Thunderbird 350cc, 2012 version

Discussion in 'Motorcycles' started by dbssdas, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. dbssdas

    dbssdas Member

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    I never thought that I would end up writing this. I have been religiously waiting for my Classic 350 for ages.Dreaming about it day and night. Seven months to be precise, and the suddenly my dad goes to visit the Dealer and give them a piece of mind. For those who think that my dad returned with the Classic 350, you wouldn’t be more wrong. He turns up with A THUNDERBIRD 350 FLICKER. :shock: To tell the truth I am no fan of the TBTS, apart from it being more comfortable than the Classic. So now here we are, reading my ownership about a completely different bike.

    Yes we all know its got the same 350cc engine as the Classic, it makes 19. Something bhp, got projector headlamps, digital display and blah blah blah blah.. So I am going to cut the chase and get back to the point, where your 1,43,475/- has to prove what its worth. As my dad got the bike home when it was already dark, so couldn’t check out much other than the famed projector head lamps and the digital console. I am not a admirer of this “digital console set up”, as almost all commuter bikes now a days has one and seems to be quite boring by now. But I must say when riding in the dark empty road, the blue backlight and the console with all that chrome around you, does give you a feel of confidence. Well, maybe I am not used to see something like this on an RE, and gives you a feeling that you are on a triumph (much better technical reputation than RE). In fact when you sit on the bike, you do feel you are riding a Triumph. The speed is displayed in analogue along with the RPM. The digital part displays the odo, two trip meters, low battery, time( more on this later), service reminder, Average speed on trip meter A and trip meter B (wonder who who would use all that). And setting the time is an art in itself. You have to press both the set button and select button on the meter console simultaneously. Now, there is no blinking or anything that would say that you are set to reset the time. The time just ticks on. Moreover, my point is, if I am going to toggle between all these stuff, when am I going to start my ride. However, as some may have reported about difficulty in reading the display i daylight, I have not faced any problems as such. But then I already wear glasses, so get one if you can't see. Apart from the above, There also seem to be a mention of DTE (distance to empty), display in the owners manual . However, I am yet to see that blink. I think its for the 500 series. The ride last night was not bad. Dad said that the bike had 13 kms on the Odo when he took delivery. All in all, the odo showed 35kms when he got the bike home. So took the bike out around 11 pm last night. Turn the ignition and the speed meter and the Rpm meter glows red and does a full up. And yes the lights on the meter console remains on even when you ride in the day with all lights off.

    So I pull the clutch and press the self starter, half expecting it not to start (don’t blame me. Blame RE for its well maintained reputation). But unfortunately, the bike disappoints me here. IT STARTS IN ONE PRESS.:shock: So, not ridden an RE extensively before, I put into gear and release the clutch. Man!!! This thing can pull. The clutch is so soft, you need to feel it to believe it. Yes, it just pulls you forward, and you half expecting that a 190+ kg bike with a pillion to pull off with very little throttle. In fact, I had to apply the brake as I wasn’t ready for the bike to pull off without giving me notice. And hey!! I am the master (or Am i). You can’t just run off with me…So I turn on that “corona ring” side light ( Which is actually just a led light, with a ring type reflector design. How do I know? I opened it first thing in the morning) .Ok getting back to the point, I switch on the side lights and…there is a indicator showing that it is on..on the meter console. Such small detail taken care of by RE….Just imagine!!. You can see the side light glowing in the dark, but you would miss out in properly lit areas or day and would self start the bike with the light on or would be riding with the light on. So day or night, you will know that your “halo” is saying “hello”. And then when I switch on the “ground breaking” projector head light”, What do I find??? The damn thing is set so low, that I can hardly see what is in front of me if I am riding over 30kmph.:mad: Yes yes….I had to use the high beam, but I want the projector. So I keep riding with the high beam on, which is how I expected the low beam to perform, I see a huge pot hole. Though the bike was hardly doing 40kmph, the sudden appearance in the pitch black night made me grab the brakes. Yes the rear brakes do seem like they lack bite, but I think it’s a well sort out brake by bybre. In any other bike, even with drum brakes, the wheel would have locked up. But this just steadily slowed me down. And before I knew I stopped, which I hadn’t intended. So, in my books A+. So after a ride for about 5 kms I decided to return home. What I noticed during that short ride??---is that,

    1) Its very flick able for such a heavy bike. In fact, I won’t be surprised if anyone of you graduated from a scooty pep to a thunderbird. Even getting the bike to move around pushing it, is a piece of cake. It’s feels pretty light by the way. Ok…I hadn’t tried lifting if though.

    2) The rear view mirror do vibrate, but not so much that you can’t make out whether a car is behind you or an elephant. I could actually read the word ambulance in the rear view mirror quite clearly while moving. Ironic??? :shock: I thought that too, and decided to return home.

