My wife’s cousin’s been hankering after a cruiser for years. He’s been badgering me to find a decent machine that’ll do 40 kph with authority, span a city between the axles and have enough chrome to send on-lookers cowering behind their darkest pair of shades.The only problem is he won’t settle for a single-cylinder and he won’t even dignify anything under 500cc with as little as an eyebrow raised in inquiry.
So this story isn’t for him. If, however, you’ve had a similar, but downscaled, desire for a little bit of chrome in your life, you’re looking at the three machines that might just hold your cup of tea.
The Enticer has been on the shelves the longest, and to its credit, there’re no crows-feet around the eyes yet. It still looks classy and has all the elements of a cruiser, albeit one with a 125cc single-cylinder heart. The deluxe version – with a disc brake and electric start – came out later, and proved effective, if a little expensive.
The Thunderbird is the second-oldest of the machines here. It’s Royal Enfield’s way of making a cruiser without touching the fifty-year old (read proven) chassis. It gets a slightly taller front fork, raked tank, chrome pods, plasto-chrome sidepanel accent capsules and a backrest to complete the look.
The Avenger is, in a sense, the challenger. The erstwhile pricing of the Eliminator, requiring the total assets of six nationalised banks to purchase, was out of reach of almost everyone. Those who could buy it could also afford to extend the outlay to include one of many 250cc and 400cc Honda Shadows and Steeds that are surprisingly easy to find. As you know from BSM’s last issue, Bajaj did a pretty good job of shoving the 180’s motor into the frame and carrying out a series of tweaks to the chassis. While the looks are the same, the Elim, no, Avenger feels almost new, and has a price tag you cannot argue with.
Which brings us to why we tested this motley crew – well, the Thunderbird’s price is roughly where the Eliminator used to be and the Enticer Deluxe’s tag is almost the same as the Avenger’s. But for the moment, we’ll leave the value/price angles simmering on the backburner, and go for a ride instead. Starting out on the Thunderbird is a good idea. The engine is a bit noisy, but has enough torque for most needs. You could push the machine for outright speed, but it tends to increase the engine’s (sound) volume quite a bit later on, and seems pointless. Show the Thunderbird a clean stretch of highway, put about 3-odd thousand revs on the tacho in top gear and you could do this all day. Or until the fuel ran out, which can happen pretty quickly. While low speed running returns as much as 43 kpl, sustained 80+ kph riding will drop that number sharply, to as low as 36 kpl.