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30 Mar, 2017 ,
Since its inception in 1901 till today ROYAL ENFIELD has managed to create a quite a stir in the Indian automotive market with its range of products be it the BULLET, THUNDERBIRD, CONTINENTAL GT and the new launched HIMALAYAN. Right from the barren interiors to the concrete-jungle limits of this country this classy British brand has managed to create a niche for itself with its vintage design and thunderous thump. Royal Enfield doesn’t have a target audience, they have aficionados and loyalists who are crazy about this cult brand.
The DESERT STORME is one such bike from the ROYAL ENFIELD stable which not only has a steady fan base but also faithful admirers who standby this bike regardless of its unchanged and simple design. Be it a movie or real life you can see this bike almost anywhere and everywhere in your vicinity zooming past you with that ‘duk-duk’ exhaust note.
Looks is a subjective topic. But we love the classic retro design. The bike is adorned with oodles of chrome. The headlight, rear shock-absorbers, exhaust, mirrors , spoke-wheels ,indicators, engine case and handlebars are all finished in gleaming chrome which is also the biggest highlight of this bike. The headlight of this motorcycle is a circular unit and comes with a protruding hood. The 14.5 liter tank is massive and gives the bike a macho look. The front telescoping shock absorbers is metal-encased which looks very unique. The flat pear shaped single saddle is beautifully sculpted and gives an Harley-esque feel . The seat enhances the retro feel factor by miles. The tail light is not only large but also has an integrated brake light cluster which protrudes from the smooth flowing rear mudguards. The long, chromatic up-swept shaped exhaust enhances the side profile of the bike. The Instruments are familiar bits: the basic analogue Royal Enfield fare with a speedometer reading up to 160kph. A fuel gauge is missing but you do get a reserve warning icon. Over and all the aesthetics are brilliantly conceived.
This is the area where the ROYAL ENFIELD needs to work upon. Though the build quality has been improved over the years there is still scope for improvement. There are a few welding marks present on the frame of the bike which could have been avoided. The paint quality on the frame is not up to the mark. The saree guard came loose after riding a few kilometers. The bike is still plagued by fitment problems. The quality of the switches and plastics are good.
The DESERT STORME comes with a new generation, improved, twin valve, 499cc, air cooled, four-stroke and single cylinder engine churning out max power of 27.2bhp at 5250rpm and 4.2kgm of max torque at 4000rpm. The engine has a fuel injection sourced from Keihin and has twin spark plugs along with a long-stroke architecture. Push the button and the mammoth single cylinder comes to life with a lazy beating thump slowly gaining a rhythmic beat. Talk about numbers this bike pounces to 60kph in 4 seconds and can cruise peacefully around 100-110kph post which if you push the bike hard the riding pleasure will deteriorate and the bike will leave your hands numb with its vibrations. This bike is not meant for outright performance. In fact none of the bikes from the ROYAL ENFIELD stable are. This bike is meant for those serene and peaceful riding pleasures in the country side where you take the feel of the ghats and twisties with ample low and mid-range power available at your finger tips. While the bike is capable of hitting a true speed of 130kph you wouldn’t want to wander in that band of performance. The one down – four up 5 speed gear box offers smooth shifting with a mechanical feel. The gearing ratio is accurate and nowhere did we feel that the motorcycle ran out of breathe when ridden sedately.
Get astride on the bike and you get that big macho feeling with its huge tank and spread out handlebars. The bike feels pretty sturdy when you are on the move. The seat of the bike provides immense comfort for those long journeys on the highway. The telescopic dampers up front and the gas-charged shocks at the rear gobbles and spits the undulations and potholes out from the riding experience. High speed stability is superb considering the weight of the bike which gives the bike immense stability to cruise around 100 kph on an open stretch of highway. When it comes to city riding it is difficult to maneuver this bike in bumper to bumper traffic conditions because of the weight. But the torque nature of the engine helps the bike to keep up in those heavy city traffic conditions. Braking is average considering this bike doesn’t’ offer ABS. The 280mm disc in the front and 153mm drum unit at the rear doesn’t inspire much confidence to bring this heavy-weight champion to a standstill. Royal Enfield should update this bike with an ABS feature which would make the bike even more safe for emergency stoppies.
The quality of the switches and plastics are good. Illumination from the halogen bulb in the headlight is great at night. Wiring on this bike could have been better considering the bulk of this bike. There is some wiring works exposed if you observe carefully. The starter on this bike worked fine and we didn’t face any start-up trouble so far. Indicators on this bike work and lit up quite well.
Service quality from the service centers are not upto the mark. Parts and relliability still is a concern when it comes to Royal enfield. Service cost is too high considering the overall service experience.
In this price sensitive market the ultimate question does arise that ‘Kitna Deti hai?’ Well if you ask, the overall mileage we could juice out from this beauty was 25kmpl. It does improve on the highway, but people who desire such bikes don’t really care about the mileage figures including us.
Overall the bike does manage to make you fall in love for it’s retro feel and charisma. But on a practical scheme of things the bike needs to step up on it’s quality game. The after sales service of this bike also remains a huge question mark. If you are in a market with a huge budget and looking for something that can quench your touring thirst then you can blindly go for this bike. Rest assured this bike will make you feel like a king with it’s macho feel and gigantic road presence. All in all we love the bike and swear by ROYAL ENFIELD like every other loyal enthusiast.
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