Few days ago I posted on Twitter and Facebook that I am now using Thunderbird and loving it, while I was talking about Mozilla Thunderbird; few people misunderstood and thought I had bought a Royal Enfield Thunderbird. Even those who knew me well and I think know that I would never actually buy one!
Also I quite often get suggestions from people (mostly those who own Bullets) to buy a Royal Enfield motorcycle for touring, while people pitch as hard as they can about benefits of owning a Bullet, I usually end up telling them that a Bullet isn’t the motorcycle for me and usually end up reiterating why I would never buy a Royal Enfield Bullet:
Royal Enfield Motorcycles aren’t reliable: Well let’s face it, while a few might love spending a day in the middle of Manali – Leh highway, fixing their motorcycles (I respect their idea), it is certainly not my cup of tea, and I would rather be riding and exploring the beautiful landscape around me than getting my hands dirty to get the bike running again. Heck even Royal Enfield knows this and despite it’s motorcycles being positioned toward motorcycle tourers, offers warranty for the least time (km wise).
Royal Enfields don’t have good range: One of the most important aspects of any touring motorcycle being used in remote areas is the range it can travel on a tankful, since petrol pumps are tough to find in remote areas. Royal Enfields have smaller petrol tanks (compared to Karizma, Pulsars, Unicorn etc.) and on top of it, they are thirstier (especially in hills). This means for a ride to Zanskar Valley or Leh – Tso Moriri – Sarchu – Tandi, a guy riding a Bullet would need to carry at least 7-8 liters of spare petrol, while on a pulsar I can do it without even hitting the reserve!
Royal Enfields are heavy: While the heavy weight and long wheelbase helps tremendously while riding in plains in strong crosswinds, it becomes a dead weight as soon as you get in to a sticky situation in hills. Now if all that weight was due to something quite important like a more powerful engine or fantastic suspension setup, I wouldn’t have minded, but the fact is, it is mostly useless as it is there more for the show and in attempt to retain the classic feel, than for any utility.
Egoistic Bullet riders: That’s right, even though I know of plenty of fantastic travelers who use bullets, most often than not, I run in to people who believe that the Royal Enfield is fantastic and an iconic bike, and rest of the motorcycles are crap (jap-crap to be precise). While it is great that Royal Enfield has such a cult like following, I am not too keen to be seen as part of the herd following a brand name blindly, and treating fellow bikers and travelers like crap!
As for majority of these nincompoops, well the only reason they buy these bikes is to try and get associated with some of the things that a few great travelers have accomplished and were incidentally using a Royal Enfield. To them, it is not the spirit and determination of the rider, which demands accolades, it is the thing they were sitting on top off!
Every time I come across such individuals, they reaffirm my faith about not owning a Royal Enfiled and make the determination even stronger!
Edit: Just wrote a blog post on the Kind of Royal Enfield Bullet I would like to buy, check it out as well and let me know what you think.