Why is Royal Enfield so popular?

FOR YOU, OH THE ROYAL (ENFIELD) RIDER!

Automobiles are not just a means of reaching from a source to a destination at a relatively lesser time than the conventional modes of transport; they are more than that. They give a sense of accomplishment, pride and prestige and make one independent suddenly while riding the vehicle on-road.

While cruising in a car maybe a kind of thrill and enjoyment, riding bikes are always a different type of experience. Unlike cars, there are no enclosed cabins to protect the rider from the wind gushing through the jersey, no air conditioners to isolate the ecosystem from the external world. Driving a bike has an indescribable eternal connection between the vehicle, the driver and the nature; all these three entities go hand-in-hand, and are quite inseparable from one another.

While bikes have been looked on two main aspects of aesthetics and ergonomics, there is one other important characteristic that makes the rider feel proud – majesty. Got the drift? Yes, it is the Royal Enfield. Right from the gigantic kerb weight (weight of the motorcycle when no external load like a person or some baggage is being placed in the body of the vehicle) to the mere appearance of the front axle, everything about the Royal Enfield series thrills the riders with infinite goosebumps. It is not an understatement to reiterate that the noise emanating from the silencer is just enough to express the sheer audacity of the bike, sending chills to the human body.

Royal Enfield - King of the road
Royal Enfield – King of the road

So is it all just about the physical nature that creates a lustful feeling towards the bike? No. There is always more to Royal Enfield. The sturdiness of the two-wheeler and its adaptability to all kinds of terrains from the flat highways to the rocky surfaces in the steep slopes of the hilly regions with utmost ease is one aspect that needs to be underlined with a dark lead.

With two disc brakes for a 350 cc or a 500 cc vehicle, it looks like a dangerous asking but the rigid tyres make the vehicle highly stable despite sudden braking. Moreover, the fork braces in the front axle provides a well-balanced front suspension in addition to the coil suspension for the rear wheel.

What is it that makes the Enfield special?

Different kinds of stylish race bikes and sporty beasts may come in but there are certain unique aspects that make the Royal Enfield series to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Some of them may be trivial yet tantalizing, while some others might really be mind-blowing and overwhelming. So here they are:

The Chennai connect:

First and foremost is the nativity. Raise your hand if you already have an idea that the Royal Enfield is manufactured here at #NammaChennai way back since 1955. Whoa, that counts to almost 60 years. Enfield Motors started partnering with the Madras Motors eight years after our Independence; by and slow, they got defunct and the Royal Enfield has got our own taste of soil.

Why Royal Enfield is so popular? Royal Enfield headlight and engine.
Why Royal Enfield is so popular?

The Army’s (P)ride:

Next time when a Kollywood or a Bollywood movie shows the protagonist cop riding a Royal Enfield, feel that sense of pride because those are not just reel scenes; the inspiration behind this “Cop and Enfield” saga dates back to 1949. Confused?

Has any company been endowed with the privilege being asked by the Indian army to manufacture its bikes to suit their needs? Oh wait. There is one manufacturer, and only one. And, it is none other than the Royal Enfield. Probably, the question can be reframed as “Has any other company been endowed with the privilege of…. ?” In 1949, the military personnel had asked for a set of vehicles to be utilized by them for patrolling purposes on the borderline and also difficult terrains that could not be scaled by any other vehicle. This pride vests only with the Enfield and no other brand. Fist pump, Enfield owners!

Royal Enfield Bullet
Royal Enfield Bullet

The Bullet Brand:

There are certain brand names that get etched in the mindsets of the people owing to the quality and the reach it has/had created. Guess what? Brand X or Brand Y unveils a cruiser vehicle or a superbike and it would still be called a Bullet by a common man. Such is the effect created by one of the products of the brand. With Royal Enfield producing Bullets now in three models – 350, 500 and the Electra – it is not just about people mentioning the name. Bullets do exist with the same firepower.

Unit Construction Engine (UCE):

There is always an attraction quotient that is attached to the Enfield bikes just because of the machismo look of the engines. This is attributed to the unit construction of the engines. Unit Construction Engines (UCEs) are the ones in which the transmission system (the gear box) and the engine block are enclosed in a single casing.

In the earlier stages, a pre-unit construction engine was used, where the transmissions and the engine would be built as two separate units and then joined by means of chain drives with sprockets. While they had the advantage of rectifying the misalignment between the engine and gear box by adjusting them accordingly in a suitable fashion, the two-unit manufacturing was not going to be a time-efficient process.

