It’s been a while since I did a long ride on my RE Himalayan, whom I named Yeti. After my longest ride ever from Mumbai to Kerala, I have only done two short rides. I joined for work again, life in general has been fighting for time. Or rather, let me say other things have taken priority. However, there always comes a time when you look back and say – what did I miss?
Rides on my Yeti, of course, is one of them. A pop notification from Quora about a question I had answered long ago helped in a bit more reminiscing. The story of how and why I opted to go for my first Royal Enfield bike.
Is Royal Enfield still a legend?
I own a Royal Enfield Himalayan, never rode a Royal Enfield before buying it. For me, the brand connect to RE is via a relatively new bike which cannot be added to this “legend” tag yet. It will take the Himalayan years to match up to the Legend tag if at all it can. However, the brand’s rise to prominence is a story to tell. Even with the imminent launch of Jawa motorcycles by Mahindra, Royal Enfield is here to stay and compete head on.
Over the years, I have felt and heard the amount of improvements RE has made to their quality of products and the twins (Interceptor and Continental GT) add to the Royal Enfield legacy. Especially the twins, have pushed the bar and shows the direction for all other products to follow. I hope to get the Interceptor to be part of my garage someday, soon.
Royal Enfield as a Brand and it’s legacy
RE is a brand that stands for pure pride, biking, comfort and retro appeal, and now technological expertise after the launch of the twins. Royal Enfield’s legacy is unparalleled to any other manufacturer. These attributes are hard to match in comparison to any other motorcycle brand’s lineup.
- The bike is intended for street, not the racetrack. It is a street naked and begs to ride respectfully. The motorcycle commands you to ride safe!
- It is designed in a way that you can maintain it on your own. Most of the new generation owners who bought an RE want near zero maintenance which takes away the fun of owning and maintaining their own bike.
- Speaking of Retro, the bike is not a replica of the 60’s bikes Enfield of UK used to make. The UCE that now powers the Bullet, Classic and Thunderbird, the 410 that powers Himalayan and 650 Twin are modern motors but tuned to give the retro feel. The manufacturing techniques have also improved, and only a few parts are handmade. Bullet still is painted by hand, though.
- The retro looks also add to the vintage appeal to the motorcycle. Triumph tries to do that with Bonnie, though it never looks retro vintage in comparison to RE Bullet for example. Those looks are something that a vast majority of buyers crave.
- It is easily the most customizable bike today in the market. You look at custom bike market in Asia, and RE leads the way.
- It is cheaper than Triumph, Harley Davidson and any other retro bike in the market.
If one thing Bullets are famous in India, it is the thumping sound of its exhaust that is audible from a long, long distance and it is a Royal Enfield legacy. It is so imbibed into the culture here and one of the most critical aspects of its identity, that it cannot be just a bullet point (pun unintended).
That thumping sound has a potential to get a brain orgasm of a die-heart fan of RE. Those born after the 70’s have often heard the tone of it, usually rode by bullies and strong muscular men in the upper social circles. Of course, it was a luxury brand of bike in the age of Chetak and Priya geared scooters that could never match the sound.
So why are RE bikes called the legend?
It can be called a ‘legend’ because;
- They are an oldest motorcycle manufacturer today alive and kicking. Have almost cornered the market and owns a huge market share.
- The thump is alive in the newer generation bullet! Nothing comes close to it.
- Pride of the rider, the feel of riding a Bullet isn’t something you can explain!
- Easy to maintain at home, and service centers are often reliable and spread across India.
- Most importantly, passion for the brand! There are many biker groups in India that are solely dedicated to RE Brand of vehicles. Other manufactures are not close to that kind of fan following.
- People make the brand a legend, because they feel so connected and attached to the brand.
My answer to Quora needs to be updated, I guess. Because, with the launch of the twins, Royal Enfield has really lifted the technology quotient. And I need to head out for a ride. Sooner, the better. Head over to indianomics.tv for videos that I have made with my Yeti, the Himalayan.