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    Royal Enfield Bullet-The Indian Cult ?

    Royal Enfield Bullet-The Indian Cult ? Find out !!

    An Introduction: 

    FAMILY WARFARE



    All hell breaks loose when three Royal Enfield Bullets fire away. But of this triumvirate, which is the golden Bullet?


    The Indian motorbike market, bombarded with new bikes and newer technology, is on one hell of a roll. The Indian experts are churning out technology like DTS-i and VT-i , wrapped in high levels of quality, and the b ig brutes, Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki, are now attempting to cash in as well.
    With all the novelty and excitement, one firm stands apart. The Royal Enfield factory has been around from the middle of the previous century. Pulling off the impossible, it sells primarily the same motorcycle model from then to now. Enfield's famous m arketing line goes, ‘Built like a gun, goes like a bull et’ — but can these old thumpers really keep up today? We put the current crop head to head in a triple test with a difference — Bullet v Bullet v Bu llet.


    Design & Engineering:

    Instantly recognis able, the Electra and Machismo's classic Bullet silhouette is mesmeric; the more modern Thunde rbird takes a different route, and sticks its neck out as a cruiser.
    Oodle
    s of ch om e are common to all the Royal Enfield models, the Machismo enjoying an extra helping. Nineteen-inch rims give all three motorcycles that presence and air of authority that attracts so many die-hard fans.

    The Electra and Machismo share the vintage headlight housing with twin parking bulbs peeping out on either side. This also has room to enclose fork-tubes and the complete steering column. Simple round meters are easily
    accommodated in this unit, which appears to have ambled straight out of a WW2 movie. The Thunderbird g ets a more attractive pair of twin-pod chrome instruments and upswept handlebars in keeping with its cruiser attitude. Swept-back mirrors on the Machismo lend it a unique touch.
    The three mac
    ho machines sport a powerful headlight with a blinding searchlight beam, the downside being a lack of adequate spread to view the road shoulder.

    The tank on al
    l three bikes is a 14.4-litre teardrop, an upward twist helping the T'bird keep its cruiser image, and handsome chrome dabs add appeal to the Machismo. Battery and air filter shrouds on the T'bird blend with the rest of the bike, unlike the boxy protuberances on the flanks of the others.

    The new Electra has the best switchgear — not that the others are bad. Levers an
    d grips are of decent quality on all the Bullets, which aids comfort. At sedate speeds, the circular mirrors were adequate, but u p the speeds and the world behind disappears in a throbbing haze.

    Build quality on all the three Royal Enfields leaves a lot to be desired. Sigh.




    Engine, Gearbox & Performance Engineering:

     
    The Machismo, Thunderbird and Electra draw steam from twin-valve, single-cylinder and air-cooled 346cc engines w ith identical 70mm x 90mm dimensions. However, the engine on the Machismo and T'bird is a heavily tweaked version of the Electra's, courtesy AVL of Austria. The obvious external change is an alloy cylinder head in place of the venerable cast-iron block, making for a healthy four-kilo weight chop.

    Bullets have a
    long history of troublesome valve-trains, and AVL has addressed it by making valve angles less radical and re-ducing head and stem diameters. Thus, the cylinder and combustion chamber cont ours were reshaped for better turbulence and efficiency, and Con-stant Velocity or CV carbs installed.
    The piston on the new motor — christened 'lean-burn' by Royal Enfield — features a flat top as compared to the old-fashioned domed unit and has discarded the valve recesses in its crown and the split in its skirt. The connecting rod, and the big and small-end bearings have been revised. Pushrods and rockers have been lavished attention and the gear-type lube system has an increased rate of flow for superior delivery.

    Compression ratio has been raised from 6.5:1 to 8.5:1, and will instantly be felt by riders gravitating from the relaxed Electra to the Machismo or T'bird.These two now use electronic CDI ignition, while the Electra uses a Transi stor Coil Ignition system. Starting a Bullet remains a painfully heavy task, only mastered with some practice and calf-muscle building — the optional self-starter well worth investing in. An area that could do with attention is the clutch, which feels leaden and a downright chore to use.

    Vibrations on the Machismo are somehow far harsher than the other two bikes; even our visiting Autocar UK columnist Colin Goodwin was convinced he wouldn't ever bear children, having enthusiastically clobbered it over many kilometres.
    The Machismo and T'bird come with a five-speed gearbox that shifts via a lever mounted on the left, familiar because it is the norm today, while the four-speed Electra sticks to the original right-hand-side gear-lever and convenient any-time-neutral stub. Lubrication for the gearboxes is grease, this archaic tech making the Bullets a rare breed today. Gearshifts are a matter of practice, with too much of a mechanical feel. The Electra gearbox is noticeably smoother than the other two bikes, but all are plagued with false neutrals and a poor feel.

