Royal Enfield was almost a religion a few years ago. The brand had sacred followers and the chosen motorcycle for long trips, be it a 300km long weekend trip or the once in a lifetime trip to the Himalayas, was the Enfield.
Then, the market changed. There were modern motorcycles all of a sudden, that had liquid cooling, high revving engines, lightweight design, and most importantly, reliability. Many customers jumped boats, but a few remained, despite the lack of above mentioned criterias.
Looking at the trend, Enfield wanted to come up with a motorcycle that every adventure rider would crave for, the Himalayan. The motorcycle was in a segment of its own, as there are no other competitors at the moment.
Royal Enfield claimed that the Himalayan has been tested extensively in the Himalayas, where it has derived its name from. People were immediately attracted and booking flooded in. Now, there are many complaints about the motorcycle.
The first complaint is that the clutch is hard and the gearbox is stiff. To a person who is used to riding Enfields from the 90's, he would shrug it off because comparatively, the Himalayan has a much better clutch and gearbox compared to the old three plate clutch that would give up in traffic, or refuse to shift gears when the clutch is hot.
That is not the case now. People are looking for a motorcycle that performs good on every aspect. Could that be a reason why the Himalayan caould fail? Or is it because the company made a motorcycle in haste?
The answer is that Royal Enfield, like any other brand wanted sales numbers instead of the die hard fan following. Gone are the days when people rode into the sunset on their Enfields knowing that the bike will break down. That was the charm of it, in a way, it made the bonding stronger.
Recent times are not so. People look at every single detail and how it lasts. That is the mistake Royal Enfield did by not testing the quality, or minor details. This is the first time in history that Royal Enfield made a recall, and is also trying to polish off the term by claiming it is a 'Proactive Service Update'.
The question is, if its a proactive service update, why wasn't it done before the motorcycles were delivered to customers? Could it be that Royal Enfield themselves didn't know about it? Or did the company not test the motorcycle intensively as claimed?
Whatever the truth is, Royal Enfield has to deliver quality than quantity. Better bikes mean better sales, which is at the end of the day is strong fan following.