to Goa, you never know may be they were new riders or they were not comfortable riding at high speed and that’s why they were riding slow which is a good thing to do rather than ending up flat on the road bleeding.

    2.Royal Enfields are unreliable
    -I have traveled 26000 + km in less than 6 months on my RE and did not even face a flat tyre on any ride.

    3.Bullets are noisy – and the bad kind of noisy
    – I am one of the rarest kind who haven’t changed my exhaust and I don’t plan to. And I knw it’s not a comparison between duke 390 and RE but still would like to mention I find Duke’s sound Irritating but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad bike.

    4.Bullets have really bad breaks
    – If bullet had bad breaks just imagine how many times I would have crashed riding at speed of 130-140 kmph.

    5.Bullets give shitty mileage
    – My bull gives me mileage in between 30-40 kmpl depending upon my riding speed and that too being a 500 cc engine I don’t think so that’s low.

    6.Bullets are unnecessarily heavy
    – Yes I agree to this point and won’t give any bullshit about how the weight is useful. RE could really loose 30-40 kg weight, which can be easily done by small mods on your own.

    7. Bullets have spoke wheels.
    – Obviously I would love to put on Tube-less tyres on my bike but I have learned many advantages of spiked wheels in my riding experience. Most important no matter how bad road you ride on after the ride you may have to change a few spokes or in worst case get rim-out done. But again I never had to do any of that and as mentioned above never experience a flat tyre on any of rides.

    8. Bullets have fucking long waiting period
    – That’s because people are buying that bike like crazy. And FYI I got my bike in 25 days.

    So basically don’t generalise things just based upon few experiences you had.
    Cheers brother !!!

    1. Sourabh, the Continental GT is the fastest motorcycle RE has made, and that itself does not run up to 140 kmph. Most speedometers over-read, and that’s perhaps why you think you are doing 145 kmph.

      1. You said it right. I have ridden old bullet 350 to A350, TB 500. Max 130 with less wind etc. Claiming 145 is untrue and praise the bullet brakes at assumed 145 is a total lie!!!

        1. Hey Pandian,

          The 130 too is probably not a true reading. I read in Overdrive’s road test of the C-GT that it’s true top speed is 131, while the speedometer reads 139. The error leads to over-reading by about 6%. Nevertheless, this is still a whole 15 kmph more than the TB 500, which manages a true speed of 116 kmph. I am not sure what the speedometer shows.

          Besides, the RE’s do vibrate quite a bit at higher revolutions. Since the engine is a stressed member in the chassis, there is no way to isolate them. The C-GT changes that, but, apparently, still vibrates.

          You can read the C-GT’s road test here: http://overdrive.in/reviews/royal-enfield-continental-gt-india-road-test/

          And an experience of riding 3000 km in 4 days on a 390 and a C-GT is here: http://overdrive.in/features/touring-test-royal-enfield-continental-gt-vs-suzuki-inazuma-250-vs-ktm-390-duke/

    2. I’d agree with you a lot mate…. Felt i could add a few of my own pointers…

      1.Bullets are fucking slow
      – I have a 1963 Bullet, I can touch 120 easily but prefer not to I love to listen to the thump and enjoy my ride.

      2.Royal Enfields are unreliable
      -I have faced issues because of a bad Mechanic. But once i ahve found a good one I have no issues what so ever.

      3.Bullets are noisy – and the bad kind of noisy
      -We just make our presence felt 😛

      4.Bullets have really bad breaks
      – If that’s the case I should have died 8 times my friend.

      5.Bullets give shitty mileage
      – New buillets give about 40Km good enough. My bull give 20-25km good enough.

      6.Bullets are unnecessarily heavy
      – So are CBRs and Hayabusa’s mate.

      7. Bullets have spoke wheels.
      – Managing spoke wheels are easier.If there is a wheel bend in case of a spokes wheel we could fix it. but on a alloy we would just have to discard it and replace it.

      8. Bullets have fucking long waiting period
      – Its never meant for every one to buy it just coz they want it. Its more a test to your patience to see how you would handle

    3. Saurabh, like I said before, REs can be taken to 140, but it is neither safe nor fun. Saw a friend doing it, and it looked dangerous.
      Wow, that is a lot.
      Yeah, even I’m not a big fan of 390s sound, but this point was directed at all those morons who put those irritating exhaust mods.
      I would still stay Bullets have bad breaks in comparison to a lot of bikes out there, even Pulsars.
      Well 30-40 isn’t bad, but it could go way way up if the weight of the bike was reduced.
      When you do experience a flat tire, then we’ll see
      Looks like I’ll have to ride a Bull around India to prove that I mean what I say!

  63. From what little I know RE has addressed these issues in the new Classic 500/350 the new Thunderbird and the Cafe Racer (which is not a cheap bike). I know none of them are Bullets but since you talked a Thunderbird I’m guessing your article is about all RE bikes. I like the points raised and my own personal experience with Bullets has been bittersweet, yes they vibrate a hell lot and yes they are a bitch to ride in traffic but properly tuned you can really feel that thump in your gut. It’s a helluva feeling. Most of the bikes you mentioned are the older REs.

    I would have liked to see you try out a newer model, maybe a Classic or a Thunderbird from last year or a Cafe Racer if you get your hands on one and write another piece on it. Would be interesting to see how RE is upgrading their shit.

  64. Akhil – dude I think you are completely sick.. Agreed you don’t wanna buy RE even if that is the last 2 wheeler in the world, but why are you comparing Duke with RE. Its like you are comparing a leapord with a tiger.. common grow up if your intention was to compare 2 bikes post it like a MAN, why are you dragging the conversation this way.. lolz… You can never compare a sports bike and a cruizer in the world. Every machine has its own advantages and disadvantages. Tell me something other than speed / HP what is the other good thing you can see in your bike ?? I don’t want to give any examples or prove my point which bike is good, but your so in the urge of boasting yourself for writing such a big article so you tell me, in what all other sense your bike is good at when compared to Duke with RE 500 ???

    Awaited for your response dude.. speed up, your grown for speed… lolz… 😀

    1. Bro, If I scroll down the page I only see pros and cons of RE and KTM. I am not here for a debate, I am a rider and I respect every machines be it TVS 50/XL or be it HD Roadster or BMW or KTM. it all depends on individual choices what we want. A person who has BMW or HD always never rides the bike less than 100+ at the same time a person who has TVS50 or bull never rides below 30-40, it all depends on the individual in what speed they are comfort with and the pleasure. If people(NOT YOU AS INDIVIDUAL) have so much guts let them go to race track and show their talent instead of troubling someone or getting into trouble on the city or open roads. I respect you and your choice and every rider in this world but at the same time I see something negative about machines I hate that from bottom of my heart.

      If I had to be in your I would have written an article about the bike which I love and own and would have given complete details about the modification and tweeks which I have done till date and also would have asked suggestion from people to improve the performance or speed or whatsoever which will keep my bike rolling without any hassle when it hits the road. Trust me you will get mind blowing replies and suggestions and spend their valuable time for the same which will help us and others in one or the other way.

      Bitching about a machine or a company will lead us nowhere bro instead will put you down and show what we really are. Some people will enjoy that and we should decide we should be one among them or stand out of them.

      I really apologize if I have spoken something wrong about you or your bike or your choice which I hate to do it as a rider. For me a rider is someone who respect other rider and their choices and help them in need. When someone drop on a ride ( I wish that never happen in anyone’s life) its a rider who comes in for our help not the brand or speed or anything else.

      Wish you all the best for your future rides, happy riding, happy blogging.

  65. Dud u knw wat u hav a sickenin attitude, as i told earlier …… U jus dono wer to draw ur lines wen bloggin…..jus speak sum crap….btw i completely agree tat the new REs’ are absolute bullshit tey are jus a load of shit delivered from RE …..its a huge ass body wit a long handle bar its lik ridin a mammoth splendor…..but u plzzz need to mention some diffrence between t old bullets and t new ones ….t old ones r very comfy and gives absolute pleasure tat a bullet s supposed to giv….overall it givs t xact feel of a bullet tat all are craving for…..by sayin RE suks dosn mean all o tem suk …..don frget t old ones……maybe u havnt ridden 1 r experienced it…im nt at all talkin abt t speed n all ……obvi a bik wich has a history of mor than a century needs some respect man!!! U actually need to b proud tat such a bik is still in production oly in our country …..its jus tat bullet is so very attached to india….no1 can stop t fan followin…..RE has to do sumtin abt t shit its manufacturin !!!!!!

      1. Ur rit ashwin,i never told t old ones are bettr tan t new ones in terms of engine ,speed,othr tings,i tld t ride satisfaction ….it givs tat ‘bullet’ feel tats all, wit t right side gear wich cant b found nw ……and also t CI engine wich is nt being manufacturd anywer nw…..t old ones are lik t vintage vehicles….v can admire it but cant rely on it for performance…..a bik wich is 30-40+ years old is no way bettr tan t new ones….it was jus usd as a gen purpose motorcycle bak then….n also ya i knw enfield india oly got t right to own t brand name….tats t point im tryin to make…ppl will appreciate tat a company so old still exists….though not originally frm india and also not maintainin t standards its supposd to….if it wants to go into tat cruiser biks range…
        I hop tey improv very soon….

        1. Well, it’s not like the sun will stop rising from the east if I don’t agree that it doesn’t rise from the east, now does it?

          Is there a single technical parameter where the older CI, or the LB engines bettered the UCE?

