Before we start, we must state the most important fact on this topic that every single bike has their own characteristics. Where the riding feel you get is designed in such manger. If I ride a Honda or Hero MotoCorp spelndure, then I must not judge every single bike to be as smooth as they are.
Harley / Royal Enfield or such bikes are designed is such manger that they give their rider that vibrating feeling but not to that extend where it becomes a problem for the rider.
In India, RE made a remarkable come back in last decade from their grave. The new generation of riders got used to the feeling of Japanese bike and their smoothness and now when many are getting attracted to the classic and retro looks of RE models, sales of the bike is and have picked up drastically. So is the complain and unhappiness about the vibrations, engine noise (note, not the exhaust node), which to some becomes problems in longer rides.
Same with us also as when we started clocking few thousand kms with a Classic 350, we were also unhappy with the vibrations and to us, it was so much that we had to stopped frequently to ease up. As did what every one would do, end up crying at their service center for solution, where we found they did everything as per manual and certified the bike and engine to be in perfect condition. When complained about vibration, the reply was obvious, “Enfields are made for this feeling”.
What to do ? How to reduce the vibrations of this Enfield to an acceptable limit where we can enjoy the bike in longer runs.
We started our own trial and testing keeping in mind that we should not do anything which would violate the warranty and will use things which are available every where and to all.
First thing was to notice and try to pin point the source of vibration. With a Royal Enfield, unlike other brands, there is a very little common issue or problem. Every individual motorcycle has its own problem but after riding a few similar models of Enfield, what we could see that couple of common issue.
- Engine harshness and Vibration
- Vibration from Exhaust mounting (transferred to chassis from the mounting point)
Engine Harshness and Vibration
Oddo at 6k kms with serviced from authorized service station, the motorcycle already had the all ok certificate from Royal Enfield and we also found no issue in longer runs with engine condition at-least hence we narrowed down to the most obvious point, the Engine Oil.
Before we started out testing, we knew the bike is already running Motul 3000 4T Plus 20w50 since Royal Enfield service centers use this one. Although cheaper in cost (cost does matter when you need 3L of oil for change), but as it seemed, it was not enough for our satisfaction of smoothness.
As we kept on speaking with many Royal Enfield veterans, Castrol GTX came as a preferred oil for reducing the engine harshness and vibration. So we went ahead with it.
Castrol GTX 20w50
Castrol GTX 20w50 is widely available. Priced at Rs. 900/- (you can bargain) for 3L pack, its also at par with the price of Motul 3000 4T Plus.
The oil felt heavier compare to Motul 3000 and with initial few hundred kms done within city limits for evening local commute, we were some what satisfied as the bike was smoother when compared to stock Motul 3000 oil. However the scenario changed as soon as we took the bike for a evening ride in highway and rode it constantly for 100 to 150 kms a stretch. Once again the vibrations were back and harshness of the engine started to spoil the fun. Total of 1000 kms and the bike started to give the feel of need an of oil change.
Motul 5100 15w50 Semi-Synthetic
Priced at Rs. 575/- (you can bargain), it was by far the costliest option we were trying. Specially when it came to Royal Enfields, with their large stomach, we needed 3 cans (3 ltr) of it. Manual said we needed around 2700 ml of engine oil but as we found, the oil indication window was in level at around 2500 ml of oil.
Initially when we started riding, the bike felt a little sluggish, which we knew a common issue of Motul 5100, where you needed to ride around 200 to 250 kms before the oil starts to show how good it is. Infact with any engine oil, first few hundred kms wont give you the exact idea of the oil.
But with 5100, as we completed the 250 kms mark, we were pretty happy the way all those sounds, harshness and vibrations have died. In open highway, at speeds between 70 to 80 kmph, the bike was feeling extremely smooth and pleasant to ride. Even when riding in harsh road condition (we ended up in Shankarpur, which is sea beach tourist spot, 200 kms from Kolkata), where lot of down shifts were required, performance was satisfactory.
So it is. The Motul 5100 is the answer for us but given the price at which the oil is available and amount of which is required per oil change, we some time miss the vibrations as the is the actual feeling for this machine.
Vibration from Exhaust mounting (transferred to chassis from the mounting point)
Once again a common issue. Many people may locate other parts also from where metallic vibrations are noticed. What we did is really simple. We used few washers (rubber and metal) along with a lager bolt (if and where required) to dampen the vibrations.
Its a very cheap way, but it is very effective.
With these two simple easy to achieve modifications, at speeds of 70 to 80, the bike is as smooth as any other contemporary models. Only thing you can notice is the exhaust node but then again, when this bike is given to some veteran RE riders, they complained about the emptiness since as per them, without the vibrations and harshness, it feels alien !!