Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

I guess, this post, however late, was inevitable. I was warned about the quirks I will have to face with Royal Enfield and I was okay with it, as long as it gives me the celestial riding pleasure. Well yes, this is not the practicality but I don’t think anyone buys an Enfield for the same. It’s irksome from the start as you have to wait for like 6 months to a whopping 1 year to actually own it after you test ride it. It starts right from the day you pay the booking amount and goes on in different phases of ownership.

Nevertheless, here is the long due third part of my Royal Enfield Classic 500 Ownership experience. I have broken the same into phases as per the service so that you can skim easily through the whole thing. Enjoy the read. 🙂


The Honeymoon Period

Well this is the period when everything feels perfectly right.

Silver Royal Enfield Classic 500 Ownership Experience

Machines.

You are madly in love with the machine and you ride it with utmost care <50 Km/hr. Gears are applied with perfection too. Everything is smooth and slick except you! You just can’t wait till the Running-in period ends

Same thing happened with me. Well, I witnessed bike’s 500cc mill to go from rough wild beast to the royalish smooth king. Ha! Enough for analogies. The simply stuff is that after buying a machine this costly you become super aware of even tiny of the noise (err sounds?) coming through it. The “zzz” sound when applying front disc brake is normal. The engine becomes a bit silent in a nice way as you cross 250~300 Kms. Overall the experience improve drastically but one may not notice it due to excitement of actually riding an Enfield for the first time.

Overall, I loved riding this beast and completed 500 on the ODO in 12 days only. It was a pleasant experience for me and god! RE makes you sexy. People will stare at you, inquire about the bike, admire you like fucking anywhere! Be it neighbours, office, public parking, red lights & even on goddamnit road while I was riding >100 Km/hr. So much for the old british charm eh?

First “Free” Service (@542 kms):

So, I had clocked 542 clicks (read: Kms) on the ODO already when I ready to go for the First “Free” service. A day before, I called up my friend Shivam who got his Silver CL350 serviced last week to run me through the whole procedure at once. After getting the necessary details, I planned to get up early next morning (Sunday, 18th Jan’15) and reach the Service station by 9:30AM. But little did I know, Dilli ki Sardi(Winters) just doesn’t allow you to get out of the multi-layered quilt setup one sleeps with. I got up at around 10.30AM, got ready and rushed to the North Delhi Motorcycles Workshop, Rithala at around 11.30AM only to find a long queue of RE machines lined up for some mechanical love! 😛

Here is the list of service activities to be done on my Silver Storm:

First free service activities - Royal Enfield Classic 500 Ownership Experience

Quite a list eh?

The service centre is relatively very small and congested. I was attended by the RE Executive (don’t remember the name), and the procedure of creation of Job card started. He gave me an estimation of ₹1,200.00 for the First supposedly *FREE* service. And yes before you guys start bashing me, I know Owner has to bear the cost of parts and oil but still, it costed me more than first service of a ₹7,00,000  Toyota sedan! Anyways, I signed the job sheet and started telling the guy about the minor issues I have faced in my initial ownership. Here is the list of issues I reported:

  1. Handle bar swinging to left (alignment issue?)
  2. Bike stalling while down-shifting gears with clutch pressed.
  3. Golden coloring of Bend pipe
  4. Silencer having a deposit of burnt plastic (courtesy: My dealer, who didn’t remove the Styrofoam sheet before giving the bike to me).
  5. Check Left Indicator (it wasn’t working at the time of Delivery, but started working magically after Fuel filling 😛 *RE’s magical niggles*
  6. Misfiring of engine, sometimes a loud pop (phat) sound when idling.

The estimated Time of delivery given was ~3pm. I decided to wait in as I was hoping to see a hands-on view of how servicing is done and all. But, the staff of North Delhi Motorcycles Workshop was so rude, that they said you have to sit inside the customer lounge or else we wont service the bike. Now that’s some very rude behaviour with a customer who has just purchased one of the *Iconic* bike worth close to ₹2 lacs that too by a 22 year old guy who just got a job and put his savings in the down-payment and got a loan of ₹1.2 lacs just to get this bike.

Sure I understand there is a protocol for servicing but politeness could do wonder!

Still, I sat in the lounge and waited patiently. The mechanic did the usual (Oil and filter changes) and send the bike for washing. I was amazed to see none of my above problems were even addressed to until now. Attitude much? I patiently waited for the bike to come back from the washing. When it did, I went to another guy whose position read as “Customer Relationship Manager“. LOL! Was he? I told him about my concerns and even showed him the same on jobsheet and he addressed it like It was nothing and called the mechanic who just changed the Engine oil and the filter and he simply said, Bike has no issue. I still said, I find it difficult to drive in heavy traffic as It keeps stalling on low RPM when clutch is pressed to downshift the gear but it was dismissed quickly as “Ki ye to hota rehta h, chote mote issues hai” (English translation: “That this is something which keeps happening, they are minor issues”). I mean seriously?

