Going Down Memory Lane A Bit:
I don’t remember a lot from my childhood but I do remember one little thing my father told me this one rainy afternoon. We were standing at this store and I saw this massive, majestic machine standing there in the distance, little rain drops were trickling down its elegant metal body as it stood there in one corner in dead silence. It had a different sense of attraction to it. My father seeing my interest quietly leaned down and said in my ear – “Beta, two things never go out of style, a neatly trimmed mustache and a Royal Enfield. One I have, the other’s for you to buy”. 15 years and 8 girlfriends later I still can’t just not get attracted to a Royal Enfield Motorcycle or famously called as bullet motorcycle. The sheer thud it produces has this sense of masculinity that is incomparable.
A British manufacturer actually, Royal Enfield motorcycle has been one of the greats in the Indian motorcycle market. The company was called as Enfield India earlier. The Production unit is in Madras (Currently Chennai). Bullet Motorcycle or Bullet Royal was everywhere in the 80’s. From the Doodhwala(Milk Seller) who used to hang his cans on either side of the motorcycle to the big mustached uncle who you always were too scared of, the Policeman who caught the thief that night to the neighbor who had been serving in the Indian Army throughout his glorified carrier, everyone had a Royal Enfield. The history of Royal Enfield’s Motorcycle has been a long and unparalleled one. The Thunderbird wasn’t always there though, until in 2000 when Royal Enfield brought this marvel of a cruiser in the Indian market, the first of its kind. It had a great response and has been a people’s favorite since then.
The Thunderbird 350 (2014 Edition):
Cruisers are an evergreen symbol of style, responsibility and sheer power. Everyone wants a piece of the action these days but generally it’s tough to get a hold of those V-Twin engine Harley Davidson for the average Indian. Royal Enfield had long back fulfilled this gap between the common man and his desires with the almost affordable 500 cc. Thunderbird at the beginning of the new millennium. In 2013 it came up with a tuned down and highly anticipated smaller brother to the legacy, the Twinspark Thunderbird 350. It had a 350 cc. engine (well the name pretty much ends the suspense) and produces roundabout 19.8 Bhp of pure power. It wasn’t that loved by the R.E enthusiasts because of some engine enhancements that made them feel a lack in its purity. But it did manage to bring in a whole array of new buyers who were new to the whole idea of cruisers.
And now in 2014, Royal Enfield has come up with a slightly upgraded version of the 350 cc. monster, and it looks better than ever.
The 2014 Thunderbird Royal 350 comes with a similar carbureted 350 cc Single cylinder engine that produces 19.8 Bhp and 28 Nm and looks pretty good for the price it comes at – Rs 1,49,000 (Ex- showroom Kolkata). Enfield prices are very competitive comparing with other motorcycles. It sports a projector headlight which by far is the best feature of this motorcycle that I have come across personally. Also the hazard lights seemed like a smart addition to the motorcycle. The five bar LED tail light in the back also does its job more than just well. The Chrome finish dual meters were also a looker which included analog RPM and Speedometer along with a pretty handy digital meter with some quirky features like a clock and average speed. The 20 litre Teardrop tank and the Chrome finish exhaust outlet also add a sense of class to the motorcycle. It comes in three colors for now – Stone, Lightning and Marine.
Its five speed gear box has high ratios so that it consumes lesser fuel in traffic within the city going upto 35 kmpl in the city and 43 on the highway. The higher ratios also come in handy during highway riding which makes riding the motorcycle feel like a breeze. Even though it hums like a lunatic, still the motorcycle doesn’t vibrate much and the engine doesn’t feel like it’s being put stress on. It isn’t as powerful as it’s 500 cc Fuel Injected older sibling but it has a great feel to it. Riding at speeds near about 70kmph gives you a feel of relaxation but it can go well upto almost 125kmph if you push the throttle further enough. The whole body looks elegant and even though it doesn’t have the same humming to it like the earlier ones, it sure looks like a motorcycle worth its value. The braking has been improved with the inclusion of a rear disc break in comparison to the older drum brakes it used to come with.
Why Buy A 2014 Thunderbird 350?
Simple, because you want to 🙂 A Thunderbird dawns the elegant classic cruiser look which you’ve been attracted to since when you first looked at it. It literally beckons you to own it, ride it. The ride itself is worth buying it. The feeling you get while riding it is something that can’t be explained. While riding you feel a sense of responsibility and maturity that you don’t remember feeling a lot of times in your life. The comfortable ergonomics of the bike make it an instant favorite among riders everywhere. Plus you haven’t ever had such a smooth and balanced ride ever in a motorcycle that weighs near about 190 kilograms, unless you own Harley Davidson or custom choppers in which case you haven’t probably have read up until now. Simply put, it is the motorcycle that turns the boy inside of you into a man, in a good sense though. It’s not like you want this motorcycle, it’s rather more like you need it. Royal Enfield Accessories are widely available in the market. The bike is available in global markets as Royal Enfield USA and Royal Enfield UK.
I bought myself one last month and I am pretty happy with its performance yet. Haven’t faced any problems yet except some noise coming from the tappet, which also seemed to be the problem among a lot of other R.E owners I met at the showroom. Personally I also felt that the front telescopic suspensions could be a bit better since it sometimes leads to maneuvering problems during traffic congestion.
But otherwise it has been a great experience thus far and I feel it’s going to stay that way like it always has been through its long history of success. A Truly Royal motorbike!