Thursday, December 25, 2008

Royal Enfield Thunderbird Twinspark

Ah now that I have gleefully completed 1000 Km just on the roads of Mumbai its time to write a review of the Thunderbird Twinspark. Review is quite an understatement, its more of a process description. More about the bike can be found here. I will put pictures of my bike later.

I ordered my Thunderbird to be delivered on 10 October 2008, originally. The Bandra showroom guy Nilesh kept asking me for the full amount (I guess a sign of the times) to start processing my order without letting me know that the delay would delay the bike. The bike costs a cool 1.07 lakh (on road) in Mumbai. This is without the the leg guards that you need to install on most bullet motorcycles. (I havent as yet tho').

Nilesh was very helpful otherwise, I do not have local proof of address in Mumbai and he helped me to get the bike registered (by providing a document from my office that attested that I work in Mumbai). Its quite interesting that in Mumbai you dont need to go the local RTO to get the bike registered. As in every other task, no one has the time. A passport copy (for age/permanent address et all) is all that I had to provide.

The Thunderbird is a unique bike in the sense that for first time in the bullet stable, they key product is a difference over their trademark gear shifts (the gear shift is the more traditional left leg) and the engine is the new twinspark engine (one goes atleast the other will work assures my mechanic).

For the first 500 km the only problems I faced was excessive vibrations of the handle and a hitch in the gear shift. Quite impressed. Maybe the Thunderbird is the bike after all. At the stroke of 500 km you are supposed to get your first servicing done. Before that my bike broke down, twice on the road. The one thing about the Thunderbird, its very difficult to push along (not minding the fact that you look like an idiot). I called in all the bullet experts I knew, no advice seemed to work.

The local mechanic Razzak came, stripped the bike naked (amazing simple to do it) and then gave up. (He left me wondering what to do, he wanted no money but for me to let him know what the problem was). Finally, I called up the bullet servicing guys, Chandrakant and Suryakant from Sharda motors. Chandrakant's mechanic stripped the bike again, couldnt figure out what was wrong and they towed the bike away. That felt bad somehow.

The spark had disappeared because of an internal circuit problem which Enfield replaced (these things are part of the 1 yr guarantee). I couldnt pick up the bike for a long time again because of my schedule, but when I finally did, I have clocked more than 500 km in city traffice. The Thunderbird is very smooth, very classy and easy on the body. A bit tricky to negotiate long traffic jams (you ride close to the footpath) but you get used to it. The real thing to get used to is the weight. Frigging heavy, given my weak upper body thats quite a balancing act. The mileage is about 38 kmph as of now. But then, the moment you release the throttle ( I am on speed restrictions you see), its exhilerating. You start gliding on the road......

Now to go out of Mumbai.

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