I also told them about their own customer executive fault due to which my silencer has a big black burnt plastic spot(dealer didn’t remove styrofoam sheet from silence before delivery). They dismissed it by saying “Abhi to silencer garam nahi hai, nahi hoga, khud karlena” (English translation: “The silencer is not hot as of now, I won’t do it, do it yourself later”). Similar behaviour was seen for every issue. They didn’t even bother to check anything else except the work written on the Service invoice.

They just mopped and wiped the water off and applied some wax on the tank and asked me to pay for the jobsheet. The invoice generated was for ₹1,107.00. I paid in cash and felt bad to be treated this way. Here is the invoice for the same:

First service - Royal Enfield Classic 500 Ownership Experience

₹1100 for first service. Damn that’s expensive!

Let’s try again..

I wasn’t satisfied with the service as mentioned above. I received a call from a ma’am asking about my experience of First service and if I am happy with it. This was the time when hell broke apart. I vented my anger for mismanagement and told her that I wasn’t happy with the service/customer treatment. She asked me visit them once again to get my issues resolved. I was planning to write a big hate-mail to Royal Enfield head office, Chennai but decided against it and went to the North Delhi Motorcycles Workshop.

I was stern this time and walked right into manager’s office and ask him if he is going to help fix my issues or not. Surprisingly the guy was calm and immediately asked their top rep to address my problems. I had discovered about the alignment issue with the wheels and told him about it as they wobble while riding. He dismissed it by saying that wheel alignment will cost around ₹400. I told him I am not going to pay a single penny as alignment is not supposed to be off so early (~560 Kms).  I also told them about the indicator issue that left one stops blinking as per it’s will.

I managed to convince(scare?) them to do it under warranty and I was promised to get it fixed by 4pm. I got a call around 4:10 PM to collect the bike. I went there sure enough the wobbling was reduced by a lot. The guy said “Ye to Unnis Bees Ka Fark hai! Itna To Chalta hai!” (English translation: “This is a slight difference, it won’t matter”). Indicator was also working properly now so I assumed it’s fixed. I was charged ₹16 for 2 Flanged hex bolt (pretty expensive for 2 bolts eh!).

Wheel balancing - Royal Enfield Classic 500 Ownership Experience

₹16 for 2 bolts?!

 

Second “Free” Service (@1568 kms):

3000 Kms/90 days is the criteria for second service. But as summer’s were approaching, my riding became a lot less it used to be. I used to take bike to Office (Adobe Noida), ~40 Kms away from home. So, this time instead of completing the Kms, 90 days were approaching and I got the call once again to book an appointment for the service. I did that and fix it for Sunday, 29th Mar’15. Surprisingly, Shivam’s second service was also at same time as he was delayed by 10 days for the same. We reached the service centre around 10 AM this time and the job card process started.

I have had some minor niggles with the bike, which are as follows:

  1. Stalling issue (suspecting the low Idle RPM).
  2. Horn button became too tight (sometimes didn’t blow on pressing which can be dangerous on road.)
  3. The damn left indicator
  4. Rear tire wasn’t aligned (was wobbling like hell)
  5. Clutch was very tight!

So as per the process, the following was to be done.

Second free service activities - Royal Enfield Classic 500 Ownership Experience

The second one.

But, the service representative put up an estimate of ₹1000 again, and I was shell-shocked. How in the name of god? I inspected the job card and there it is, he put up the bike for Engine oil change again and oil filter and exactly like it was in first service. I asked him and he said “Sir 1500+ KM chalne par karwa dete hai hum change” (English translation: “We generally follow this practice when bike has run 1500+ Kms”). I simply showed him the service criteria, it is supposed to be done around 3000 Kms and still only Check/Top up is to be done in 2nd service. I refused him to do any of it and just to the bare minimum, he told me ₹250 and I gave my consent for the service (without checking, my mistake).

The “service” was completed in 10~15 minutes and again except Idle RPM, no other issue was looked upon and bike was already lined up for washing. I was waiting patiently that maybe it will be fixed post-washing. NOPE!

