Friday, November 8, 2019

Where to go with questions about your Royal Enfield

Word cloud of subjects that often come up on Royal Enfield forums.
Know where to go for advice on fixing your Royal Enfield? Here's my list.
Problem with your Royal Enfield motorcycle? Here's a new list of Internet forums to turn to for advice.

This update is necessary because Yahoo plans to wipe out the decades of knowledge accumulated in the Yahoo Groups devoted to Royal Enfields (and everything else) starting Dec. 14, 2019.

In response, some Royal Enfield Yahoo Groups I liked are moving to other platforms. In some cases they will preserve helpful existing files; in other cases it's a matter of starting over from zero.

That's not necessarily as bad as it sounds.

After all, as one group member pointed out, many of the seasoned hands who've fixed Royal Enfield problems in the past are still around to share their experience.

For the answers to technical questions about Royal Enfield motorcycles, I recommend joining the appropriate  message group and asking your questions there. You'll usually find that members are ready and willing to answer common questions, if they can, based on their experience.

To be frank, these Internet forums are at a turning point. It is entirely possible that their role will be taken over by algorithm-driven Facebook, YouTube and Google Search. No doubt, those channels are faster.

At the moment, I prefer the old-fashioned forums for detailed, experienced and sophisticated advice, delivered without sniping and advertising.

Royal Enfield Motorcycles: This is one place an owner of any Royal Enfield can turn to in times of trouble. It is starting all over again on the Groups.io platform. This was the original, worldwide forum of Royal Enfield enthusiasts I turned to when I first purchased my 1999 Royal Enfield Bullet. Since it's starting over from the beginning there isn't much there yet, but join, ask your question and you will get a response.

Bulletech: Members have deep knowledge of the Royal Enfield Bullets common in India so, if you have a Bullet, this is the place for you. The philosophy here is to guide you in learning the answer for yourself, as a true Bulleteer should. If you're not going to enjoy that journey, don't start. This group moved important files to Groups.io when it left Yahoo.

RE Interceptor: Specialty here is the original Royal Enfield Interceptor, but any vintage Royal Enfield twin interests members. This is not the place to go with questions about Bullets or the new Royal Enfield 650 twins. The moderator has rescued important content from Yahoo and is relocating the group to Groups.io For now, information is on the group's website.

Unofficial Royal Enfield Community Forum: Formerly called the ClassicMotorworks Forum. Founded by the one-time U.S. Royal Enfield distributor it is now hosted by Hitchcocks Motorcycles in the UK. Membership still tends to lean heavily toward the U.S. Members seem ready to address any issue, with any Royal Enfield, anywhere. Highly recommended.

Whatever group you join, have your facts laid out when you ask a question, or misunderstandings can ensue. Etiquette is as important as a thick skin when asking questions of knowledgeable enthusiasts on Internet message boards.

Check the little stuff (just a dirty spark plug?) before you bother members.

You will want to avoid alienating the people who might help by asking lazy or inappropriate questions, or failing to first search the group files and past conversations for answers to common questions.

Members get irritated when questioners fail to explain their problem completely or don't state what model and year Royal Enfield they have. Early 1999? Late 1999? Iron-barreled four speed? Five-speed AVL? Unit Constructed Engine (UCE)? These things matter.

Remember, you're getting free advice, and members may disagree about the correct answer. If advice you receive works for you, be sure to write back, thank your advisers, and report that the problem is solved.

And even though there are several helpful groups, resist the temptation to "cross post" your question on more than one of them. Many people belong to them all and don't need to read the same conversation duplicated.

Finally, don't wait for problems to appear before joining these groups. You can learn much (I have) just by reading posts from other people. And if you have a funny Royal Enfield story, the answer to a question, or a particular ride to report, don't hesitate to post. You make these forums fun.

AN OPPOSING VIEWPOINT: Longtime reader John Donlon had this comment on where to get help:

"Buy and read the appropriate factory-issued service manuals for your bikes. These pay huge dividends down the line. On-line forums and YouTube are fine for stuff that needs clarification. I have purchased the actual factory manuals for every bike I've owned and have been able to do much of my own work (mostly preventative maintenance) and saved a lot of money and aggravation.  It is hideous to do "some work" only to discover you've done a lot of damage. Spend the dough and get the right information the first time. It will always be at your fingertips. When I see much of the stuff on the forums I just shake my head and think that yes, there ARE people out there that shouldn't be allowed to own anything. Again; buy, read and comprehend the factory-issued service manuals first."

3 comments:

  1. As an old guy who remembers how difficult it was to maintain unusual motorcycles pre-internet-forums, these suggestions are vital to Royal Enfield owners. Thanks for this post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi,
    To add to your list of RE help, there is a great forum in the UK but have members from all over the world.
    Really worth a look.
    Midland Bullet Riders
    D.

    ReplyDelete
  3. John Donlon makes good points. But when you are all alone with your bike and your factory service manual and your problem seems mysterious to you, the forum offers almost instant contact with dozens or hundreds of riders of bikes like yours. One or two or twenty of them will have had the same problem and dealt with it more or less successfully. You can learn from their wins and their losses. Yes, the factory manual is useful, but forums are super helpful, once you learn which posters are trustworthy...and that comes quickly, I'd say.

    ReplyDelete

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