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My Royal Enfield Experience

Posted: March 16th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Musings | 22 Comments »

Since my childhood days, I was always fascinated by the marvelously designed body, the melodious thump and the royal look of Royal Enfield. After learning driving on a Bajaj Chetak, I wanted to ride Bullet to feel the Bullet-ness (if there is such a term) but never got a chance to ride as none of my friend had one. Primarily, all these years I have been riding the definitely male, Bajaj Pulsar.

I decided to buy a bike last year and after a lot of thinking I settled for Royal Enfield. The Bullet was first choice without a doubt but I wasn’t sure if I am the right person for it. I used to hate driving specially in Mumbai traffic and maneuvering that beast is not an easy task in Mumbai chaos. I got different opinion about Bullet like the amount your are paying to buy a bullet can be used as a down payment for a car, why do you need to buy a bike now, Bullet khareedna matlab haathi paalna hai and so on. Needless to say I did not pay attention to any of these unwanted suggestions.

Now, the next big task was to decide on the model. As I had not driven a Bullet; so, I was sure that I am not going for Standard model because it had gear shift on the right side. I wanted to go for Thunderbird Twin Spark but it does not have that thump sound, although, after going through quite a few forums I got to know that a retro silencer can give that thump. I almost zeroed in for a Machismo and that’s when Royal Enfield launched Bullet Classic models.

It was a historic launch in the sense that all models except for Thunderbird were being discontinued and going forward Royal Enfield is going to produce only UCE (Unit Construction Engine) and not CI (Cast Iron) engines. I could not make a difference in these two types of engines :-). I took a test ride of Royal Enfield Classic 350 and was pretty satisfied with the ride.

I booked my bike (Royal Enfield Classic 350) on 25th Nov, 2009 (just after 21 days of launch) by paying Rs. 10,000. The company owned Bandra showroom promised me the bike in 50-55 days as I booked a silver color bike and there was less demand for silver color. I made a mental note that I will get a delivery during Makar Sankranti. However, to my disappointment I received a call from store after a month that I will not get my bike before second week of February. I consoled myself by thinking that it would be a prefect gift for me on my birthday.

Till now, 111 days have passed (and also my Birthday, Holi and Gudi Padwa) and 3 more deadline extension have been informed so far. The next expected delivery week (yes, they talk in weeks) is third week of April. I have sent an email to Royal Enfield seeking explanation about the delay and have received a canned response that you will receive a bike on first-come-first-serve basis whenever it’s ready. I have made several calls to showroom about my bike and to empathize, they have offered me to return 90% of my booking amount and I can pay the complete amount at the time of delivery. They have also send me a Classic calendar featuring Milind Soman.

My excitement of owning a Royal Enfield is dying down, although, I still look every passing by Bullet with an astonishing feeling, the same way a kid looks up in the sky whenever he listens to sound of an aeroplane.  I am no more counting days to get my bike, however, what disappoints me the most is the manner in which the delivery date is being extended every two weeks. I am unable to comprehend how Eicher Motors is not able to produce these bikes when they have only three models in production now unlike in past when they had 4 models. The demand has increased understandably for Classic bikes but you are in business of producing bike and should have evaluated the spurt in demand.

I am still waiting for the day when I will get a call from Bandra Royal Enfield store that your bike is ready and you can take it home. So far this has been my Royal Enfield experience without even driving it.

I still love Royal Enfield, the bike but I hate Royal Enfield (Eicher Motors), the company.

Update-1 (April, 8th, 2010): After 134 days of booking, I have paid the complete amount for the bike. I have been told that bike would be available next week. Thanks to delay in production, I have to pay Rs. 2287 extra as there has been some hike in excise duty or something. Thank You Eicher Motors for making me pay extra for your fault.

Update-2 (April, 20th, 2010): After 146 days, the bike is delivered today. I don’t have words to explain the feeling of owning this beauty. The wait was all worth it ;-)