  66. Like I really care of your Crap. If you don’t want to handle a bullet good for you. If the Indian army uses a bike for the last 70years its a “ROYAL ENFIELD” so if by your stand your calling the Indian army a fool to invest on this lethargic bike. Do you even know What offroading is. Bullets don’t need roads because they make their path. Bulleteers do not just need a ride. HAving a Commuter bike made of plastic is no good. you need to earn a bullet and the respect every Bulleteer gets.
    Please know about the bullets and then talk.

    1. Sam, true, the Indian Army had placed an order for Enfield Bullets a little while after India’s independence. The point to remember is it was because of this order RE were able to continue as a company, and not the other way around. And back then, it was sure was the motorcycle that stood out for what the Army required. 50 years later, a lot has changed. The Indian Army has since placed orders for other Indian motorcycles. In 2001, they ordered Bajaj Pulsars. It’s safe to say the Army has moved on.

      And Bullets were not purpose built off-roaders, or cruisers. Do watch this interview of Siddartha Lal, CEO of Royal Enfield, about what category of motorcycles he/ his company thinks the Bullet is categorised under:


  67. Valid reasons not to like an RE. They use substandard parts, are crap for reliability etc etc, but you overlook the feel of ride factor too much. I have a Thunderbird 350 myself and she’s capable of managing 100 km/h+ easily. I ride mostly within the 60-80 km/h range, primarily because our roads are unpredictable. People and animals lazily crossing open highways, worthless drivers who don’t know how to use a lane or indicators mean that high speeds are temporary. It’s like a truck driver I met on the road said “You can drive as fast as you want, in India you won’t cover more than 50-60 kms in an hour because something or the other will slow you down”

    My brother owns a CBR 250R and I love the bike, but I wouldn’t buy it no matter how much better the bike is on paper. My Tbird has given me a ton of issues and I wish RE engineered their bikes to perform at least respectably better than a Splendor. I completely respect your opinion and prospective buyers must read your post to know what they’re signing up for, but statements like “no guy with half a brain will even consider going for an RE in the present scenario.” are uncalled for. People who bought RE’s are happy with them and many of them buy second ones. There must be something that these archaic machines have, that appeals to them right?

    1. “You never marry someone because she is punctual” – Jeremy Clarkson . “Or she has good handwriting” – Me 😀

      RE owner has some emotional attachment with their machine because ownership was a decision taken in heart ignoring the mind. I think it’s similar to the love for childhood TV show Shaktiman.

      I have deduced two reasons for their feelings.

      1. it’s a childhood dream for many to own one. (Very good reason to buy one)
      2. The vibration gives tingle to the tingly bits. 😀 (Don’t know about it)

      1. “RE owner has some emotional attachment with their machine because ownership was a decision taken in heart ignoring the mind” – this is true – though partly.

        For me, its true about every motorbike/car/gadget I have owned, not just my RE. But then its just me.

      2. I loved your reply, Swadhin! Well, when passions and emotions are brought to the table, logic, usually, takes a back seat. I think it’s this very emotional attachment you mentioned about – is what allows them to ignore the apparent flaws of their beloved machines.

        And when someone (like Akhil here) mentioned the flaws he sees in the Bullet, the passions and the emotions are threatened. It’s not like I agree with every point Akhil has mentioned, but it is generally true. But when you see some responses in defence that mention the Bullet is a lion and a lion walks slow – that’s where the passion and emotions blur and turn into, well, you know- something else!

        I have had several debates/ arguments on the topic with my friends who are Bullet fanatics, but it’s a debate that will never end. None of it really matters because in the end, I have toured half the country with them, and I am pretty sure I’ll tour the remaining half with them too!

        Happy riding!

    2. Feel of ride is not something I can pull out of a spec sheet. The experience of riding a Bullet is something different and can’t be explained, especially to someone like you who hates RE this much. Don’t get me wrong I’m not a “Boys ride plastics, men ride Bullet” person. 350cc or 500cc aren’t manly displacements by a long shot.

      My simple explanation is, every Enfield rider faces a butt load of issues with their bike, but so many of them are die hard loyalists and still keep buying them. The quality is poor, the performance is substandard, the price is high, but you can easily spot a Bullet made in 2000 still running every day. Spotting a 2000 CBZ won’t be as easy.

      You enjoy your Duke 390 because its bloody fast and agile. My RE gives me a more involved ride, than I didn’t get with the Duke. I don’t expect you to understand it, but I can only hope you can respect that.

  68. Wow I just kept scrolling and scrolling to reach to post my comment here. This shows that RE has a fan following and they cant take anything said or written or spoken (personal experience) against RE. That being said, even Salman has a fan following still that doesn’t make him a better human being. (These will be my last words if a Sallu Fan reads this). Akhil’s post here is straight forward and to the point. I agree with it. I am a person who is looking for a bike which gives me complete satisfaction. The person who buys an RE is because he wants to buy an RE not for the specs or the ‘Feeling’ just because its an RE.

    If you are spending 1.5 lakh Rupees and are willing to wait for over a year *RESPECT BRO* you are a true fan of RE who doesn’t give a shit about what other bikes have to offer. But I would say one thing. Please don’t say that RE tops every other bike. No it doesn’t. On paper on road it just doesn’t. There are far better bikes out there and companies like HD and Triumph are making their mark in India. There is no such thing as Made In India any more. Even if you buy RE the riding gear is not made in India.

    The fan following just doesn’t make sense here. A unicorn will give a far better performance than RE. I have met some guys from Nagpur who have made the ladhak-leh trip on their Unicorn and Pulsar from Nagpur and return. Amazing right.

    Its a mad world of RE’s and HD’s out there each one trying to prove that there are no better bikes there. But a true rider will appreciate this fact and also the fact that its all in the rider. Obviously bike matters at some point. But not RE. Please!

    Finally, Akhil. Thanks for a brilliant post. I am flattered buy your response given to the RE fans all over. True riding spirit.

  69. wow spot on. don’t agree with few comments, but like your sense of humour and sarcasm. I own a yezdi 250, and I feel most bullets should be compared with this bike, as their technology hasn’t changed much. The brand is amazing, but the brand owners (Eicher Group) don’t want to be like the Harlies and Indians as seen in the global industry.

  70. Right you are . I thought I was the only one who do feels Royal enfield actually sucks nothing else.

    1. Loved the piece. Though I must say, I am not a passionate biker. I hate both, the bullet as well as the duke. The irritating noise of the duke just flips me out. Bullet with all its problems. Though I love the noise. I ride a Pulsar 200 and just upgraded to a 220. Though i dont agree with the comparison of a Duke and a Pulsar. Its like comparing Peaches with Pineapples..(Pun intended). Just as I see Bullet fans, I am a true Pulsar fan no matter how much the engine sucks!!

      1. I rode my Pulsar 150’s ass all through india, it is a brilliantly reliable and awesome machine. Took it to Ladakh without a single hiccup.
        Yeah many people don’t like the sound of a Duke, I have gotten used to it 🙂 Doesn’t matter what you ride anyway (apart from a shitty Bullet of course). Cheers!

  71. well well first of all its a thanks to Akhil for the article which has set off the non-ending battle. I m sure this battle between bulleteers and bikers will never end even if we argue for centuries. My story is no different, From my childhood(in the nineties) I was made to believe that bullets(the old std 350) is a class apart. My brother admired bullets(and the guys who ride it) and has narrated infinite times the brilliant experiences of riding bullets which he borrowed from one or the other. Naturally the sickness passed on to me and I also started admiring bullets!!!

    When I landed on my first job I wanted a commuter bike and bought a bajaj pulsar in 2005. The RE was out of question simply because of the cost and secondly because of the respect to RE. I might have felt that I m not grown up enough to buy an RE, I dnt know.

    Now I am 32 years reasonably settled (and married) and just thinking of replacing my old pulsar, My first choice came in the form of Honda unicorn which is easy, trouble free, a perfect replacement for my pulsar(still I believe the bullet is for someone special). But as soon as my family came to know of the bike replacement they all came up surprisingly with one choice, a bullet!!!

    My mother asked me to buy that bike with dug dug dug sound which Mr, salam of uppathil house (neighbour) is riding because she likes the sound and the looks( she dont know the name of the bike)

    My uncle want me to buy it because he think its a more safe vehicle. He has rarely seen bullets meeting accidents and believe bikes are more pron to accidents,

    My mother in law, grand mother, grand grand father all of them had their reasons why I should go for a bullet(they are not much familiar with newer models of RE). no need to say what my brother said.

    The biggest surprise came from my wife who offered me two of her golden bangles for that extra amount above the cost of a unicorn so that she can be proud that her hus is riding a bullet. This shocked me as she treated her gold ornaments dearer next to our son.

