Royal Enfields are the most distinct bikes one can buy in the country today. They are macho, captivating, and though ancient (read retro), enjoy a cult status unheard of for any other model across segments in India. These are motorcycles that sell on the merit and have a have an enviable image. RE, has so far, rightly stayed away from shallow gimmicks like digital displays and silicon chips which at times are prone to malfunction.
Not that this single-cylinder modern day classic, which offers absolutely unadulterated motorcycling is reliable as a Swiss watch. Far from it. One look at the oil soaked jeans of a Bullet owner and you get the picture – behind all the pride and enthusiasm of owning a thumper are endless hours spent quaffing cutting chai with the trusty neighbourhood mechanic. It’s part of what makes Bullets adorable to aficionados (arguably).
I beg to differ. Motorcycles, high capacity or puny, with new age or classic styling, need to be inherently reliable. Royal Enfield agrees. In CEO RL Ravichandran’s words, “First and foremost on my agenda is to ensure that the bikes we manufacture are reliable.”
RE’s latest big bore single-cylinder, the Machismo LB 500 (called the AVL 500 for the export market) on test here is a step in this direction. This is the second motor from Royal Enfield’s Lean Burn (LB) family of engines, and the bike to the company’s credit, has been doing quite well in the European arena, where it is exported.
Now, it’s available to us. The timing couldn’t be better, as the brand itself is witnessing a revival of sorts with the factory finding it difficult to meet customer demand.