Archives June 2020

Royal Enfield reopens retail network across India

June 23, 2020 / 0 Comments / 553 / Bike News

Introduces digital sales and service initiatives to ensure customer safety

  • More than 90% of retail network now open – Sales and service operations resumed across more than 850 dealerships
  • Introduces online and digital initiatives to allow for Contactless Purchase and Service experience with maximum compliance to safety guidelines

Bangalore, June 19, 2020: Royal Enfield, the global leader in the mid-size motorcycle segment (250-750cc), today announced that it has reopened and resumed operations at more than 90% of its retail network across India. The company’s facilities, offices and stores across the country remained closed in compliance with government guidelines between March 22 and May 5, 2020. Since May 6, the company has gradually restarted its commercial and manufacturing operations in a phased manner. As of today, more than 850 stores and 425 studio stores across India are operational for sales and service. In Bangalore, Royal Enfield has resumed its sales and service operations with 20 stores and 1 studio store to offer seamless sales and service support to customers, with all necessary safety guidelines issued by the government. Overall, in Karnataka, 30 stores and 17 studio stores have commenced operations. While most of these stores are completely operational, the stores in certain cities are functioning partially or on alternate days as advised by local authority guidelines.

In an effort to enhance customer satisfaction and ensure maximum safety and convenience to customers, Royal Enfield has rolled out a slew of initiatives that offer Contactless Purchase and Service Experience. Through several digital and online conveniences and ‘At-your-doorstep’ services, Royal Enfield aims to provide customers a seamless and hassle-free purchase and ownership journey.

Speaking about the initiatives, Mr. Lalit Malik, Chief Commercial Officer, Royal Enfield, said, “Our focus is to bring more value and engagement to our customers across all levels of brand interaction to create an involved purchase and ownership experience that is seamless and hassle-free. These initiatives will ensure safety of our customers and give them more options to be connected with the brand, without compromising on the ownership experience. We have created an engaging and convenient online approach that brings the world of Royal Enfield to the customer’s fingertips, and allows him or her to remain connected with the brand. The array of online and digital customer-centric initiatives we’ve launched is an initial step towards the larger digital journey we will undertake. This is only just the beginning and we aim to introduce a plethora of new digital features that will facilitate seamless interaction, higher functionality and most importantly, an outstanding customer experience”

Customers can now bring home their favourite Royal Enfield motorcycle in three simple steps without as much as walking into a store. An Online Discovery of your favourite motorcycle on the Royal Enfield website can be followed by a Home Test Ride and an Online Booking facility available on the website itself. Customers can go through the gallery of motorcycle variants and colour options, choose genuine accessories to enhance appeal and functionality of the motorcycle, and have a look at the kitted-up motorcycle before booking it online. The customer can then connect with the closest local dealer and complete payment formalities through e-payment options available across Royal Enfield dealerships and the motorcycle can be delivered at the customer’s doorstep.

On the service front, Royal Enfield has deployed Service on Wheels – a fleet of mobile service-ready motorcycles. The Service on Wheels motorcycles are purpose-built, and equipped to carry tools, equipment and genuine spare parts to undertake almost 90% of all typical service and repair requirements at the doorstep of a customer, and will even be deployed as RoadSide Assistance vehicles. Service on Wheels is accompanied by authorised Royal Enfield technicians who strictly adhere to all safety related guidelines. E-payment options will be available to the customer for a truly contactless service experience. The Royal Enfield Service on Wheels motorcycles will be available across all dealerships by July.

Should the customer choose to bring the motorcycle to the service centre, the company has a set of strict safety guidelines in place to ensure sanitization and distancing. Motorcycle pick-up and drop facilities will be available across select cities. All Royal Enfield stores and service centres will follow all prescribed safety precautions, including sanitization of facility and display and test vehicles, mandatory use of facemask, and thermal screening at the entrance for staff and visitors. All commercial transactions at the store and service centre will be accepted through online / digital payments only. The customer lounge at the store and workshop and the apparel trial rooms will remain closed.

 

About Royal Enfield:

The oldest motorcycle brand in continuous production, Royal Enfield made its first motorcycle in 1901. A division of Eicher Motors Limited, Royal Enfield has created the mid-sized motorcycle segment in India with its unique and distinctive modern classic bikes. With its new manufacturing base in Chennai, India, Royal Enfield is able to grow its production rapidly against a surge in demand for its motorcycles. With more than 40% growth every year for the last 5 years, Royal Enfield is fast becoming a very important player in the global mid-size motorcycle market and is working towards re-inventing this space with motorcycles that are evocative and engaging and great fun to ride.

Royal Enfield’s motorcycle line-up includes the newly launched Interceptor 650 and the Continental GT 650, powered by a modern 648cc twin cylinder engine. Royal Enfield also manufactures the Classic, Bullet and Thunderbird models in 350cc displacement and the purpose-built Himalayan powered by the new LS410 engine. Royal Enfield operates through 18 company-operated stores and 940 large format stores and 500 studio stores in all major cities and towns in India, and exports to over 50 countries across the world including the USA, UK, several European and Latin American countries, as well as the Middle East and South-East Asia.