The UCEs that form a part of today’s Enfield reduce the distance between the engine and gearboxes thereby making the vehicle compact (since the distance is reduced, the wheelbase can also be sized down to a considerable extent), while also providing the gutsy feel of the ride.

Pierre Terblanche:

Now this is truly a drift. Pierre Terblanche is one of the world’s most looked up, renowned automobile designer, who has penned down miraculous biking wonders like the Ducati Hypermotard and the Ducati 999, apart from the brilliantly crafted Confederate X132 Helicat Speedster; he has been inducted into the Royal Enfield design team from 2014. Vroom it and rev up!

The majesty and dominance of the Royal Enfield is not just due to the robustness and the physical attributes. It is a well-crafted mechanical marvel in the field of automobiles that stands out as a proof to the exemplary engineering designs in the vehicular world.

Can you buy oversized tyres?

TYRE REPLACEMENT – THE SIZE FACTOR

Hot On Wheels is a saying dedicated to the blitzing drivers who make rough use of their tyres of the automobiles. As it is commonly seen with almost all components, fatigue becomes an issue with tyres also, especially since they are being constantly exposed to continuous contact with the road, thereby developing frictional heating. This might result in faults or tears in the tyres, eventually making them unfit for on-road drives. Replacing the tyre is one important measure that needs to be done regularly with periodic maintenance and monitoring.

After deciding to fit in a new tyre in your vehicle, there is a particularly very important criterion that needs to be looked into, so as to get the maximum effectiveness from them. This aspect deals with the size and overall dimensions of the tyre to be incorporated. Retrofitting is an easy procedure but care must be taken regarding the diameter and thickness of the rubber materials.

There are mainly two different types of size defects related to tyres. They are oversizing and undersizing. Both result in the improper or inefficient functioning of not only the tyres, but also bring to question the whole dynamic balancing of the vehicle. This would make the tyre susceptible to mechanical wear and tear, irreparable losses and wobbling of the body while in motion.

Oversizing:

Oversizing is the condition where the tyres diameter is higher than what used to be the original dimensions of the default tyre. This would affect the speed range of the vehicle, and the speedometer readings might mislead to wrong conclusions. This is because the speedometer is usually calibrated to the standard dimensions of tyre for every revolution.

Can you buy oversized tyres
Can you buy oversized tyres

If the size of tyre is increased, the time taken to complete a single revolution will be increased. Hence, the number of revolutions per minute (rpm) would correspondingly decrease. This would cause drastic effects in the gear shifting pattern of the vehicle. For cars with automatic transmission system, the gear shift would significantly get affected because it works on sensors that sense the cycles of rotation. Now if the cycle gets modified, the sensors might sense ambiguous speed ranges, thereby affecting the performance of the vehicle.

Undersizing:

On the other hand, undersizing (the condition where the dimensions of the tyre retrofitted becomes smaller than the required size) might lead to enhanced difficulties with the rim. Small size of the tyre would mean that it would be fitted over the rim by exerting extra force. This always makes the tyre subject to extra pressures within them even when they are idle (cold pressures). Moreover, the load bearing capacity of the vehicle is usually vested to be borne only by the tyres. If their load gets reduced, it might put unnecessary weight on them thereby making them susceptible to more problems, and also taking a toll on the overall efficiency of the vehicle concerned.

So it is always a better practice to check for the exact dimensions of the tyre to be fitted in before getting it fixed into the vehicle. Tyres are one of the most important companions when you are cruising on road, make sure they are fit enough to carry the momentum forward, quite literally.

Can you buy used tyres for your car or bike?

Can you buy used tyres for your car or bike?

For any vehicle owner, one of the most frequently occurring problems is the one that are related to the tyres of the automobiles. Be it two wheelers or their big brothers, this tyre wear and the eventual replacement becomes a periodic issue to be addressed. Since this happens at prescribed intervals (until and unless the vehicle meets with a calamitous accident), the rhetorical question of whether to buy a used tyre or a new one comes into existence every time there is a slight non-repairable loss to the bottom-most foundation of the vehicle. Here is a guide that would help you decide better.

Some of the most important factors that come into play while choosing the vital decision are the distance travelled, the tread depth, the tyre dimensions, the price range, and finally, the brand.

Can you buy used tyres for your car and bike
Can you buy used tyres for your car and bike
The distance:

The common running distance for a car tyre is anywhere between 60,000 kilometers and 1,60,000 kilometers. The maximum limit is a bit far-fetched and is feasible only under ideal conditions of temperatures at around 30 degree Celsius and the road terrains being very flat and uniform with less curves and potholes.

