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Friday, April 9, 2010

Royal Enfield Classic 350 gets a moving,
(but sometimes it's not moving) tribute

An outstanding tribute to India's original 350cc Enfield Bullet appears on the blog Visual Gratification. Thanks to reader David Blankenhorn for pointing it out. I won't spoil it all for you, but here is my favorite part:

"This is not the Classic 350 available now, but the original Bullet 350, which used to come in cast iron engine with a right-foot gear change and a left-foot brake...

"This bike came out last from the Chennai factory this February as it did from the Redditch factory 60 years ago. The last real factory produced classic bike, the original British thumper, it finally had to give in to newer technology and norms.

"You can ride the new Royal Enfield Classic 500, you can ride a Harley, you can ride a V-Max, but nothing is comparable to the Bullet 350...

"What is so great about the bike? Absolutely nothing. It is hopelessly out-powered by any moving two-wheeler half its engine size. At anything north of 80 kph it vibrates as if there is no tomorrow. To start off the big engine on a cold morning sends a chill down your spine. It is very, very moody and it will suddenly stop for no reason.

"You will make all efforts of igniting the engine, but it won’t even budge and then after pushing it for 2-3 kilometers to the nearest garage, it will start on half a kick when the mechanic tries. He will then just smirk at you and you know inside his mind he is laughing at you, thinking, ‘God Knows, now a days just about anyone thinks he can ride this legend...’

"Reaching home you see your pants are smeared in oil from the 1,001 leaks available free on the engine.

"Next morning, when you have to rush to office, you see a young man on a puny Yamaha 150cc bike easily passing you. You think, this is the last day I will be riding this old fossil guzzling dinosaur and I will settle for the more practical sub-200cc bikes with better fuel efficiency and with 1/10th the niggles. Really, there is absolutely nothing good going for it...

"And then you think, 'I am not that dumb that I will settle for anything else.'"

4 comments:

  1. It's a hobby, not a Honda, after all.

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  2. I love the last sentence, that will be my answer when I'm asked why I ride a Royal Enfield.

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  3. I brought a new Standard 350 in Aug 2009, after it became known that it is to be taken off the shelf.
    Have completed 4400 kms in seven and half months. Love every moment of ring it.

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  4. I kind of feel like a traitor because I traded my '05 Deluxe for a ('69) Honda Scrambler, and the Honda is slow, but like in the old joke, if me and a guy riding a Royal Enfield were being chased by a grizzly bear, I don't really have to go faster than the grizzly bear . . .

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