Beating Indian roads with a Royal Enfield 500cc





Indian roads are a treat. There are some new highways through India, but I still don’t have a clue how to find them. If you ask a local if there is some good road he means a  road that is not under construction. The highways in India are terrible. Some are worse than others, others are straight from hell.

I had only one sentence going through my hed; ‘The road is safe’. Never get of the road… And yes, that is mainly true. But then when the road is hardly a road?

We did 6 days to get from Goa to Khajuraho. 1800 Km in 6 days. Not bad. The last 50 km were really a surprise. Every few hundred meters of asfalt there was a few km of road construction. That means no asfalt, rocks, sand and when it started to rain, mud. We were almost at the last crossing to Khajuraho when a bus coming from the opposite direction came pushing, horning, while we were standing in  a huge hole filled with water, rain pouring. It was us against the bus. I stood there shaking my fist to the driver, not ready to move aside. I was furious and ready to enter the bus and punch the driver.

Yes, the roads areunbelievably bad. But we made it. We had troubles. Every day we had to see a mechanic. The bike had a hard ime on these roads and we kept on having problems with the brakes and the sprocket. Not to mention some punctures.

The main issue we had with the bike were the brakes. There are two types of brake shoes, the official and the copies. The brakeshoes fit in the backwheel in a metal construct that is the sprocket in the same time. The copy is soft steel. I first noticed it in Goa when I found out three teeth of the sprocket were missing. How is this possible? How can you lose a few teeth of a sprocket? I still don’t know, but we had the sprocket replaced straight away.

The same is for the brake shoes. The roads take a lot of the bike and the breaks are under continuous pressure.

This day the sound that comes from the bike is horrendous. We have no idea what is happening and move into the small city to look for an Enfield mechanic. It didn’t take long to find one, we were lucky again. Taking the backwheel of and there was the problem. The sprocket had hardly any teeth left. They were grinded flat! How is this even possible?

We had the sprocket replaced and continued our journey. Only to have the screaming coming back from the bike everytime I used the brake. It sounded like metal grinding metal. We found an official Royal Enfield showroom and were helped straight away. It felt like being at home. A well organised garage with mechanics in uniform. The sprocket has a lit where the axe go through to move the brakeshoes. This axe had gotten a hit and wasn’t going through the lid straight anymore. This made the brakeshoes hit the side of the housing. In the Enfield garage they showed the different type of sprockets and brakeshoes. We had been driving with this cheap shit for weeks! We had all replaced and happily made our way back on track.

The road took the Ladakh Rack apart. 80 Kg of luggage and the heavy road tore the steel of the Ladakh Rack. Just driving slowly not to harm the Ladakh Rack any more we made it to a steel shop. The guys helped us for free to get the pipes welded. Next village we had another weldshop add some steel structure. Somehow I have the feeling the Ladakh Rack isn’t made of the best steel. The reinforcement doen’t look too good but I am pretty sure it will not fall apart again.

We had a puncture. There are many punctureshops in India. You can recognize them by the pile of old tires in front of the shop. We left early that morning only to find a tire with low pressure. Luckyly we found a puncture shop close to the hotel. They fixed the puncture but didn’t find the metal that made the puncture . So it was no surprise that after a few hours we were again standing still on the highway looking for a puncture shop.

The bike started to behave uncontrolable. The soft tire and the heavy luggage made the bike  uncontrolleble. We had to stop and walk with the bike and all the luggage to the nearest puncture shop. There they found another hole next to the old hole. Reason enough to believe there was still a piece of steel inside the tire. This time they fond it. The guys at the punctureshop managed to damaged the tube at the space around the valve so they had to travel one hour to get a new tube.

With all these repairs I got to know the Enfield in and out, as well as the level of skill these Indian Mechanics have. So not surprisingly just before getting to the town we planned to get a hotel the bike had a flat tire again. I started to freak out. Trying to find a pattern Ilse and me started to get in a fight. Just then I got an idea. I asked the mechanic if he had the tool for removing the valve. I tried it on the small valve and yes, they hadn’t tighten it!

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2017-05-14T02:02:38+00:00 April 26th, 2016|Blog, India, Royal Enfield, Royal Enfield Bullet 500cc|

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