While choosing a used tyre for a car, it is always a good practice to go for those that have run a distance close to the lower limit (that is, 60,000 to 75,000 kilometers, or roughly between 40,000 and 45,000 miles). However, this is a difficult criteria to find out because the number of punctures fixed and mended cannot be ascertained straightaway by looking at a used tyre.

Coming to bikes, the distance range is from 12,000 to 20,000 kilometers. So the safety limit of buying would be between the lower limit and upwards until 15,000 kilometers (No tyre owner can be expected to sell it before at least the minimum prescribed distance has already been covered)

In some of the recent tyre models, the year of make is inscribed at the side of surface. This might be a great indicator to estimate the distance traveled, keeping in mind the average distance the tyre would have covered every day. Common day-to-day travels can be estimated to be around 30 to 40 kilometers for ease of calculation.

Though all these are great guesstimates, they are based on mathematical gambles which may or may not work out. So the other factors must be duly taken into account, too.

The price bracket:

First of all, it is common knowledge that the used tyres come at a very lower price relatively in comparison with the new ones, especially for the four wheelers. The general advice would be to go for the used tyre purchase if the deal can sealed at the price that is one-third of the actual price of the new one. Even this 1/3rd ratio is feasible only for tyres that are close to their lower limit distance of travel.

For tyres which are found to have run more than 50 kilometers a day, it is not advisable to go for the old ones, especially if the tyres have covered greater part of their lifetime within the local driving limits; this is because while driving within the localized region (for example, amidst city traffic or a congested region), the tyres might have to take a lot of turns, and they would also be forced to excessive fatigue due to comparatively more braking, which produces a lot of heat due to the frictional contact between the road and tyre.

So considering the cost being spent, it is okay to go for a used tyre for about 30% of its original cost, if its driven distance is near the lower limit. Else, it would be sane to opt for a new tyre.

The tread depth:

If the tread depth is increased by 2 mm from its usual level, the used tyre is not deemed fit to be used in another vehicle for use as such. The one rupee coin test is always an easy and simple method to find out the wear and tear of the tyre.

Can You Buy Used Tyres ? Used Tyre buying guide
Can You Buy Used Tyres ? – Used Tyre buying guide

Even if the tread depth is within the range, any deviation from its usual pattern (the pattern is based on whether the tyre has symmetrical or asymmetrical tread) makes the tyre still unfit for reuse. Retreading is an option that can be considered here but this technique would be possible again only if the tyre fulfils the distance and cost criteria as mentioned in the earlier sections.

Tyre dimensions:

There are unaware mistakes that tend to happen because of the slight negligence of the buyers of used tyre who fail to take note of the minute difference in the outer dimensions of the tyre. This might lead to either oversizing or downsizing. Both of them have their own pros and cons associated with it. Go for them only if you know about Oversized and undersized tyres

To sum up, the purchase of tyres depends upon the longevity expected from the purchaser and the type of vehicle that is under consideration. It is also dependent on the type of usage and the turfs in which the vehicle would be driven.

Tip: If only one of the tyres need to be replaced, try to fit the used tyre in the rear wheel in case of a two-wheeler. If the front tyre gets damaged and is in the hour of change, use the undamaged rear tyre for the front and fit the used one in the rear axle.

For four wheelers, since the Indian regulations instruct the drivers to “Keep Left”, it would be safe to go for the used tyre to be fit in the right rear side as the first choice. This is because during the turns (both left and right), there will always be more pressures relatively on the left pairs of the tyres. So the right side that has less pressure exertion is a good choice. It is also necessary to note that the rear pairs have comparatively lower pressure ranges. So the right rear is the first and best choice for replacement.

Things To Check Before A Long Drive

Weekends are themselves a means to quench the thirst of long trips for bike and car lovers. What if there is a vacation? The thirst to drive becomes an insatiable hunger, which would get eradicated only on hearing the continuous vroom of the automobiles. With engines revving up and throttles roaring, here are a few tips for riders that would make the long drives more fruitful without any hiccups. Note that these are measures that need to be carried out at least five to seven days before the long drive so as to give complete effectiveness to the pleasure of the ride.

Checklist for a Long drive
Things To Check Before A Long Drive

The things that are about to be discussed below may vary in priority depending upon the make, model and various other factors like last servicing, condition, handling, maneuvering, etc. But all of these tips, if followed, would lead up to unforgettable trip that could forever be etched in the albums of memory.

