Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Electric Royal Enfield: World's first Eco-friendly Bullet

An Enfield owner has been called many names, but never eco-friendly. With respect to other motorcycles having similar engine capacity, they might be fuel efficient, but in India, where the majority of the population is driven by highly economic motorcycles, a Royal Enfield Bullet is considered a fuel guzzling demon. But this electric Royal Enfield Bullet will completely change your perception.

electric royal enfield bullet


This neat and one of a kind creation is the epitome of Eco-friendliness and runs quieter than a cat's purr.
This electric motorcycle was built using a 2005 Royal Enfield Bullet 500. The original 500cc engine and transmission was completely discarded and replaced with 11 Nissan Leaf batteries and an electric motor in order to power the bike.

The builder after coming up with the concept, worked tediously to understand the mechanism and architecture required to successfully shape such a creation. He worked for several months on a test bench and finally implemented the same on his RE. In this video you can see the different components present in the world's first electric Royal Enfield.


During assembly, all the 11 Nissan Leaf batteries were stacked in six over five fashion, and rested on a customized aluminum frame. The replacement of the 500cc internal combustion engine, i.e. the electric motor is mounted with four bolts, and placed at the position of the removed transmission, with a 13 tooth front sprocket and 52-tooth rear sprocket.

To record all the vital data regarding battery performance, a data logger with SD card is kept in the left toolbox of the electric Bullet 500, while the cycle analyst that sits on the handlebar provides real time feedback, like speed, amount of power used, etc. The left pannier also houses an onboard charger integrated with a DC-DC converter.

The bike fabricator is still working to refine the design of the bike and add additional components, the likes of chain guard and better weather protection for the battery terminals. After providing a brief overview of the motorcycle, he even showed us what it felt like to ride an eco-friendly Royal Enfield.



From the test ride video, it was evident from the very start that the charismatic and signature Royal Enfield thump was missing. You couldn't even realize whether the electric RE was being pushed or running. Yes, it is that silent. All you can hear is the gentle rumbling of the chain sprockets. Also another surprising aspect of this electric Royal Enfield Bullet was it's enhanced performance. It had faster acceleration than its original counterpart and easily clocked speeds in excess of 100-110kmph (60mph), without any signs of danger. I personally feel, this increase in performance is mainly due to all the weight it has shed. 
Even though this eco-friendly version of the Enfield is the best contender for the upcoming future, but the question is, would the masses embrace this silent and timid creature? What say you?

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Royal Enfield: The most searched motorcycle in India


Yes, according to Google Zeitgeist (Google Trend), Royal Enfield is the most searched motorcycle in India. While the Chennai based motorcycle manufacturer topped the most searched list, the second place was captured by Honda Activa and third by TVS Jupiter.

According to the search queries, people searched about Royal Enfield prices, specifications related to performance and handling. Thanks to the smart thinking of Enfield CEO Siddhartha Lal, RE was reborn with the different variants of the Classic and also saw the emergence of the Continental GT cafe racer.

royal enfield the most searched motorcycle


The list of  top 7 most searched two-wheelers in India are as follows:



Rank

Name

1

Royal Enfield

2

Honda Activa

3

TVS Jupiter

4

Ducati

5

Bajaj Pulsar

6

CBR 150

7

Duke 390


Unfortunately, the world's largest two-wheeler manufacturer Hero MotoCorp couldn't make it to the top ten list.
Also, on comparing the number of searches made for Harley Davidson against Royal Enfield in India, RE emerged victorious by a huge scale. Even the statistics prove that RE defeated Harley in worldwide sales figures in 2014.

Most searched motorcycle
Number of searches for Royal Enfield vs Harley Davidson, in India
Thus Royal Enfield was the most searched motorcycle on Google in 2014, and given the recent launches and their expansion plans worldwide, we are bound to see a lot of them on streets too.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Why does Punjabis love Royal Enfield?


