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Classic royalty

india Updated: Oct 08, 2011 00:43 IST
Arun Changrani

Push the button, grip the handlebars tight and ride on! That is what comes to my mind whenever I think of classic motorcycles. A name that is synonymous to the word classic is 'Royal Enfield'.

For years, this motorcycle manufacturer has made bikes like the Bullet 350 and the Bullet 500 that have great nostalgic value for the hardcore motorcycling community. Moving forward with the same enthusiasm and commitment towards its loyal customers, RE (Royal Enfield) has recently launched two new versions of the Classic 500.

Unlike the Classic 500, the new bikes that are in production are called Classic Chrome and Classic Desert Storm. As the names suggest the Classic Chrome features a new Chrome fuel tank, while the Desert Storm has a matte finish applied to the entire body save for the engine of the bike. Both models house a 500cc TwinSpark engine, which in my view was brilliant in terms of its performance as it belted out 27.2 bhp. For me the Classic Desert Storm will always be the first choice as its matte paint is pretty striking to the naked eye compared to the Chrome bling, which is the norm for any Enfield.

The ride quality of the machine seems to have been improved drastically in comparison to its previous models. The high point was the front disk brakes, which work wonderfully well to dismiss the culmination of the rear drum brakes that work in tandem to provide effective braking.

The saddle seat - the USP of these bikes - was comfortable as it provided adequate cushioning especially during long rides. The entire time I rode the Bullet, I could not take my mind off the distinct thump sound of me bouncing on the seat.

It's easy to get to 120-130 Km/hr pretty effortlessly. The engine is crisp, gives a clean throttle response and provides ample torque. On the highway, you can easily ride into the dusk, covering vast stretches before having to refuel.

The touch of chrome and matte is definitely going to have an audience. The Classic Desert Storm costs Rs 1,43,967 and the Classic Chrome Rs 1,50,659 (ex-showroom). RE has set the tempo against the likes of Harley Davidson, a more expensive and luxurious alternative to the Classic.