    Guys I dont know whether bullets are good or crap, But one thing I now understand is this piece of machine has commanded a dug dug feeling in the hearts of so many people not only the bike enthusiastic. Our society is giving a privilaged respect for RE owners. I dont know whether all of this will change or not but a few months from now a child will be admiring and making up his mind that he too will buy a bullet when he sees me riding my new machine

    1. Biking is what you love… not what other people like family and neighbor. So think of it once more.

    2. That is THE most interesting story surrounding a Bull that I’ve ever heard 🙂
      Good luck with your bike Sivan! I hope it lives up to the expectations of you, your neighbours, and your extended family 😉

  72. Hey akhil….brilliant post…..trying to get my friends to understand the problems associated with buying an enfield.
    I started with riding my friend’s passion then his rx135 then another friend’s apache 160 and a karizma and a 1980’s bullet and also the unicorn…..after I had enuf experience I got my first bike an apache 160 which I barely rode and was mostly used by my friends since I abused their bikes for years….soon got a job and got myself a zx9r sold it after a year and got the 390 and now owner of a street triple…y I mentioned all is to actually share what I have felt so far on various bikes…..of all these bikes…..the enfield never excited me……all those stories myths and rumours created by owners just make themselves believe its better…..yes I do agree the enfield has the sweetest sound I have heard on a single cylinder bike, but thats with stock exhaust. …ppl put those punjabs silencers and what not…..it sounds terrible. ….loud is not sweet…..every engine has a distinct exhaust note…..for me the inline 4 are the sweetest. …..whenever u hear that u know something good is around and start lookin for it……hear a loud bullet and im left abusing the bastard to tone it down….infact if u notice, the craze caught up in the last decade or so…..prior to that the 2nd hand rates were terrible…..with a slow manufacturing process and long waiting times , the 2nd hand prices shot up……infact no offence to anyone but the continental gt is the worst bike I have ever ridden in my life…..its like those extra 35cc they got by boring the 500 just screwed it up …..it vibrates so much its no fun to ride….its a perfect bike for a horny elephant for use as a vibrator…..no offense I aint an hd fan but honestly I think the re fan club just tries to be a kind of the hog riders group. ….since they cudnt afford it they tried to create their own…….I cant find one single positive about an enfield. …agreed the standard 500 isnt too bad…..but for the price u cud get better bikes……honestly I believe if u have never cornered hard once in ur life, u wudnt even know wat bikes and riding is all about….if its just wind on ur face and bug splash. …pop ur head out of a car or a rickshaw thats goin fast…..and whats with the top speed shit….ppl say touched 145 – 135 wat not…..wats the big deal ?? The 390 does 150+ plus with ease…but yes it does start to show its weakness after that if stretched too far, but hey its just a 375cc and its a bang for the buck…..those metzeler m5 are a bang for the buck, stock abs, an informative dash, its a bang for the buck…..not saying this cuz I owned one but honestly anything felt underpowered after the zx9 and since triumph was on its way and I wanted something to ride got the 390 for about just 2-3 months to have something to ride….I did find it underpowered but it kept me happy in mumbai traffic …..and come on wats with ppl comparing the 390 and the bull……the 390 is made in india and sold in over 70 countries……is anyone sayin that all these countries are stupid. ….things have evolved. ….high time bikes do too….if u r genuinely a re fan…..get an old well maintained or restored one as a collectors item and keep it…..ride it on a weekend ride then its understandable…..u use it as a commuter and call it royal. …..stop defending, start accepting……its days r gone ….it was good for its time…..infact it was outdated in the 70s and 80s itself , it cud never compete with an rd……infact rd is still a thrilling machine, it just has terrible brakes…..simple point being made …..if u really want exclusivity with an re…..buy an old one ride once a week and get another bike for daily use…..cuz honestly if any sensible person actually thinks logically and just doesn’t go with the crowd they will see the flaws of it….buying an enfield doesnt make u a man, and by no means it is a lion….If lions were so common then no one wud ever call them exotic creatures…..I urge bikers to actually test ride different bikes and actually push it hard……and by hard I dont mean straight line top speed…..lean it into a corner till u scrape the foot peg…..feel it….then decide whats the right thing to do……if u say thats just not ur style then whats the point…..r u just gonna ride forever at 60? and u just bought it to get attention and to fit in?? They have bad engines…..I can just keep finding faults with that bike, but its all in vain, ppl will just hate me and probably think of it when they sleep and get disturbed about the truth but will still hate me…..I mean no disrespect to anyone, there are guys who have riden many more bikes than me and have a lot more experience. …it is purely my view about bullets and I just put forward my point, others will their views amd im more than willing to losten, if they do have some logic in it im more than willing to change my view…..probably the longest comment ever, hope wasnt a total bore. Cheers and happy cornering……

    1. That’s exactly my thought process Tushar, it is a decision completely devoid of logic to go for an Enfield in today’s time. Well, happy to know that there are others who feel the same! Cheers.

    2. OK this is probably gonna be a cliche..but Akhil dude… For the sake of an argument..have you ever fallen in love with someone? Do you look for logic for falling in love ..or you keep finding niggles in someone you love..no dude.. once your heart is set you will go for it .. That’s what I’ll relate buying an Enfield to.. Look man every sane Indian knows the problems you get with buying an Enfield but they still go for it because..fuck logic.. they love riding one!.. You are asking these ppl to explain love.. how can they.. You have to experience it.. If you are not able to experience that.. Fine.. Find a KTM 390 or whatever keeps you happy. But just don’t write an article just to hate upon a brand which you don’t understand but millions of others are able to..

      1. Hey man. Let’s say you love an assholic, stupid, abusive girl, but you are in head over heels. You are too much of a fanatic to see the obvious wrongs, and you don’t listen to others. You marry the bitch.
        Now she is your wife, her problems are your problems. Every logic that you ignored in the beginning is now staring you right in the face. You are tired of its tantrums, really want to kill her/yourself, and life feels like a bunch of monkey balls being stuffed down your throat.
        If this is a scenario that looks comfortable and desirable to you, then fuck all logic and please continue with your love 🙂

    3. Most of you would have had this experience – a Big built Macho in college flexing his huge bulk in a tight T shirt but on a day of reckoning he is beaten up by a guy half his size in front of all the college girls and boys. That’s exactly what the Royal Enfield is all about ” Much ado ’bout Nothing”. They are slow and lazy, try climbing up a steep hill, it heats up. Drive it on the straight, it rattles the hell out of you beyond 80 kmph. After 30 mins. you stop to check you will eventually find the tool box or the battery cover or some nut or bolt working itself loose during that 30 min of blissful ride. The RE was known as The Royal Oil Field in its hay days. It had hardly won any acclaim in the company of Triumphs, Nortons, BSAs, Matchless & Ariels. The only Twin that REnfield tried to make a success of was a 700cc twin called Meteor or Constellation. It failed because of a faultily designed straight crank without a centre bearing. I owned a Royal Enfield for 8 years regretfully because there was no choice. I explored every possibility to improve the performance e.g bought an original 25mm Mikuni from Japan. There was instant improvement in idling, pickup and to some extent mileage ( 35 – 37 ) . But even with all this the speed remained the same . It didn’t significantly decrease the vibration. Dead pan product.
      You know why people buy The R Enfield ? As a kid they have heard their dad and uncles repeatedly praising & drooling over the manly baritone slow dhap dhap dhap note that sent their aunts into ecstacy, a childhood dream to own The BULLAT fulfilled. My son owns one and I don’t bother to even touch it even though I have dismantled and assembled every nut and bolt of The RE 350cc several times.
      The Big Bad Brute can’t sprint – its a Pehalwan in slow motion. Any 150 cc bike today can outrun this obsolete clumsy behemoth with a double fuel efficiency. Some say the latest R Es have received modern treatment, Bull Shit – the 150 cc still shows their arse to the REs in a jiffy.

      1. I know! But if you go through the comments, you’ll still see so many Bull riders who will try their best to disprove you. Royal Enfields are bullshit, useless, antique items that have no use in the real world.

      2. Their psyche is simple because they own a RE. Let them ride a 150 cc Honda Trigger or a Suzuki GS 150 R for a week they’ll change their opinion I’m sure without further convincing.

  73. Instead of writing, why you “hate” a bike which you never owned/experienced for at least a year..I would appreciate if you could write a nice blog..8 reasons!! why I love my so and so bike which satisfied me from every angle (duke or whatever)..I am sure you wouldn’t grab that much attention/visitors on your “personal” blog for which you must be having proud of..its silly google brought me here to read nonsense “hatred”….njoy ride..have Peace dear!!

    1. I read this blog and your blog about your D390…I think you answered your question yourself in the other blog …. Yes every machine has its own faults, yes we still love our bikes no matter how much tension they might give us….

      For the record I don’t own a RE or a Duke and have never ridden them…. I ride a normal 150 cc commuter. I used to ride my Dad’s 1973 Jawa as child and used in my college days.. that was the time when KB 100, CD 100 and RX 100 were the rage for college students… but I still preferred the Jawa.. it was simple, easy to maintain… not the best or fastest or most fuel efficient…but was in a way unique and it stood out…most of all I had memories associated with it. Over time it just became too old and worn out to be used before I finally stopped using it in 2000. The best 7000 rupees my Dad spent on a new bike. I wish I’d spent some time and money to keep it working…oh well…hindsight.

      So is the RE a good bike ?…I think not… for all the reasons you shared and more… but the RE owner will have stories to tell and memories to share. That, my friend, is why people love their bikes… not for the thump, or the torque, or cornering or what ever most people have listed out… all those are transient… your riding style and preferences will change over the 10 -15 years that you own the bike…but the stories…they remain. Most of them who buy it today have heard those stories and want to create their own with RE as a part of it. Why RE…well I think because you can ride it at the age of 20, 40 or 60…imagine doing that with the D390 with a wife and kid… see what I mean… the RE will be there as a part of your story as the chapters change. The D390 or most modern bikes… not as much… they simply are not built that way. That does not make them bad bikes, just limits their ability to fit in to different lifestyles.

      That is the logic. when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

      1. When you put it like that 🙂 Sure I can’t carry anyone on my back seat, but there are plenty of bikes available which are good for this activity, while also being much better than the REs in every aspect.
        My aim was not to pit the 390 against the REs, it was just to point out the flaws of a machine that has (surprisingly) a cult following in our country.

