This post has taken me longer to write than i expected. This was something i never ever thought would happen and even have not heard it happen here in Kenya. If you know any other motorcycle company or dealer that gives out their brand new bikes from the showroom for not just a few hours test rides but a couple of days, with no strings attached, we need to celebrate them too. For now the cup goes to Halifax Motors Ltd. The official Royal Enfield dealers in Kenya.
MY RELATIONSHIP WITH ROYAL ENFIELD.
My relationship with Royal Enfield did not start with romancing this bike, no, i would be cheating if i said so. My relationship with Royal Enfield begun more than a year ago when i was looking for my upgrade bike. While my first choice was KTM Duke 390, Royal Enfield 350 bullet was my second choice. I visited their showroom, loved the bike so much but was out of my budget. Sadly, I left without one.
Then came the planning for our 3 years world tour and we went all out looking for the bikes to use for the trip. We visited showrooms and researched online heavily. We are 5,3″ and 5,4″ and weigh 64 kgs and 69 kgs respectively. So the bikes we ride are almost the same weight and height. We settled for the Royal Enfield Himalayan 400cc adventure bike. We had never seen this bike but everything about it fit our needs almost perfectly. The biggest issue was that this bike was not in the African market let alone Kenya. This marked my second interaction with Royal Enfield official dealer in Kenya Halifax Motors Ltd. Unfortunately we will not be using it for our world tour but it’s really a good bike.
WHY IS IT ROMANCE WITH THIS BIKE?
First let me tell you how i even came to have the bike for 8 days. I was at home working on my backlog after my 10 days riding in Tanzania. I received a call from the Manager (Mr. Edwin Teya) Halifax Motors Ltd (The official dealer of Royal Enfield in Kenya). A calm voice on the other end of the phone begun by congratulating me on my trip to Tanzania and finding out how the experience was and how i was doing. I was more than eager to tell all about the trip to him and he listened patiently. I had not had the opportunity to narrate the experience to many people and it was still very fresh. It was a pleasure and he never interrupted. I may have talked for about 10 minutes after which i was sure, this call would come to an end. Instead of him saying “I just wanted to congratulate you and it was nice talking to you”, he said, i have registered a brand new 350 cc bullet and would love to let you ride it for some days. When can you pick it?
I froze, yes i did. I don’t know how many times i asked him if he was serious but he kept answering me, come pick it tomorrow from our showroom at 10:00 a.m. If i were to write about my emotions at the time, that would be an entire post on its own. I pinched myself a couple of times to make sure i was awake and not dreaming.
This felt exactly like 1 universe, 9 planets, 204 countries, 809 islands, 7 seas and i finally had the chance to ride you 😉 and the reason why its totally romantic.
RECEIVED LIKE A QUEEN.
For 8 days i was going to have this brand new bike from the show room to ride. When i arrived at the show room, i was received very well and allowed to test ride the bike so that i can let them know if i needed anything adjusted. They are safety conscious and that was impressive. Their offices are on Bandari road off Dunga road in Industrial area and so I rode to South B shopping center and back. That was my first “Classic feel”. We made some adjustments on the clutch and rear brakes. They even offered to have the bike cleaned while i had a chat with Edwin and the rest of the staff. The bike was clean according to me and I requested that they don’t clean it but they would not hear anything of that. Another BIG plus on their professionalism and customer care.
While at their showroom, i had an opportunity to seat on my other love “The Himalayan” which had arrived only two day before and had already been sold. I also sat on a 500 cc classic. If you love cruisers, go for either the classic or the bullet. Ooh, i almost forgot to mention the deep sound of the exhaust for both the bullet and the classic. To make it clear to you, it equals to a Harley Davidson’s sound. I would love to ride the 500 classic as well. Their bikes come in really nice colours. They had a red and white one in the show room that is so cute you can stare at it all day. In addition their bikes come in blue, army green, black and white.
You feel so at home at their show room. It is very clean, beautiful display, warm friendly staff and awesome deco on the walls. Hope i can make it to that walls. Another big plus is their impeccably clean bathroom. Small things that make a huge impact. About an hour and a half later i left with a clean bike. Oooooohhuuuuuu…..
RIDING THE ROYAL ENFIELD 350 cc BULLET
This bike is a real classic and the vintage look is amazing. I would say it is a status bike….. or at least it felt like that to me. It is pure solid metal. Very compact and you can feel it. Though solid and compact, it is not as heavy as i would have imagined given the solid metal on it. The height is perfect for short people like me. The seating position was good – (upright). The seat felt a bit wide for me but overtime it became comfortable. The torque is not high but where will you be rushing to on such a beauty? There was plenty of vibration up to 3rd gear but after that, it calms down. I ride like a cool grandma and so my max speed is 100 kph and i did not go past that. It was however very steady at 100 kph that i kept checking the speedometer to confirm if i was truly doing a 100 kph. It felt like i was doing lower than that.
This is a bike i would love to have and is in my plan when we return from our 3 years world tour. If you are looking for a “cool cruiser”, this is your bike.
We had a cool 8 days of romance. We rode, we related and we connected well. We even had a day out on a photo date. The pictures on this blog are from our date. When i took her back, she asked… so?, i said, “I would love to see you again”. We are damn straight ;).
Photo credits go to: Buz Studio.