Royal Enfield Classic 350 (2012): My Life Companion


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Love at first sight is what we all have herd of, I experienced love at first touch. This goes back to around 1998, a ride from school to home on Machismo! My first contact with a Bullet, I still remember the first touch to that beauty, the seat in tan leather, the raw mechanical feel and the thumps running up from the machine into my body. The moment I reached home I blasted my dad with hundered of questions about 'Bullet' and my dad being an avid Bullet admirer answered all of them. I made up my mind that day, whenever I will have my own bike, it is going to be a Bullet, since then every last page of my book in school used to have a sketch of Bullet drawn.
Come March 2012, I am in my Fourth year of Bachelors of Architecture, on a random phone call with dad I ask him if we can buy the Classic 350, to my surprise dad says "go ahead and book".

Same evening I visit the only Royal Enfield showroom in Solapur. To my shock I am told the Classic 350 has a waiting of 8-9 months and I can get the Thunderbird or Electra in 2-3 months. The Thunderbird then, gave me a very non Royal Enfield feel, and the Electra was too bare(design wise) to my liking, with a heavy heart and patience, booked a silver classic 350 paying 5k rupees, knowing it will be a long wait. On the waiting period, my colleagues used to joke that my wait is akin to pregnancy & my baby will be getting delivered in 9 months[lol].

Mid of Oct 2012 I get a call from dealer, almost 7 months to the booking, he says that there is a Black Classic 350 available to be delivered as someone had cancelled the booking just before delivery, and the silver model must still take another 3 months. I just coudn't wait anymore, Went to the stockyard, took a look at the black Classic 350(with a heavy heart as I wanted the silver one)and gave a go ahead made final balance payment of 1 lakh 25 thousand(1lakh 30k was the on road price). Guess what on colour choice, today I am relieved that I chose the Black one, as I see most of the Classics of my rides age look dull and bland in silver.

2nd Nov 2012 I had my very own bullet in my hands. One can understand the emotions from this FB post I put up then, just a day after I got my bike delivered, a fitter me and a youger bullet.

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Riding the classic was a completely different experience and I enjoyed it. Ownership was smooth and contrary to the reported niggles by many owners I had a fuss free ownership then. In the May of 2013 I completed my BArch, and set off to my home Mumbai on this beauty, completed a 480 km run from solapur to Mumbai in 8 hours. What an experience that was, my first and only long solo ride till date, although even after 2 hours of completing my ride, my fingers were tingling, how naive and amateur was I to do that riding without a propper Riding gear!

3rd Nov 2013 I was in Bhopal for my Masters of Architecture and had got my Classic transported to Bhopal by then. It was a cool day as usual in bhopal, me and a colleague of mine were returning from Bhopal city to my college campus which was 35km away, I was riding around 70kmph, out of nowhere a dog appears, I coudnt see it as the dog was running very fast, the next moment I see the dog is in my path, I apply brakes, wasnt enough(now here is the notorious inadequate breaking of bullets) I collide, thrown off in the air, I land on ground head first, bullet on me and we drag for almost 15feet, I always wear a helmet and thats how I am alive today.

4 broken ribs on the left front chest side(exactly near the heart), Broken Left Collarbone, Fractured Left Shoulder socket, 2 fractured ribs at the back, A broken left knee Ligament, which costed me, one major operation, 2 months of complete bed rest and 3 months of physiotherapy. Surprisingly my pillion got just a few scratches and she did not requre any medical treatment(God probably blessed her as she was without helmet)! Anyhow the first thing I did after recovering was riding my classic, you see, the classic spirit never dies. While the bikes headlamp assembly, front shockabsorbers, leg guard, indicators, handlebar, rim and tyre had to be replaced all was covered under insurance. Here is the bike after it got back after repairs:

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Lessons learnt, be ware of brakeing distance(double than normal) when you are on a bullet, Indian Highways are unsafe due to stray animals so keep your ride in a controllable spectrum of riding.

