Tuesday 7 February 2012

Honeymooning with my royal enfield

My Royal Enfield made its first coming home on 7th Jan'11 almost a month ago. But so far I never got the chance to have a ride this 1990 workhorse.


Why?
 

On the first day, Selvam anna, my neighbour, who was instrumental in buying me this Bullet rode home. He had a bullet years ago. I did not have the confidence in riding this bullet the first time that too a 20 kms journey at dusk. Selvam anna drove the bullet home on the first day, while I drove his Splendour bike while coming back after the purchase of this bullet.
 

Why I did not have the confidence is that, the bullet is little old, I am new to the right side gear shift thingy. Added to this is; it was the first day and I did not take risk, that too at dark.

After we reached home at about 8.00 p.m. I rode the bullet in my narrow street for nearly an half hour. Got little used up with the right side gear shifting. What followed was a loss of air pressure on the rear tyre. Realized that, the back wheel had a very old set of tyre and tube. So, the following days, I could not enjoy getting used up by riding it. 


What followed was the daily ritual of parking it outside on the street before I leave to office and then parking it inside the house in the evening for the following couple of days. This is done to give way for my narrow verandah at home to get the other moped for daily runarounds. 

By this way,  I got used up with new experience of handling the heavier machine. Thats, moving it little away, parking it, then moving it inside and then parking. The tyre drew a flat the following couple of days. Meanwhile, we completed the most important thing of transferring of owner name in the Registration & Insurance Records of this bullet. Once all the hulla bullah were over, it was time to call for the puncture shop.

Another important ritual of the bullet. Thatz KickStarting it.
 

As far as I knew with the owners of the old bullets, its the first ritual that needed to be learnt before attempting on riding this beast. On the first couple of days, it was little tough.

The ritual goes like this... Firstly; kick the starting lever with the de-compressor switch engaged. Secondly; ensure the amps show zero. Thirdly; kick the lever without engaging the de-compressor.
 

Wow.
 

The legend roars up with the Dhud Dhud thumps. This is the sound that is still making people turn their heads at the first know of the approach of a bullet. This alone made me go for buying this legend. This thump is the unique of its class and gets to be called "Goes like a bullet".

As days passed, I got satisfied with my ability to make the engine fire up. Still the bullet had not been running on the road.


Next day, the puncture shop man came and set it right. The next call was made to the mechanic who came in the evening to ride back the vehicle to his shop situated at Koliyanur Koot near Villupuram. A 40+ kms ride from Cuddalore.


So, almost a month has passed and the bike is still getting ready. Few days I got to prod the mechanic to make the work faster. He promised to give me the vehicle, minus some of the major works to be done afterwards.
 

BTW, I need to attend the upcoming technical training organised by Royal Enfield this Saturday the 11th of Feb. This program carries content of what is needed to the owners of Royal Enfield. Though I am a owner of a Royal Enfield bullet for the past one month, I hardly rode 4 kms on this bullet. Without a riding experience, attending the training program would be of little worth. So, I had been hardpressing the mechanic to give me back the vehicle. 

The next couple of days I should go to office on my Royal Enfield bullet and get to know more of this bike.
 

So, yesterday evening, I made a call to the mechanic to enquire about the progress. He was of the mood to give my bullet by Thursday and told that many of the work on the engine has been over. I was adamant to him to give me the bike yesterday itself. After my office hours, I pressed my way to his shop to be drawn aback by his absence and the shop kept shut. Adding fury to me is his mobile phone was switched off.

An hour had passed and he made his presence to me. Then I came to know that, he has bought his son a brand new Apache bike. He
had just now finished the rituals and came to the shop with the new bike.
 
It was over an hour I was waiting there and he obliged to attend to my vehicle. The work started by 6.30 p.m. He is very disciplined in his work and took step by step of adding the little parts on to the head of the engine. Its very interesting to see the work getting bit by bit in progress. Finally after two hours into his work, he fired the engine. The thump was so nice and pushing my spirits up. It was about 9.00 p.m. and he assured me that the work would be over in another half hour.

My home is 40 kms from there and I was cat on wall on how well I could reach back home on the bullet.


After finishing the work on the engine, he opened up the headlight. There were so many wires lying in a haphazard way. The earlier owner has not paid attention to detail on the circuitry in the vehicle. Mending the wire points and making the headlight come up was a very tiring process with many hiccups. As the clock was ticking past 10.00 p.m. I decided that its not safe to ride at this time of the night. 


My father in law's house is just 1 Km away from this place. I then changed my itinerary and informed them of my situation. Around 10.30, with the bike still giving a hide and seek, with my stomach giving the ringing bell, I decided to have my dinner. So, I went to FIL's home and finished dinner and came back by about 11.00 p.m.

At around 11.30 p.m. the mechanic finished the work on the head light and it was much an ease of mind for both of us. Then, he went on to correct the broken front brake lever. 


Once the parts on the right side handle bar were opened up, it was another work waiting. The wires leading to the brake, accelerator and clutch had worn out and the mechanic decided that it should be replaced. Its luck at that juncture that he had a set of all these with him to be used for another Royal Enfield bullet which is in his next schedule of restoration. He decided to use up those inventory for my vehicle. So, now the work of replacing the clutch cable, accelerator and front brake is started.

It took another hour to get finished. As the clock ticked 1.15 a.m. the mechanic declared that, I could now take my bullet. Though there were still pending replacement jobs needed for the front shock absorbers, inner sprocket and a link on the drive chain, I made it a point to drive the bike for a few days before I go for the customer technical training program.


Reached FIL's home at 1.30 a.m. and called it a day. Had a good sleep and started my first ever bullet ride to office the next morning.


Today morning, I succeeded in firing up the engine within the first five kicks that too in a cold weather. The ride to the office was bit enchanting. As few more scheduled replacement workx are pending, I am confident to gather an initial experience of the bullet. After my office hours, I drove the bullet back to my hose in Cuddalore. So, the honeymoon with the bullet has started with today's ride of about 50 kms.


Riding was so far satisfactory. But the bullet still needs to be replaced of its front shockx, rocker and the inner sprocket. Until these things are done, the ride for me would be bit harder. Anyway, should take up this experience so that I could learn more about the intricacies with this machine.
 
Dhud dhud dhud. Awaiting to learn more from the Royal Enfield training program. Until then, Bye Bye.

2 comments:

Sathish said...

Why don't you buy a new one

Srini said...

@Sathish
The old bullet which has the right gear shift still commands more value in cost and respect on the road than the new one which comes with left side gear shift

For the past one year, I ve been studying on the merits and demerits of both the old and the new one. the following are my findings.
the old one appreciates in its value
the new one depreciates in its value
5 years back, old ones were selling for below 15K, today, its hard to find a old bullet with a price tag below 40k.
the more old it is, the more costly the price tag.
bullets of 1960 year, fetch a price of above 1.1 Lac.

as far the new ones, a guy who bought a bullet for 1.2 Lacs had sold it for 95K after owning it for 9 months

over the past one year, i had pep talk with nearly 5 folks who had used both the new ones and the old ones. all these people voted for the old ones and felt that, the new one did not give them the feel of riding a bullet. its like riding a heavier bike.

my family members were damn against my wish of buying a old bullet. so, i once, decided to go for booking a Classic 350. at that time i got to ride my friend's Classic 350. It never satisfied me of giving a bullet experience. then, i decided not to go for a new one.

Lot of research have gone into my decision of buying a old one. Though many work is there in restoring it, i would never be in a hurry in doing so. Its worth taking time and restoring the bullet to its mint condition over the next two years.