Punjab, a state in the north-west part of India. Best known for their mouth watering dishes, friendly people and picturesque locations. But one striking thing one would notice being an Indian, is their unconditional love for Royal Enfield. That's not all, people from Haryana, Chandigarh and other prominent provinces which shares a close proximity to Punjab simply adores these motorcycles. So whats so special about a brand that makes all Punjabis drool over it?

Punjabi Royal Enfield


RE has always relished a loyal and larger than life fan following of their motorcycles in India, but I can definitely say, the passion and following these motorcycles get is greater than any other state. So quench my curiosity, I reached out and asked a few netizens, why Punjabis love Royal Enfield, and the answer were as follows:


  1. They are mavericks - Punjabi folks are spontaneously honest, and they do whatever they feel like doing. They don't want others to manipulate their life and interfere with their interests. They like heavy bikes, that are loud, fast, and easy to maneuver on highways, cities and even on the field. They don't mind spending a few bucks to modify their motorcycles that reflect who they are.

    royal enfield rajputana customs
    Modified Royal Enfield by Rajputana Customs
    1. True patriots - It is a known fact that Indian army chose RE Bullets over other motorcycles. The sole reason being the reliability, rigidity and sturdiness provided by these bikes. As Punjab lies close to the Indian border and most of the families are somehow related to the Indian, the riding experience and sight of Army personnel riding Royal Enfield motorcycles became a common affair, which later turned into a legacy. Now most of the current owners of the new RE say that they grew up watching their grandfathers or their fathers riding one.
    2. Pushing their own limits - Punjabis are petrol heads. Yes, many people in other states might be crazy for automobiles as well, but when it comes to Haryana/ Punjab, it take a whole new definition. They like roaming around on their Mahindra Thar, while the roof stripped off and big rimmed wheels. Also their Enfields are completely customized, that are chopped off for power and polished for their looks. One such simple example was provided by Bobby Costa. The speedometer of this Classic reads ( Slow, Fast, Very Fast, Storm, Bullet, Victory ). And they can pull some crazy stunts on these heavy bikes as well.

    3. Big is better - Thanks to good old gene pool, most Punjabis are blessed with a good body structure. Thus making other bikes look tiny or not so masculine. And as RE had been in India since the inception of motorcycling, hence it was the obvious option.
    4. Chicks dig it - Punjabi kudis (girls) are considered to be the epitome of beauty, and boy do they love Enfields. Generally all REs are comfy, reliable and are synonym for thrill which makes these motorcycles even more desirable. So men had to respond in kind and flaunt their own Bullet

    So this pretty much sums up the basic reason why Punjabis love and are so obsessed with Royal Enfield. But in case you feel there might be some other reason why RE enjoys such a religious following in Punjab, feel free to comment or critique.
    But till then drink some lassi and keep on thumping.

    Sat Sri Akaal (ਸਤਿ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਅਕਾਲ)

    Saturday, 14 March 2015

    Royal Enfield in Jay Leno's Garage


    Jay Leno is a household name in America, as he hosted the popular television show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno from 1992 to 2009. Apart from that he is a serious petrol head and has a website of his own named Jay Leno's Garage. He loves automobiles and owns an astounding 286 vehicles, which comprises of 69 automobiles and 117 motorcycles. And guess what, Royal Enfield is part of his garage too.

    royal enfield sidecar in jay leno garage


    In his website and YouTube channel he posts a number of videos related to all the vehicles he owns. In one of those videos he explained why one can find a Royal Enfield in Jay Leno's Garage. Well, the answer was simple," I love this thing. I have a lot of fun with it", Leno said. In that video he said that the most appealing feature of a Enfield was it's classic retro British look. It handled well and unlike other sports bikes, one can make complete use of the power that the bike has to offer.

    "Is it the fastest bike in the world? No. But its so much fun, and whenever I go some places with it, people come up and comment on it. And people love to ride on the side car", Leno stated. Royal Enfield Vice President, Ron Greene was also on the show and introduced Jay to the two versions of sidecars made by RE. One was a German type sidecar called the EURO and the other a bullet shaped, ROCKET which also happens to be the most popular of the two.

