Before I take you through the must-dos, can-dos do, and do-not-dos, it is essential to ascertain why a pre delivery inspection check is crucial.
Your dealer offers you a seat, talks to you about the specifications, offers you an already paid for coke which you (hence) willingly accept, tells you that EFI issues have been hyped like abilities of Narendra Modi, takes you through the availability of that model with a heavy crank, makes it a point not to mention the terribly incompetent dials of Thunderbird- all with one agenda in mind; to make a sale.
Our lack of knowledge of child anatomy makes us dependent on the doctor to thoroughly inspect a new born. I wouldn’t crib about taking a blind new born home but if eyesight can be fixed, I refuse to play Black. Basically doctors inform you of birth defects: a dealer conceals them.
The moment the sale concludes, so does dealer’s responsibility towards the bike. So do not allow him to put wool over your eyes. If a nut is loose, the head leaks, electronics rebel like a teenager or anything else of the gazilion things that can go wrong do, brace yourself for a visit to the service centre where the ustaad more often than not will go ‘Ye awaaz to har bike main aati hai‘. In some cases a quick email to Royal Enfield puts the service centre in line but must we go down that road and battle with diseases whose vaccines are available over the counter?
Not when you have been waiting for over 7 months. 7 months of blankly staring at the booking receipt daydreaming about rides. Finally came the day when I received a call from my dealer. Alas, the Chennai floods had rendered their system inoperative as invoices of vehicle are generated in Chennai which was then living in the 1800s. Moreover, the floods had also affected vehicle productions, extending the already tiring waiting period.
I was promised delivery within the week. With butterflies in stomach, a spring in my steps, failed attempts at hiding a supernova sized smile, and a wrist revving the air I went to collect the motorcycle with a self made Pre Delivery Inspection check list drafted after hours of research and an earful of advice.
Before Test Ride:
- Keep in mind you are paying for a new motorcycle. Do not under any circustances accept a bike with north of 50km on its odometer.
- Ripples around the tank. Dimples are visible clearly while dings need to be felt by hand. Dimples can be found beneath the tank too. Make sure there are none. You are paying for a Bullet, not Preity Zinta.
- Alignment of disc plate. Rather tricky to judge, but if the handle is kept straight and front wheel is turned, a misaligned disc plate is noticeable. Be homophobic about it. If it’s not straight, make a frantic run in the opposite direction.
- Fuel Sensor is placed right below the tank and is prone to leaks. Be wary, where there is oil, there is US.
- Battery corrosion and Murphy’s laws are omnipresent, rust is not.
- Royal Enfields are known for weak and loose glove box locks. Make sure you do not drive home with one.
- Pay attention to the front fork sleeve. Under no circumstances must it touch the mudguard or the fork itself unless being catapulted through the air into a windscreen is your definition of adventure.
- Pay attention to the main frame (chassis). Walk around the motorcycle, squat if you must, objectify the daylights out of its body, all while looking for loosely welded joints and traces of rust.
- Put the bike on both side and main stand, check if both stand are properly oiled and whether the springs are in place. Loose springs are known as promo codes to afterlife.
- The swing arm at times has play. You are already paying an arm and a leg for the bike. Let it strictly remain in monetary sense.
- Accuracy of chain tension is not visible to the untrained eye. Push down the chain with a finger to ascertain its firmness. Anything more than a couple of inches loose should be a legitimate reason to refuse delivery.
- Rear brake play varies according to rider’s preference. A tightly screwed pedal leads to quick breaking and sudden jerks.
- The speedometer has its cable going around the front. If it’s rubbing against the mudguard, ask the delivery person to put a couple of zip ties to hold it in place.
- Check aluminium and chrome bits for scratches and dullness. If they require a rebuff, blatantly ask for a different bike.
- Turn the key. Check for all electricals. Indicators, break light, horn, high beam, parking lights. Basically press every button multiple times. My bike had a loose keyhole rubber and a wobbly indicator. I was the keyhole is loose on every bike but the moment I refused to accept delivery the keyhole was tightened.
Now power up the bike. A two second self-press should do it, unless it has been standing for a considerable amount of time.
Chances are you will not get an opportunity to test ride the motorcycle. If however you do, look out for these and more.
- Proper functioning of the front disc. The disc is still factory new so don’t expect phenomenal performance. It needs time to set in, but you can get tightened or loosened.
- Look for a miss. A miss is when dhuk-dhuk-dhuk or exhaust sounds are not continuous. Every sixth or seventh release from the exhaust might be muffled. It could be a case of engine running lean or it could very well be a reason to reject delivery of the motorcycle.
- Royal Enfield’s engine heads have a tendency to spur out oil. You want the oil to be inside the engine, not all over it.
Do not for the love for the God of Piston Kits, rev the new engine. The vroom reveals nothing about the shape of the bike and will most definitely make the engine hurl abuses at you like a drunk-on-scotch Punjabi aunty.
It took me a couple of hours to check off every item on my checklist and boy I was pedantic about smallest of the issues. I imagined the motorcycle to be a potential girlfriend. So asked for one without daddy issues, damaged goods and daddy issues. It’s been four months and I haven’t been given a reason to be pissed.