This is me just a few days after recovering when I took my ride to bhopal for Onam feast at India Coffee House:

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2015 August, I landed in Ahmedabad for my job along with my companion, the classic. While until 2016 the bike demanded only regular service, had to change the Chain sprocket and chain set, rear shock absorbers, and battery by 2016, also faced a clutch wire snap while riding so replaced it, these happens to be the only major work(spare changes apart from accident repair and regular service) on my bike till date. By this time I had started getting concerned about my bikes service bills a regular service with oil change was getting around 7-8k rupees, my dads cars had a lesser bill then for service including oil change. Here's the bike after a service and detailing session somewhere in August 2016:

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2017 I am back In Mumbai(Navi Mumbai), the bike has covered 21000 km in 5 years, this is where my broken(operated) knee starts hurting again, and hence I purchase my Tigor.
The classic with a lucky numerical 21786 some where in 2018
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In the last 3 years the Classic has run just around 1000km my knee and another health condition doesn't allow me to ride the bike for more than 45minute to 1hr max in a day. Yet I still can not think about selling it, so to keep it mechanically fit, wherever a vehicle required, all my local neighborhood runs are done on Classic 350. Regular oiling service is done from a nearby known FnG, Major service is also done at another Bullet specialist FnG, as I have lost trust with R E authorised service guys. I now add synthetic oil as the ride is stationary for most of the time and also the oil change intervals are longish due to less riding.

My ride completed 8 years last months while I have been a bit ignorant towards my companion in last couple of years, yet there is that bond which lasts forever. Gave it a detailing session with 3M wax, a thorough Chain service, rim cleaning, deep cleaning of engine, cylinder & exhaust with 3M all surface clean & shine.

Heres both of us on our 8th anniversary, whats better than spending some good quality time with your loved ones on your 8th anniversary[:D].:

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While there is no denial that this isn't the perfect machine. But if you are the right personality then this is one complete companion for you.

Now lets get a bit technical:

Dislikes:
  • Brakes! Had there been better brakes, just maybe I would have been a fitter person today.
  • Vibrations, ohh the world sings songs about it so let me be silent here, ha ha!
  • Saddle Seat, hit a pothole in a high speed, thats enough to give you a slip disk in lower backbone.
  • Rear brake peddal, it scrapes and scrapes!

Likes:
  • Ride quality, it is a stable rock solid elephant(not the dominar advertisement one) on highway, especially when you have high velocity heavy vehicles zooming pass you, this beast doesnt move a milimeter.
  • Engine, now many might be surprised here, but today till date I have not faced any issue with the engine, its the 8th year and even the infamous tappet noise is never encountered.
  • Low maintenance, you need to skip the Authorised Service and go to a trusted FnG to understand this.
  • Ages beautifully if you pay that little attention to it now and then.
Minor additions to the stock bike:
  • Added a rear leg guard, this literally saved my wifes legs a couple of times from the impact of rickshaws.
  • Seat covers changed to dark brown, this adds more character.
  • Headlamp bezel and cowl colored black, this appeals much more than the chrome bling.

Future planned changes
  • Changing that seat to Standard type or thunderbird type.
  • Re painting the bike, last year there was painting of my apartment going on and there are thousands of white spots on my bike now!
  • Tyre change, the ride is still on stock MRF's, I know this is too much now.
  • The chain is making some chak chak chak cahk noise since last 3-4 months, while the rear wheel sprocket looks good, will take it to mechanic and get it checked.

Life lessons learnt: The Classic 350 taught me to be more responsible while riding, it teaches you to plan your maneuvers beforehand, it teaches you to take time, understand and care for your lifetime possessions and relations, in all this it makes you a more mature responsible human.

This is a pic taken today, every sight of it, I fall in love again and again.

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Will keep posting about further ownership/maintenance experiences and also whatever I have spent on maintaining till date.

Ride safe, always wear a helmet / seatbelt.
 
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mayankdixit

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Very emotional and detailed review. Thanks for sharing with us. You clearly love it very much. Your chain needs some adjustments. Have you done brake overhaul / brake fluid change and bleeding so far ?
Please post more pictures of your bike . These are not enough!
 
