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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Classic Motorworks forum lets you speak

Royal Enfield motorcycle riders are special. They can hop on the Internet and chat with the boss, U.S. importer Kevin Mahoney.

They can also share in the combined wisdom (and humor) of 2,300 other Royal Enfield owners, mechanics, dealers and employees.

This wide-ranging free-for-all, with (almost) no holds barred is on the Royal Enfield Community Forum, at the web site of Mahoney's Classic Motorworks. That makes it an "officially" sponsored discussion, but what you find is obviously not the polished offspring of a corporate marketing department.

Mahoney explained why in this recent post:

"This forum's main purpose it to do what it does and that is build community and to help each other. It does that fabulously. A lot of people have gotten a lot of help from you members. The amount of flaming is about zero, which is unheard of on similar forums.Again it speaks volumes about the quality of our members.

"Secondarily it is to help my business. I have been open about this from the beginning. For the most part people seem to respect that. One thing it does really well is give a prospective customer the 'inside' story. Even if comments are not good I rarely edit them. It is important to be open and let the bike speak for itself. You customers and owners are our best spokespeople."

One example of getting the "inside story" is Mahoney's recent comment about Royal Enfield raising prices in India: "This is NOT the case in the U.S.," he announced, as soon as the news from India hit the Internet.

"Our prices should remain stable for 2010. I just wanted to post this before I got lots of questions."

Mahoney and Classic Motorworks were very "early adopters" of the Internet, using the web site to connect with the huge U.S. market at a time when few (myself included) knew about Royal Enfield motorcycles.

I well remember checking it out myself, a decade ago, and being pleased at the way customer questions and complaints were addressed on line, even way back then. Mahoney was frank but never defensive or rude. It was a marked contrast to other message groups, and impressive, because this was, after all, his forum.

Today's Royal Enfield Community Forum is far more wide ranging than the batches of monthly messages posted in the old days. There are separate discussion groups for each model, accessories, sidecars, suggestions, technical tips. Probably the one unfortunate aspect is that is too large to grasp. As of Wednesday it was just about to exceed 60,000 posts.

Want to see what the Classic Motorworks Message Board was like when in started in April, 1999? The old board lives on as a link from today's Royal Enfield Community Forum. Take a look; you'll be interested to see how much has changed and how much has not.

3 comments:

  1. Hi everyone. I really like the nostalgic looks of the Enfield.I Was thinking about getting one w/sidecar. I am not so sure about getting an Enfield now with seeing the amount of used ones with very low mileage on the market all the time. . This tells me that there are a lot of dissatisfied Enfield customers out there. Am I wrong? Could someone please enlighten me as to why this is. Thankyou.

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  2. My guess: Until the latest models came along, Royal Enfield motorcycles not only looked nostalgic, they actually were a motorcycle design unchanged (unimproved) for half a century. They were nothing like the maintenance free, reliable Japanese products that have so spoiled us for the way things used to be. The new UCE models don't have this problem; they are reliable and relatively maintenance free. But they still share one vintage aspect of the 50-year-old design: they are slow. These 500cc, single-cylinder, low rev, low compression motors will not keep up on U.S. Interstates. If you must keep up with your buddies on their Harleys and Yamahas, you will have to get a different bike.

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  3. I managed to get myself banned from this "open" forum. Not sure why, no explanation. Must have been something I said.

    I own an RE that was imported from CMW.I have no real issuies with the bike, but I own a good set of tools and know how to use them. They are fun to ride on 2nd roads.

    I started to notice a less down home feel(on the forum) after the UCE models, and California market opened up.

    I guess all good things are hampered by progress, CMW is no different.

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