      2. Agree with your point about the cult following … put it down to us being Indian… we do a lot of crazy shit that defies logic…

  74. I had a time one riding 180cc bikes. after changing to Bullet I have a feeling that I have platinum Insurance. I will not agree with the points of speed, brake, reliability and noise. its different according to each vehicles. I can ride 120 kmph in a normal way without giving so much struggle to my bike. It can go down from 120 to 30 kmph in 3 to 4 seconds. My tarpet road was broken for three hundred km and it was still running. so i trust him for the rides. Of Course mega bass silencers can make lot of noise but there is some other convertors we can use o make it silent wit the same price.. may be your experience made you to think like this but I have many stories to explain about my bulliiiii …. 🙂

  75. HAha this one insane post, It all comes down to ur tastes ,Respect every bike, and every one of em has their advantages n disadvantages,In terms of the royal enfield, i agree with all the above points, but u cant deny its feel, Its a big cruiser type of bike, Not at all meant for top speeds, but cruise at respectable speeds for a prolonged period, that way i would say the engine can handle high heat and continous speeds for a period of time, Well im a 6ft 2 guy, ppl have always told me go for the bullet, But for one i cant wait that long for a bike,2im not a big fan of the bullet, i respect it, but not that keen on buying one, As all you guys argue between RE, ktm, pulsar ,yamaha , im a honda customer :), Rode a old honda unicorn for 6 years but i gotta say i really gave that bike a beating but it stuck by me, Now i am upgrading to a cbr 250r , i think it can play both a cruiser and a fast bike role if needed.But more of cruising type, End of the line it comes down to personal preferences and tastes and each person’s are different and mine is honda soo yep 🙂

    1. Well Raghav, I neither respect REs, nor I like them 🙂 That doesn’t mean I don’t respect the riders, anyone who is ready to ride such a fucked up machine from Kashmir to Kanyakumari is a lunatic in my eyes, and I respect lunatics.
      I would personally advice against the CBR, only because its replacement is imminent now. The sales of CBR250 have dwindled significantly, and the 300 should be here soon. Rest, your choice!

  76. I own a Pulsar 180 and RE Classic 350. All i can say is, Bullets are just for showoff now. RE sucks when it comes to comfort, control and every other aspect. And the spoke wheels and tube tyres!!!
    I know the pain.. I still love pulsar and love to ride pulsar always. RE is just when i need to make my presence:-) Never a bullet unless you have another bike!

    1. Chinmay, I think the presence factor is also slowly going away. Bullets are everywhere! And the new versions don’t look as awesome as the old ones.

  77. Your write up is grammatically correct, I’ll give you that. You have managed to create quite a long discussion, I’ll give you that too, but one thing I’m sure of, is that Little shits like you with no regard to the most basic law of the land(speed limit) should not be allowed to drive!!

    Seems like someone on a Royal Enfield(Bullet is not the correct name) hurt the puny little ego of yours!!

    P.S.– Give respect to get respect.

    1. Hehe, like I like said before Vikram, I don’t respect Royal Enfields at all. They are sub-standard, obsolete, purposeless machines. I do respect the people who take such shit ass pieces of metal to Ladakh and beyond though, they are awesome.
      You are also right that at most times I do not follow the speed limit laws. My personal opinion is that riding on/under the speed limit on a bike in India is a akin to committing suicide, someone is going to jam something up your ass sooner or later. If my 60k odd kms of riding experience, with no mishaps, is anything to go by, I would suggest other riders to do the same as well.
      I really don’t remember there being an incident where a Bullet owner hurt my ego, I also find it hard to imagine a situation where that is even remotely possible! But it’s OK, I get your point.

    2. As I said before, not like. Get your grammar right at least. The whole article reeks of insecurity. No matter how hard you try to discourage people from buying Enfields, they will invariably buy more!! Do you see RE ads anywhere? NO! Go,crawl back in your cave, kid.

      1. For someone teaching another about grammar, you ought to know you must maintain a space after a punctuation.

    3. Royal enfields are still selling for their looks…few things like the spokes cant be changed…
      As for the engine specs they cater to people who want slow acceleration + consistent high(not very high though) speeds (read segment other than cbr+ ktm + pulsars etc so dont compare with them)
      Has a history(a very long one)
      Is a premium segment but still affordable
      So thats some present market scenario
      Can you name a bike which caters to this segments needs better than enfield?

      1. Let me club all the needs here:
        1. Slow acceleration
        2. Not very high speed
        3. History
        Umm, does Bajaj M80 count? It is slow in acceleration, top sped, and has a history of quarter of a century.
        Personally, I don’t understand the concept of “history”. Sure I’d love to own a bike that had been consistently performing good for last 50 yrs, but why would I want to own a bike which hasn’t changed in the last 50 yrs? You can go slow and cruise at low speeds on ANYTHING, Avenger, 220, Duke, Platina. Just because the Bullet has a lot of metal and has a “history” doesn’t make it any different, logically.

  78. omg..! who said ROyal enfield can do only 60? and yu know how about its torque with its long stroke engine? yu know wat these torques can do? you know about its safety? and yu r talking about brakes.! , and yu are talking abt rubber end on exhaust..! it clearly shows ,the guy who wrote this article knows nothing about RE!

    -> i accept RE’s are not fast like sports bike,but it can easily do 120kmph, tats pretty enough for indian roads.! and RE engine is designed with long stroke length wch can deliver less horses but more torque ,which is very well known for comfortable long rides.( yu may get pain at initial rides, even a busa ll give yu pain until yur body sync with riding position), ppl can even do 1000kms comfortably without stopping their REs. yur plastic bike ll make yur butts burn within 100kms.!

    -> and about brakes ,RE is one of the best motorcycles with best brakes.!

    -> the silly rubber end on exhaust is a myth,ppl says it can give punching sound, but its a big false,…if yu experianced it-yu can easily identify it as useless.. but yu are saying it creates noise, this clearly shows you are barking here blindly.!!

    -> RE’s are most safest vehicles in india. its weight and riding height gives yu rock solid stability on roads.but yu told “why not tie 25 kg dumbbells all over the bike until there is no space left?”..omg, its ass fucking funny comment i ever heard ..! rofl. seriously ,yu have great sense of humour..!

    -> and every RE can give an economy of 40+ kms per litre.!! tats fucking better than 150ccs and 200ccs plastic’s mileage..!

    -> REs can be usable even after 30years, search yur plastics from garbage.

    ->and ppl like yu dont know how it feels while ride royal enfield.

    and every1 here knows ,you have not enough money to buy a enfield.
    ->pls atleast dont be jealous of it.!

  79. It’s a long reply. You’ve had some fitting ones already but just go through mine. I know it’s not gonna change how you feel BUT, I’m an optimist. I gotta try. I’ve broken it point-by-point as you’d written your article. Do reply when you’re through reading it.
    1. You expect us all to go fast ALL the fucking time? Sir, please survey the condition of our beautiful Indian roads first! Let’s say I’m on a CBR250R (or is it a VFR…no,wait. It looks like a VFR but is called a CBR…hmm…right. Anyway, I digress) So let’s say I’m on a Honda CBR 250R or a Duke 390 (beautifully made machines,btw) and I’m cruising along at 120 km/h on SIXTH gear. Suddenly, there’s a pothole RIGHT THERE! Or a Gazelle crosses the road! Or a dog comes in your way! Or someone talking on the phone didn’t notice you and starts crossing the road! Or a car which was cruising on the left lane suddenly encounters a bad patch and swerves to the right lane! What? Swerve? Brake? Don’t advertise that you’re a speed demon…that’s just jackassery. If you’re on the track, go for it. On the road, you’re just reducing your precious reaction time. Ride safe. Also,ALL REs don’t have an issue staying over 80 km/h. Torque is more than adequate for a quick spin up to 100/120/140 (140 is purely Café Racer territory :D) for highway overtakes.
    2. Unreliable? It’s pure luck. Someone who buys a Honda for the first time and gets a bad piece, may call all Hondas unreliable for the rest of his life! Similarly, some RE owners must be very happy and satisfied with the reliability of their Royal Enfields! I know I am!
    3. Noisy? Go fuck yourself, man. If it’s making a bad noise, be it Cast Iron/AVL or fucking UCE, it’s because the owner is a moron! Don’t put it on the bike!
    4. Bad brakes. For something that is supposed to be ridden in peace, the brakes are adequate. Exception is the Bullet STD 350 (Even I don’t agree with all drum brakes in today’s day and age). Also, the TB500 and Continental GT excel in the braking department. So,it’s not like the company isn’t moving forward.
    5. Mileage? Seriously man, go fuck yourself! You want mileage, buy the Splendor iSmart! Be happy!
    6. Heavy. Yes. Royal Enfields are heavy. Very similar to an SUV being heavier than a hatchback. It’s got more ‘body’,more ‘chassis’, much,MUCH more ‘engine’. So yeah. RE’s are heavy. So are Harleys, Triumphs, Indians etc. Get over it. Can’t handle the bulk? Bulk up. Or don’t buy it. Don’t hate it for such a flimsy reason.
    7. Spoked wheels. Negative, yes. But sometimes, you have to take a hit for looks. Have you SEEN an RE with alloys? I wouldn’t be seen riding one!…even pillion!…not even if I’m dead and strapped pillion!
    BUT. The Continental GT has ‘spoked’ rims,right? Wrong. It has aluminium alloys which look like spoked wheels. Best of both worlds right there, thank you Royal Enfield!
    8. Long waiting period. Duh. Come on,man. Is the MS Swift a bad car just because it has an 8 month waiting? Or the Ford Ecosport? Or the VW Polo? It has a long waiting because people BUY it! My close friend bought a CBR250R in Jan 2013. He got an option of next day delivery and a choice of 2 colours because bikes were lying in the yard since December 2011. That showroom was selling their SECOND CBR250R! Wow! No one buys it! What good is the production volume if the customer base is non-existent?

