My RE TB 500 Motorcycle Diaries

J.Ravi

Petrol Powered + Diesel Driven
A second Royal Enfield entered my family on 15 April 2013. :) Meet my Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Twilight.

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My new Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Twilight poses with my FIAT Linea, the first one being my son's Classic 500 Black.

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I am starting this ownership thread after riding my TB500 for 567 km and completing the first free servicing.

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I have been dreaming to own a Royal Enfield since 1970s, when I was a teenager. My dream became a reality on 15 April 2013! Earlier, I had owned and sold many two wheelers, Lambretta, Vijay Delux, Priya, Hero Honda CD100 and Suzuki Fiero.

My desire to own a Royal Enfield renewed again last year, when my son wanted to buy Royal Enfield Classic 500 Black. So, along with him, I test-rode Royal Enfield models Electra and Desert Storm and Honda CBR 250R. I used to ride his Classic 500 during the weekends as my son uses it for commuting to and fro his office during the other days. After riding his bike, I decided that my next bike shall be Royal Enfield! In the meanwhile, Royal Enfield launched the new Thunderbird 500 in October, 2012, which I test-rode for the first time at HSR Enterprises, Rajajinagar, Bangalore. I also test-rode Vespa Lx125 when it was launched and did not like it. Finally, I took the plunge and sold my Suzuki Fiero and booked a Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Twilight after test-riding for the second time at Royal Enfield Brand Store, Adayar, Chennai on 16 November 2012 by paying
5,000 by cash towards advance. I was told that I would get my bike by March 2013.

I waited patiently until the first week of March 2013. From the second week, I started calling the Royal Enfield Brand Store to know my status atleast twice in a week. I was assured that I would get my bike by the third week, and then, fourth week and later, the first week of April 2013. But, nothing happened except the false assurances. I had become so famous there that I was identified by my voice!

I got fed up and vented my feelings in BCMTouring, Facebook, Twitter and other fora. I also emailed to Royal Enfield. Then, the things started moving fast. I paid
1,80,105 inclusive of the advance towards the on-road price by way of demand draft. The prices were revised from 1 April 2013, which could be the reason for the delayed delivery!

I did PDI, when my bike came to Chennai Mandaiveli RTO. The VIN indicated that my bird was March 2013 make. The pollution test was done 23 March 2013. Only after getting satisfied, I signed the RTO forms, afterwhich, my bike was registered.

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I took delivery of my bird the same evening from Royal Enfield Brand Store after waiting for 5 months. The delivery process was smooth. Kamal Pandey, manager of Royal Enfield Brand Store, explained to me all the details patiently, which I had already known. Two litres of petrol were measured and poured into the tank in my presence. I was even given the registration number, but asked me to come the next day for affixing the stickers on the registration number plates.

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After getting the stickers affixed on the registration number plates, I rode to Quality Metal Industries and my TB500 got a newly designed crash-guard. The details are here. The advantage of this type of crash-guard is that the rider's footwear will not foul with it although the front foot-rest peg is shifted towards the front in the new Thunderbirds.

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While my wife and children were happy with the arrival of the Thunderbird amongst us, some known, well-known and unknown persons made the following comments:


'Does he require this huge bike at his age?'

'He should have bought a scooter so that he could control'

'Can he handle that bike?'

'He could have gone in for 350 cc at the most; not a 500 cc bike!'

I took all these comments with a pinch of salt. I could not make those people understand that I bought my TB500 after riding my son's Classic 500 for over an year!

I rode on my TB500 for about 200 km within Chennai city following all the stipulations specified in the owner's handbook, viz., not exceeding 50 kmph and 10 minutes rest for every hour of ride. However, the fifth gear could not used much in the congested city traffic. So, I rode Chennai>Pondy>Chennai [323 km] with my wife in the pillion on 23 April 2013, when my TB500 was on the fifth gear most of the time on the highways. While going, I went by ECR; for the return journey, I took NH 66/45 via Tindivanam.

In Pondy, we visited Manakula Vinayakar temple, brunched at Adyar Ananda Bhavan, my TB500 had tankful of petrol at Aurobindo Ashram BP pump costing
65.09 per litre. We visited our relative before starting our return journey.

It's a new experience for me to ride through the toll plazas without paying and waiting! Some decades back, I rode Bangalore-Mysore-Bangalore [~300 km] in one day in my Hero Honda CD100.

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My TB500 went to Royal Enfield Brand Store at Kottivakkam, Chennai, for the first free servicing on 24 April 2013. Earlier, I contacted them and I was told that I could ride into the service centre at 9 am without prior appointment. The bike would be serviced and handed over to me after 2.5 hours. I could wait there in the customer lounge, when my bike was serviced. My TB500 reached there by 9:15 am. Before I was attended by the SA, the security guy opened my bike's tank and measured the petrol level by inserting a dip-stick and noted the level in a register. First time, I witnessed this process. I had difficulty in bring the gear lever to the neutral position. The second problem that I faced was, some 'Dak..Dak' sound emanating from the chain-guard in a cyclic manner. The SA assured me that the issues would be set right.

