Royal Enfield Electra 350 User Review - Omkar Patankar

Manufacturer: Royal Enfield (RE)
Model: Electra (year: 2009) single spark engine
Variant: NA

On-road price : Rs 1.2 lakh - approx
Colour : Black
Waiting Period : 4-6months
Dealer : NA
Freebies & Accessories :  Complete zero ( not even the leg guards, RE should rethink on this)

When you have decided to buy an RE product, you have all their products on your list.
A Royal Enfield enthusiast who is buying a 350/500 cc bike would honestly have all the models as his options. He can buy anything from a high end chrome, desert storm to Std bullet. Would suggest Classic 350/500 to short guys and a Std or Electra for a heighted one.
(with exception to newly launched Café Racer and New Thunder bird).

The problem is there is least variance on technical side for Enfield products. So when you actually choose to buy a 500cc machine, the price would simply vary with color and not technical enhancements! For instance the difference with Black classic 500, desert storm(500), chrome 500, Std500 is only about external body and colors
maximum deviation being around 10-12k or more. So it’s like buying  different  flavor of  bike by spending more, on less common color and having same twin spark mother engine!

This would honestly also mean RE has two types of engine i.e. 350cc and 500cc to all its range of bikes.
(overlooking Café racer about which I know little as of now, but quite sure there must be only iota of changes in it!)

PS: The new RE’s Thunderbird is hardly any classic lover’s choices, it has no charm of a classic or std RE, it has hardly metallic looking body like the traditional one. It seems like RE went out of its own league and imitated the Harley’s! or rather seems like economic option to Harley lovers :P  

Why did I buy the Electra?

I simply love the classic nature the bike carries. It has nice 350cc heart which roars on intercity highways and is a comfort ride.
Robust and heavy weight cruiser! Which can be depended for its dusty performance and heavy weight road glued ride.
Unlike little risky high power light weight bikes which I fear leave or get thrown out of a curved road at high speed.
Electra as it names suggest was the first electric start enabled bike from RE.
(don’t expect the electric start would last more than a year! The heavy 350 machine kills it! U have to revisit a mechanic to get is breathing again.)

The Engine

The 5 speed 350 engines are butter on bread on city roads! And  carry just enough power below your butt! Since Enfield hasn’t blessed the new generation with diesel engines.
A petrol engines are quite smooth and less noisy and you would never face a major problem at least for 8-10 years! with engine Depending on the way you treat it.
Gets little noisy sometimes after when less looked after, as heard in feedback from a few and can be addressed easily at service centers.

Thou you would have impression that Bullet is a beast and would require lot of maintenance then it’s probably true for old diesel and old petrol drinking beasts it used to have before(PS: people love these  British built beasts). The new bullets are quite well tested and have less wear and tear! The parts if damaged are easily available with new models, and since it hasn’t got any range or variants in engines you could get your nonperforming/damaged parts replaced quite speedily.
The torque cant get better and a 350/500 would justify its power on a steep road or a red to green turning signal at a junction!

If you travel like a hippie on your bike, make sure you feed your engine well, it demands a good oil change for a better performance and less wear and tear down the line.

Honestly the bike pulls a good maintenance with oil and few performance maintaining parameters you should look after here and there, for instance a flattening shafts in ur gear box, a tight getting crank shafts etc. Its not as cheap as maintaining a Hero Honda splendor and not as heavy as maintaining a CBR, or a fiber body bikes in the market.

The Brakes

Eelctra like all other bikes of RE has front discs and rear drums that serve the purpose well, thou you will see some tightening needed with the rear drums after a 2-3 long rides. I did not face any brake pads issue nor had an provocation from the bike for a change of brake oil before the oil change is due.


Suspension & Ride Comfort

The suspensions of the bike are not super smooth but are average compared to its weights and structure, ride goes bumpy on bad roads, the suspension wont rescue you well there.

The Bull is meant for a long ride and gives you a proper straight posture and comfortable (thou less soft) seats that you get from RE. Logically a heavy bike would bring a heavy fatigue for a long ride, but that’s not what happens at the end of day, you would rather have a very nice and risk free straight back ride which you would enjoy. The heavy bike would be glued to curvy roads, and the 350/500 engines wont prompt you to speed and go cutting other automobiles on the road, you’ll rather have a Ride with Pride! J

Design & Style

The Royal Enfield bikes carry its own charm of classiness and have identity of their own and everything about the bike is would seem just as normal and old style,  but it delivers its purpose, be it the head lamp and fuel tank design, side indicators or mirror to the tail lamp. Most of this material is of a good quality and won’t give you wear and tear initially, but since everything is metal it’s not going to be rust free, and you would see rusty patches developing when you momentarily turn your eye away from maintenance. The exhaust pipe develops a rusty patch at mouth where it is connected to the engine soon. One concern normally heard again from RE users is that you have to keep your steel fuel tank full with fuel, else the fuel tanks also falls a victim of rust from inside.

Stability & Handling at High Speeds

Stability is the USP of this bike. The engine is vibration free till 80kmph and you’ll see some vibrations coming in when you start approaching 90-100kmph, but still you would have a stable joy ride. I have pulled by bull to somewhere between 100-110kmph on a highway. Electra has a thin tyre compared to classic and would prefer a thicker one than what exists to give addition to its stability.

Fuel Economy – City & Highway

My single spark electra  gives me average approximately of 28-32 kmpl. Its better for a new design of twin spark engines you have in production today! The average would drop 2-3kmpl successively and would probably be stable at 33-37kmpl for twin spark design for 350cc beast.

A tip to deal with mileage is not to accelerate like a Ducati and break at signal…  or draft with the automobiles riding with you (you’ll look idiotic doing this with a BULL), the universal trick would be to simply pour in only little fuel in the combustion chamber while u accelerate as required and not waste it by accelerating like a Yamaha 100 cc  idiots you see on roads, you are spoling your brake life, engine life, requiring excessive oil and wasting the fuel resources to smoke on mother earth! So accelerate only where required and don’t follow the accelerate and brake technique. As I said earlier RIDE WITH PRIDE ;-)

My Long Ride Experience

I haven’t got a chance to do much of long rides on my bull!, the best only was to do Mumbai Pune via Lonavla and Mumbai Badlapur in rainy season i took the bike from dust and mud without complaints!
Trust me your bull would look sexier when its dusty and muddy after a long ride rather than a clean hygienic piece of showroom.

Issues with the bike till date

  • Gear tightening, regular and extra oiling also helps but they soon get stuck many a times 
  • Chain changed once 
  • Over heating, rusting of steel parts

Service Experience & Spares Cost

Having a bullet can go little expensive down the line, as mentioned earlier its not as cheap in maintenance as as a splendor and not expensive as a CBR or R15.
Service dealers in Mumbai are quite good, parts get delayed sometimes but u get them eventually after a small wait

My Satisfaction

ALL N ALL it’s a weekender cum commuter cum long distance horse, use the way you like it! am satisfied in buying a heavy bull than a fiber body toy!

Advice to Others

 I would suggest don’t make this your first bike, (if you have never have used a geared motorcycle) clean your hands on lighter one and then jump on the bull.
Won't recommend for a teenager but would recommend after age 21 to the age you live! Coz this machine ain't getting older! It keeps marinating and you tend to like it all the more.                          

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About Vivek Manjarekar

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  1. You don't know a fig about RE Bullet and what you say is just pretention.