    Also, you referred to all Royal Enfields as Bullets. Not so. There are 3 Bullets: Std 350, Electra and Std 500. Then Classics: Classic 350 and Classic 500 (Standard,Chrome and Desert Storm). Then Thunderbirds: 350 and 500. Finally, the Continental GT (which I’m a proud owner of).
    If you’re going to write such a definitive, NEGATIVE article about something, study it up first.


    1. OK! Long and angry one. Let’s see.
      1. Sarthak, even Hero Honda Passion can do 100 kmph (I think), Activas can touch 90, CB1000 can reach 250 and a MotoGP bike can cross 320. The point is, there’s a certain range to each bike where it is “comfortable” to ride. Like on my Duke 390, I can cruise at 140 and I still know I am in control, because the bike is always planted, and the brakes are superb. You see what I mean? Bullets can touch 120, sure, but then you won’t want to panic break from there, or negotiate a blind curve, or avoid an asshole on the road.
      My intention is not to look like a so-called speed freak, but I find it much safer to stay above the speed limit rather than below it. Also, on long journeys, like Mumbai to Delhi to Bangalore, it’s really useful if you can keep an average speed of around 100 kmph (including stops), which can’t be done on any RE.
      2. I don’t really have figures here to tell you that this many RE owners had this many issues and this many Honda owners had these many problems, but it is a well-known fact that Bullet’s aren’t the most reliable thing in the universe. During my rides, I have seen many such cases of breakdowns involving Bullets. Have heard many such stories. Rarely do I hear that some guy was going about on his CBR250R and his exhaust/headlight/battery cover fell off.
      3. Part of the reason why you go for a certain bike is because of the kind of people who ride them. I like racers, MotoGP, Isle of man and stuff, so I like quick and lean machines. Some people like Hells Angels etc., they ride Harleys. I would prefer not to buy a bike whose owners are well known posers, and prefer to ride a piece of shit machine and blindly praise and fight for it constantly.
      4. Braking is measured in certain parameters, like bite, fading etc. In my experience, REs have some of the worst brakes out there, even the new ones. They have a very soft, chewey feeling, and fade rather quickly. This problem is exacerbated by the bike’s huge bulk, which makes it even harder for the shitty brakes to stop the inertia. This is another reason why Bullets aren’t fast, you know very well that the bike won’t stop quickly, you don’t have the confidence in it, so you can never safely ride it over that 70-80 kmph barrier.
      5. Ahan.
      6. SUVs have certain advantages due to their heavy weight over a standard car. They are expected to move through tough terrains, take the brunt of a fall, and stay planted no matter bad the track gets. The unnecessary weight of an RE gives it no advantage at all. The parts don’t get any added strength due to the weight, which you can tell by how unreliable they are. The weight makes it difficult to move through tough terrains, to enjoy leaning and quick acceleration, and to stop quickly and safely. Harley’s, Triumphs and Indians have exponentially bigger engines than REs and are much more powerful. Please don’t compare your Bullet to an SUV or a Harley/Triumph/Indian.
      7. Didn’t know about the Conti spoked-alloy thingy. If it does the job, awesome! I have seen quite a few REs with alloys, they don’t look any more ghastly than a normal one with spokes.
      8. A bike with no definitive purpose, no standout feature, just old style tradition bullshit, should not have such a long waiting period! Again, please don’t compare your bike to a Swift or a Polo or Ecosport, they have long waiting periods because production can’t meet the demand. RE artificially creates this scarcity to prove some point that I don’t care about. They say the bike is handmade, I say who gives a fuck? It looks like every other RE other there, might as well make it on a production line and make it more reliably.
      I refer to all REs as Bullets because I really don’t give a shit. They all look the same, ride the same, and sound the same. The Conti is an exception, but who cares.

    2. Sarthak, the RE C-GT does have aluminium alloy rims, but it’s still uses wire-spokes to transfer load to the hub. You can see the spoke nipples at where it meets the rim in this image. http://www.theautomotiveindia.com/forums/attachments/two-wheels/128453d1393867092-royal-enfield-continental-gt-review-12874635083_cd5dfebafc_b.jpg

      A cast, or forged alloy wheel on the other hand has an integrated hub, spokes and rim – a single piece.

      I guess, on the C-GT they are using some kind of a sealant, or rim tapes (or both) to make the rim air-tight and use the tubeless tyres. BMWs and Aprilia’s too run some of their adventure motorcycles with spoked rims (as they’re easier to repair) with tubeless tyres, but they use a different type of rim configuration.

      1. Ashwin, I don’t know if you noticed or not but I never said that the GT has a cast or forged Alloy. I said its a combination of the two. The rim too, is load bearing now, being aluminium alloy (doesn’t bend/break) and transfers weight to the hub uniformly, making the spokes less susceptible to breaking/bending/slipping. This ensures longevity of your wheel and protects your tires as well.
        Correct,btw…the tires on my CGT are tubeless. Another plus for Royal Enfield I believe.

        1. Sarthak, well aluminium is lighter, and that is its biggest advantage. I see a lot of forum where they mention about the aluminium rims as alloy wheels, which is not entirely correct. Yes, the material used to make the rim isn’t pure aluminium, but an alloy, but that does not qualify the wheel to be called as an alloy wheel.

          Anyway, congratulations on your C-GT! I haven’t been a RE fan, but the C-GT did make me take notice. And I must say your response to this thread is fairly commendable. But I do not entirely agree with you on the reliability/ build quality part. It’s not like I agree with everything Akhil has written either, but that’s for another day.

          I have toured quite a bit, and mostly with guys on Bullets. I don’t remember a single trip where one (if not more) Bullets gave up.

          2011 trip to Ladakh, with 2010 RE Thunderbird 350 Twinspark LB: The fuse failed, twice. The rear brakes wore out completely after about 1000 km. The front disc brakes failed after 2000 km. All this, in spite of a regular service done at an authorised service station, a day before the start of the trip.

          2012 trip to Rajasthan, with a 2001 Machismo: The alternator failed in the middle of Thar desert. We had to truck it to Bujh and fix it, only for it to fail again the next day. The exhaust pipe too fell off, but we had got used to it. In the same trip, the other 1995 Standard had its rear brake lever hub break-off from the chassis.

          2010 trip to Coorg, with the 2001 Machismo: The air-filter housing fell off.

          Other trips have had other niggles like the motorcycle dying when it rains, and dying for other reasons – all in spite of regular servicing by their touring owners.

          A friend who picked up a brand new Electra in 2011 had trouble with the gearbox and complained to the service station. When they finally agreed to look at it, they found a loose nut inside. The same motorcycle also had issues with the air-filter, which led to a damaged carburettor, and perhaps the engine block too, but the service shop convinced him there was no harm done to the engine.

          A friend who picked up a brand new Standard 350 (just before they stopped the cast-iron engines) notice it died every 1 km. Problem was the air-lock in the fuel tank. Instead of replacing the cap as they should have, they scratched the paint off the lid to create “enough gap” to prevent an air-lock.

          I could go on, but you get the gist. Yes, if the C-GT is to go by, they are improving, but they still need to go a long way.


          1. No argument there, Ashwin. REs have been unreliable in the past, as I accepted. Key word being ‘past’. A friend’s Classic 350 (Aug 2012) had to get an engine replacement at 12000 km as he had completely hammered it. (To be fair, he used to ride his RE like a RX 135).
            But the newer machines are brilliant! A classic chrome 500 which a close friend of mine owns (I ride it more than him,actually) has more than 20k km on the clock. Apart from regular servicing and oil changes, not a single thing done! The only complaint I had with RE which I took up with the workshop manager too is the way the bike was returned to us. Greasy finger marks were all over the beautiful chrome tank. (Yes,I take my machine THAT seriously). I got them polished out at the workshop itself and got a free Motul chain lube out of the deal. (yay!)

            The GT too has been working like a charm. *touch wood!* The engine is clean as a whistle, no oil marks anywhere. I check the seals of the block regularly, especially the gear lever area, and it has been absolutely clean. The gearbox too is slick and the throws are crisp and much shorter than other REs. I’ve ridden it 5k+ kms in less than 4 months now (I stay in Ahmedabad and my Office is in Mumbai…no,I’m not crazy. I’m in the merchant navy) so I keep making regular trips. Other than that, I’ve been to Mt Abu and Daman & Diu, once each. No issues yet. One of my buddies on his Duke 390 did have to stop because of ‘coolant overheating’ but I guess it’s a one off thing.

            What I mean is that REs’ unreliability factor is fading! Give ’em a chance,atleast.

          2. There would no one happier than me if RE solved their reliability issues. However, let me chip in with the example of my roommate. He bought a Thunderbird 350 in March. Since the very beginning, the engine leaked oil from the bottom, still does. The instrument cluster needs frequent spanner love, or it gets loose enough to fall right down. He isn’t getting good average either, about 35-38 kmpl. This is a bike that I see everyday.
            If you read the comments and go through other people’s experiences, you’ll find that many RE owners feel that the new models are BAD as compared to the old ones. I’ve seen people with choked carbs because the the paint on the inside of the fuel tank flaked out and jammed the poor sucker. A friend of mine owns a 6 months old Desert Storm, and he has lost his battery cover, exhaust, and some other parts on a few occasions. He is now not able to ride his bike, since the battery cover is not in stock since a long time.
            I know this post has morphed into a something that makes me look like a hater of REs and their riders, and it is partly true as well. I absolutely detest Royal Enfield motorcycles, just like I detest hardcore religious institutions. They create an aura of fanaticism around them that many people fall for, and even when they see and experience everything that is wrong with their beliefs, they still continue, and also try to fight other people who try to show them how miserable things really are. You might feel that I’m an asshole in not listening to your reasons and explanations, but if you see the bigger picture, you’ll understand how awful the entire RE scenario is.

