Bought a Royal Enfield motorcycle - What's next?

Sajeesh

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Million dollar question! One of the most asked questions by Royal Enfield riders as soon as they buy it. There is plethora of options and suggestions that one can find on internet to easily confuse you; hence I have tried to make things simple and straightforward.  Of course, the mods depend on your prejudice and style preference, yet if this blog can help you to make correct decision then I believe it is worth reading ahead.

Also note that in this blog I will not be telling you about various options available in the market. Rather I have written about the mods I have done or what I would prefer doing.

What was the reason for buying an RE?

Introspect first. Did you buy an RE for:
  1. general commuting only
  2. commuting + short weekend ride
  3. solo touring
  4. group touring
If your option is “general commuting only”, then I would suggest keeping your bullet as it is without any mod. In fact, whatever you do on your bullet, it is not gonna help you in traffic. Keep it simple, get it serviced regularly, keep it clean and ride on.

For other options read on….

Handlebar and Seat combo (may not be applicable for Thunderbird and Himalayan)

Changing handlebar only won’t do any good as there should be a proper seat posture to compliment the width and height of handlebar. The same goes for other way round where a seat mod may require you to get some modifications done on the handlebar. RE says that they have invested a lot on their R&D to get the best combination in place in stock condition.  However, I believe 90% of the RE buyers do this modification in the 1st week of buying.

My mod:

After riding an RE for over a decade now, I have settled down for RD extended handlebar and a split bucket seat which is a bit lower and have less cushioning (for a persona like me who have plenty of flesh handing below the buttocks and thigh). A wide RD handle is comfortable in maneuvering in traffic as well as riding for long distance. The height is not above 3 inches of my shoulder height; hence no issues with the blood flow.

Tyre combo – front and back

Mumbai has all types of roads. From flat tarmac to stone blocks, from cemented surface to pothole mayhem. Then it rains for 1 quarter of the year and completely dry in the next following quarter. One needs to have the best of the tyre combination with proper grip and treads.

My mod:

Front – CEAT XL Grip and Rear – Ralco Sportster.  During Sikkim Bhutan ride in June 2015, I had the stock MRF tyre in front and MRF Moto C for rear.  I got almost 10-15 punctures on MRF Moto C. One of the mechanics told me that the Moto C rubber is not as good as the other MRF models and get an easy way out to get punctured. I was so frustrated that I threw it away and switched to TVS. Rode it for few days and then switched to Ralco.  Trust me, I am quite satisfied now with the current combo.

Exhaust / Silencer

I think a silencer (exhaust) change is a normal practice and it is hard to find stock exhaust on any of the REs. The stock one has almost 5 filters which they had to settle down to pass through strict emission norms. On top of that, there is a very little noticeable thump.

My mod:

On my old Standar
d 350 CI, I had installed Indore with single filter.  For genuine thump on older models, I will always recommend an Indore (not the hollow one as it is way too noisy).  For my new Standard 500 UCE, I have installed Sans Classic Wildboar (glasswool).  I had compared it with other similar models but found the bass wider than the others. If you need a little more sound, you can also go for Monster (glasswool).  Always go for a glasswool as it sounds better and causes less irritation to the co-riders and your fellow building residents.

Other things that you can also consider:
  • Change air filter to a K&N or BMC (preferred) for that extra pickup.  Do it after all 4 free services are over.  However, be careful as all filter mods might not work perfectly and may require up-jetting that can be done by an experience mechanic.
  • Install a backrest carrier. I bought one from Andheri for 1000 bucks but now it is much cheaper (around 500 bucks).
  • A Givi Box to put plenty of stuffs or helmet.  I have a 19 ltr. One that I bought from Karol Bagh, Delhi in 2009. 19ltrs box is hard to find now.
  • LED lights.  Very useful for night riding especially on highways. However, my sincere request is to switch it off in city or places where the opposite traffic will have a clear view of your headlight.
  • A good pair of horn. Don’t go for air horns as it is a nuisance. Minda and Hella have good collections.
Last but not the list for people interested in group touring, I suggest joining a Royal Enfield Motorcycle club like IBR. One end up learning group riding dynamics and take home plenty of touring insight when you converse with fellow bulleteers. Joining a club as a sleeping member won’t do any good. One need to attend recurring meets and rides to flow with the “true biking fraternity” spirit.
 
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