    3) The gear has a switch like feel..oh come on..all you know its same as the Classic..so whom am I explaining this?? However faced a few false neutrals while down shifting. I found that 40 kmph will be the speed I would be riding and that would be mostly in fourth. And no 5th.

    So returned home parked the bike, and went off to sleep.

    Day 2. Woke up early as I am a good boy…….oK couldn’t sleep. Went down stairs and took a proper look at the bike and also took the manual along. I wanted to adjust the headlight no matter what. Its not that I needed the manual to adjusted the headlight, but just wanted to double check. And lo!! To my surprise, the manual contains everything from opening the brake pads, to chain adjustment, to replacing the light bulbs on your bike to changing bulbs on your neighbour’s bike, (and please don’t check for spelling mistakes..blue has been spelt as bule over and over again), but there is nothing about headlight adjustment. So, what the hell, got my tool box,( you need an Allen key to open the tool box on the bike, which is in the battery chamber, attached to a rubber strip…see! Attention to details),as it is too much trouble. So, loosened the mounting bolts and the headlight adjustment bolt below the headlight case and after some tugging was finally able to move it. Adjusted it, tightened the bolt and switched on the light. It has a good throw now, but don’t fancy any headlight war with it. You are not going to blind any one.And yes, It has been set to Max. Suddenly it struck me as the manual shows how to change a light bulb, thought to give it a try. Come on!! You don’t expect to go looking for the manual in the dark when you blow off a bulb. So I open it, in no time everything is in pre production phase and again in post production. Piece of cake. Easier than changing bulb on a pulsar.

    The led set, they say, will have to be replaced if it goes kaput. So after fidgeting with the headlight, I go about checking the nuts and bolts ( again… don’ t blame me). All seems to be tight. RE has built a Solid bike practically..hmmm…The horn sounds like a new generation Ambassador. But must say its louder enough to be heard a mile away. You feel as if all eyes on you saying …show off, every time you use the horn. So now I decide the do a cold start..and follow it to the ”T”. RE advices kick start for initial start and cold starts for the 350cc. For the 500..ask someone else. Electric start if you really want to know. I push to kick starter down 4-5 times, without turning the ignition on. Then pull the choke, turn on the ignition and one steady kick..the bike starts. A New RE starts in a cold winter morning in just one kick(literally). Amazing. The rpm slowly builds up. The auto de compress goes tick tick tick… quite irritating actually.But as the engine warms up and rpms build up, it shuts up. Then suddenly the bike shuts up too. What??? OMG.. :shock: RE has kept its reputation!! Tried kick start around 10 times..no reponse. Tried self start for another 10…no response. The low battery light does work you know....I saw it blink a couple of times. And then it struck me…dumb ass!!!.. the fuel tap!! Turn it on and in one kick back to life. Whew. Warmed up the bike. Checked the oil levels. All ok. The rear disks does tend to rub a bit. But will finally smooth out I hope. So took out the bike for a spin. It feels like riding a pulsar. Yes its that flick able. You will at no point feel the weight. Last night I was able to do 40kmph in the fourth gear and could’nt engage the top gear. So when the bike completed 51 kms exactly, on the odo, It suddenly became less strained. I pulled on a little and by 43kmph I was able to engage the top gear. ANd no lugging or knocking Yes, it does compromise you pick up. But then, I am not going for a race. Just enjoy the ride. Boy!! the bike does put a smile on you face.

    Returned home, and took a closer look of the bike.--
    1) The rear brake set up seemed bit complicated to remove in case of a problem. The manual showed as if it was opening a can of coke. The clutch cable seems to be made out of recycled stuff. No " i enjoy the quality" moto eh..

    2) The other wires look good, but nothing to write about.

    3) Tires have definitely more grip than the classic. The front tire looks puny. Meatier tires with a broader mud guards would have been better at the front.

    4) The grab bar alloy and the bits of alloys here and there, (there is also a ring of the alloy in the fuel cap opening), looks like was given to RE free of cost. The Apache, half of TBTS price, has better alloys.

    5) The tail led looks great on the dark. Lights up you number plate quite nicely for the cops to take you number, if you are on the run.

    6) Quality of the switches and other plastics seems good, but could have been better for a 1,43,000+/- bike. Handle grips are good.

    7)Foot pegs look good, but yet to see its tenure.

    8)The side stand is tight as hell. You will need another person to pull up the side stand. You have a side stand indicator though.

    9) Paint job is nicely done. Be careful while changing gears . Take care not to rub your feet on the “mat Black Engine”(which is quite likely while changing gears).