          3. I forgot to add that I’ve ridden the CGT in heavy rains and forded water so deep that it was almost touching the tank bottom. All the other bikes were waiting for the water to subside or taking a different route. A Daewoo Cielo was floating. I still said, ‘what the heck’ and went for it. I thought it was gone for sure, everything being electronic. But, surprise, surprise! It powered through and is still working perfectly fine. Kudos to RE’s quality control department there!

        2. Interesting, I knew the talk of torque would come up! And I guess I have made one previous comment in this very post.

          Well, the simplest way to make more torque in an IC engine is to increase its capacity. So a 500 cc engine could easily make twice as much as a 250 cc engine. The product of toque and the RPM at what it is produced is power – and that is what describes what the engine does. (Power = Torque X RPM).

          And besides, the gearbox and the drive-train between the engine and the rear wheel changes a lot of things.

          RE C-GT makes 44 N-m at 4000 RPM, and redlines at about 5100 RPM.

          CBR 250R makes 23 N-m at 7000 RPM, and redlines at about 10500 RPM.

          The CBR runs on 17” wheels, and the C-GT on 18”. Let’s assume for the moment, both run on 17.5” wheels. Now, because the CBR is revving almost twice as fast as the C-GT, the gearbox on it must step down the speed about twice as much to achieve a similar drive wheel RPM. When you step down RPM, you step up torque.

          So torque on the rear wheel of the CBR after being stepped up is something close to what the rear wheel on the C-GT sees, or maybe even a little more. So, looking at the power output of the engine gives you a more realistic picture.

          Now, coming over to longevity – at maximum torque, you are just 1000 RPM below redline on the RE versus about 3500 RPM below redline on the Honda. You are that much closer to the edge on the RE than the Honda.

          I ride a Pulsar 220 DTS-i, and a speedometer indicated 100 kmph is at 6250 RPM; and it redlines at 10000 RPM – about 60% of what the engine can run.

          And do check out the following two links for some differences between long stroke versus short stroke engines.



          Also, check this review from Overdrive:

          And this interview of RE’s CEO saying he could get the C-GT to 90 mph on a downhill with a little tailwind.

          And this comparison between the C-GT, Inazuma and the D390 on a 2500 km road trip.


          1. Akhil, is there a limit on the number of replies a single thread can have? I can’t seem to have the ‘reply’ link showing up under the post I want to reply to!

            In any case, the torque advantage holds good only if the engine’s crankshaft is coupled directly to the rear wheel without a gearbox. But since we do have a gearbox, the torque is stepped up. The power though cannot be stepped up or down (ignoring mechanical loss), so that is a better indicator of performance. So although the RE produces so much torque, it just can’t spin fast enough – thereby limiting its power output.

            Also, the gear ratios on the REs are quite tall. While this allows it to stay at a lower speed on a higher gear, the acceleration takes a beating. The 0 to 60 time for any RE is a testament to this. On the other hand, short gearing allows for quicker acceleration, but requires more gear shift. The D200 is a good example of this one.

            And I am in the same category as you are in – I’d rather make more gear shifts that stay in one. If I didn’t want gear shifts, I’d get myself an Activa!

          2. Yeah man, gotta limit it to 5 or the replies look very weird on mobile, the text becomes vertical and impossible to read.
            I never understood what tall/short gears are. Neither torque/power, not the entire concept at least.

          3. Torque 😀 That seems like the last bastion for RE guys. Never really understood what it means. I guess the only advantage of more torque would be lesser gear changes, and that you can pull away from higher gear at lower speeds, although that depends a lot on how the transmission is setup.
            In any case, I would really prefer a bike that goes from 20-100 in 6 seconds with 5 gear changes, rather than something that goes from 20-100 in half a minute with no gear change.

        3. That is awesome. 390 rims feel like glass to me, not because I had any bad experience, but because other people seem to be able to break them with little or no effort. I am now overly cautious over every pothole and speed bump, which I really hate.
          Not sure what size CGT tires are, but if they work, I would love to try and replace my stock rims with those. Not sure if that would look good, but I am all for purpose than show. Don’t like to ride under constant stress of a breakdown.

    3. Alright. 1st wave unsuccessful. REload. REgroup. Go.

      1. I’ve ridden the Duke 390 and CBR 250R extensively. About 500-700 km between them, which is a lot when you don’t own them. On the other hand,I’ve had the pleasure of riding the Bonneville, Thruxton, HD Iron 883 and for a brief test ride, the Street 750.
      Can I compare the two groups? No. Can you ride them the same way? No. Do I expect the Iron 883 to stop in the same distance from 120-0 as the KTM Duke 390? No. Do I have to adjust my style of riding for each of them? Yes. I like to ride fast (yeah,me too)…so does that give me the right to hate the slow, fat cruisers? Um,no.
      My stable houses three bikes in total. My dad’s ’84 Bullet 350,a 2005 Pulsar DTSi UG2 and my latest acquisition,the RE Continental GT. See a pattern? No? Me neither.
      All I’m saying is that with different levels of skills, experience and sense, people have full right to ride different types of bikes differently. I like to keep my Pulsar between 65-80 km/h so as to keep speed yet not strain the engine. But when I need it, it does boil over to 105-110 km/h. Some people may find it ‘too fast!’,I don’t…because I’m always in control. Now, the ‘84 Bullet. I never exceed 70 on it. Why? Because I KNOW it won’t stop if I need it to if I push harder. Do I hate it for it? No. It’s a cruiser, made for peaceful riding, on open roads. Put on your gear, grab a camera and go riding.
      Now, the Café Racer. I don’t know about the thunderbird fellows but I have absolutely no issues maintaining it over a 100 all the time. I did Ahmedabad-Mumbai in 8 hours. That’s a 70+ average, with stops, many, MANY bike pics against awesome backgrounds. Not bad,huh? That too on a Royal Enfield.

      2. Quality niggles exist with all brands. Okay, I’ll be extremely wrong if I defend RE for it BUT its not like they aren’t trying. Newer bikes, (The 2014 CL500s and the TB500s) aren’t troubling owners as much as the old ones. They’re slowly lowering the ‘handcraftedness’ of their machines and I applaud them for it. My RE, I don’t think ANYTHING’S hand crafted! I’ve ridden 5000+ km on my Café Racer and nothing’s popped/fallen off. Nothing loose either. Actually, nothing has ever ‘fallen off’ on my ’84 Bullet either. The headlamp’s fused twice in it’s lifetime. Owe it to the vibes of the oldie Cast Iron mill I guess.

      3. Owners well known posers? I take offence to that. My father is a serving Army Officer who bought his first brand new bike from his first few salarieS (yes,plural) and you just labelled him a poser. You may treat this forum like a rooftop conversation with beer, weed and a couple of friends…I don’t. I believe an apology is in order.
      This brand name holds a significance which you’ll not understand. It signifies Indian triumph over the brits after they left. They themselves couldn’t keep this brand alive, we did. We took it right from under them, still run it and now export Chennai-built Royal Enfields to the UK. Doesn’t instil ANY emotion, any pride in you? Really??

      4. I frankly can’t relate to your (very limited) experiences on REs,especially the new ones. I rode the Classic Chrome 500 for 55 km at speeds well over 100 km/h and never had a nervous moment. It’s all about recognising your capabilities, getting in tune with what your machine wants and what you want from it. I find the brakes adequate, even for their bulk.
      The Continental GT is an entirely different story! 300 mm floating Brembo at the front and a 240 mm ByBre rear with steel braided lines. Bite is firm and uniform and fade, non-existent. Recent trip to Mount Abu, I was kneesliding my entire ride up! The motor performed beyond perfection. The Pirelli Sport Demons never let go. The chassis is stiffer than…well…and the brakes, perfect.

      5. Okay, I recognise your sarcasm and accept that I may have gotten carried away. But you gotta understand man, FE depends solely on how you ride and maintain your machine. I get 28 in the city and 34 on the highway on my CGT. That is way more than I was expecting! What if I told you that I like my Pulsar 150 because it still hovers around 55-65 km/l and hate all Duke 390s because they…well,how much do they churn out? 40 km/l? That’s what a 350 cc mill gets. The 500 gets 35-38 on an average.

      6. How can you expect a single cylinder, 500/535 cc mill to be light? Also, I won’t comment firsthand on it but from what I’ve read, while crossing streams in high altitude riding, the weight of REs keeps them more planted and stable and provides traction between rubber and slippery pebbles. I may be wrong though. I’m a tourer, but still a highway brat.
      As for comparisons, The HD Street 500 has a V-Twin 494 cc mill. The bike weighs 207 kg. My CGT has a 535 CC Single Cyl engine. The bike weighs 184 kg. Fair enough, I guess?

      7. Oh well.

      8. No purpose, no standout feature and ‘Old-style tradition BS’. See, I can’t talk sense into someone with so much hatred (I still dunno why) inside about something.
      I will though, talk about ‘Old-style tradition BS’. You know the Indian Army? Yeah the one that stands on the border so that you can have a sound night’s sleep….blah blah blah. Yes, that one. In it, there’s an Armoured unit. Tanks, for you. This unit was known as ‘cavalry’ earlier, and even now, actually. If you’ve ever seen a Republic Day parade, you would have seen a bunch of horses trotting down representing a specific Armoured unit. Should we dump the horses and replace them with T 90s or Arjun Main Battle Tanks? Hell yeah! What’ll the horses do during war? What USE are they?? Why waste manpower feeding them, brushing them, training them when you could just replace them with some super cool TANKS??
      Right? Wrong.
      I don’t think you’ll get it man. The horses signify how it all started. History. Tradition. They’re just words to you but it actually means something to some people. Don’t hate a company which wants to keep it alive. Don’t hate the people who want to experience the magic RE created in Redditch in 1901, 113 years later…they may be crazy, yes, so am I. But it’s good crazy.

