Long Termer No.2: Royal Enfield Thunderbird (50th Anniversary Edition)

18 07 2007

REDLINER : Tandeep (a.k.a) WALK-DA-TORQ

REDLINER RIDE : Royal Enfield THUNDERBIRD

Roayl Enfield.. Built like a Gun, Goes like a Bullet.. the famous tagline from eons ago.. the tagline has changed but the engine n styling hardly.. a brand that commands respect, loathing and every other possible oxymoron of feelings. Love it or Loathe it, You just can’t ignore it. That’s character, a trait possessed by very few these days. Since the time i’ve spent with the bike i’ve gone through a gamut of emotions, hey it’s a bullet and do pardon me if i’m very very partial to it cause it’s my bike 🙂 Got it last year and even though it says 50th anniversary edition, i still kick my bike like a mule every morning to bring it to life 😉

Styling: 3/5

Looks are very important when it comes to enfields, the presence and the charisma et al.. this one has got loads of it. First thing you obviously notice is the headlight.Round with circular instument pods lavished with a thick wad of chrome.. nice!! secondly the side panels are different. elongated rectangular with a chrome bottle attached next to it, where one of them is a dummy and the other holds the tool kit. nice touch looks a lot neater than the older thumper’s side panels. If u look carefully the tbird’s tank is slightly tilted upwards to give it a more upright stance and this subtle touch has quite dramatically created the desired effect. the paint job is good but i really hate the fact that those fins are actually stickers.. sorry not my cup of tea. Another thing that really put me off is the tbird comes only in two colors “magic black” (which is bascially a dark olive green.. u can call it a british racing green if u like 🙂 i do) n cherry red. By god enfield wat on earth happened to the silver ash and dark blue colors.

The exhaust another victim of the “lay on the as much chrome as u can” factory. It’s different from the rest of the family of exhausts. Its unusually long (like how this article is gonna be) and is basically an elongated bottle and extends beyond the rear wheel. Umm thanks to nannying legislation. So now instead of a THUMP you get a thump. sigh!! The back rest is very handy and is quite useful, which i realised after i removed it and lotta pillions were complaining. heck the ex didnt mind 😉 so its still stacked in my store room somewhere..

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Build Quality: 3/5

Not the best built bike is the enfield. you can see weld marks in the chassis frame and things are bound to shake loose, thanks to the vibrations from a big single. However all said and done, the Tbirds a lot better built and a Little TLC will keep your maintenance cost down by a huge margin.

Ergonomics: 4/5

This has to be one of the most comfortable bikes to cruise on. Nice comfy seating position thanks to the handlebar seat and footpeg relationship. However i think the old thumpers and the electra are more suited for the upright riding posture and gives the rider a commanding presence. this doesn’t do that. Thanks mainly to the upswept handlebars and the thin seat. You sit “in” the bike not “on” the bike like most of us do on indian bikes. It’s a nice feeling, cocooned and comfy, perfect for chasing the horizon !!

Engine: 3.5/5

This bike finally breaks the mould of the cast iron block and comes with the new (well few years back it was) AVL engine with aluminum head and cylinder block, termed Lean Burn. The engine has been tuned to run on a lean mixture, hence the acronym LB. There’s something missing in this engine and yes its the THUMP. Purists of enfield will stay away from this one, and there are many who’d still go for the cast iron block.But it runs a lot more smoother and thanks to the lean burn is more efficient thermodynamically (ask some mechanical proffesor how, not me) and is consequently more fuel efficient. hmm boooring..

The new single cylinder heart displaces 350cc (yeah baby!! ) with dimensions 70 x 90 mm (yeah baby again !!) but puts out only 18bhp ( ;…() y o y did u even bother makin such a big engine) but but it makes a healthy 2.8 kgm of torque. beat that ha!! this amounts to lazy crusing and easy overtaking manouevers without having to downshift.

Gearbox: 3/5

Bullets aren’t known for smoothness and really you do wonder whether the gear lever your operating is actually a sledge hammer, cause tat’s what if feels like. That’s how the old ones were, the tbird is a lot better and is more like a operating a firing pin of an old enfield rifle, not the smoothest but sure as hell better than using a sledge hammer. Gear ratios are well spaced out and ideal for cruising.

Ride and Handling: 4/5

The Thunderbird is a bit more stiff than the usual set up of enfield bikes, i don’t know why but it rides real smooth when two up. So don’t worry about the bike wobbling even if the missus has put on a few pounds, the bike stays rock steady on the road. Personally I like the stiff setup cos it gives awesome feedback from the the rear tyre through the rider’s posterior, and you can cruise with your damsel with utmost ease on this steed. Passenger seat isn’t too broad but it’s appropriately comfy.

It’s amazing how such moderately wide tyres can offer so much grip through the corners and remain rock steady. At first the bike may feel awkward to ride but once u get used to it, boy oh boy can that chassis take curves and at really steep lean angles. You’ll be grinning ear to ear when you ground the footpegs and getaway with it :-))) It’s no sports bike but boy she does handle and ride like a beauty. I’d given it a 5/5 but then you’ll accuse me of being too partial.

Oh and i left this improtant part out.. the forks up front dive too much under severe n sudden braking, so its best you don’t try being a track hero out there on the road. It’s a bike meant for the road, however you can get around this by learning how to brake moderately n in bits. This is good in a way as it smoothens out your riding.

Now for the bad bit, it’s a handful through traffic. It’s lumpy and cumbersome and you’ll bitch about why you took the bike out during peak hours, this bike is suited for empty roads and long curvy roads like the ECR. However once you get the hang of the bike peak traffic won’t be a problem, jus plug into your ipod and sit and wait for the jam to clear 🙂Final Verdict:6/10

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Well I think I’ve said enough about this machine and in the end it all comes down to whether you love bikes with a character and that which will put a smile across your face. The thunderbird did it for me and that’s why i steered clear of other bikes. It grabs a lot of attention on the road, will keep u entertained however u never know when an enfiled will conk. it’s happened before so be prepared for the worst. also the spares are unusually expensive. Don’t forget the moolah, thick wads in cash amounting close to a lakh, yes that’s exorbitant but you never know it’ll be just worth it, just !!

WALK-DA-TORQ

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Buell 1125R

14 07 2007

buell 1125R.. built from the rider downhttp://www.cycleworld.com/article.asp?section_id=3&article_id=398

check this new ride from buell out.. its the first liquid cooled buell to come out n its out to eat the the other twins for breakfast, lunch n even dinner.. looks very very promising.. n knowing buell n his engineering ingenuity its sure to rockkk n upset the biggies..

umm umm umm.. i want one nowww..

also chk out the promo video from mcn: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzkRAbfHI6M

another video of niall mackenzie on the barber track: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tm2IBDs2Wlg

watch out!!

chk this link out its more detailed: http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/Article_Page.aspx?ArticleID=4960&Page=1