    10) The spindle that holds the end of clutch cable on the engine is wielded. Seems weird. The rear back rest is rather a butt rest, for the pillion to know his/her limits, In case he/she, is trying to get away from you. ;)

    All in all I haven't much to complain about despite trying my best to make it look inferior compared to the Classic. Who says you fall in love only once..:cool:. Man I must add this...At 1st i thought the Classic was the only RE, on which people took notice. Glad that I was wrong. I will end up in an accident some day. I pass people, and just look at the rear view mirror to see their expression on their faces. Again, the rear view mirror of this RE does really surprise you.
    Well, that is all I can cook up for now. Will need to ride the bike more to get more views into it. Pictures are definitely coming. So relax. More to come.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Note- couldn't post pictures cause, i Wasn't ready for the bike...:D

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    Another update...took the bike again for a spin in the dark...headlights rock. With the low beam properly adjusted, you don't even need the high beam. The seats are great. Not too soft nor too hard, but comfort levels may vary from person to person considering height, riding posture. By the way I am 5'7''.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
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  2. rajat_delhi

    rajat_delhi Well-Known Member

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    So you are officially the first owner of the new tbts.
    Congratz. Ride safe. Ride a lot and write a lot. Your reviews will decide the future sales of the bike...dude don't post further if you dnt hVe pics to share..... Waiting. Waiting waiting..... Pics please......
     
  3. dbssdas

    dbssdas Member

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    Thanks a lot....I am myself eager to post the pics. Will surely update pictures by thursday.
     
  4. nitinraina07

    nitinraina07 [email protected]¡®

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    Congrats...har RE pe likha hai chalane wale ka naam. You were meant for each other...so what if it was an arranged marriage..
     
  5. dbssdas

    dbssdas Member

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    lol...Thanks a lot.never thought that i would end up with an Thunderbird. Though i wasn't eager at first, must say I am happy with it. And really You said it "har RE pe likha hai chalane wale ka naam", no matter what model it is. I wouldn't have put it in a better way.
     
  6. abhinavrakesh

    abhinavrakesh Guru

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    RE advises kick start for initial start and cold starts for the 350cc

    I am not even with you for the above statement, You always start with Self Start for Initial or Cold Start provided your battery has good health.

    And i think you should write a post with paragraphs and with Points, When i was reading your post I thought i was reading an essay, Which after sometime felt boring.

    I think it would be more Interesting to read a review with Points and Proper Spacing between points, Not like writing and writing and writing in a single breath.
     
  7. yankeedoodle

    yankeedoodle Active Member

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    No bro, dont try self start when the bike is cold. Self start is a good option when the engine running hot and stopped at Signals. other than that it really is not advisable. And anyway the bike wont start using self on cold days no matter what you try. ;-)

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    No bro, dont try self start when the bike is cold. Self start is a good option when the engine running hot and stopped at Signals. other than that it really is not advisable. And anyway the bike wont start using self on cold days no matter what you try. ;-)

    @ DBSSDAS
    Congrats man, i am sure its a lovely machine. have a blast!
     
  8. abhinavrakesh

    abhinavrakesh Guru

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    Are you sure about that, If you check the Manual of RE, It is Recommended to start the bike with Electric start in Mornings or Cold Days ....

    I always use to start bike with Electric Start and it Starts with very first fire of Self.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
  9. bhansali_hardik

    bhansali_hardik one life live it!

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    Woaahh... Das firstly congrats man for owning a re I know how hard n long u've waited.. I'm not so happy cos will be missing the detailed review on the c350 page.. :p but hey on the bright side we get a proper review of the tb :) happy to see you getting hands on re.. n where are the photos ?
     
  10. dbssdas

    dbssdas Member

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    Yeah yeah. I should have written it with more points and paragraphs. But try writing all that from your mobile phone.:grin: Beside I am no writer. So sorry about my bad writing skills again. However, I am going to take care of it when I have enough time with a computer. And about the electric start part, check out page 80 in the owner manual. It contains point by point procedure to start all "electric start" bikes.

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    Thank you and thank you, for you well wishes and your advice.

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    well,you are not wrong either. Initially, RE Did advice electric start for all their bikes. Which was fin for their fuel injected bikes, as it had the map computer to check on the piston position, oil temperature, and choke and then mix air and fuel in an perfect blend, which effortlessly started the bike. You don't even need to hold the throttle. But with the carb models, with no map sensors, its just another RE. People at RE (and Exide), must have realised that it drains the battery faster. So must have corrected it in the new manual. Beside, its common sense. In fact all carb bikes are kick started, during cold start. But I must say, the kick starter isn't bad either. Its much more smoother than my kick start of my Honda Aviator, and Bajaj Avenger.

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    Thanks buddy...may dad says, as it was available without waiting period, he took it. I think its all a part of a grand scheme to fleece customers to pay more.:D You pay more for the TBTS, you don't have to wait for a bike. My first reaction was "topi pehna dea", but then I was willing to pay premium for the classic to speed up delivery, so What the hell. I do still think the TBTS is over priced. And who says the story ends here...picture abhi baki hai mera dost, I am already planning to add the C350. Maybe not right away, but very soon.;). I am not going to give up all those hours that i spent dreaming about the Classic. After all its still my !st love.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012

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