The Bullet that Binds
“Bang!” goes the gun that shoots. “Ping!” it echoes when it ricochets, and “Klunk!” or “Thud” when it hits a target hopefully without killing anyone that yells “Argh!” But we’re not talking about a bullet that goes “Bang!” We’d rather talk about a Bullet that goes “Thump! Thump! Thump!” on and on and on like music that soothes a savage beast on two wheels.
Let’s start where it all began. In the mid 1800’s – just about the time when our national hero was still in a diaper riding a Spanish made wooden bicycle, a man in Great Britain named George Townsend founded a company that produced and sold complete bicycles under the name “Enfield”, named after the location of the company. It was also during this war time era that they started manufacturing precision rifle parts for a company called the Royal Small Arms Factory. Through this combination location, client name and products made, it was not long before they renamed their company as “Royal Enfield” that manufactured motorcycles with a slogan trademark “Built like a gun and runs like a bullet”. Since then, the legend of the “Royal Enfield Bullet” name has grown into a worldwide sensation reaching record sales, having numerous makes & models, winning races, getting awards internationally and creating a unique & impressive motorcycle sub-culture throughout America, Europe, India, some Asian countries and in some other places I can’t pronounce.
But not in the Philippines…. until now.
In January 2012, this historical “World’s Oldest Motorcycle company” icon of a bike builder will be arriving on the shores of Metro Manila (literally – cause the bikes are shipped in by boat) through the capable hands of master bike builders Hardcore Brothers Motorcycle Customs, Inc. headed by their creative and intrepid leader, Jimmy Barinaga. You may know them through their celebrity-status-making TV show, Hardcore Brothers Easyride (3 season running) or their past radio stints on NU 107 as Hardcore Brothers Motorcycle Radio or you may just know them through the grapevine of the motorcycle community because of their simply cool and pioneering custom bike building work. Most of which still roam the streets and highways of the country today.
This “hardcore” company will be the official and exclusive distributor of the Royal Enfield brand in the Philippines so if after reading this article you feel compelled to purchase one, try your best not to tell your wife where the showroom is and we’ll see you there with your checkbook. Don’t bother looking anywhere else.
When you get there, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the 5 key things you will be informed of regarding the bike. I’ll give it to you now as a heads up – 500cc, 38kpl (Yup, you read it right – 38 kilometers per liter of gasoline), bullet-proof & classic. That’s all you need to know. You don’t need to know that it’s a 4-stroke, high torque, single piston, computer controlled electronic fuel injected machine with front disk brakes, modern metallurgy, halogen light, rust proofed to the gut chassis, hand-painted tank and an overall bullet proof design. That information is really and honestly not that important – because Royal Enfield bikes are a whole new ballgame unlike anyone in this country has ever seen before.
Owning one is not simply like buying any other bike. You buy an Enfield not to out-class your other ride buddies but rather to share with them the piece of history you have become involved with. You ride an Enfield not to outrun everyone else on the road while carving out new grooves on mountains streets with your pegs but rather to interact with everyone you meet on the road while being an icon of awe and nostalgia for all to see. Owning a Royal Enfield is not about possession or pride. It is quite simply a relationship with something magical. The kind that will see you through many happy years of riding that might even rival your marriage.
You see, Royal Enfields are not just motorcycles. They are classically or “retro” styled time machines on two wheels. I kid you not. When you look at it, you get transported back in time simply because nothing about it say “modern” when you look at it cause all the modern technology is hidden behind that classic Brit war time façade. The bike just screams “classic”. When you start it up and hear it quietly rumble, each “Thump” you hear is a day its legacy has spent on the road with you as the new torch bearer. When you ride it, you become part of a citizenship unknown to many. But to those who know, you are a brother (or sister). They bring you back to drive-in movies, boogie, Jose Rizal, wooden bicycles and black and white TV. Sounds like a dream? If it were, the technology as modern as Facebook and iPad that built that dream will ensure your dream ride goes on and on while keeping you confident, safe, happy and complying with the most stringent international emissions regulations as long as your gas tank will take you.
And that gas tank filled, combined with the EFI will get you through 90% of the entire Luzon loop without needing to check out the local gas station in each province. You can put your butt to sleep mode as you whiz past all the scenic routes at a comfortable 100kph which the bikes will not even break a sweat on maintaining. But if you do want some action, pushing an Enfield to its limit of about 140kph is possible but that defeats the purpose of having one in the first place so why bother? One of the most enjoyable things you can do on an Enfield is carving out the hills of our provincial roads. They stick to the pavement surprisingly well and you’ll be surprised at how nimble it can manage itself around corners. But if you really want to push your Enfield to the limit, go where no classic bike has gone before apart from the Enfield – the Himalayas. Yes, boys & girls, that tall, icy, treacherous mountain known all over the world – the Enfield goes there and they call it the “Himalayan Odyssey”. It’s an annual gig for all Enfield owners worldwide that lasts days and weeks. There, friendships are formed at covenant levels both with other riders and to their Enfield motorcycles. It is there that the Enfield saying truly comes to life, “The Thump that binds”. Now THAT is what I call a proper “track day”. Beat that for reliability.
So, for those who want it all – the power, fuel efficiency, reliability and drop dead gorgeous classic styling, the Royal Enfield is the “dark knight” of the motorcycle scene here in the Philippines but not because it wants to but simply because it can’t help it.
34 countries and over 100 years of history cannot be wrong.
Visit the Royal Enfield Philippines showroom in Makati today.
Royal Enfield Philippines
GF Dona Guadalupe Building, 7462 Bagtikan St., San Antonio Village, Makati City, 1203
Telefax: 8992699 Cel Number: 0932-532-7222
Basic Specs of Royal Enfield Bullets & Classics
Engine Single Cylinder, 4-Stroke,
Bore and stroke 84 x 90mm
Maximum Torque 41.3Nm @ 4000rpm
Power 20.3KW, 28bhp @ 5250 rpm
Ignition system Electronic
Fuel Feed Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI)
Transmission 5-speed gearbox with left foot gear change
Petrol Tank Capacity 14.5 litres/2L reserve (21 litres Clubman)
Fuel Consumption 79.6 mpg (Under Euro III test conditions)
Clutch 7-plate wet clutch
Braking System Front – 280mm Disc; rear – 152mm Drum
Suspension Telescopic front forks, Gas filled rear shocks
Dimensions Length – 2160mm / Width – 800mm / Height – 1050mm
Seat Height Bullet 820mm / Classic 790mm
Wheel Base 1370mm
Ground Clearance 140mm
Weight Kerb (with fuel) 187kg
Tyres Bullet Front – 90 x 90 – 19″ / Rear – 100 x 90 – 19″
Tyres Classic Front – 90 x 90 – 18″ / Rear – 110 x 80 x 18″
Electrics 12V System
Fuel Unleaded Petrol
Rake/Trail 25°/ 75mm (Bullet) // 26°/ 72mm (Classic)