Most people who buy a bullet end up changing something or the other in the bike. In its original form the Bullet is quite good and comes in working order but then why would almost everyone want to change it. The changes are in two categories, need and want. Lets look at these a little closely.
|My baby as she came from the showroom
My own C500’s spark plug gave out within the first two months. This model comes with two spark plugs apparently that gives it some redundancy. Notwithstanding any of that my sparkplugs gave up their ghost early on. Now anyone who has ever used a bike knows that without that spark to ignite the fuel what you have is a hunk of metal. In my case a hunk of metal weighing 200 Kgs. Not an easy deal to push around either. The RE roadside support chap who came along told me that this is a problem with all RE spark plugs and suggested I change from the stock one to a better sparkplug. That was two and a half years ago and I have not had any problems since.
I heard the exact same story from other Bullet owners as well. So the sparkplugs are something that NEED a change. If you haven’t changed yours then I would expressly recommend you do so before embarking on a long ride of any kind. It is very much the heart of the engine.
By design the C500’s lights point a little high in to the air and not directly on the ground. The issue there is with the ring on the headlight. It needs to be a bit broader on the top to make the lights point a little lower. If you don’t do a lot of night riding this is no problem, however if you do then it is an inconvenience in the least and can also be dangerous. Our roads are not averse to having the odd rock lying around on their surface and if you don’t see it in time, you could be in trouble.
The remedy is to buy a ring (or custom make it) which fits the top of the headlight and is broader at one end. You can also get brighter bulbs if you want. These tend to strain the battery though so you need to be careful and talk to the right mechanic about it. I think the stock bulbs are fine in terms of brightness, it is just the angle which needs to change.
Let us now come to the wants
This is of course a complete misnomer since the silencer is used to enhance the noise of the bike in most cases. We all know and relate to the Bullet through the thump, the beat, dug dug dug which we have come to love. For some inexplicable reason the RE guys don’t seem to get our affection for that music at all. If the new Thunderbird is anything to go by, they positively disregard our feelings towards the thump.
I am sure government norms on noise pollution have a role to play. RE are probably trying to comply with said norms and therefore are compromising the thump. But really, they need to find a way to keep the beat alive.
The C500 has a decent thump but not one you can hear from 100 meters away. Now any self-respecting Bullet owner wants to have a beat that can be heard at least a kilometer away. So, being self-respecting and all that I went and got me an after-market silencer. Now this one is a beaut.
Whenever I roll in to the basement parking of any mall, there will always be cars whose security system starts sounding off because of the thump. Cheap thrill, I admit, but gives a kick nevertheless. It is almost as if the cars were protesting the freedom and power that the Bullet displays in front of them and they want to shed their skin and come alive.
There is more to silencers than noise of course. They are supposed to take the fumes and bad stuff away from the engine and not allow any reverse flow. The after-market silencers are nothing but simple boom boxes. They have no engineering other than sound and that is not a sound solution for your bike (sorry, could not resist that one). So, prudence would suggest, go to a good mechanic who actually understands these things. He can build a silencer that is the correct one for your bike.
The stock silencer does the job but poorly. At least that’s what I am told by a mechanic I trust. I will be going in for a change in a few months’ time, once budget permits.
Incidentally, the silencer makes a big difference to the feedback you get in via the accelerator and the feeling of power when you increase the throttle.
Seats, backrest and Handlebars:
Now the RE C500 seats are nicely made and look good too. Anyone who has put their bum to the saddle for more than a couple of hours will testify that they are a real pain in the butt. To top things off the pillion seat does not have back rest by default. So, these are areas you will want to redo for sure. The Thunderbirds have a better seat I guess, though personally I have never spent 2 hours + on one of those.
It is easy enough to get hold of a backrest for the pillion. Changing the seats however is another matter. You need to get seats which will force your back to be upright and your legs in a comfortable position. This means you need to visit one of the seat specialists and get these made for you.
The handlebars, these are a little more specific to your height and build. Ideally you want handlebars which will keep you seated in a comfortable position. So if the stock ones don’t work for you then go ahead and change them. While you are at it, you can always move to some of the fancier handlebars which make the bike look cool.
The Saree guard:
Surely a uniquely Indian concept. The rumor is that even the Harleys had to get saree guards before they could come in to India and the Hayabusas faced some issues too. So, what purpose does this serve other than preventing the odd saree from getting caught in the spokes of the rear wheel. None.
So, like me, if your pillion is unlikely to ever wear a saree you can just get rid of this attachment. You don’t need to replace it with anything other than a basic wheel guard rod.
Many of us buy the Bullet dreaming of doing long rides on them. Consequently it would be really nice if RE could introduce some products for this want. But then, having successfully ignored customer demand in so many areas it is no surprise that they have ignored the demand here too. At least thus far.
The worst part is that nobody makes saddle bags (hard case) for the left side of the bike. Since that is the side demure women would sit side-saddle why would anyone need a box there right! Yeah right!
Well, the solution I used was a very in-elegant one, just placing the right side box on the left. Unfortunately the reflector faces the wrong way. One has been told that you can order Givi boxes from Singapore. If anyone has successfully done that it would be great to hear about your experience.
So, in summary there are bits and bobs of the bike which need changing and some which we absolutely must have even if we don’t need. 🙂
The best thing would be if the manufacturer would make some of these and offer them as upgrades and add-ons. We would then be re-assured of quality (OK, I know those eyes are rolling ) and of the fact that the add-ons would fit the bikes properly. I think as a company there is enough money to be made selling these stuff to warrant a business case.
Hopefully someone at RE will read this entry on the blog and try to help out us Bullet crazed people with some better quality stock stuff and accessories. Here’s hoping for the best.
THUMP ON !