I got to ride bullet first time in the early 1990’s, everything was so perfect about riding it – the ride, the sound, the power and the image, I was smitten by it. That time I decided “I will buy THE BULLET one day”. Never realizing that I might end up moving overseas and that one day may not be here.
What they allege about the bullet is actually right “Once you drive it, you are ruined for any other bike”. This is entirely about that power, sound, steadiness and the feel. While being overseas I had a fortune to ride bikes manufactured by BMW, Harley Davidson and Honda which I enjoyed, but that joy of riding the bullet, was something which I couldn’t find.
The title ‘Royal Enfield’ needs no presentation, it’s the world’s oldest motorcycles still under production. Based in Reddtich, this British engineering firm the ‘Enfield Cycle Company’ produced the first vehicle under the brand ‘Royal Enfield’ in the year 1898.. In 1931 a four-stroke single cylinder motorcycle was engineered and this model was the first to feature the name ‘Bullet’. Later on going through model enhancements it gained popularity and demand in England, many sectors including military, royal mail etc. started using it.
Post freedom the Indian Army placed a massive order of Royal Enfield Bullets for border patrol use. In the year 1955, Enfield India based in Chennai (formerly knows as Madras), bought a license for assembling the motorcycle in the country with parts imported from England. Bullets were sent from the Redditch factory in kit form for assembly in Chennai. By 1962 ‘Enfield India’ started the complete in-house manufacturing of the motorcycle which continues till date.
September 2015 – As soon as I realized that I might be going back to India, the passion started showing its colors & desire, and I set out to explore on RE once again. Things have changed since early 90’s to now, the RE fans are ruined with the choices. There are lots more variations available Retro, Classic, Cruiser, Electra, etc. and most of them with suggested delivery lead time up to a month. Was I ready to await for another month? Hell yes – I waited for 20 years, and one month to get my hands on the RE seemed nothing. After reading the reviews, pictures and other factors, I decided to get RE Thunderbird 350, which is most advanced, stable and designed for leisure motorcycling experience.
07 October 2015 – Walked into the RE Brand store in Bangalore, with my eyes popping out looking at these splendid motorcycles. I had a long conversation with the sales agent, around my requirements and my desire to test ride all versions Classic, Electra, Thunderbird and Continental GT. Each of them were a joy to ride, as I had already made my mind for TB, I actually enjoyed riding it above all other models. Despite of negative reviews of RE, complaints about customer service and other nitty gritty things, I ended up booking the bike. I was assured the delivery within 7 working days.
14 October 2015 – I picked up calls from the store suggesting that due to public holidays, the anticipated delivery is on 19 October. (I was expecting the delivery before the weekend so that I can ride the bike on the and get used to local traffic). Nothing I could serve to fast forward the legal transfer, rather wait till Monday.
16 October 2015 – A surprise call from RE store around 2:00pm made my day, as they asked me to come and collect the motorcycle by 6:00pm. This was unexpected and I was not able to express my happiness. I made my way to the store around 5:30pm. After the paperwork and other formalities, I was directed to the delivery bay where TB 350 was waiting for its new companion. The head technician ran me through the features, maintenance schedule, do’s & don’t, and other tips to keep the bike in good condition, congratulated me and bid the farewell.
Thus far all the negativity about the delivery, delays and bad client service I had read about proving it wrong. What happens in the future (after sales service) may be a different story which I am still to experience.
What’s peculiar about the bike: Well, if you ask me, there is nothing exceptional about it. It’s the attachment, the feeling one have for the RE. The bike gives sheer joy when riding, for me it is not a way to commute, it’s a means to experience happiness.