      Try giving your dad a brand new smartphone. Will he get instantly comfortable with it? Will you hate him just coz you spent 45k on something and he isn’t using it like it should be? He isn’t you! You’d probably have rooted it within 6 hours of owning it! Technology and evolution comes slowly to some oldie folk,man. KTMs were born new. RE is over a century old. Give it time. Time to adjust, time to learn the new ways. They ARE changing: Just look at the Continental GT if you don’t believe me. Don’t hate it already.


      1. I just read the second part of your reply to Akhil and though it’s not polite to cut in, I felt I must join the debate (I prefer calling it this, than an argument as I don’t have any feeling of anger here).

        I think the top speed of a vehicle does play an important role. Of course, one can say that anything over 120 kmph is not required in our country. It’s mostly true that there aren’t many roads in our country where you can ride at those speeds for a long time. Yet, it shows you what the motorcycle is capable of.

        For instance, on a motorcycle that can do 175 kmph, I’d know by cruising at 100 kmph is only straining its engine about 60% of its threshold. That improves longevity, and does not induce too much stress. Well, I could do 100 kmph on a motorcycle that redlines at 110 kmph too, but that would mean I am pushing this engine a lot harder. That is where the RE loses out.

        I have seen many claim they have done 120 kmph, and some 140 kmph on Bullets. At least with my experience with the Bullets – it’s not true. If I were to trust Overdrive’s reviews, the fastest RE (India) motorcycle is the C-GT which maxes out at a true 131 kmph, while the speedometer shows 140 kmph. This sort of error is common with almost all speedometers. This, is still a whole 15 kmph faster than the TB 500, which maxes out at a true 116 kmph. I don’t know what the speedometer reads on the TB 500 at this point. I would presume the RE 350s would ride slower than the 500s and 535s. Perhaps they’re a little over the 100 kmph mark. Doing 100 kmph or even 80 kmph on this is going to feel a lot more stressed than on another motorcycle, say a CBR 250R, that maxes out at about a true speed on 155 kmph, which is quite a bit higher (about 35%) over the TB 500, in spite of the engine being a full 250 cc smaller.

        Moving on, the finish levels offered on REs is not really top-notch considering the price they demand. I read somewhere not long ago that the Classic 500s in India were being sold without the oxygen sensors to cut cost, which lead to clogged fuel injectors. This is perhaps one of the reasons why rental REs in Manali have the FI kit replaced with a carburettor.

        I am all in for tradition and stuff – but not at the cost of technology. Just because headlamps were lit by oil lamps a 100 years ago doesn’t mean we should continue using it today.

        And until the C-GT, the ONLY talking point for RE was its history. Of course, Royal Enfield is over a 100 years old, but they started manufacturing Bullets in India only in the mid 60s. They were only assembling parts prior to that. And purchasing the copyright of a company that’s over a 100 years old, in my opinion, is not a matter of pride – but an extremely well played out marketing strategy.

        As a consumer, you lose out quite a bit because there are more of them waiting to buy an RE than RE can produce at this moment. Until they meet this gap, they have nothing to worry. But I do hope they improve.


        1. Hey I don’t mind you entering this (debate?) discussion brother. If this was a debate, things would have been seriously heating up by now. I believe that this is a discussion between two mature school of thoughts, which should reach an amiable end.
          Now, to your first few points about speed, engine stress and longevity. I hate saying this (I realy do. It makes me sound very pompous) but that’s where you go wrong.
          I would like you to introduce you to the word: Torque. You said ‘cruising at 100’ so I’ll take it from there.
          I, on my CGT (puny 29.6 horses compared to the Duke’s 44…so where does the 535 cc go? That’s right,it goes into the 44 NM of torque that it’s producing) am cruising at 100 with the needle somewhere around 4100-4200 rpm. The engine has a nice, throaty growl to it, I can recognise each beat of the exhaust if I want to, things are good.
          Let me know at what RPM the CBR250R hits 100. Or the Duke 390. Or don’t let me know…just compare the figures. You’re smart enough to understand the rest. Then decide which engine is more “stressed”. Also, I’ve heard a lot of issues of D390s heating up (an equivalent of stress,if you please) but NONE about the new 500/535 CC air-cooled UCE motors.

          I’d also like to highlight the gearing. I was recently on a Bullet Standard 500 (The non-FI, heavy crank version of the 500 cc mill) and was cruising at 85-95 km/h in absolute comfort. I cleared a highway elevation and saw some cows crossing the road. I slowed it down from a 100 to 45 immediately (Good disc bite with MRFs replaced with Continentals) on the 5th gear itself. When it came to accelerating out of it, I just twisted the throttle gently and on the 5th gear itself, it make that deep beating sound and soon I was back at 95 km/h. The pleasure of not hunting for gears all the time (due to the immense torque) is something only an RE owner will understand (in this price bracket).

          As for my CGT. The time I went berserk on it, I was on a 6-lane ring road with a friend’s Scorpio at my side. My speedo was showing 147 km/h,the Scorpio’s 151 km/h and a friend’s Galaxy Note 3 with ‘Ulysse Speedometer’ which uses GPS only was flickering between 141-142 km/h (mounted on my right arm, seen by my friends on the Scorpio). I dunno how Overdrive just got 131 out of it. I got a solid 142.

          *sigh* Y’know I could talk some more about tradition and everything but you seem to be partially correct here. One can’t live in the past. Has RE been riding on its ancestral achievements? Yes. Is it still doing it? No. Check out their line up. Their FI Units. Their new paint schemes. The redesigned logo and winged badge. The projector headlamp with a corona ring in the TB500. The floating Brembos, Pirelli tyres, Paioli Shocks, Clip-on handlebars, the Keihin EFI Unit paired with a remapped ECU paired with a redesigned, eager, lighter 535 cc heart placed in a double cradle tubular chassis designed by Harris Performance, UK in the Continental GT. This doesn’t look like a brand living in the past, mate. It looks like a brand which is learning from its mistakes and wants to move forward. To hate it,is wrong,IMHO. All I’m sayin’.


      2. Sarthak, I really hoped to keep this going for a while. Alas. Anyway, I did some more scouting on the subject of the “supposed” torque advantage of REs. Turns out they don’t.

        Let’s look at it from a different perspective – from that of commuter motorcycles, whose primary purpose is to return mind boggling fuel efficiencies. The first motorcycle that comes to my mind is the Hero Splendor. If you look at the engine specifications on that motorcycle, you’ll see that it makes 7.95 N-m of torque at 5000 RPM with its 97.2 cc engine. Figures like this don’t make your eyes open wider in awe, nor does it make your jaw drop. It’s quite ordinary, right?

        Anyway, let’s assume Hero were to today decide they want to compete with RE C-GT and scale up their engine to a whole 535 cc. Again, assuming they do a perfect geometrical scale up of the Splendor’s 97.2 cc engine by a factor of 5.504, they would end up with 535 cc. And you would be surprised to know that the 535 cc Hero engine would make 43.76 Nm of torque! Impressive, isn’t it? Considering Hero derived the engine from a commuter.

        Another example – but this time, let us look at cars. Again, staying on the economical side, let’s take the Alto 800. This car makes 69 Nm torque at 3500 rpm, from its 796 cc engine. I’m sure most would say – big deal! Let’s say Maruti Suzuki too decided to take this same engine and scale it down to 535 cc. Do you know how much torque this one would make? A little over 46 Nm! Whoa! To be fair, this being a liquid-cooled engine, would have tighter clearances and thus, a little more efficient. But it’s still impressive because this is something that is designed to be as far away from performance as physically possible!

        So you see, a big torque number from a big engine isn’t something to be impressed with. Power on the other hand, sure is.


        1. Was just following this interesting discussion and fully agree with the points of Sarthak. Boss, you have clear thought process and can articulate in a very simple way. A little off topic question : between 500 standard and 500 classic which one do you think a bike for the future, say, with a 10 years horizon?

    4. I was going through the few million replies you’ve had and found this:
      “1.Bullets are fucking slow
      Ans: Lions walk slowly to show their pride
      2.Royal Enfields are unreliable
      Ans:Indian Army is using it for more than 50 years
      3.Bullets are noisy – and the bad kind of noisy
      Ans:It is a roar of Lion
      4.Bullets have really bad brakes
      Ans:Friend of the road so It doesn’t not want to stop
      5.Bullets give shitty mileage
      Ans:Royal people doesn’t care for money
      6.Bullets are unnecessarily heavy
      Ans:Tanks are always heavy
      7.Bullets have spoked wheels
      Ans:King always travels with vehicle containing Spoked wheel
      8.Bullets have a fucking long waiting period
      Ans:For royal and Best things u have to wait”

      OMFG I almost choked, I was laughing so hard! Look man,this guy probably doesn’t even own a RE and is a sure poser. Not all RE owners are like that. THIS is a purely fanatical approach. Don’t think all RE owners are like that.
      When I bought the CGT,it was an extremely calculated purchase! 2.12 lakh is not a small amount. I considered the CBR250R – Didn’t like its VFR-ish looks and confused riding position. The Duke 390 – I just didn’t fit in it! I’m 6’3″ and I felt cramped on it. It was a calculated decision where the CGT fit best.

