User Review: 9573 kms Journey on my RE Thunderbird 500

Ashish has submitted this review in our Ownership Review Contest No 13, ensuring himself an assured prize. The contest also offers a chance to win Riding Jacket, Helmet and more…Here are all the details.

When I was a small kid (10-11 yr old) in year 1995, I was standing by the road side and saw one man with muscle and moustache riding a bullet. The thump and the looks made it different from all the bikes I ever saw. I turned to my friend and said – “tera bhai ek din ye bike jarur lega

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As I grew up, my passion for riding grew and owning a Royal Enfield Bullet became an obsession.

Finally on my 28th birthday, 10th may 2013 at 6.30 PM I received the keys of my bull- The RE ThunderBird 500CC (Matte Black) and first thing I noticed was the tears in eyes but wo kehte hai na- “ye to khushi ke aanshu hai..”(Tears of Joy)!

I heard it somewhere – as you kick start your bullet, you kick start your heart.
I kick started my bull and started riding it for the first time. I just cannot explain the feeling, I got riding my own bull. I keep on riding and the first day of my bull (first few hours) ended with 72 kms ride.

My Previous Machines:

At the age of 11, I used to steal keys from my uncle’s pocket when he was asleep and rode his TVS Champ in colony. Then I rode my mom’s Kinetic LUNA for few years and dad’s Bajaj Super Chetak.

Then I got Hero Honda Splendor from my brother which I rode for 4 years (still ride it whenever I go home) and almost covered 40,000 kms on it. I purchased a second hand all-black Bajaj Pulsar 150 DTSI in 2011. I rode it for almost 2 years and sold it after I got my bull.

Bike Details: (Features and my Experience with it)

From producing motorcycles for the British Government during the First World War to serving the Indian Army, Royal Enfield, the oldest surviving motorcycle brand in the world has a terrific legacy behind and a cult following in India and around the world.

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98% of all the bulls made so far are still running on roads which tells the legacy of RE. The new TB500 comes with projector lamps, instrument console, twin disc Brakes, fuel injection, all black 499cc UCE engine, large fuel tank, LED tail light, a comfortable saddle, split seats etc.. This makes the bull a touring ready motorcycle.

The projector headlights are very good. The blue backlit instrument console has an analog speedo and tachometer while trip, fuel, time and real time mileage are shown on the digital meter. The new silencer design is another thing in this Royal Enfield, which gives a miler thump unlike other RE which has loud thump. I love its thump which is mild and feels like music to ears while riding.

The LED tail lights are good and have a new design. The hazard lights are good addition as it helps other drivers to see you when riding in nights or rains. Mirrors are decent and provide a good view. The rider seat is extremely comfortable and you can ride long distances without any issue, pillion seat is good but uncountable for long rides.

The rear disc brake is a welcome addition from RE and braking has been very good. Even at a high speeds of 80-100 kmph, the bike stops immediately without any issues. 20 liter fuel tank is a wonderful thing and must for people like me who keep going on long rides, a full tank lasts up to 500 kms (felling wonderful :)).

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Overall bike gives a prefect look and it is completely new design from RE and they did a great job with TBTS 500, they stepped into new generation of RE (TBTS 500 followed by Café raced aka GT 535CC).

MILEAGE: Kitna Deti hai

This is the most imp question every Indian would ask you no matter you buy a bike, car or a plane so for all those who want an answer my bulls gives 25kms/liter. Method used is full tank method and ride includes both city and highway ride during test.

Problems Faced:

Having clocked 9573 kms (at the point of writing this review), following are some problems I have faced.

1. Oil leak from engine – Oil is constantly leaking from engine but not dipping small amount and got spread over engine. Got it repaired in last three services but everytime after some days it starts again. Going to shoot a mail to Royal Enfield customer care as warranty period is going to end.

2. Noise from Engine– Some noise is coming from the engine, I got it checked and the service guys did some rockers setting in engine and noise gone.

3. Rear tire Vibration – My bike was wobbling every time I applied brake. So I got it checked and found that my rim is slightly bent. I got it fixed in my 4th free service but after service I again feel the bike wobbles so got it checked again. This time some other service guy checked my bike and he told me that ARM BUSH is damaged and needs replacement.

4. Read manual carefully– Always read complete manual and learn more about your bike. I got oil changed at 1st service (500kms). At second service at (3000kms) oil should not be changes as per manual but service center changed it and charged me for it. (bcoz I did not read manual at that time). Remember service center are there to earn money so please make sure to read manual and ask them to go according to it and if service center guy say that sir we need to change this part, that part, ask question and get it checked outside or other center before getting it replaced.


  • Attractive Design and looks.
  • Color – Matte Black gives a different look.
  • Less vibration at higher speed compared to previous bulls.
  • Good disc brakes.
  • Rider seat and sitting position is very comfortable and you can ride it as long as you want.
  • Digital meter, Hazard lights etc. are welcome additions and give more advantage to riders.


This is the best touring bike in the country. I initially started with rides (100-400 kms single day) around Pune, including Pune-Mumbai, Pune-Raigad, Pune-Mahabaleshwar and many more places around Pune.

Since the day I bought bike I wanted my dad and brother to ride it but they live in different city (different state), so I had this ride in my mind to ride it down to my home town from Pune. And finally on last Diwali I rode all the way to my hometown Ajmer (Rajasthan) and covered 1326 kms in 41 hours.

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I started on 31st Oct at 10 PM from Pune, rode around 1000kms in 26 hours and reached Udaipur on 1st Nov night around 12. Took rest in a hotel and started next morning again at 8am and reached home around 2PM covering 326 kms and the moment I entered my house my father came out hearing the thump of bull (I didn’t tell anyone at my home that I am coming on my bike !!). Dad became very angry but at last he was happy to see me reached home safely.

Mother was too happy. Brother took keys from me and was too happy to ride bike… and it was like one of the biggest dream come true for me. It was a wonderful ride and I rode through Pune-Mumbai-Vapi-Surat-Vadodara-Ahmedabad-Udaipur-Bhilwara-Ajmer. Roads are best in Gujarat. I rode whole night in Gujarat – 6 lane highway almost no traffic proper road lights and markings on roads. Every moment of my ride is still fresh in my mind.

Next big thing planned is going to Ladakh this 15 Aug and have already started preparing for it.

Some Do’s and Dont’s-

  • kick start your bull for the 1st time in day and keep it idle for 1-2 mins. After that if next time in a day whenever you start it keep it idle for 15-30 sec. It will make sure of oil flow in every part of engine before you accelerate it. (read manual to get more details on it.)
  • Always wear helmet.
  • Always wear riding gears (riding jacket, knee guard, gloves, helmet) if going for long rides.
  • Keep proper air pressure in tyres. Check regularly (4-5 days)
  • Always get serviced on time.
  • If riding on highway best speed is 80-100kms it will give proper time to brake in case of emergency.
  • Always keep in mind that safety of your life and others life comes first so drive safely.

My Verdict-

I just love this bike and for me it is one of the best touring bike in India. If you love to go for long rides this bike perfectly suits the bill.
When you own a bull you just do not only get the riding experience but you also get a proud felling of owning a CULT bike in India.

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Respect – When I first rode my bike from showroom, I stopped at a signal and people around me were looking at the bike. Some gave smile some looking with surprise then saw a follow guy who is on his bull. He saw me; looked at my bike and gave me a smile (it feels like he is saying – Welcome to club brother). And this kind of respect and proud feeling comes with RE.

Know more about your bull, read blogs, connect with other RE riders and know what problem they faced so you can avoid them or tackle them early.

And last but not least…
Keep Riding…..
Ashish Chouhan

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