    Bullets are famou
    s for their oil-dribbling engines and owners will be well advised to keep a tray beneath the bike each night to avoid a stained garage floor. The culprit is poor crankcase machining tolerances, but most Bulleteers know and turn a blind eye to this.
    The entire gamut of changes by AVL has, astonishingly, brought in no increase in power and torque, though
    Performance is noticeably brisker on the Thunderbird and Machismo. Our acceleration runs to 60kph from rest found the AVL engines giving the Machismo and Thunderbird a healthy two-second advantage over their red sibling. This increased with higher speeds and was also reflected in overall better figures for in-gear roll-on acceleration.




    Fuel Economy & Verdict:


    If you are one of those millions of bystanders at traffic signals who inevitably pop the question, "mileage kitna hai?", you are best advised to simply go purchase a CT 100, Centra or a Splendor. Not sought after for extravagant economy, the three Bullets nevertheless came up with figures we find decent for 346cc motors.
    The new lean-burn engine is relatively thrifty with the Machismo turning out 33.4kpl in crowded city traffic and 37.3kpl on the open road. The identical engine in our test T'bird delivered 34.2kpl in city, the number going up to 38.1kpl on highways. The old-world Electra turned in slightly lower numbers at 30.2kpl on city roads and 32.7kpl on the highway.



    The Verdict:


    The Machismo offers a fair blend — a true-blue retro-style statement, while still gaining from modern AVL technology. A major bugbear, though, is the more-than-slightly-vexing vibration. It's the Bullet for riders interested in doing the retro bit, but who want the convenience of the gearshift on the left and the brake pedal on the right.
    A college-going bloke with a will to enter the clan will find a mount in the Thunderbird. The one Bullet w
    ith somewhat modern styling, it's the only one he could use without his peers ribbing him about a bike that surely came down via his grand-dad.
    The Electra is the Bullet that comes out tops in this test — by unanimous decision we must add — even though it’s got no hint of fresh AVL technology, and
    Performance crawls in the other slipstreams. True Bulleteers give a whit for these frills. The winner has a smoothness and punchy thump missing on the others, a hugely important factor. It provides by far the most unadulterated classic Bullet experience, making no excuses in throwing out its chest with a bold take-it-or-leave-it attitude. The flaws on the Electra add to give it a character all its own. It's the full Monty — if you want a Bullet, go for the real thing.

    We figure if you plan riding any of these historical pairs of wheels, jump in at the deep end and go home with the whole experience — Bullet, lock, stock and barrel.



    BULLET ELECTRA
    List price (ex-showroom,
    Pune) Rs 65,642/70,142
    Top speed 98kph
    0-60kph 8.48sec

    Kpl 31.45 (overall)
    For Good engine, complete retro experience
    Against Poor build quality






    BULLET THUNDERBIRD
    List price (ex-showroom,
    Pune) Rs 71,651/76,151
    Top speed 113kph
    0-60kph 6.08sec
    Kpl 36.1 (overall)
    For Decent styling
    Against Poor seat, absence of gas-charged rear suspension






    BULLET MACHISMO
    List price (ex-showroom,
    Pune) Rs 69,324/73,824
    Top speed 108kph
    0-60kph 6.89sec
    Kpl 35.3 (overall)
    For Loads of chrome
    Against Harsh eng
    ine vibration


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    4 comments
    1. kd Said,

      always liked the old Bull ....though i never owned it I am saddened that no one realises the magic of the old bull ... probably every one has to catch up in life ...and i have driven a T-bird too .. very well .. i love to clean those oil leakages .. i love to understand why those happen ... its like a part of your system ..i sign off by saying that differentiate between a communication program for your old customers and the new kids on the block .... phew i just realised u are doing that .. thanks

      Posted on 1:38:00 AM

       
    2. sanfer shah Said,

      i am planning to purchase Thunderbird by next week.I need know is if i can change the thunderbird silencer with the enfield classics bend silencer as i really loved it. also if i can change the tyres of thunderbird with the 500cc classics as i find thunderbirds tyres a little too big for my liking. will it affect the balance of the bike or the ground clearence, also i am not sure it smaller tyres will look cool on the thunderbird…?
      please help me with your valuabe suggestion.

      Posted on 1:56:00 AM

       
    3. sanfer shah Said,

      i am planning to purchase Thunderbird by next week.I need know is if i can change the thunderbird silencer with the enfield classics bend silencer as i really loved it. also if i can change the tyres of thunderbird with the 500cc classics as i find thunderbirds tyres a little too big for my liking. will it affect the balance of the bike or the ground clearence, also i am not sure it smaller tyres will look cool on the thunderbird…?
      please help me with your valuabe suggestion.

      Posted on 1:57:00 AM

       
    4. gurpreet Said,

      if u have a thunderbird twinspark then dont worry please ride ur bike slowly for atleast 5000 km then u can feel ur bike cooler then ever i too faced all problems but now its cool ……so just ride ur bike within a speed limit of 40 max 60…then after 5000kms u can just fly thats TBTS….got it

      Posted on 7:48:00 AM

       

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