      Unrelated,any chance the RC390 will be bigger than the Duke? I really like the SS looks of the bike and might buy it when launched. Leme know if you have some info.

      1. Hehe, you see what I mean? Go through more of the comments, you’ll find a lot more of such people.
        For a budget of 2-2.5 lacs, for a big guy, I also don’t see any other option. 390 is too small, CBR250R is dying a slow death, and I would rather strangle myself with a clutch wire rather than buy an Inazuma. CGT was your only choice, and not a bad one at that at all.
        I have seen the RC200 in flesh, it looks smaller than the Duke 200. The seat is freakishly small, I consider myself a skinny guy, and even my sorry ass will be hanging over the sides. But then again that was one of those test mules, hope KTM fixes that problem. A 6’3″ guy like you will not look at home on a RC390 at all.

  80. Because some guys were ridng at 65 kmph, you deduced bullets can not go faster? I have a ford fiesta and i like it between 80-110. It can go faster, but i like it at the pleasurable speeds. That does not make ford fiesta slow, it makes me a comparitively slower driver.

  81. One just cannot help but laugh going through all the comments. This post, and the comments, i must say, is informative as well extremely entertaining (especially the torque/power part in the comments section). Your article is very well put (the parts of it about the ‘bullet’ anyway). But when you call the buyers ‘brainless’, you make it about people, not motorcycles anymore. Now that, would be immature, yes?

    1. Hehe, yeah, it’s fun to go through the comments!
      True, this article isn’t about the machine anymore. Not my initial intention, but this is how it panned out 🙂

  82. Couldnt agree with you more slow heavy and unreliable these things dont go with a bike regardless whether its a cruiser bike or whatever . I have a cbz extreme and I am satisfied with the ride quality it offers and also with the average it gives me by the way I am waiting for the hero hxr 250 which has an on paper power of 31 bhp and the pricing is quite good rather spend money on this bike than spent the same amount for an re

  83. saar …where are you feet i would like to touch em…LMFAO your blog made me end up with non stop hiccups after a big hearty laugh…

  84. for Idiot bullet fanboys talking about torque and power of the Enfield v/s the blogger’s Ktm
    (of which I am not the biggest fan of either) check out the specs:

    Enfield Classic 350:
    Displacement 346cc
    Maximum Power 19.8 bhp @ 5250 rpm
    Maximum Torque 28 Nm @ 4000 rpm

    KTM duke 390:
    Displacement 373cc
    Maximum Power ~42 bhp @ 10000 rpm
    Maximum Torque 36Nm @ 8000rpm


    Heck if you somehow replaced the POS bullet engine with that of the KTM it may actually improve its performance.

    1. Anyways, @Akhil Kudos on the awesomely funny blog . Good to see another shares my feelings about this abomination of a vehicle. I’ve always hated these overpriced (point 9?) pieces of junk.

  85. [Thunderbird-500]
    don’t be carried away by flashy video promotions..over priced underpowered fuel-guzzling bike with terribly bad quality..matt black paint on engine is liable to peel off pretty early..mine started peeling off in the first wash..engine oil leaks..most service personnel at most places aren’t competent at their work..just feels powerful when yu move at first gear..not comfortable to ride beyond 90kmph low on mileage..12-17..none of the fancy blue lit meters other than speedo actually work properly..rear disks dont release properly…dont fall for such glam videos..the shorter wheel base is not cos they intended to design it tht way but cos the new front shocks dont ‘ve the one inch offset at the axle as on old front shocks and actually makes the front look bad with the front wheel coming closer to the chassis as a result….the foot pegs ‘ve been moved forward and isnt very comfortable on long rides…the switches for lighting on handle is of low quality too..yu are lucky if they work well..if you drive fer more than 100/150 kms at more than 90 engine sound changes for the worse..if yu want to spend 2 lakhs and spend time at service station from the first week [oh you’ll ‘ve to wait and wait] and contribute to RE to deliver more substandard stuff to ppl, you can buy this awful overpriced machine..

    1. Regretting now for buying…problems get even worse….have a new Thunderbird 350 from 1year and the quality of parts is the worst i’ve seen… 🙁 ..paint was peeling of from 2nd week itself and if it is a flat tyre …its a dooms day ….many problem…the list goes on..

  86. Thought I’d pitch in my feelings
    Got my first ride-a Thunderbird 350 last April (actually my dad paid for it!). I had 0 kms riding experience on an RE (though I’ve been riding for 5 years). Obviously I was the sheep in the herd who went gaga about Enfields without knowing the first thing about them (mind you we Keralites aren’t any less fanatic when it comes to RE’s). And I was dumb enough to shell my dad’s 1.5 lakhs without even taking a proper test ride (I know!). Took delivery and all was good. I loved my ride. It was comfortable, stable, stylish and elegant (yea…I dint replace the stock exhaust with the obnoxiously loud ones!)
    Then a few weeks back I come across this blog. Even though the dumb fanboy in me kept saying “This douche doesn’t know the first thing about RE’s” I kept reading and started feeling what the whole point was. Even I had bought the big monster for all those appreciation I would get (ugh!). I started visiting all those RE riders groups on fb and the experience actually made me cringe! Lots of dumb bastards kept ranting about how the bull was a man’s ride or how powerful men rode only RE’s (Apparently any guy who rode anything lesser was dickless!). The pictures of the RE’s brought tears to my eyes. One dude has a big-ass golden peacock attached to his mudguard and the whole ride looked as if it came straight from a Rajastan Art Emporium.
    Then came the day when I came home from hostel and my dad said my bird was pissing oil! That was the last straw and I actually cursed myself for not buying something fast and nippy and doesnt give me headaches. So there was the ride to the service centre and I dint even feel like doing it. Asked my dad to ride the RE and followed him on his old rickety Bajaj CT100.
    I dont know about most people but I definitely had my rider eureka moment then. There was this image of my middle aged old man riding than shiny piece of metal that just stuck. Arms and legs spread out and positioned like a king, riding at a ridiculously slow pace (never goes above 50!), unaware of how others looked at him or what he rode (pretty much the same way he rode the Bajaj).
    And that was when I fell in love with my ride all over again(or maybe for the first time!). You see its not about how loud it is or how intimidating it is. Its not about the looks you get or whether you can beat a Lockheed Martin with your ride (not a big fan of speed!). It ALWAYS is the emotion. The way you connect with the ride and the way your heart goes boom-boom you see it each time! Baaki sab- Bakwaas! You ride for you and for the sake of riding. The specs, reviews, repairs don’t mean squat. You either do it or don’t! Never had second thoughts since then and happily married ever since!

    (P. S. I do feel riding is like having sex. Every other guy you meet claims to be good at it but only a lucky few have seen a girl other than Sunny Leone naked! 😉 )

    1. Hey Batman wins…ALWAYS!, nice story! However, buying a 2 wheeler that is expected to take you from point A to B just on the basis of emotion is not such a good idea 🙂
      True about sex though 😉

  87. Just to point out a few things…
    1.Bullet is not abt riding fast…its about riding steady…I can ride at 100+ with my bullet also at 60..it all depends on the feel..Ride one for a month and you will realize how it feels.
    2.Unreliable?? you gotta be kidding…Name one bike which is fully reliable.Even harley davidson breaks down buddy…Its jst tat you have to care and maintain your bike properly,
    3.Bad kinda noise??? come on it all depends on what kinda sound you prefer..if you prefer a silent bike,y blame the noisy ones?
    4.About breaking,i have been riding it for quite some time and i neva felt an issue with the brakes..it depends on how well yu can brake 😛
    5.As the saying goes, power and mileage are inversely proportional….if you prefer a bike with mileage,do go for bajaj discover.
    6.Unnecessarily heavy ?? its the heaviness which brings steadiness..and you are not gonna carry it on ur head i believe 😀
    7.Considering all the abv facts,you can easily relate it to the long waiting period…if you want something good, you have to wait for it 🙂

    1. 1. I can ride my 390 at 100+, 60, 170+ or whatever else I like. Been riding it for 10 months.
      2. Please don’t compare a Bullet to a Harley. I don’t like to put any special efforts in maintaining my bikes, they should be reliable by default.
      3. Because they are assholes.
      4. Good for you.
      5. Bullets have neither power, nor mileage.
      6. If heaviness brings steadiness, please follow my advice and attach dumbbells all around your motorcycle. Very steady.
      7. No you don’t. Duke 390 has a 1 week waiting period.

    2. I would say many of your points are not convincing…

      I own a RE 350. I do agree with you that the quality of the vehicle has gone down and you have many headaches with service and oil leakages. But trust me, if you can respect someone’s opinion, the ride it’s completely worth it!

      You don’t feel those pains as the ride compensates everything!

      And your point about speed, my RE hits a constant 120 even with a pillons and we do go for rides at that speeds! And the stability at those speeds is amazing.

      And ya, bullet is NOT a sports bike and you are WRONG if you are comparing it with one… The preferences for a sports bike fan is different than a cruiser fan…

      If I change my bike also it would be another RE, none other!

      And there are some people who go with the hype and claim as a RE fan, but there are people who really connect with the bike and treat it more than a bike…

      1. Ravi, please elaborate what do you mean by “the ride”?
        It is absolutely unbelievable that an RE can hit constant 120, with pillion, and still be stable. I recently rode a Desert Storm, and that thing was not happy at even 115.
        I am not comparing REs against anything, they really aren’t worth comparing with anything!
        I DO NOT want to treat my bike more than a bike, it is a fucking bike! If I had to pay for tension and worries and headaches, I would simply marry 😉

    3. 3. Please mind your tongue assh*** oops my friend! It seems those who really feel defeated get angry 😉