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Retro bike maker Royal Enfield success story is the result of the cult following the brand has gained in the Indian motorcycle market. Apart from being the oldest motorcycle brand to remain in continuous production, the sales numbers of the brand are only another feather in their cap. As is very common, such a major following and the extreme loyalty combined with a pedigree of over a century has led to a lot of myths and misconceptions around Royal Enfield’s products. Let’s take a quick look at the same and try to dispel 10 such notions that have been in existence since so long, they are almost considered as facts.
It is a common notion among the customers that Royal Enfield bikes are best suited for long-distance touring purposes. However, this is not true. Apart from the recently launched Interceptor and Continental GT 650, all the RE bikes come equipped with a single-cylinder engine. As is the case with single-cylinders the vibrations are present in plenty and this makes Royal Enfield bikes far from ideal when it comes to long-distance touring. Not to mention that while the long-stroke slow-revving engines of RE bikes do offer good low-end torque, they are pretty sluggish in regaining the lost speed on road.
This is no longer the case with RE motorcycles. The new technology has made the bikes come a long way as far as reliability is concerned. While the UCE engine on few models still requires more upkeep, the same is true for many other brands out there. Not to mention that the new parallel-twin and LS410 engines of Royal Enfield bikes are as good as they come.
Royal Enfield makes retro looking bikes. However, this does not mean that the technology on the bikes is retro. The company uses modern if not cutting-edge technology to manufacture their products. This is partly the reason why the sales of models such as Classic, Thunderbird and new 650 Twins are over the roof. The awesome combination of modern technology and retro looks makes RE bikes a unique package in the market.
Higher Displacement So More Power
No replacement for displacement, goes the mantra and a large section of public believes that power is directly proportional to the engine capacity of bikes. However, this is not the case with Royal Enfield motorcycles as the entry-level 346cc engine of the line-up is rated only for 19.8 Bhp and 28 Nm. There are a lot of bikes with half the engine displacement that can outmatch the RE motorcycles when it comes to sheer power figures. Granted the low-end torque on RE bikes is great, but this does not mean the bike is more powerful.
Mileage? What Mileage?
Another myth associated with engine displacement is that since Royal Enfield bikes have higher displacement engines, they do not offer good mileage. The reality could be no different as the lo-revving UCE engine of RE motorcycles remain comparatively more relaxed at cursing speeds leading to models such as Royal Enfield Bullet posting a mileage figure of 35 kmpl. Even the 649cc engine on Interceptor and Continental GT that is almost double in displacement comfortably gives around 21 kmpl of mileage.
Kick-Starting REs is no Joke
This was true for the days of yore when a solidly built uncle would spend a good amount of time starting his beloved RE and in turn waking up the entire colony. Modern RE bikes come with electric start just like any other bike, and even if one needs to start the bike via kick-start the decompressor on UCE models makes starting the bike pretty easy.
As we have already stated, Royal Enfield motorcycles are manufactured using modern technology, but not cutting-edge sophisticated tech. The same is reflected in the feature set of RE bikes as well. So much so that, almost an year ago no RE bike came equipped with ABS, much to the chagrin of fans. Why, even today, models like Bullet and Classic do not even offer a fuel meter, and that is something even commuter bikes offer, that too in digital form!
This is one of the most popular misconceptions out there. Perhaps what fuels this myth is that earlier skilled painters only from one family hand-painted the pinstripes on Classic 350 and Classic 500 models. Let us inform you that none of the Royal Enfield bikes sold in India or imported internationally is made by hand. The company uses robotic assembly line manufacturing to make their bikes, just like any other maker.
Ok, this was a rampant problem a few years back and the fans even referred to the engine leaking oil as Royal Enfield motorcycles “marking their territories”. However, the company has improved their manufacturing process by leaps and bounds and the oil leak cases are few and far between, if any.
Handling Royal Enfield Bikes is Easy
The ease with which long-distance tourers whisk around their bikes on highways makes it seem like handling Royal Enfield bikes is a child’s play. It absolutely is not. The sheer weight of RE bikes makes handling them quite a task and one often faces fatigue after riding Royal Enfield bikes for longer periods due to the effort required to handle them.