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Thread Starter #3
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Let me start this post with a few lines for my Classic 350,

Nothing is immortal,
Every phase is temporal,
End is eminent & thats what we all will see.
So shall you wither, maybe before or after me.

You have been mine,
Through good and bad time.
You shall age with me,
Abeit a bit gracefully.

So here are a few pics of my Classic 350, who has aged quite gracefully in last 8 years even after my neglect.

The request for more pics encouraged me to work a bit more on my bike, got rid of all the paint marks after a 2 hour detailing session, with my younger brothers help.

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The front gaze!

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Most of my bike is stock, save for a few parts mentioned earlier which were changed due to accidental damage. Infact the only non Royal Enfield bit is the seat cover, which I got made from a local seat cover guy.
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Notice the tank is smaller one i.e. 13litre and not the 15litre one. I guess classic 350s started having 15ltr tanks as standard after 2015. I like this smaller one as it adheres to the classic retro styling.

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I allways believe Royal Enfields are in their full glory only when kept stock.

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One of the most droolworthy angles and photogenic pose to capture a Classic!
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This shape of the exhaust pipe has happened due to a small bump that was there at the entrance gate of my previous residence, the exhaust pipe used to hit that bump everytime I crossed it. On the other side the unique shape has given a very unique exhaust note to my bike. The exhaust is so nice to such an extent, many a time fellow bulleteers compliment me on the note and ask me if I got that shape done on the stock silencer purposely[:D]

Now the heart,
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As one can see rust has taken a toll on some places like the battery cover, Leg guards etc, my home is very near to sea backwater(1km) and earlier home was just half a km from sea shore, in both conditions severe humidity and salinity in the air makes it very tough to keep rust away.

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Fortunately the main frame and the key structural parts of the bike do not have any rust. Although the fuel tank interior has rust issues.

While the rear brake liners and front brake pads have been changed at 21000km, last month did a brake oil bleeding.
Thank god till today the engine and bike has not had any major issues.

Keep riding safe, helmet and seatbelt saves lives!
 
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Thread Starter #5
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Service update- yesterday got minor work done at a trusted FnG here in Bullet Mechanix, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, works done included
Oil Change - Used Motul Mineral this time instead of fully synthetic one. Financially and use wise this makes sense as my bike is hardly going to be ridden for another 1000km in next one year.
Oil filter change- a necessary item.
Air Filter change - terrible air quality now a days reflects here, my sparingly used bike had a severely clogged air filter!
Throttle handle change - the plastic stopper inside had given way and the throttle used to roll opposite.
Rear swing arm bush replacement. This was long pending, swing arm used to wobble, got the bushings changed for good.

Cost of Works- Oil costed around 900rs, throttle, oil & air filters and labour another 700rs, swing arm bush change and labour 1150rs. So overall 2750rs was what all costed me, looks reasonable.
My companion being attended.
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A classic 350 after Matte Black Recoloring, engine buffing going on.
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A few sad sighting at every RE garage, this may have been a beauty some day! But alas! Look at this heartache now. Its a classic 500 chrome, dreaded efi problem? Who knows.
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I was informed that there is a minor crack in the rear wheel hub where the left bearing sits, the cost for replacement of bearing, hub and spokes was coming around 3500rs, I have kept this work for next month.

Now coming to a completely different topic, yesterday while taking up the work, my mechanic asked me, from where did I get my bike painted and why did I change my bike colour from red to black, as red looks good colour on classic? I was stumped at this question as I have got my bike delivered black from the showroom itself. I told him I got it black from the showroom itself and thats there in my RC too. He said that there is some 'jhol' as there are colour fade on Tank, tool & filterbox and rear mudguard which shows the red color layer below the black one.
The fade can be seen here also there are similar very small fade marks on rear mudguard and tank.
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While this was known to me, I thot it is some type of an undercoat and hence didn't bother about it, but the mechanic denied( who has 45 years of experience of working on bullets). The mechanic said there are many scenarios:-
1 There is something wrong doing on the showrooms part, where they messed up some bike before delivery and covered it up and sold it to me, while I had done a PDI it was not as thorough as I was a young college lad then with utmost negligence towards this.
2 Dealer sold me a used/test drive bike after re-coloring it. While I doubt it is a used one, but my bike shows August 2012 manufactured and I got it on 2nd Nov 2012 so there is a 3 month gap between manufacture and delivery for a bike which had 9 months waiting back then. Also I was given delivery in 7 months after booking as opposed to 9 months waiting which the dealer had committed, something fishy here?
3 There maybe a case where a consignment of bikes were damaged during shipment, Royal Enfield salvaged the parts and used back the non damaged parts again. Royal enfield was quite infamous for this between 2008 to 2012, and my bike is 2012 manufactured.
4 Royal enfield recoloured "good red classic 350 bikes" Into black due to less demand for red and more demand for black models. This is unlikely as demand for red and silver was more than black, black classics had 8-9 months waiting and silver and red had almost 11 months waiting then, so it makes no sense.

