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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tim Busby gives Royal Enfield tough love

Tim Busby sells and services Royal Enfields, runs a lodge and brews fine beers near a volcano in New Zealand. In the last few years he has become one of the most recognizable voices calling on Royal Enfield to improve quality and service.

"I make no claims at being a repository of all knowledge Enfield related, I am simply a mechanic who questions EVERYthing, with a passion for a bike with an absolutely appalling factory build quality," Busby writes.

A post of his might report: "The cams fitted by the factory seem to be a lucky dip. They advertise one set of spec, while they actually fitted another, and now I find that the specs are different again. NO listing of any such change in ANY parts book."

Or: "If the NZ experience is anything to go by, it is by far the worst parts department that I have ever had any dealings with in over 37 years in the bike trade. Even during the Meridan blockade parts supply for Triumphs was better than what I experience from RE."

Or: "REI do not reply to any one, not even to their agents much of the time...."

Busby is just as frank with Royal Enfield owners who abuse their bikes. "Push rods bend for a reason," he admonished one who complained. He suggested that over-revving might be to blame. The vast majority of his posts are not critical of anyone; just solid, helpful technical advice, offered free.

Busby signs all of his posts "Tim" and his profile gives his real name. He says he doesn't mind being "upfront on the Internet, where many hide behind aliases."

He politely declined to help with this blog item, and did not provide a picture of himself when asked. He explained: "I see myself as humble and unassuming person, (!?) ;-) A touch opinionated and prone to being outspoken at times, perhaps?"

We don't know his age, but Busby is old enough to remember well the great British makes. He commented once that the coming Royal Enfield unit engine is nothing new. "Regarding the 'new' motor... Well, die hard Tri/BSA owners said similar when they went to unit construction in '63."

His Wassail Brauhaus ("Good Health Brewery) is a bed-and-breakfast near the entrance to New Zealand's Egmont National Park. He offers his own three all-natural English-style beers there for "private consumption," not for sale.

The impressive, 8,000-foot Mt. Egmont (called Taranaki in Maori legend) is part of a volcanic region that was active 250 years ago and is still monitored for signs of danger.

Busby describes his Royal Enfield sales and service business as not a money-maker but a sideline to his brewing. He likes to meet people and "help them on their way."

His Internet advice on Royal Enfield issues is highly valued on the Yahoo message board. His posts are short, and often very technical. When he is wrong on a subject, he is admits it. Obviously, he usually thinks he's right. Why does he speak out?

"If it was not for all the BS that I have read on the internet (not just about Enfield) from so called reputable sites and sources, and the fact that the brakes and suspension on my plunger B31 were shot, then I would not have bought a Bullet."

In the end:

"The bikes have wonderful potential, but are let down by indifferent build quality. In essence a true British Bike! (warts and all)."

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