I went into Customer Relationship Manager’s cubicle and told him about the same. He inspected the bike and rejected the tire wobbling as a problem and said itna to har bike me hota hai. So I told him to check Shivam’s Classic 350 and guess what his tyre was perfectly lined with the frame. He didn’t agree to it and I was dejected. Then I told him about the faulty horn and he again dismissed it by saying “Sir aap jaan he nahi lagana chahte” (English translation: “Sir, why don’t you put more pressure on it”). This was the limit, I simply asked him to fix/replace it else I will drop a mail and complaint against it. He said that he can’t replace the same as it’s not completely broken. Surprisingly I have read this same in other RE ownership reviews. RE people insists on completely breaking an item before they will replace it. Funny right? Even if it endangers your life. Nope! Sir first break it.

Well, I was adamant with it and they finally replaced the whole console. Indicator was working fine again and I was assured that it’s fixed. I believed them once again to was at peace with it. For the clutch issue I was told that since it’s a 500cc Enfield, it is supposed to be hard to press. Wait, what? How is this possible. I have ridden Suzuki Intruder which is having a fucking 1800cc mill. It is fun to drive and manoeuvres like a baby and clutch/gear shifting is also smooth. I was like leave it, there is no point in arguing with them.

The bill was generated and it was ₹242 for Chain lubrication and Battery treatment. I paid it and a guy was cleaning the bike. I looked down and chain was dry as a desert! I called him immediately and asked him about the same. He said that he forgot to do it. He started the bike, put up first gear and as tire was rotating, he got a spray can and sprayed it across the chain. What?! ₹250 for that? I could have done it myself.

Nevertheless, I took the bike and left with a broken heart as I knew it’s going to be same in every service. Honestly I expected a bit of a special treatment after buying a sub ₹2 lac bike.

Here is the invoice, just in case:

Second service - Royal Enfield Classic 500 Ownership Experience

Avoid Chain lube spray, buy one & do it yourself.

Third “Free” Service (@3233 kms):

So, some 3 months later with 3233 clicks it was time to get my CL500 serviced. This time however, I was fully prepared to deal with the workshop agents (that’s what they are) in the best possible way. Since last service, few issues cropped up with my bike which I was eager to get solved at any cost, either with hook or crook.

As usual I got the call from the workshop. I decided to book an appointment for the first slot i.e: 9AM for Sunday (5th July 2015). Unlike last time, I was a bit discipled this time and was standing in the workshop at 8:55AM. Mine was the first Enfield for the day. The guy came in 5 minutes with the usual yellow jobsheet and took my Owner’s Manual to check/fill the required details. Before he could brief me about the expenses, I asked him to do the basics, skip the Battery treatment and Chain lubrication from the jobsheet. The bike had run only for 1600 kms uptill now, so I didn’t think chain lube was necessary. However, I did point out that in 3rd free service activities it’s clearly mentioned in #3 to check battery terminals and apply petroleum jelly. The guy fumbled, mumbled and said “Yeah sure.” Preparation eh? 😉

Third free service activities - Royal Enfield Classic 500 Ownership Experience

Activity List for Service #3

After the usual affair, he asked me if I am facing any issues with my machine. Sure! Here is the list of issues from top of my mind:

  1. The damn damn damn left indicator (changing console didn’t fix it) 🙁
  2. Tightest clutch ever with the level wobbling like crazy on speeds >40 Km/h
  3. Loose seat (probably due to after-market seat cover guy’s laziness)
  4. Slight misfiring of the silencer (rarely but noticeable)
  5. <One more trivial thing I am not able to recall>

Surprisingly, the guy nodded his head in affirmation for all the issues and wrote them down on the job-sheet. Ay! That is some positive change. He quoted me ~2 hours before delivery of the bike so I decided to wait on and get my issues resolved. One of the usual mechanics hauled my bike on the Service Bay #1 and started with his business.

Now, this is when this very interesting thing happened. I planned to visit a friend directly from the service station so was carrying my backpack with my laptop, along. I decided to wait in the owner’s lounge, which is opposite to the service bays. I took my favourite seat in the corner sofa so that I can see my Silver Storm getting serviced. After a while as I was getting bored so I took out my laptop. I switched on my Airtel 4G LTE wifi tethering and connected my laptop. I decided to open this exact post and started drafting my experience for the third free service. Since I was the only one there, one of the mechanic came and sat next to me in that lounge itself. He saw me typing furiously (I do that) in the Zen mode of the WordPress post and this piqued his interest. He asked me what was I typing. I saw the opportunity and I seized it 😎

I told him “I am drafting an email to the head branch of Royal Enfield (Chennai) as I am fed up of this workshop’s service. I have had few issues from a while now which are not being solved”. I also told him that I will only wait till the delivery and if my problems are not resolved I am going to send the mail with all top officials of RE in cc. I even said a few names (God bless LinkedIn) 😉 After this, the guy went straight into Manager’s room.