I also do remember very well back in 2013 couple of hard core bulleteers in my vicinity in Solapur had asked me where did I get my Classic recoloured, and I told them this was brand new, to which they pointed out that the engine shine and gloss doesnt seem so. Yes! my engine never had that mirrorish chrome gloss appearence right from begining, I had not taken that serously back then.

Now I dont know what may be the real reason, but I am shocked and feel bad, only one thing that calms me is my bike wasnt a lemon, neither it gave me any issues like pulling to one side or jerking or anything else. What do the fellow members think on this? What may have been the case?
 
Thread Starter #7
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An unexpected thing happened yesterday, I was riding my bike in my locality, 3kms from my home, and just as I entered a roundabout heard some metal clanking noise. My brother was pillion, he tells me that something has fallen off our bike! I took a look, It was the battery cover panel. The strap that holds battery in place had broken off due to hardening, and it was only the battery cover panel locking mechanism which was holding the battery in place. When inpected saw that the key locking mechanism was not there along the panel, probably it broke off due to rusting and fell off, and then subsequently the battery too fell off from place. Fortunately the battery was dangling on wires near the rear foot peg. Now this stretch where this problem happened was a secluded space with no buildings/shops in either direction for at least 1 km. Looked out and found a plastic rope, put the battery in place and fastened it with the help of this rope. Then fastened the battery cover panel too.
Attaching pics
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Battery cover without/broken locking mechanism.

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Deadly rust on the inside.

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There is some serious rust on the part of chasis behind the battery, should have taken a pic before putting up the battery. Yet in the parts highlighted in red circle, one can see the nature of rust, specially the one on left circle in the image. I really want to know now what can be done for this rust in chasis?

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Some jugaad to keep things in place, to reach home and eventually to reach the mechanic.

Fortunately I was the only person on road at that time and no other bike went over the panel or there could have been a mishap. Also the panel went outwards as I was in a curve, had the battery broken off the wires and the panel come under my own wheel then I would have met with an accident.
 
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deville_56

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An unexpected thing happened yesterday, I was riding my bike in my locality, 3kms from my home, and just as I entered a roundabout heard some metal clanking noise. My brother was pillion, he tells me that something has fallen off our bike! I took a look, It was the battery cover panel. The strap that holds battery in place had broken off due to hardening, and it was only the battery cover panel locking mechanism which was holding the battery in place. When inpected saw that the key locking mechanism was not there along the panel, probably it broke off due to rusting and fell off, and then subsequently the battery too fell off from place. Fortunately the battery was dangling on wires near the rear foot peg. Now this stretch where this problem happened was a secluded space with no buildings/shops in either direction for at least 1 km. Looked out and found a plastic rope, put the battery in place and fastened it with the help of this rope. Then fastened the battery cover panel too.
Attaching pics
View attachment 284803
Battery cover without/broken locking mechanism.

View attachment 284800
Deadly rust on the inside.

View attachment 284801
There is some serious rust on the part of chasis behind the battery, should have taken a pic before putting up the battery. Yet in the parts highlighted in red circle, one can see the nature of rust, specially the one on left circle in the image. I really want to know now what can be done for this rust in chasis?

View attachment 284802
Some jugaad to keep things in place, to reach home and eventually to reach the mechanic.

