A Superlative Iteration
The Bike India issue this month features quite a few rides, including the Royal Enfield Classic 350, Harley-Davidson Pan America, and Benelli 502C cruiser as well as a Triumph Trident road test.
The Royal Enfield Classic 350 has come a long way from the Bullet that it is derived from. The Bullet was originally designed and built in England and also manufactured in India under licence. Over the last 50 years, the Bullet has seen a lot of changes but nothing compared to the changes and improvements that the new bike has received. Indeed, the new bike is so good that it is different from its older iterations like chalk and cheese. It has improved in every department, starting with engine refinement and performance, both of which are far better than those of the outgoing model. Moreover, the handling and ride quality are in a different league as compared to the old Bullet. This bike shares the same engine and chassis as the Meteor and it is even more refined compared to the Meteor. The Royal Enfield management deserve kudos for taking feedback in a positive way to improve their bike. Following the Meteor ride, one of the points I had raised in the feedback session was about engine refinement. They have addressed it and now the Classic’s refinement is at another level. The new Classic is as near perfect as a motorcycle can get. The only issue we had was the rear-view mirrors and that can be solved by replacing the mirrors. The team at Royal Enfield have done a fantastic job with the new Classic.
Nearly every day, I receive an email announcing the launch of an electric two-wheeler. It looks like everybody wants to jump on the EV bandwagon. But are we ready for this explosion of electric bikes? First, we do not have the infrastructure for charging; second, we have power cuts; third, our power is generated by burning coal, and, to top it all, we do not have a policy for battery scrappage. If we decide to go ahead in this manner, we are going to land with a lot of old batteries without knowing what to do with them.