“It’s a heavy bike. What if you drop it?”
“It’s meant for taller riders, it will not be suitable for you.”
“you will spend a lot of time getting it serviced”
“You have not been on a bike in last 20 years”
“Are you going through a phase?”
“Are you insane?”
These were some of the reactions, I got when I expressed my desire to buy a Royal Enfield. Agreed that it is not the most ideal vehicle for my needs. Heck, I do not have a need for it. It is a want and I am a mere mortal who gives in to his wants. Let me give you a little background. I come from a scooter family. My dad had a Bajaj Chetak, my uncles still have their Bajaj scooters (in active use). I had a brief fling with LML vespa in an era gone by (it was fun while it lasted). I scored some joy rides on RX135 and CD100 thanks to some of our extended family. Fantasized about Roadking that was always protected like family jewels by a Mausaji. Some of my fondest memories were riding around on a Kinetic, but that’s a story for me to cherish.
But love was when I heard the dug-dug-dug of Bullet. Though I never ever had a chance to ride one, and it looked intimidating. Every fable I heard about this beast will double the weight of the bike. There will be folklore about how this machine will climb hills and munch highway miles for breakfast. No one ever claimed it to be the fastest machine on the road. Once while talking to a friend who owned an Enfield Taurus, he explained why Bullet riders were never in a hurry. In his words “I don’t ride as if I own the road, I ride like I do because I don’t care who does”. Zen I tell you. All of this was before I turned 16.
Time leap of 20 years and here I was. After having spent 10 years in Dubai, I had my share of driving cars. When we shifted to India for good, my first reaction was “Why are all drivers suicidal? Did someone release a deadly brain decaying virus here and turned everyone into a braindead moron??”. And may I add this reaction was after seeing the beautifully disciplined traffic in Bangalore. I must also mention that I speak fluent sarcasm. I decided against buying a car because Uber was my chosen model of car. Plus there are like of Zoom, Myles etc for those days when you need absolutely need to be a part of the problem.
It was all good, till I passed the Enfield showroom and saw her. Standing pretty in that window, looking at the world pass her by with an unmatched elegance stood a dusky earthen beauty. I did not need to know much about her. I knew she commanded 27 horses and was addicted to petrol. I knew she will not be as docile as other arm candies you see in droves, but then what’s life without a little bit of salt. But I knew that she will take me closest to what I yearned for in the madness that is B’lore traffic. I even managed a long ride on a CL350 with my BIL.
Surprisingly, my wife had no issues with my choice. Do you have this feeling where you see no obstacle and suddenly your 6th sense kicks in. Well, my middle class self decided it was the right time to play devil’s advocate with me. Self-doubt caused a delay of a few months. But every time we will pass the showroom, my eyes will glaze over and I will zone out. Didn’t think my wife noticed (“you never pay attention”). Boy was I wrong.
To celebrate our wedding anniversary, we decided to have a good breakfast in Kormangala. Head a hearty breakfast at Hole Lotta Love cafe (must try for all those, who are not touched by the vegan thingy). While returning I asked for a quick window shopping stop at the showroom. We go in, and are escorted by the eager sales person. As I started saying ” Just looking..” my much better half pipped “He is going through a mid life crisis and wants to buy one of the bikes..”. While I think most of the staff there did not understand that, I think they understood that I needed a little push. Well, push was given, and I booked a CL500DS. I was told that there is a waiting of 45 days, but I should expect their call sooner. Meanwhile I decided to answer those questions that my dear ones had raised:
“It’s a heavy bike. What if you drop it?” –> I will not drop it
“It’s meant for taller riders, it will not be suitable for you.” –> I will not tell my height to the bike
“you will spend a lot of time getting it serviced” –> You make it sound so much fun
“You have not been on a bike in last 20 years” –> Riding is like riding. You don’t really forget it
“Are you going through a phase?” –> Aren’t we all? We are born, we die. Sometimes we live in between.
“Are you insane?” –> Yes. My family did not get me tested for reasons I can not disclose.
With that out of the way, let me tell you about buyers remorse. The moment I book a DS500, I started taking deeper interest in every passing DS. I realized that I was not alone. Almost all DS I saw, were ridden by like minded nerds :D. While this was a good thing (I suppose), one thing was nagging me. Most of the DS riders I saw, were trying to fit in an image of I-am-a-solider-because-DS (I am generalizing, just like everyone else). Camouflaged clothing, hard hats instead of helmets if you get my drift. More I observed, more I started regretting the idea of having booked a DS (not to say that I do not have camouflaged clothing, but I digress). I discussed this concern with home ministry and she agreed. Her input was that she liked Squadron Blue anyways. With matt finish, even I found this bike to be easy on eyes. Decision was made to change the color to SB. Easy peasy, one call and color was changed. Now my wait started but it lasted exactly 10 days. I was getting disappointed with RE. I mean my expectations were set to 2 months of constant follow up, throwing a fit in the showroom, escalation session etc. I mean I did not even get a chance to get angry, let aside frustrated. Darn it.
Finally, I got the fateful call. “Saar, your bike is ready for delivery”. I reached the showroom and pestered them to let me inspect it before I go for registration. I acted as if I know about Enfields and pretended to carry out a detailed inspection for about 30 seconds. I think my performance convinced the sales rep though he pretended otherwise. Completed the formalities and was told to visit them in a couple of days for delivery. Lo and behold, the bike was delivered in the stipulated time, even the final delivery.
I landed up there for the final delivery with a full face helmet. After filling in the engine oil and a dash of petrol (it was not enough to turn off the reserve light), the bike was handed over to me. With no prior Bullet experience under my belt, I slotted in the first gear and started my journey. My first thought was that for a heavy bike, this one moves quite quick. Within no time, I was hitting the peak ORR speed (at 5PM) of 40KPH. Sure there were vibrations but the gear shifts were effortless. Rear break had “adequate bite to slow down the bike at slower speeds” and front breaks were quite effective.
Well, this is the story so far. We are getting aquatinted slowly and I can tell she is not happy about the lack of long rides. That reminds me, I gotta plan some..