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Author Topic: High Maintenance?  (Read 3932 times)

Monty

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High Maintenance?
« on: October 07, 2007, 01:34:07 AM »
Thanks for the replies,  I'm still looking into purchasing a Bullet Classic.   I would have to say that all the talk about these bikes needing constant mechanical care does scare me.  Not sure I want to purchase a new 2007 or 2008 bike that need to be worked on all the time.  Sounds kinda crazy to me.  Well these are just thoughts...I do like how they look and sound..  guess I will keep researching and thinking about my purchase.

Thumper

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2007, 01:39:32 AM »
Thanks for the replies,  I'm still looking into purchasing a Bullet Classic.   I would have to say that all the talk about these bikes needing constant mechanical care does scare me.  Not sure I want to purchase a new 2007 or 2008 bike that need to be worked on all the time.  Sounds kinda crazy to me.  Well these are just thoughts...I do like how they look and sound..  guess I will keep researching and thinking about my purchase.

I doubt very much that you'd get a 2007 or 2008 that had to be worked on at all other than normal routine maintenance.

Much, if not most, of what you read on the forum are *exceptions* not the rule. This in itself is a big plus: the community support you get here - when something does go wrong - is a big asset.

I've had few problems and those were the result of my own 'learning curve'! For example, I over-tightened my cam cover and cracked it. This caused an oil leak. So you'd see posts from me on an oil leak. But it was my own fault.

Anyway, let us know what you decide!

Matt

deejay

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2007, 02:07:48 AM »
Thanks for the replies,  I'm still looking into purchasing a Bullet Classic.   I would have to say that all the talk about these bikes needing constant mechanical care does scare me.  Not sure I want to purchase a new 2007 or 2008 bike that need to be worked on all the time.  Sounds kinda crazy to me.  Well these are just thoughts...I do like how they look and sound..  guess I will keep researching and thinking about my purchase.

Not high maintenance, but not push a button and never get your hands dirty either. More like routine maintenance, which is needed on any bike. The best part is you can do it yourself in a matter of minutes on the Bullet, instead of scheduling an appointment at a dealer and getting ripped of on charges. Every once in a great while you'll have to adjust your tappets or timing, but that takes only a few minutes. Most owners here perform all of the work themselves, which includes oil changes, chain adjustments, etc. It's when you get into trying to upgrade the bikes performance capabilities is when you will get into high maintenance. The stock bike really is not high maintenance at all, and the work you do on it will get you more familiar with it and more capable of hearing or seeing problems before they arise. Thats something that puts my mind at ease when I am riding my bike.

Foggy_Auggie

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2007, 04:04:48 AM »
Thumper and Dejay are right on.

I'm experienced mechanically but now retired a few years and have severe rhumatoid arthritis.  I can perform all routine maintenance with my mangled hands - although slow and performing a lot of "Zen"!  And routine it is - follow the owners manual religiously and you won't go wrong.

No different than owning a 1955 Chevy in 1955 - although a lot easier to work on.  And the warranty is for a year.  Within the first year of ownership for most all consumer items is when the bugs come out - if any.

Break it in right and it is turnkey just like a modern bike; between the routine maintenance intervals.

Odds are new Harley-Davidsons have as many quirks as Royal Enfields.  Pre Harley Evolution engines were like rolling the dice as far as reliability - I had one.

Regards, Foggy
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dave48

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2007, 10:01:48 AM »
" It's when you get into trying to upgrade the bikes performance capabilities is when you will get into high maintenance."

While very new to RE ownership, that seems to me to be the key point - both from all that I've read specific to Bullets and simple and basic (if lengthy) experience of things motorised.

Seem to me to be a bit like Land Rovers: old Series "2 1/4s" just kept on going UNLESS one tried to make them something they were not! Had to tighten etc stuff of course but if frequent oil changes including in all the important little places and a degree of sensitivity (If it ain't done that before, then something is wrong!) then fine. The V8 109s - despite being factory jobs - were more problematic: not EVERY component had been upgraded to match the power!

luoma

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2007, 04:00:22 PM »
Seems like when you compare a new Jap bike to an RE, what you are talking about is no maint vs some maint. It's not that the RE requires a lot of maintenance, just it requires maintenance, period. It likes to be paid attention to. I had more trouble with my old Honda 305 scrambler than I do with my RE.

hutch

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2007, 03:07:23 PM »
I have to agree with all the replys. The RE is not high maintainance, just routine(oil  and tune ups)The only time I had a problem was on the valve lash, which was my own fault for not getting a jam nut tight on the adjuster.Out of the 8 bikes I own, only 3 DON'T leak oil. Two of those three are RE's, and one is a 1967 RE. Very dependable and low maintainance bikes. When I get on my Classic, the thought never even crosses my mind that I might not get back. I wish I could say that about all the other bikes I own and have owned over the years.  Hutch
« Last Edit: October 11, 2007, 03:12:56 PM by hutch »
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jdrouin

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2007, 08:51:34 PM »
It's when you get into trying to upgrade the bikes performance capabilities is when you will get into high maintenance.

