Best Royal Enfield Bike – There are a number of Royal Enfield bikes out there, ranging from the Bullet, Thunderbrid , Electra, Machismo and the recent Continental GT. All of them have a certain characteristics of their own. Considering you are looking forward to buy one and budget doesn’t matter, Each Royal Enfield model is different and has something different to offer.
I have ridden Bullet Electra 350, Standard 500, Classic 350, Desert Storm (Classic 500), Thunderbird 500 and Himalayan.
Best Royal Enfield Bike
Royal Enfield Bullet Standard 500
As per as the exhaust note is concerned Bullet scores it all the way. It still holds the old world charm but that’s about it. It takes ages to reach 60 kmph and forget about riding it at 100 kmph as you will die of vibration. This bike caters to a very specific set of people for whom grace and the name Royal Enfield takes priority over Convenience. I rode Bullet Standard 500 to Khardungla wherein I felt a considerable loss of power at higher altitudes and it was getting difficult to churn out more 60 kmph. But the bike is a work horse and does what it suppose to do best ( Keep going )in the price bracket. The bike is the closest what RE has to offer from the retro period, easy to fix like all RE’s and gives you instant feel of the old world and ohh boy!!! the exhaust note is ****ing unreal.
Recently I did the a solo trip to Kashmir on Bullet 500 and it served me well apart from some of the tricky and dangerous road to Tosh Maidan where the tires were not helping me out and freaked me out at some point or the other. This happened for obvious reasons of tires being more road biased unlike the Himalayan. I had no issues as such throughout my journey.
Journey’s covered On Bullet 500 :
1. Leh – Khardung La
2. Srinagar – Sonamarg – Zozila – Gulmarg -Tosh Maidan – Dudh Pathari – Pahalgam – Aru – Betab _ Srinagar
Royal Enfield Classic 500 and Classic 350
Classic 350 and 500’s UCE engine is a made like a tank and this bike has a great throttle response. The relatively quicker than Bullet and Thunderbird of the word go. The exhaust note is still better than that of the Thunderbird but nothing compared to that of the Bullet. I have done a 1100 km ride on it and the extra torque keeps you going all the way but going beyond 90 kmph will set you abuzz and with a soar butt. The spring load seat looks historical and is historical. A custom change to that of the Thunderbird’s Seat will be great to have.
Journey’s covered on Classic 500 and 350 :
- Bangalore – Pondicherry – Mahabalipuram – Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Bangalore
- North Goa and South Goa in a single trip
Royal Enfield Thuderbird 500
Thunderbird 500 is the most comfortable of the 3 on long rides. even shorter riders can also manage it. The highly cushione seats cups in your butt and holds you tight on sudden throttle changes as the RE 500’s torquiiiii engine tends to throw you back a bit. The bike due to it low seating height and high front end tends to give you the lesser wind blast compared to the above 3. I have had a bad experience with a Desert Storm and you will need to tightly hold on to the handle bars and that puts and lot of stress on to your palm , wrist, upper arm and bicep. On thunderbird the handle bar’s comes naturally to your hand like how you would stretch your arms forward. Needs no effort what so ever. The feels the most stable bike in highways majorly because of it weight 192 dry + 20 litres gas tank + 15 kilos luggage + 85 more kilos of me.
A personal note : I felt a bit crooked on the bike and I was not in my most comfortable state majorly because of my height of around 187 cm – 6′1″+
Journey’s covered on Thunderbird 500:
1. Bangalore – Madurai – Dhanuskodi – Kanyakumari – Kovalama – Varkala – Allepi – Kochi – Calicut – Wayanad – Mudumalai – Bandipur – Mysore – Bangalore
Royal Enfield Himalayan
I recently had been on a Himalayan and ohh I had some experience ( in a good way ofcourse ). Lets talk about the looks first : Well its not the prettiest bike out their but then again it is subjective based on how it is being perceived by an individual. I personally like.
The practicality ??? Hell yeah this is the best RE yet , comfirt has taken the front seat in the this bike, ergonomics are on the bullseye for long distance touring. Vibrations are very minimal and one can ride it at speeds upto 115 kmph comfortably Yes you read it right — 115 kmph COMFORTABLY. No vibrations till 110 kmph and the bike can do 130 kmph (as per speedo) but it takes ages to reach there. The mid range is good and its the happiest between 3500 to 4500 RPMs. Torque is less compared to the 500 cc UCE engines so the once who are used to riding on TB 500 or Classic 500 can feel relative the lack of power.
But then again this is the best tourer in the RE market and this bike offers an unmatched potential for offroading in this price bracket. Not to forget the best in in class adjustable wind protection which will help to get tired much later than you usually would do. Got any complaints yet ???? YES there are bad reviews about the bike. Parts are unavailable. parts fall of the bike while being on the ride. This is the first time in the Royal Enfield history that they need ads to sell a bike. That itself tells the story about Himalayan. No wonder Himalayan is an awesome bike but it may be worth a buy in the next upgraded version. Best Royal Enfield Bike
Journey’s covered On Himalayan:
1. Bangalore – Hampi – Karvar – Gokarna – Murudeshwar – Jali – Jog – Sivamogga – Bangalore
2. Jaipur – Ajmer – Nagaur – Bikaner – Gajner – Jaisalmer – Sam Sand Dunes – Osian – Jodhpur – Mount Abu – Udaipur
2. Chandigadh – Shimla – Narkanda – Sangla – Chitkul – Reckong Peo – Kalpa – Ka (Couldnot do the spiti circuit because of landslides before Nako and Tabo so changed the route and did the following) – Rampur – Shiwad – Kothi – Jalori Pass ( extremely difficult road ) – Kullu – Kasol – Manikaran – Malana – Magic Valley – Prashar Lake – Jogindar Nagar – Bir Billing – Palampur – Kangra – Dharamshla – McLeodGanj – Dalhousie – Khajjiar – Pathankot – Amritsar – Ludhiana – Chandigadh
I have not yet ridden Continental GT yet. It has a all new 535 cc engine. Personally I am not a big fan of the bike but the bike pack in some premium goodies – Pirelli Sport Tyres, Brembo brakes , Paioli Shock Absorber. That’s a sports bike content. Definetly this bike calls for the newer generation who wants to relieve the cafe racing classical moments.
So my verdict would be :
1. If you like the old world charm and a relaxed thumper — Bullet
2. If you like the best of both world and don’t mind customizing the exhaust and the seat — Classic
3. If you want a cool , classy and dependable cruiser — Thunderbird
4. If you want to look street smart – Continental GT
5. If you want bike that look ugly (well subjective) but tops in all other departments – Himalayan (wait for the V2)
Touring Capabilities (in decreasing order)
HIMALAYAN >>> Thunderbird >> Standard 500 > Classic 500 > Electra > Continental GT
Comfort on long rides with a back pack
HIMALAYAN >>> Thunderbird >> Standard > Electra > Classic 500 >> Continental GT
Continental GT (the best in class parts) >> Thunderbird == Classic 500 > Himalayan > Standard > Electra
Continental GT > Thunderbird 500 > Classic 500 > Himalayan > > Standard > Electra
At the end of the day the bike that you feel the most comfortable in and proud to own is the best bike for you. So take a test ride of all the available models and then decide which is best according to you.