Fuel related issues:

The tank must be checked and filled to the brim always en route to a long ride, especially when the passage of travail is new to the rider. This applies especially to bikes, because there might be problems like the fuel not reaching the engine from the reservoir (the fuel tank). This improper supply of fuel to the engine might mostly due to the blocks in the passage leading to the engine, due to the accumulation of foreign particles like dirt and impurities. The passages must be cleaned so that the driver does not find himself/herself in the middle of the road in the hot burning sun with nobody to come to help (except for GoBumpr, if it is Chennai, maybe).

Starting troubles:

This might be caused due to fuel injector problems (considering the diesel engines) or spark plug issues (in case of petrol variants). This would cause improper mix of fuel and air to be injected into the chamber, thereby rendering the operation of the vehicle gradually ineffective, regarding the diesel engines; for petrol engines, this would create increased starting troubles.

In bikes, the spark plug issue can be managed for quite some time if the vehicle is facilitated with both kick-start and self-start. While self-start facilitates the quick ignition of an engine than the kick-starts, it does not play an effective role when the vehicle has not been operated for quite some time (say two to five days); this is because the engine slowly comes to the temperature of the surrounding environmental conditions, and it takes some time for it to regain the temperature required for ignition. So at this point, even with vehicles with self-starts, it is sensible to use kick-starts to get the engine heated. Though this takes relatively higher time for the vehicle to start, it provides an effective solution for a long ride.

One common mistake that most of the bikers do is pressing the self-start switches continuously for longer period, say 5 to 8 seconds. In reality, the button should never be pressed beyond 2 to 2.5 seconds because it just acts as a contact point to start the engine. Pressing it continuously has two main disadvantages. Firstly, the main functionality of a self-start is to initiate the engine, which means it loses its effectiveness beyond 2 seconds, after which it needs to be pressed again. Secondly, it would overwork the accessories that lead up to the engine, thereby reducing the lifetime of the switch.

Display check:

Most of the riders would not mind this very much, but display comes as one of the notable points to be taken care of in both cars and bikes. Without the proper working of speedometer, the driver might tend to forget the gear at which the vehicle is running; this would eventually lead up to confusion, while coming to a halt.

The next accessory is the odometer. This is very much essential because one needs to keep track of the mileage of the vehicle and the distance covered consecutively between two successive fillings. This would also be an indicator to show if there is any regular maintenance checks required (for example, first servicing after driving 3,000 kilometers, etc.)

ABCs:

The accelerator, brake and clutch – the pulse of the vehicle – need to be checked for effective operation. In some cars, the pedals might become loosened up from their usual positions, thereby rendering them ineffective.

This problem is more prevalent in bikes where the clutch wires become slack and the clutch almost always remains in the half pressed position (technically referred to as the “off clutch” condition). The clutch is used to engage and disengage gears during the gear change, and it must either be fully pressed (during gear change) or not pressed at all (at top gears or constant speeds, called as cruising). This would spoil the gearbox in in the long run, causing jamming of gears.

Exhaust system:

Though this involves several components technically, the silencer is one accessory that requires a periodic check. Especially when long drives are on the cards, the silencers need to be cleaned up effectively so that the exhausts do not get clammed up there. Accumulation of solid exhausts would mean improper ejection of burnt gases, and when this problem builds up, the internal components get heated up, the vehicle might stop then and there, and in the worst case, there are possibilities of explosion.

The exhaust gases can also act as an indicator for the engine oil replacement; this can be understood better when thick black smoke comes out of the exhaust during throttling at neutral gear position. This would mean that the engine oil is dry and needs to be replaced soon. So before planning for long trips, keep track of the exhaust system, which usually does not seem important, also.

Engine oil:

Engine oil is in the correct concentration during initial stages. But as the vehicle gets driven, the concentration gets marginally high and hence the lubricating properties usually come down with usage. The engine oil might change color from pale brown to a kind of brackish black. The degree of this black color decides the fate of the engine oil, and it all boils down to periodic replacement. So even if it is not due for an engine oil replacement, it is better to use new oils for long travels.

things to check on car before long trip
Things To Check Before A Long Drive – Oil Change

Though this replacement of engine oils would mean variation in the physical properties like the viscosity and fluidity, this is one important aspect to be done before a long travel.

Riders for long distances are the true metaphors of the saying, “Miles to go before I sleep.” But miles can be covered with smiles only with all the checkboxes ticked successfully.

 

Automobile Service & Vehicle Maintenance Blog