I'm most likely going to buy a Bullet Classic this Spring. After break in, I'll probably want to upgrade to one of the standard performance kits with freer exhaust, air filter, a carb rejetting, and possibly a slightly larger front sprocket to give the bike longer legs.

Is this the kind of performance upgrade that can reduce the bike's reliability? Or would it be more like engine modifications -- i.e. a bore kit -- that would make it more flakey.

I just want the bike to have an efficient, long-lasting, healthy engine that can be heard for safety.

deejay

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2007, 11:59:55 PM »
It's when you get into trying to upgrade the bikes performance capabilities is when you will get into high maintenance.

I'm most likely going to buy a Bullet Classic this Spring. After break in, I'll probably want to upgrade to one of the standard performance kits with freer exhaust, air filter, a carb rejetting, and possibly a slightly larger front sprocket to give the bike longer legs.

Is this the kind of performance upgrade that can reduce the bike's reliability?

Nope those are standard mods that most people do, myself included. Its actually closer to the set up which was originally intended for the bike. They are set way too lean from the factory if you ask me, to pass emissions. And that stock exhaust is choking the engine.

Yeah, the big bore kits etc. are what make them less reliable.

Spitting Bull

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2007, 08:22:33 AM »
I agree - the bikes leave the factory in rather a restricted state of tune in the name of economy.  This is an important requirement in RE's home market, India.   There is a very restrictive exhaust fitted, with jets to match, giving a very lean mixture. The main modifications we make are aimed at de-restricting the bike and most of us do no more than that.  Further modifications designed to make the bike perform better - usually this means "go faster" - tend to include a degree of rebuilding inside the engine, fitting special parts. In my experience, most of the problems reported in forums like this are the result of owners changing too much.

I fitted a less restrictive silencer and a larger main jet to suit it and that's all. I haven't changed anything inside the engine and have had no mechanical failures in 6,500 miles. The bike has stopped once, when a wire connection came loose. I adjusted the tappets at 500 miles and have checked them regularly since, but they have never needed further adjustment.  Neither has the chain. I change the engine oil and filter regularly.  I adjusted the clutch once and have adjusted the brakes twice. I have found one loose nut, on an indicator bracket. It's a case of regular inspection rather than regular maintenance.

Tom



 
« Last Edit: October 12, 2007, 08:27:10 AM by Spitting Bull »
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indian48

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2007, 07:12:45 AM »
As an Indian, I must say that it feels good to read all of the above. Indian manufacturing still has a ( mostly well deserved) reputation for producing shoddy product, and all of us are aware of the steep learning curve that we have to move up on. RE India is doing their part in all of this, and it is good to see that their efforts are getting visible results as discussed here.
If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing well

LotusSevenMan

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2007, 06:42:48 PM »
india48.
I for one am pleased that RE India are still building the Classic (though think it's a shame it's going to be phased out soon). How else would I buy a 'new' Classic Brit bike?
Good for RE India I say!!!!!!!!  ;)
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LJRead

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2007, 07:06:34 PM »
We hear comments on the poor metallurgy and workmanship with regard to R E, but I'm wondering about that.  My experience with Indian goods (motors and such like) is that they are quite similar to those products of anywhere else.  We hear BMW touted as being superb, but is it that much different?

indian48

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2007, 11:09:17 PM »
The challenge we have is not in the engineering - we have some of the best engineers in the world. It is more in management attitudes of allowing the workmanship to suffer by not taking a long term view of quality via enlisting the ownership and participation of the entire "shopfloor", and our general tendency to do the 90%, but leave the rest incomplete. While RE India is making progress, it really remains afloat because it has been able to sell its product to people whose pride in ownership allows them to take care of the remaining 10%. That is why it is not able to address the mass market here, selling about 30000 bikes in total, where the large companies here make and sell more than a million a year. Those millions are bought by people who need a reliable daily commuter, that is advertised by one make as " fill it and forget it".
I think that RE knows that it has been able to make a virtue out of necessity, and will not stray from its formula for success - and will keep making classics available, modifying the engine internals as may be needed to stay compliant with emission norms. It will have a problem when many of us who have a nostalgia for Brit singles, depart the market place for good - I am not sure that the under thirties of today will be  buyers of the current strategy when they get to be our age! By definition, that will not be my problem though... :)
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LJRead

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2007, 11:27:42 PM »
Very nicely put - you managed to express the remaining 10% of the equation that i hadn't quite been able to put together or figure out.  My father used to refer to it as the law of diminishing returns.  We as humans get the first 90% accomplished and then fade away on the last 10%, and especially the last 5%.  The product gets to seem good enough without all the extra effort.   I don't think Indians are any different though. 

There still remains the question of the actual materials that go together to produce the bike - is the metallurgy that much inferior?  Kevin Mahoney mentioned the old sand casting methods used in the casings and so forth, and maybe the actual machinery used is a little outdated.  To many of us 'hand worked' is a quality to be shrived for.