Royal Enfield also organizes and supports many motorcycling events and rides globally, more prominently the Rider Mania – an annual gathering of Royal Enfield riders from all over the world to the lovely beaches of Goa, and the Himalayan Odyssey, the most arduous motorcycle ride over some of the toughest roads and highest mountain passes in the Himalayas. Royal Enfield also conducts the popular ‘One Ride’ where people around the world ride out on their motorcycles on the first Sunday of April.

KTM 390 Adventure – The Ultimate Affordable Tourer

June 8, 2020 / 0 Comments / 727 / ROAD TEST REVIEWS, Uncategorized

Hello! Hope you all are staying safe and healthy in these unprecedented times.

It was the year 2012, in the middle of the chilling Indian winter, an Austrian Motorcycle manufacturer decided to enter the Indian subcontinent. I could bet my life’s earnings on it, the Austrians never dreamt that the Orange army would create a storm in the nation with the most number of motorcycles in the World. This isn’t an easy task by no means, you were competing with the likes of Bajaj, TVS, Hero motorcycles who have been a part of this lucrative, challenging and the most dynamic automotive market on this Planet since decades.

But, what would it take to set the cash registers ringing for Kraftfahrzeuge Trunkenpolz Mattighofen ?

A bike that the nation wants. This was answered in the form of the KTM Duke 200 and a more powerful 390 cc version of it was introduced later. For the track enthusiasts, KTM fulfilled their wishes in the form of its RC variant. 

B. U. T !!

The Indian sub-continent lacked a capable yet affordable adventure tourer since a long time. We have the RE Himalayan which is priced at 2 lakhs and we have the Triumph tiger costing 7 times more, and this orange lad is here to fill this most anticipated gap! The XPulse 200 fi is shipped as an amazingly VFM product. But, is this the best affordable adventure tourer we have been waiting for? Let’s find out.

    

My 2 cents on the KTM 390 Adventure:
Pros:
1. A near-perfect ‘adventure tourer’ at a ‘relatively’ affordable price of 3.8 lakhs, on-road Bangalore. You can effortlessly cruise all day long at decent highway speed, thanks to superb seat, wider handle, 43 bhp and 32nm of Torque
2. Brilliant styling and feature loaded: LED Headlight, DRLs, Claw-like foot-pegs, 5 inch MID to connect your phone for calls/music, 12V charger, option to connect Navigation etc
3. Top notch quality everywhere. The stacks, the body shell, the switches feel very premium and that’s the primary reason why you would be floored to pay 3.8 lakhs for this tourer
4. The 320mm and 230mm discs do an excellent job of stopping this 177 kg tourer. Mahindra should seriously hire their brake engineer for their cars
5. Ride quality is brilliant. It ate Bangalore’s potholes and massive craters for breakfast.
The suspension travel could have been slightly better for off-roading
Cons:
1. The engine comes to life in the mid-range, at lower rpms in the Adv doesn’t do justice to numbers on paper. Honestly, this is needed in off-roading when you need a lot of grunt in lower range. That’s why diesel 4×4 outperforms it’s petrol counterpart in off-roading.
2. The grip offered on tyres could have been better for off-roading, especially slush, which would be encountered more than often. They do a good job on the tarmac though.
3. At 855 mm, the seat is tall. This will disappoint a lot of prospective buyers. 
4. Quick shifter (shifting gears without clutch) needs some fixes. It’s hard while shifting to 2nd & 3rd. This being an adventure focussed bike and not a track machine, we give it a benefit of doubt
5. Spoke wheels should have at-least been an option. You’ll miss them while driving over rough terrains as they can brace the impact better

Exterior:

Look straight into the eyes of the adventure and you would be spellbound by the brilliantly crafted LED headlight with DRLs surrounding it very neatly with the KTM badging. The LED indicators go very well with the sleek and stylish language of this bike. The windshield is adjustable and apart from looking super cool, it does wonders in reducing the wind noise at high speed.

The front wheels are 19 inch unlike the 17 inch of the Duke 390, the suspension travel in the front is increased to 170 mm in the front and 177 mm in the rear, of course to make you much more comfortable when you are bouncing on the rocks. The radiator is curved, apart from this being aesthetically nice, it does a really good job of preventing hot air reaching the riders legs and prevents the accumulation of dust in the engine bay.