Fortunately I was the only person on road at that time and no other bike went over the panel or there could have been a mishap. Also the panel went outwards as I was in a curve, had the battery broken off the wires and the panel come under my own wheel then I would have met with an accident.
Sand and paint. It will rust again. Dunno where RE source such quality material. Our CGT is rusting everywhere.

Lucky that the positive terminal didn't touch the chassis. Also another stupid jugaad by RE. They could've extended the wire an inch and a half if they couldn't find proper left-right orientation unit. Never seen any brand installing the battery in such a stupid manner. Next time, can go for 8Ah, which fits properly, but cage needs replacement.

Don't have to replace the whole key set for the battery cover lock. Another comedy from their side. Any RE key would fit. I was dazed when I asked for it's key at RE authorized outlet.
 
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Thread Starter #9
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Thanks for the reply, will be undertaking the repairs this week, will update on how I deal with the rusting. Regarding the battery cover I have some creative idea in mind[:D].
 
Thread Starter #10
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Regarding the battery cover I have some creative idea in mind[:D].
Hello all, so after the baterry cover and battery fell off, I had a creative idea in mind, while I fastened the battery in place with the battery holder rubber strap. For the cover I tried using a belt to keep it in place. Tied it up, took a ride, went thru potholes just to check, the belt didn't move. [cheers] What do you all think about this?
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Thread Starter #11
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Wow, something has gone jinxed after completing 8 years of ownership and putting up my ownership review. First the battery and its cover fell off and yesterday left side mirror just fell of while riding. While the metal rod is in place the Mirror and housing broke off from the point where it connects to the rod.
I can jokingly say the bike is literally falling apart[lol]
Jokes apart, when things start falling off it is concerning. Especially when I am going to hand over my Classic to my teenage brother who will be getting his lisence next month, he will use it daily for college runs as I do not want him to use public transport as of now.
 
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Nice review. The jugaad you have done using rubber straps to hold the battery and a belt to hold the battery cover is not a permanent solution. You need to innovate a long term solution for this. Consult bullet specialists and other mechanics. Don't go to RE. They'll rip your wallet royally.

If the mirror piece falls apart, then I don't think that's a good sign. Please investigate on the root cause for this fall, if you hadn't anticipated that.

Also please keep updating about the howabouts of your bike. I see a 7 month gap, and we RE fans are awaiting your updates.[:D]
 
Thread Starter #13
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Update: the bike has covered 23360 km as of today, it completed 9 years on 5 th novemeber 2021, next time onwards will be servicing the bike myself including oil change. The chain was making chak chak noise intermittently, a mechanic said the chain and sprocket will have to be changed. After some research found out its a bad chain lock issue, got the chain lock changed at a local mech, I did not have patience to do it myself as was in a hurry, costed 80 rupees overall. Oiled the critical points as well as chain and there you go bike runs smooth, considerable vibrations vanished.
Dad was suggesting to sell this bike and buy the newer classic 350 as younger brother who is 14 years younger to me will be going into Graduataion from next year and he will need the bike sometimes, I said rather than selling this off for 60k rupees and buying a new bike for 2 lakhs, lets spend 40k rupees and repaint it while undertaking major engine preemptive maintenance.
As of now the only issue I can feel is Knocking while Accelarating and at higher revvs there is some steely rubbing noise from the engine, I am afraid if it is the piston rings!

Anyways here are some newer pics taken yesterday enjoy the same.
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That round mark around the fuel cap is courtesey fuel cap cover.
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Thread Starter #14
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FE Update:- As my Tigor is in repairs due to some accidental damage, I am taking my bike to my workplace since last 4 days, which is a 60 km two way ride. Checked for the fuel efficiency yesterday by the tankful method. The ride consisted 50% city and 50% highway ride, 70-80 kmph on highway, 30-50 kmph in city with pillion rider. Covered 126 kilometer in 3 litres of petrol. This comes to 42 kmpl. I think it is good for a 9 year old 23400 km run classic 350, isnt it?
Thinking of adding fuel system cleaner.
 

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