I waited in the air-conditioned customer lounge, while my Thunderbird was getting serviced. I was served with coffee at 10 am. I browsed the newspapers. Then, I enquired with the cashier about the acceptance of credit card for payment without extra charge. The cashier informed me that additional service charge of about 1.75% would apply. So, I walked to the nearby Canara Bank ATM located on Rajiv Gandhi Salai [Old Mahabalipuram Road] and withdrew sufficient money to take care of the payment. I got back my bird by 12:15 pm. I checked. All the problems were resolved to my satisfaction. I paid
851 by cash and rode back home.

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My son's Classic 500 Black's servicing at the crowded HSR Enterprises, Rajajinagar, Bangalore, takes two days with prior appointment by atleast one week before. Compared to that, my Thunderbird got serviced within 3 hours without any prior booking! The Chennai Royal Enfield Brand Store service centre was spacious. All the bikes were parked in the demarcated grid. The mechanics wore helmet while going for the test-rides. I am fully satisfied with the service rendered to my TB500.
:)
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bulletpro

Mouli
Fantastic narration, I could feel how happy you are owning this awesome machine. All the very best and have safe ride.
I loved the pictures...

Cheers
 

J.Ravi

Petrol Powered + Diesel Driven
Now it's time to browse through the technical specifications of my TB500.

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I like the following: :)

  • Excellent power and torque: beneficial to both the highway and city riding
  • Superb handling and riding quality
  • Sharp brakes
  • Powerful projector lamp headlamp
  • Two-pod back-lit instrument cluster with digital displays
  • Front foot-rest pegs have moveable springing joints, which will absorb the shock in case of a hit
  • Rider-friendly handlebar position and foot-rest pegs: useful for long rides
  • Excellent fit and finish compared to the other models of Royal Enfield
  • Excellent company-owned ASS at Chennai with customer-friendly facilities
  • The last, but not the least, rider's seat provides maximum comfort to the rider

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I dislike the following: :(

  • Digital display does not provide fuel efficiency in kmpl
  • Quirky fuel gauge: the bars change abruptly several times
  • Absence of 12 V charger for this premium highway cruiser
  • Rear tail lamp & indicator cluster and registration number plate alignment points upwards by several degrees to the horizontal
  • After buying this premium bike, Royal Enfield Brand Store did not provide key chains ['You have to buy this as accessory, Sir!'] and provided all the documents in a paper envelope that gave away the very next day!
  • The last, but not the least, non-transparent delivery process. I was told 4 months, but got the bike after 5 months with the increased price. The stores manager told me that I would get my bike only on 18 or 19 April 2013. But, his staff called me on 15 April 2013 and delivered on the same day! Seems a lot of communication gap between the manager and his staff.
My FIAT Linea drove from Kanniyakumari to Khardung La. I hope, my Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 will also follow suit. :)
 
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dbssdas

Member
Finally, i have been waiting for your review. Am glad that you enjoy riding the TB. From the servicing cost, I can safely say, that the new TBs, 350 or 500, are not hard on the pocket. Well, its a difderent issue, in case of an accident. But apart from the regular oil change, you don't have to worry about the expense of owning an RE. Too bad they didn't give a complimentry key ring. But i guess its more upto the dealer than RE.
 

J.Ravi

Petrol Powered + Diesel Driven
Thanks a lot, dbssdas, for the nice words.
But i guess its more upto the dealer than RE.
I bought my Thunderbird from the Chennai Royal Enfield Brand Store, owned by Royal Enfield/Eicher! :grin:
Fantastic narration, I could feel how happy you are owning this awesome machine.
Thank you very much, bulletpro, for the compliments.
 
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But apart from the regular oil change, you don't have to worry about the expense of owning an RE. Too bad they didn't give a complimentry key ring. But i guess its more upto the dealer than RE.

Expenses are much less than OLD RE's

and Complimentary Keyring is more upto dealer, I have more than 7 Keyrings given by the dealer, Even the locks of Home have RE Keyrings :grin:
 

chotu_r

Member
Congrats on getting the bullet and realising your teenage dream finally. I am envious that you have two 500s! the service experience seems to be too good to be true, compared to what we have here :p

Complimentary Keyring is more upto dealer, I have more than 7 Keyrings given by the dealer, Even the locks of Home have RE Keyrings :grin:
Can you post a pic of the new RE keychains? i've been thinking of getting one, but wont go to the trouble of getting them if its just ordinary looking stuff.
 

J.Ravi

Petrol Powered + Diesel Driven
Congrats on getting the bullet and realising your teenage dream finally.
Thanks a lot for the wishes, chotu_r.
the service experience seems to be too good to be true, compared to what we have here :p
The company-owned spacious ASS provides excellent service at Chennai with customer-friendly facilities.
Congrats sir :) Keep riding :) :)
Thank you very much for the wishes, Vinod Alagumalai.
 
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