My love for Royal Enfield began as a kid, at a time when I couldn’t even ride a bicycle, I already knew how to use the throttle on my late uncle Peter’s 1979 Standard 350. Whenever he would come to visit us, I could hear the thump of the Enfield from a distance and I would run to the front door and wait for him to arrive. Soon as he reached my doorstep, I hopped up onto the tank, and off we went for a spin. Only then was he allowed to enter the house. So yes, I owe my love and passion for Enfields to uncle Peter.
Time passed by, and I always pestered my parents to buy me an Enfield, and finally in my second year at college I got the eagerly anticipated go ahead. I spent months looking for a second hand Enfield and finally on the 14th of Feb 2012 got my hands on a 2006 Electra 350 (CI engine) – my gorgeous valentine.
I always envied people who rode Enfields, well the boot’s on the other foot now. When I meet a fellow rider or hear an Enfield I give him or her a thumbs up or nod my head acknowledging the passion we share for our bikes.
Often people ask me why I love Royal Enfield so much? Today I am finally going to set the record straight. For me Royal Enfield is a way of life, and I enjoy every bit of the experience. Once you own an Enfield, you’ve got to take care of it like it’s your own baby. I would take my bike to the workshop every other week to get some work done. Be it oil leakage, tightening of the brakes, tappet setting, tuning, electrical problems or oil change. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. But after spending hours at the garage I soon learnt the tricks of the trade, and every alternate Sunday I would pamper her myself. Things do not end here, however, because then starts a phase where you want to customise the bike. I went through it and changed my rear suspension, handle bar (RD extended), exhaust (chota punjab), seat (single seat) and put a set of off-road tyres. The bug has not yet been squashed though, because now I want to transform it into a bobber. So you see, a typical RE owner is is always working to make his baby look different so that it stands out in a crowd and makes heads turn when you pass by (and not just because of the distinctive exhaust note).
Apart from working on your bike, there is also the sheer pride in owning a machine with the legacy that Royal Enfields hold. To own a legendary motorcycle like Royal Enfield, one that has seen wars and clashes. Has been there from the rise of this country to its steps into modernity and has witnessed the growth of a nation reborn. A machine that is now synonymous with the mammoth achievement of scaling the Himalayan roads, a brand that while very much a product of modern times still respects its vintage and retains its roots. One that brings the best of both worlds, where modern technology and a classic ethos blend together to create a rugged yet beautiful ride.
This is what being a Royal Enfield owner is all about, and no matter how fancy your new-fangled super-efficient engines are, how loud the fluorescent colours and in-you-face decals. Or how shrilly they shriek as they whizz by, they can’t even begin to compete with the class and regality of a Bullet.