The Royal Affair

I was never a big fan of Royal Enfields

I happened to get hold of a Classic 500 Desert Storm for a short ride to Wayanad recently. I have to admit I started the ride with a very unfair negative bias towards the machine. I hated the handling, the brakes, the vibrations and even the turd-sandwich colour. But as the miles were being munched, it grew on me and I was actually enjoying myself.

This bike had this knack of preventing me from pushing my limits. Instead it was demanding me to take it slow, relax and soak myself into the environment. As the milestones whizzed past me, I found myself not really caring about the vibrations or the uninspiring brakes or the boat-like handling; things that I felt were big deal-breakers for me in the beginning.

Towards the end of the ride, I realised it’s not the machines I was having a problem with. But the RE fans who always seem to fall into these two polarising buckets.

  • On one hand we have the rabid fanboys with a hardon for these bikes who bought them just because it comes with a very fast 350cc mill and surprise! has very less number of plastic parts. I always find them loaded with this Master Race mentality just because they happen to own a Royal Enfield. Screw these guys. They are a Royal Pain in the Ass to deal with.
  • On the other hand, I love talking to those Bull owners who take a lot of pride in their machines, at times to a point of being very vocal but are ready to acknowledge the fact that Royal Enfields aren’t perfect; that they might not be the best tourer out there (IMO they are not), that it’s the awesome legacy that they are owning.

You could argue there are fanatics for any brand, motorcycles or otherwise, out there. But the thing is, nowhere have I seen this much of a stark contrast in a fanbase before, where I despise one set of the populace and have complete respect for the other. (I am guilty of being in the first category myself when it comes to Apple notebooks :D)

I like Royal Enfields now. I love its iconic thump and the styling that remains faithful to its roots. I love the posture and the sheer road presence that these machines ooze out. I enjoyed being respected on the road a lot more than the other bikes of seemingly lesser pedigree. Heck! I even love their classy promotional videos,

However, for the love of all things holy, Dear RE owners, please stop pretending it’s the best motorcycle out there. It’s not!