    Royal enfield sidecars in jay leno's garage
    The Rocket and the Euro sidecars



    He even said that these sidecars can be readily fitted to any RE, but also comes with a universal kit that allows a customer to attach them to other bikes as well. Jay Leno even appreciated the pinstriped tanks of the Chennai based automobile manufacturer, and said that these bikes truly showcased epic craftsmanship, upgraded for the modern era.



    After taking a rejuvenating test ride on the RE, Mr. Leno defined the experience as riding a canoe on the highway at 70mph. The sidecar was really helpful, and can be used to keep groceries and books, (if not occupied by someone) and can relieve you of heavy backpacks. Also the sidecars have a locking compartment at the back that can be used to store helmet or other essentials. The Euro model of the sidecar comes with it's own breaking system thus making it more reliable and safe.

    To this Jay said that he once fitted a RE sidecar on 1932 Henderson KJ, and had to rely on the breaking mechanism of the sidecar as the motorcycle had none. Both Rocket and the Euro has the capability of rain-hood and also has a suspension system in place.

    On that episode of Royal Enfield in Jay Leno's garage, Jay went for a spin with the motorcycle fitted with the sidecar. He said that the experience was fun, as the rider won't tip over and doesn't have to worry about stepping his feet down. For those who are afraid of balancing a motorcycle, yet are curious about the fun of motorcycling, sidecars are a great way to start on. But beware, splitting lanes and cutting corners definitely becomes a bit tricky.

    Tuesday, 10 March 2015

    New Royal Enfield Continental GT. The all black cafe racer


    Of all the motorcycle variants produced by Royal Enfield, the Continental GT is definitely the meanest and fastest of them all due to obvious reasons. But with the new all black paint job, the cafe racer now looks even more meaner and deadlier than ever.
    Black royal enfield continental gt
    The all black cafe racer


    Earlier, the GT was available in only 2 basic colors, i.e. red & yellow. But this new addition is definitely the best of the lot. Such is the influence of the new color combination, it will definitely lead among the other color variants( also check the poll on the right ). Being said that, I personally being a blue fanatic, I guess if in the near future a pale blue version of the Continental hits the market, it would even challenge the sales figure of the black GT.

    When the RE cafe racer was first introduced in 2013, it was confidently imparted by CEO Siddhartha Lal that, red & yellow would be the only options available. But with noticeable  craze and demand of the revamped cafe racer of the 1960s, he was bound to introduce yet another radical coloring option of the GT. Hence we can definitely expect further color addition in the near future, for the cafe racer.

    Also, in January 2015, it was mentioned that two new variants of the Cafe Racer can be expected later this year. These new 400cc & 600cc Royal Enfield Continental GT might also flaunt the black coloring option as well. Also, to surprise their faithful customers, they might even add the Chrome variant as well, which has already been launched in Canada. We can definitely expect some amazing improvements in these new GTs, but till then let us relish the black beauty. The new black edition of the Continental GT costs around Rs. 2,20,000 on-road in Pune.

    Tuesday, 3 March 2015

    Transformers disguised as a Royal Enfield


    Yes, that is the only thing that came to my mind when I saw the completely modified Royal Enfield 1A Interceptor by Charlie Giordano, the owner of Tailgunner Exhausts. When I caught glimpse of this image, I was sure that if Transformers, be it Decepticons or Autobots, would have disguised themselves as a cafe racer or vintage motorcycle, it would definitely be the one.


    modified royal enfield


    It all started when Charlie was able to track down a RE 1A Interceptor. The Interceptors were manufactured by the 114 year of motorcycling company between the 1960s. During that period RE even tweaked the engine, with a 750cc engine (the 1A variant) and was launched in 1967. As a limited number of these elegant machines were produced, it is really hard to find one, especially after it has been out of production for the past 5 decades. And even though one finds it, the most obvious choice is to completely restore it with the available stock parts to it's former glory. But for the Tailgunner Exhaust owner, well, he had thought of something which was completely out of the box.

    royal enfield interceptor modified with tailgunner silencer
    The stunning console
    best modified motorcycle royal enfield
    Check out the Rum bottle, savvy eh!