I don’t know what happened but the service in-charge called me and asked me to explain my issues, which I did perfectly. He asked me to sit in the lounge and assured me they will fix all it all.

After the service, the bike was being buffed with wax, my left indicator was changed as the problem was finally diagnosed to be the faulty bulb holder. They even decided to do a chain lube for me for free, which is IMHO rare of the rarest. At about 11:30 pm, when the bike was serviced, washed, cleaned, waxed and buffed. The in-charge guy came and asked me to take it for a spin and check if I had any other problem.

Lo and behold, I took the bike out of service centre and as soon as I pull the beast into the first gear, I knew everything has been done perfectly for the first time! Man. The clutch, gear-shift, engine, all of it became so smooth. It felt exactly like it was at the time of delivery. I came back and told them everything is fixed and thanked them for that 😛

The final bill generated was ₹968.00 which I paid gladly. For the first time, I felt satisfied with RE’s service as they actually listened to my problems and genuinely solved them. I wish they keep doing the same.

Finally I rode home with a huge grin on my face.

Here is the invoice:

Third service - Royal Enfield Classic 500 Ownership Experience

Same as #1 minus chain lube

Fourth & Last “Free” Service (@5167 kms):

So, 3 months were up since the last time and I got the call from service centre regarding my last free service i.e: The Fourth one. As usual, I booked for an appointment at 9 AM for Saturday to avoid the rush. I got there at 8:55 AM, and in 5 minutes I was ready with my feedback for the service executive. I had only 2 issues:

  1. The throttle movement (Accelerator) was not smooth. It was jerky and was not rotating to it’s 100%.
  2. Idle RPM was too low, causing the bike to stall once a day.

The executive promptly noted down my feedback & assured me to get it fixed. I was quoted an estimate of ~₹1400 because of addition of ₹900 for Engine oil to which I argued that it’s not there in service manual and what’s the point of changing it in every service? To which there was no explanation and he said he will get the level checked and top it up. Man! They never seem to learn to not mess with a guy like me 😛

Fourth free service activities - Royal Enfield Classic 500 Ownership Experience

The 4th one.

My experience in 3rd service was pretty good so, I politely asked for the same mechanic to do the service for my bike and he happily agreed to do so. I was given ETA of 2.5 hours for which I decided to wait as I really wanted that throttle mechanism to be fixed. The mechanic begun with general service stuff, topped up engine oil and after an hour, he called me. He showed me that the accelerator wire has caught rust due to which it is not allowing smooth movement of the throttle and it need’s to be changed. I asked him to go ahead and replace it with a new one. He even explained me how Enfield uses Twin cable for throttle and how we need to take apart the whole chassis to change that in Classic 500. So, brownie points for that. 🙂

After a while, the mechanic called me again and asked me to go for a test run as he has replaced the cable. I saddled up, fired the engine & started the ride. The throttle was back to the awesome state it was in when I first got the bike. I just twisted my wrist and boom! I crossed 70kmph in that congested street. Honestly, I got so used to riding with the faulty cable that I had forgotten the engine response on my beast. I brought back the bike to workshop with a stupid grin on my face & gave a thumbs up to the mechanic. He then fixed up the Idle RPM issue and asked me to test it if it feels fine to me. After resolving my queries he did the usual bolt inspection and send the bike for washing and stuff.

After the usual cleaning and polishing stuff, my bull was ready to rule the roads. The ₹602.00 bill generated looked like this:

Fourth free service - Royal Enfield Classic 500 Ownership Experience

The bill.

Ha! Yes, they sneaked in battery treatment because I didn’t ask not to do it. Also, do you see #4 for “Black cable strap“, that’s actually just normal cable tie which was getting lose on the handlebar where it is used to keep the wires together. Upon enquiry I was told that these cable straps comes in pack of 6 so they decided to replace all of them on my bike.

₹36 for 6 cable tie is just bonkers but that’s how Royal Enfield workshops work. 😛

This wasn’t that bad of an experience as I got my throttle fixed. That’s all that matters. 😎


Well this is going to be a long continuous post till I own the Bull. I plan to update this post on various Milestones (Service every 3 months, 5k/10k Kms and so on..). This will also help me track the overall experience of my ownership and will be a useful resource for any who owns a Royal Enfield Classic 500 or plans to do the same.

Feel free to drop a comment below if you want to ask anything specific about the beast. I would be happy to help and since owning an Enfield makes you half a mechanic (pun indeed?). Anyway, jokes aside! Try me, I may be able to give you a great advice after all 😉