Touring India in Royal Enfield Bullet
Touring India on an Enfield Bullet can be an exhilarating experience. Royal Enfield Bullet, a British classic motorcycle originally designed in the late 1940, still is under production in India.
Extremely reliable on the notorious Indian roads, Bullet is extensively used by the Indian Army in various terrain ranging from Rajasthan deserts to the highest motorable road on earth - Leh. Also the main stay of the Indian police, Bullet is capable of excellent performance with minimal attention.
I have ridden a few hundred thousands kilometers in one of these trust-worthy machines in the last 20 years. In the words of Mr.Phil Spender,CEO of Fords(India),"it is a classic bike to be treasured".
Its low center of gravity and its weight (unladen weight is about 180 kg for my machine) imparts stability whilst negotiating the curves of any mountainous road. Your mount never makes you starved of power when you require it. It is generally built on steel components which adds to its long life.
Its characteristic beat, accentuated by an open core silencer, can be a music to the rider, whilst signalling a juggernaut to the other road users. It commands a rightful respect amongst the unruly Indian drivers. It produces enough torque even at low rpm of the engine to propel you with a majestic "thud..thud..thud" beat.
Some use a square piece of mat in the back with a hole aligned to the exhaust, which results in a deafening beat. This sound can easily make way for you in the mayhem of country side roads. You can ride quietly like a whisper or roar like a monster - it all depends on the silencer of this big motorcycle.
This proven bike requires little attention to its maintenance. Top up the engine oil before a long journey. Visually check for any loose nuts. Braking has always been a minus point with Bullets. They like to ride at full throttle, easily reaching about 120 km per hour or chug along at 20 km per hour - all at 4th gear with little effort on your part.
When you ride up a steep mountain, ride at 2nd gear and have a sedate steady speed, cranking at the hairpin bends to have a easy ride up. This will not tax the engine. If you try shifting gears every few meters, it becomes an effort both for the rider and the bike. Bullet lets you enjoy the scenery at your pace as long as you pay attention to the hazards ahead of you.