Hello, my fellow gear heads! Hope you all are riding and clicking well. My Royal Enfield Classic 500 aka Silver Storm completed a full year this week. Honestly, it has been a tremendous experience with the Bull. I will be sharing the overall ownership experience after 1 year. If you are planning to buy CL500 and haven’t read my previous posts regarding this bull, I will suggest you go through the parts above before moving further down here.
Classic 500 – 6016 clicks – 365 days later!
Exactly one year ago, I realised my dream of owning a Royal Enfield. It was an awesome feeling which can’t be expressed in words. Royal Enfield Classic 500 marked the first substantial purchase (investment) I did with my self-earned money. That point alone makes my Silver storm very special.
I shared my history of ownership of 2 wheeler(s) in Classic 500 Ownership Experience: Part 1 (Prebooking/Test-drive), so you know I came back to the world of Two-wheelers after about 4 years. I had some solid expectations and I feel happy to say that Classic 500 has met most of them in past year.
Let’s break down how my Royal Enfield Classic 500 has aged, into some sub-topics as we dive deep into it, but first:
Well, let’s accept it. We all love the old charmed style of Enfields. Classic 500 is no exception. It’s a massive head turner no matter where you are riding it. I have been stopped by a dude driving in a Merc to an uncle riding a Bajaj Chetak to answer all sorts of questions. Royal Enfield has nailed the looks of it’s Classic series which takes it’s designed cues from J2, a 1950s model Bullet.
From the delivery day when I saw it first in the Showroom until today, I am just a sucker for it looks. Retro classic charm makes it one of the best-looking cruisers on the market. You just can’t park this beast and not look back.
Build Quality, Fit and finish
Though the bike is all metal and feels strong, but sadly even after spending like close to ₹1,80,000 on an RE, all you get is Desi finish which is evident everywhere. Be it the finish of paint quality of tank, or patches of Chrome paint on OEM Leg guard, you will see imperfections everywhere when you inspect closely. This is a heartbreaker as when you start looking at the competition (KTM, Honda, Yamaha), RE is the poorest in the stable.
If RE doesn’t deal with their sub-standard fit and finish, sometime in future, when this segment will be populated with some great machines, the average RE consumer will rise above brand loyality and fanboyism to ditch them for good.
Most of the guys tend to overlook it by stating that the imperfections are what gives an Enfield a character. Honestly, It’s just bullshit to convince your own mind to justify your purchase. I am not saying, I don’t love the bike, but Royal Enfield being one of the market leaders in its segment really needs to get it’s shit together.
Powertrain, Driveline & Ride quality
This. This is the one place where Royal Enfield Machines excel over anything present in the market (in its segment ofc). The 500cc mill provides ample driving pleasure with one of the most comfortable rider’s seat on a cruiser. You can ride all day with short brakes in between without breaking your back.
But what truly sets it apart is that it’s a Big Bore Long Stroke Engine. The engine makes a huge 41 nm of Torque at a measly 4000 rpm along with 27.2 BHP which is quite fun to ride and a different experience in itself. It has a very large bore for a motorcycle engine at 84 mm for the Classic 500 when compared to 57 mm for the Yamaha R15. Also, it is a long stroke engine which is basically the stroke length is larger than the bore diameter (90 mm). Usually, a long stroke engine has very good low-end torque and has a lower RPM limit than other sports bikes which are Short Stroke (bore diameter > stroke length). Also, Long bore engines are more efficient because the energy produced in a single cycle is utilized for a longer time.
Due to this low-end torque, a bullet ride is said to be addictive in nature. As the popular saying goes – “Once you ride a Bullet, you are fucked for life“.
Disclaimer: I am an all-rounder rider. One day, I may be riding my Bull calmly at 50kmph on a smooth tarmac in the city and on some other day, I could be cruising over 100kmph on a highway. But I am not a fan of red lining my bikes by any means.
FE is rather impressive for a 500cc engine if we talk as per the convention. I have tried tracking the same over the year for most of the part and results are as follow:
>> City (~29 Km/L)
- Heavy traffic – 27.8 Km/L
- Moderate traffic – 29.2 Km/L
- Light traffic – 30.8 Km/L
>> Highway (~35 Km/L)
- Urban – 33.6 Km/L
- Rural – 36.8 Km/L
Service & Maintenance
Well, I have explained my overall experience with after sales service and maintenance in Part 3 of this post, so I will just sum it up here.
Though the cost:maintenance ratio of the bull is pretty reasonable as everything has held well with the passage of time and I didn’t face any mechanical/electrical issues. But the service experience in the RE workshop(s) is poor at it’s best. Most of the times, the workshop will try to overbill you by adding fancy add-ons and unnecessary oil change prompts. They will try their best to make you feel that there is a problem is some component (Suspension, Engine, Brakes etc) and you should let them open it to change it. You will never get a proper explanation about the service process and to my surprise, they don’t even go through the whole checklist mentioned in the service booklet.
The whole experience gives a “DESI JUGAAD” kind of vibe which is strictly not acceptable for a sub ₹2 lac bike.
My suggestion will be to get over with the so-called “Free services” as fast as you can and move on to a third-party mechanic who knows his way around your bike and doesn’t charge like a bomb. Also, learn a few basics like greasing, waxing, wiring etc. yourself, it could make a difference when it matters.
|Pros (+)||Cons (-)|
|Great Torquey ride, pulls like a locomotive , thanks to EFI!||RE’s reluctance to move to Modern tech like Tubeless tyres, Rear disc, lighter frame and more refined engine.|
|Comfortable seat with upright handle bar ensures a great riding position||Bad paint quality and product finish is a turn off.|
|Iconic design and nostalgic association makes it a head turner||Crippled Workshop service experience.|
|Decent fuel economy for a 500cc miller|
Summing it up
So, as you can understand above. Royal Enfield is not a bike for a regular joe who wants things to work ideally in his life. An Enfield comes with its own set of experiences as it’s one of the best and unique experience you can ever have in both good and bad sense. However, it’s a matter of personal choice and for me, the good outweighs the bad more than I would like to and it’s just liberating to ride after a long tired day.
My silver storm is the perfect recipe to light up my mood.
Though, I didn’t ride it as much I would have liked to but still It has been really a blast of a first year with Royal Enfield Classic 500 aka “Silver Storm”. There were some minor quirks here and there, but overall I am quite satisfied with the experience. I plan to make some real trips the next year and get some different experience with my Bull as it grows…
Till then, Happy riding, folks!