Moving to the side of the orange lad, you are greeted by a superb design of the fuel tank that narrows down towards you making it ergonomic for congested manoeuvring in off-road situations. At 14.5 L, this is the biggest fuel tank on any KTM in India. There is a super slim exhaust that looks kind of nice. In case you forget which motorcycle you are riding, the adventure branding is here to remind you. The treatment on the foot pegs is changed to giving it a claw like design and the rubber can be removed to offer better grip which is very critical in offloading. What’s interesting is the gear lever has a spring action to minimise the damage if the bike falls. The engine guard is made of plastic, KTM went overboard and offered the engine guard and saree right from the showroom. The grab rails are definitely one of the best I have seen in recent times. Just like the headlight, the tail lamps are LED too. The only incompetency in the design of this adventure tourer seems to be the massive seat height of 855mm which will disappoint a good number of prospective buyers walking into the showroom.

The wide handle bar makes the 390 adventure a very comfortable motorcycle, however tall riders would prefer a taller hand bar which would make it easier to stand and ride during off-roading. The quality of stacks are topnotch and they are backlit. The centre of attraction seems to be the 5 inch touchscreen infotainment system that displays information  like the status of ABS, TC, Trip details etc. However, the best part of it is the ‘my ride app’ that lets you connect your smartphone to the bike and make/receive calls, play music etc. That’s super cool.

Technically, KTM did a heart transplant to the 390 adventure from the duke 390, the engine is borrowed pumping out the same 43 bhp & 37 nm of torque. But the small yet significant changes like a longer swing arm has increased the wheelbase by a massive 73mm making the seats much larger and a lengthier bike. Although, a significant number of other parts like the side panels, windscreen, display, seating, and GPS mount are a close match to the 790, just in a miniature package.

How does this KTM ride?

Turn on the key and you are greeted by the ready to race message. Start the bike and the engine note is a typical KTM. The only major issue I have about the 390 adventure is the absence of wow factor in the lower rpms. Its only during the mid range that the engine comes to full life and just pushes you back, thanks to intertia.

What’s important to note that you can shift the gears without a clutch, thanks to the quick shifter. The shift from first to second is a slight struggle but going forward things are much easier.

Once you hit the sweet spot of 6000 rpm the bike feels extremely lively and as you increase the speed its well balanced and you would fall in love with its riding dynamics, thanks to the adjustable windscreen, the wind noise is fairly controlled. Beyond 9000 rpm is when the party comes to a halt as slight vibrations are felt between the petrol tank and the seat.

The ride quality is phenomenal. The 390 adventure ate Bangalore’s potholes and craters for breakfast. There was not a single moment where I felt the ride quality should have been better.

But, ain’t it supposed to be an off-roader?

A massive ground clearance of 200 mm ensures that the underbelly never kisses the ground during off-roading, no matter what. The ABS and TC can be turned off to help the wheels spin in tricky off-road situations. Having said that, this is not the best off-road bike your money could buy mainly due to the absence of low end grunt which is very important when you aren’t on a smoother tarmac. For your reference, a diesel 4×4 outperforms its petrol counterpart in offloading due to the additional torque available in lower range. The inconsistent power drops by the traction control is not very encouraging, even when you turn it off. We strongly recommend that you lower the tyre pressure when you are off-roading, especially with these tyres. However, an absence of optional spoke wheels and a massive seat heigh dilute the spirits of the rider. 

Braking

I wouldn’t shy away from calling it Absolutely phenomenal. The 320 mm disc brakes in the front and 230 mm at the rear do a great job in bringing this orange lad weighing 177 kg from 100 kmph to a stand still. Apart from the discs, the ABS does a fantastic job of controlling the bike in severe braking conditions. However, we strongly recommend you to turn-off the ABS while you venture out off-roading as wheel spin becomes all the necessary. 

Ergonomics

The claw-like foot-peg detaches the rubber optionally:

One of the main reasons why I would spend my three-and-a-half big ones on this Austrian motorcycle maker is due too the brilliant ergonomics on offer barring the seat height. The switches are easily accessible, the foot-pegs are detachable, the handle bar is now wider, the fuel tank is slimmer towards the rider, the coolant is moved backwards, the windshield is adjustable and more importantly the 5-inch TFT is very very easy to use unlike the complex infotainment systems of some of the expensive counterparts.

Kitna Deti hai?

While this universal question might not be your priority when you enter the nearest dealership to book this orange lad, money saved is money earned. The KTM 390 Adv returned a fuel efficiency of 24 kmpl which included riding in city traffic, mild off-roading and cruising on the expensive toll roads.

Should You Buy One?

Should you spend your 3.8 lakhs on a KTM or head to the nearest RE showroom? Honestly, this is an easy decision. If you plan to take your motorcycle off-roading often, the Himalayan is the best bet because of its low end grunt. But, If you want an adventure tourer with top notch quality to cruise all day long happily, then, Orange is the new black. This bike ticks most of the boxes right, in-fact essential and critical boxes. Having said that, some minor fixes in the electronics like the traction control stability, slightly lower seat height and an option of spoke wheels can definitely spike the number of copies sold by at-least a substantial quarter.

Take care and Ride safe.

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