Sometimes the unexpected happens. To my wife’s dismay, I fell in love again. On the other hand – my wife loved her too. Not to my surprise, though. Anyone would love her. 14th March 2012. I was in Goa enjoying the fresh air and my mother’s excellent cooking. One lazy afternoon, my friend dragged me to the Royal Enfield showroom in Margao.
Till then, I had no inclination towards owning a Royal Enfield. The salesmen were pleasant and helpful. I remember the test vehicle. It was love at first ride. The butter smooth roads, the green pastures, the wind through my hair and the thump of a Royal Enfield. It was a long time before I dropped her at the showroom.
I ended up booking an Electra the next day. Choosing the model was a no brainer. The standard, although prettiest of the lot (in my opinion), lacked disc brakes and an electric start. The classic was a tad too short. I picked up Electra with all its frills and fancies.
However, mind you – the Electra is no ugly duckling. The rounded headlights, the traditional sidelights, the retro styled tail lamp along with its generous chrome helping, would want to make you display it in your living room. She also sports the same 350cc engine like the other models. She is well shaped and stands tall. The metallic ‘Royal Enfield’ logo on the tank is icing on the cake.
It was a long wait before I got my bike. Well, it was just three months, but the three months seemed like three years. Finally on 14th June 2012 I picked up my bike from the Kings Autoriders showroom at Pune. The transaction was smooth and the sales folks were professional in their dealings.
They say birds of a feather flock together. True. We both love open roads and hate traffic. I did a couple of one day trips to nearby places around Pune. Take her on the open road and she opens up like a charm. She is responsive and full of life. Take her to a crowded street and she suddenly throws her weight around (literally), behaves stubborn and constantly switches to false gears.
The new UCE engines (compared to the iron casts) are not held in high regard by some bulleters. However they are easy to maintain and don’t drill a hole in your pockets. So I, for one, have no complaints. A test following my first servicing returned a mileage of 42 in the city. Recently I have started ditching my car for my bike.
It helps me blow my money on things other than petrol, for a change. I have recently completed 4000 kms on the odometer and the maintenance cost has been zero. (except for oil change and a 10 bucks nut which fell off). In today’s world, we have a habit of quantifying everything with numbers and stats. I will try not do so here since the Royal Enfield is more of spirit than machine.
The loud resonating sound thump of the engine is ironically the most peaceful sound I have heard. You would not ride it to race. You would not ride it for stunts. You would ride it just for the love of riding. The bike is alive! You feel each and every part of it responding in harmony as you work the accelerator. It is like riding a horse (technically the engine is loaded with eighteen of them).
There are times when I take out the bike at nights for no obvious reason. The feeling can only be experienced, not explained. To put it in a nutshell– If god had to ride a bike (and assuming that the Harley did not exist), he would have cruising on a Royal Enfield. This is the best way I can put it.
So would I recommend the bike? Yes, I would. Not for its handsome retro looks or the heart thumping beats. But because, deep within its massive exterior structure and all that chrome, lies a tiny piece of soul, which will help you find yourself.