    When he finally got hold of the fallen beast, Mr. Giordano took a fresh sheet of paper and started sketching the design and overall styling of the motorcycle from scratch. He incorporated not one, but two of his finest gun-inspired rotating exhaust. Then he did something that is outright insane. As the bike shares a British root, he wanted to give the motorcycle, a touch of native authenticity. And what he thought of reflected his sheer genius. He attached a wax-sealed “Boston” liniment bottle to the motorcycle's fork leg filled to the brim with “a sailor’s daily ration of rum”, which was the old Royal Navy tradition.

    modified royal enfield interceptor
    Tail section crafted
    using hand tools

    The overall motorcycle looks just like a retro cafe racer, with a strong essence of royalty lingering with it. It exudes affluence in every way. The complete battery box is sculpted from wood cigar boxes and is embellished with fine hand-hammered copper strips. It even flaunts a pedestrian slicer on the front number plate, that shouts "GUNNER". Just like a true cafe racer, both the wheels are devoid of any fender and is equipped with a Manx-style fuel tank. 

    When asked about why he chose to modify the Royal Enfield 1A Interceptor rather than restoring it to it's former glory, Charlie Giordano, the owner of Tailgunner Exhausts said, “I felt like a politician: No matter which way I vote, I’m going to displease about half the constituency.” I say, well done Sir. So what's your opinion?

    Thursday, 26 February 2015

    How the movie, " The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" taught us the essence of motorcycling

    A quote by Benjamin Button is by far the best description for the essence of motorcycling


    " For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be.
    There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want.
    You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing.
    We can make the best or the worst of it.
    I hope you make the best of it.
    And I hope you see things that startle you.
    I hope you feel things you never felt before.
    I hope you meet people with a different point of view.
    I hope you live a life you’re proud of.
    If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again. ”
    the curious case of benjamin button motorcycle scene brad pitt royal enfield

    Yes, this is a quote from the movie, "The Curios Case of Benjamin Button", which was an adaptation of the 1922 short story of the same name written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The movie was simply brilliant and showcased an uniquely elegant storyline, which helped it to get 13 Academy Award nominations and grab 3 Oscars. But let's concentrate on this quote shall we. 

    brad-pitt-curious case of benjamin button-riding-royal-enfield-bullet.jpg
    Brad Pitt repairing his Royal Enfield Bullet (from the movie)
    In the movie, this quote was narrated by Brad Pitt, while he wandered around India on his Royal Enfield while he was in his 20's. But the only reason why this excerpt is so dear to me is because, it is the best ever description of why we ride on our motorcycles. In the movie, Brad Pitt has been portrayed as a man who ages reversely. Mr. Benjamin (played by Brad Pitt) loves riding and can be seen riding a number of classic motorcycles, including Indian Scout, Triumph and a Royal Enfield.



    The quote was written as a letter to his lover Daisy (played by Cate Blanchett), while Benjamin was touring India. He pursued a simple life, mingled with the locals and lived off his backpack just like a vagabond. Brad Pitt as Benjamin even toured Leh Ladakh & the Khardung La pass, which is highest motorable road in the world. He worked in a garage to repair his Royal Enfield Bullet and also earn a living.

    I personally think this is by far the best lines that has completely captured the true essence of motorcycling. And if you disagree, do what I did. Download a audio sample of these lines. Put on your earphones, and play it while you ride your motorcycle ( preferably solo ) and go where the road leads. When these lines echo in your ears, coupled with the steady rumbling of your motorcycle and the cool breeze, you will feel free and ecstatic. And then my friend you'll know what I am talking about. 
    And if you have a better movie excerpt that has similar ring to it, feel free to comment and share the same below the post. Happy motorcycling.