It all started two years ago when I met a friend, an Enfield rider and a fan of RE. We started going for rides around the places in Maharashtra. They say it's not always about riding fast, it's also about enjoying the ride by taking it slow sometimes. Being a fellow biker of a Bulletier I could not just leave him alone on the roads. whined at first for being slow, but I got used to riding along with him. Being a fan of high revving engines which can achieve great speeds in no time, riding with a Royal Enfield was totally a new experience. Now more on that later.
Half a year ago, I had a long conversation with a friend of mine from my FIAT group, who also happens to be a Die-hard Royal Enfield Fan. He told me about the history of Royal Enfield. How they were made, how different old bikes were as compared to new generation bikes (Recently Manufactured bikes). It was a valuable insight for someone like me who has no background for Royal Enfield (My uncle had a Rajdoot but I don't think that counts :p). It was a great time I had with him discussing bikes. And It opened up a whole perspective for me. Fast forward to present. Here I am still wondering if I had learned everything about Royal Enfield to finally decide if I love the motorcycles or not. Let's go down to the basics, about why we ride. Since the inception of Motorcycles the technology is getting advanced. However, before FI, ABS and other modern technologies. There were bikes with only the basic hardware to make them mobile. When we look deep down in this madness of riding. It's not all about the cost of the bike, or how strong the bike is technology and reliability wise. It's all about the fun of riding, always has been.
When we consider Royal Enfields, I agree that they are slow- Really really slow. But is that the only thing a bike can be analyzed with? I don't think so. Shared More than 2000kms (I wish it was more) with my Bulletier friend, I can tell you that I had one of the most relaxed rides of my life. I was not in a hurry to reach somewhere or was not eager to take the corners as fast as I can where a knee scrap was an added bonus. It was all about getting in sync with fellow riders and enjoying the road together by still being on different bikes.
Let's come down to the reliability of bikes. Japanese people have spoiled everyone with their technology. Reliability, Reliability and Reliability. I wonder if there is any other criteria own a bike that just the Reliability aspect. Motorcycles were never supposed to be a gateway from life. If you think that way then you are DEAD WRONG. Motorcycles are part of lives. Heck, they are lives. What is the reliability of your life? It's unpredictable. You run into problems, get stranded, fall down. But you get up, you fix the problem and you continue your ride of life hoping that this fix will stay longer.
Motorcycles are the same. They can break down, they can left you stranded, and they can create troubles for you, and so is your life. So do you stop living your life because it might hurt you someday? I don't think so. Asking for reliability is like asking for an easy relationship or marriage. You want to put as less efforts as you can and still want the best relationship in the world. This is just not natural. I have seen people running with dry chains, and no engine oil and then crib about the reliability of the bikes. Does not seem fair to me if you ask.
Royal Enfield have become a symbol nowadays. Every other guy wants to buy a Royal Enfield, put on a loud exhaust and Fart more often(Patakha or bombs, you know what I am talking about :P). The Royal Enfield Desert Storm is a real chick magnet if you ask me. But then again, the newer bikes are easier to ride unlike older bikes. Older bikes were heavy with an inverted gear lever/ brake lever combo mostly. A Tom Dick Harry couldn't just get up and ride those bikes. It needed a real skill. Maybe that is also one of the factors people loved so much about RE's. Of course new bikes are good too. RE made them accessible to masses by keeping everything simple. However, those bikes went into the hands of both lovers and posers. When I look at myself, I am less confused about Royal Enfield than before and somehow can relate to the people who love Royal Enfields to the core. Those engines are not high revving. But that low end torque of a Classic 350 could tackle the mud and rock section easily than my Duke 390 where torque is at high revs. Another fellow rider of mine was happy replacing his 3rd fuse after his fuse went kaput again. These are the little joys of life we miss out on. Breaking and Fixing stuff, instead of showing a commitment just to never take care of the bike in bad times again.
Now does that make me a Royal Enfield Die hard Fan? I don't think so. I am not a die hard fan of Long stroke engines as my first love is high revving speed daemons. But when I look at a Royal Enfield, there is no arrogance anymore nor there is pity. Its been replaced by a mutual respect to the other rider regardless of what he rides. I could never ride a Royal Enfield as it does not suit my riding style. But that does not mean I should hate nationalists other than Indians. Separatism, Groupism, and the BikeTypism (Not sure if such word even exist). A motorcycle is far greater than these boundaries. Only we are keeping ourselves locked and then we talk about motorcycles giving freedom and the same kind of nonsense.
There will be people who love Enfields and the people who hate them. The quest is not complete by any means and it will continue till the end of my days. In the end, we all have one thing in common. A machine with two wheels and a Heart. We try to ride our motorcycles everywhere, hoping that we will be happy in this short lifespan of ours. Because, ain't nobody can take that away from us.
By: Rituraj Sambherao