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Monday, February 9, 2009

Net group inspired Royal Enfield manual

The Yahoo Royal Enfield message group recently passed the 2,500-member mark after 10 years' service to the motorcycle community. Internet motorcycle boards are always good places to turn for technical advice and help with problems, as long as you bear in mind that the advice you get may be worth "exactly as much as you paid for it."

The Yahoo Royal Enfield group has a bit better claim to usefulness than most. The group actually inspired a full-fledged Royal Enfield owners and workshop manual you can buy. Pete Snidal, an active member, wrote and sells it. I asked Snidal recently if my impression is correct that the Yahoo group was in at the beginning. His reply:

"It is indeed! The plot was hatched on the RE Yahoo group. As you may know, I've been a major fan of Bullets since the mid-'50s, and was very happy to hear the rumour that they had been being produced in India all along -- when I heard this in the late '90s. Researching this brought me to the RE list, and I soon became a vigorous participant, finding lots of takers for various bits of Bullet and general motorcycle lore that I'd picked up over 50 years of riding various Brits and dirt bikes.

"Suggestions began to appear on the list that it would be a nice idea for me to write up a largish FAQ or something for distribution, the major problem seeming to be that the factory service manual wasn't a whole lot of help, especially to newbie motorcyclists, but also to those to whom the Bullet was a special puzzle in various ways.

"I responded to these pleas by promising first to write a few insert pages to be carried along with one's factory manual, offering a few extra hints and tips. Idea was that it could end up being a printed supplement. I offered a free copy to the first person who sent me a factory manual upon which I intended to resonate with a supplement set.

"A few hour's perusal of the factory manual convinced me that a whole new manual was the way to go, and so I cranked up an outline and began to work on it a chapter at a time as I found the time.

"I've always been a major fan of decent documentation for any piece of machinery requiring understanding and maintenance. I take it seriously, figuring that a bike with no manual isn't much better than a manual with no bike. Or you need a good manual as much as you need gas and tires. Or something like that. So I started to really get into it, getting up at 5 a.m. most mornings sitting in the kitchen with my back to the wood heater, and the manual just sort of flew out the ends of my fingers and into my laptop on the kitchen table. (When everybody else in the house is asleep is a GREAT time to write!)"

Snidal continues to monitor messages on the Royal Enfield Yahoo group and offers free advice, often quoting from his own manual. As free advice goes, that is a terrific bargain.

4 comments:

  1. Hey, Dave, thanks for the kudos on manual 1!
    You and your readers may be interested to know that I've just completed the next one - manual 2, for the UCE Bullets. It's in proof copy stage as I write, today 06 Jan '10, with one presently sent to each of the major distributors. After I get a little feedback, it'll be up and running! I'm thinking it'll be offered for sale at the usual webspots by the end of January.

    Just thought you might be interested! (plug, plug!)

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  2. So.....any idea when this great resource will be available for the 2010 Bullets?

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  3. I believe the UCE manual is now for sale at this link.

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  4. Thats great news! A bike without a manual is a manual without a bike!

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