But I suppose the German temperament of attacking and enjoying that 10% is what makes the difference.  Japanese have the same sort of discipline.  But I guess we can program robots to do the same and maybe it is that lacking 10% that adds the human touch to the Enfields that we all find so attractive.

Thanks so much for your interesting comments -

Larry

indian48

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2007, 11:48:51 PM »
You are right about the Germans and the Japanese - and I get your robot point as well. What I would like to see us Indians do is to get back the notions that we once had, of craftsmanship, even on things hand worked. That comes from taking pride in the work you do, and satisfaction in a job well done, however small it may be. Not something that a robot would have?!
The casting quality is a problem because of dirty foundries - and the typical purchase manager function of going and buying the cheapest by weight casting, as long as it meets the dimensional spec.
Things are changing though on that front everywhere as better foundries are built. Again, it is not an engineering problem, but one of attitudes, like everywhere else as you say. If people did their jobs as if they were their hobbies, we would get fine products, regardless of the technology used to make them. Handworked, the product would be interesting too, as the RE is.
Ironically, the unfinished aspect of the RE is what gives every owner the chance to make his bike uniquely his own. Starting with the running in - how well you do it, decides the quality of the bike you finally get. Gets you a lot more involved in it - but there are many who cannot be bothered to do that, who do not buy them for just that reason.
I wonder if many of us who are in to REs, and who are also in to high end audio, prefer listening to music on turntables and LPs, instead of the cookie cutter mass market CD players and now, ipods??!!
If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing well

Kevin Mahoney

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2007, 01:23:08 AM »
The materials in the Enfields are all modern. They aren't space program grade, but they are certainly adequate for the job at hand. The good part of the Infield "Unspoiled by Technology" or being proudly on the trailing edge of technology is also the negative. Things are much better engineered these days for longevity. How else can you explain the long life of cars today. In the 1960's a government study indicated that the average auto hit the junkyard around 90,000 miles. That was up from 50,000 - 60,000 in the 1940's ( We all have stories of Uncle Joes truck or car that went a million miles without an oil change so don't start). On the other hand nothing is made to be fixed anymore. Assemblies get changed but that is about it.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2007, 04:16:17 PM by Royal Enfield 1 »

Monty

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2007, 04:55:44 AM »
I was reading all the responses and read something that kinda disturbed me...Are the Royal Enfields being phased out?  That is very disheartening to hear if it is true.  I hope it is not true.  I would love to hear any comments on this. 

Thanks for your time

jdrouin

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2007, 04:19:55 AM »
I wonder if many of us who are in to REs, and who are also in to high end audio, prefer listening to music on turntables and LPs, instead of the cookie cutter mass market CD players and now, ipods??!!

Oh brother, that's quite a can of worms to open! The obvious preference -- for me, and I would imagine many members of this forum  -- is turntables and LPs (especially through a nice monoblock tube amp). I think the common thread between them and RE motorcycles is a certain direct and "honest" quality that somehow doesn't come through in contemporary products. Plus they sound better!

I'd love to see a Venn diagram expressing the relationship of the sets "those of us who are into REs" and "those of us who are also into high end audio" and "those of us who prefer listening to music on turnatables and LPs." Would make a great banner image for a blog on said topics.

cyrusb

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2007, 05:48:53 PM »
I was reading all the responses and read something that kinda disturbed me...Are the Royal Enfields being phased out?  That is very disheartening to hear if it is true.  I hope it is not true.  I would love to hear any comments on this. 

Thanks for your time
Yes that appears to be true, What worse is the new bike to replace it.Everything you dont want,in an ugly package.There is a thread here somewhere that shows the engine(unit construction) and the bike(1971 honda'ish). It clearly shows that RE has the usa market all wrong, imho.

Kevin Mahoney

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2007, 04:15:06 AM »
If you dig through this site and search some of the messages ( I have forgotten exactly where it was), you will see a lot more information about this and the UCE. It is unlikely the bike you are referring to will ever see the light of day at least in the US. It is basically an Electra with the UCE engine stuffed into it. If so we would not expect it to be a great seller for obvious reasons. It is nothing special in our opinion. I think they showed the bike at the Paris bike show and perhaps around India (even though it is an export model for now) as a publicity stunt and to create buzz  about the new engine. Also the more modern look plays much better in India and the UK than it does in the US. What will happen is that the UCE engine will appear in a new bike, one more modern and one very retro, perhaps more retro than the current Classics.

indian48

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Re: High Maintenance?
« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2007, 02:12:53 PM »
I missed your reply on tube amps, got around to see it just today. I have been down that road and have come away from it, because it had started to get out of control - my new Bullet is cheaper than the last tube amp I went and bought - I have sold it since and now with a simpler system that just produces good music from an ipod that has 30 hours of my favorite music on it. I had gotten to a stage where I was spending more time with the equipment than in listening to music. I have determined to not go down that path with the Bullet passion, and stay on the good enough path!
But the glow of the tubes is magical,,,I will say! I think that in our minds we transfer that glow into what we hear from the music, some of the time at any rate.
If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing well