What if a downgrade is ‘the’ upgrade you were looking for?

Concerned fellow biker buddies – “But, why did you ‘downgrade’ to a Royal Enfield Himalayan?”

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One of the most common questions I was asked by people when I bought the Royal Enfield Himalayan. The funny thing is I find the tagging of ‘upgrades’ really stupid. You move or change to a motorcycle as per the riding style. If you can’t change you improvise and use what you have. And, on that point, people who know me well did not bother to question my choice.

Now, my question is, what is an upgrade? Is it bumping up to a higher cubic capacity? Is it a more powerful bike in terms of numbers? or just spending more money, compared to your existing one, on a new motorcycle? Or is it just doing more than what you did with the last motorcycle?

I feel the matter is imperceptible and cannot be summarized by just throwing around numbers. If I could afford to, I would love to keep both the motorcycles. Maybe, sometime in future, I will.

My last motorcycle was the Benelli TNT 300, a street bike which I had used extensively for the daily commutes and touring. Even a fair number of off-road trails have been covered on the motorcycle. And, I still do not have anything to complain about the TNT 300. A 360-degree parallel twin with oodles of low-end torque, kicking in as low as 2500rpm. Subtle linear power delivery made it a breeze to ride, especially while touring.

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So, coming to the point of why I sold my Benelli TNT 300? Well, I have just one reason. My riding style changed. I started avoiding highways and travelling more of B Roads and off-road trails. People who have ridden with me also know that I have taken the Benelli to a fair number of technical trails. As long as ground clearance was not an issue, the motorcycle chugged away miles after miles. I loved the low-end torque and how useable it was when I was tackling trails and inclines. But – there is always a but, when it came to rocky terrain, the ground clearance was a hindrance. I had to take it slow and worry about the motorcycle making it past an obstacle. For water crossings, the under-belly exhaust was an added worry.

Now, coming to the Royal Enfield Himalayan. I had a few parameters for my next motorcycle. It had to be less than 3.0 lakhs INR on road in Bangalore. It had to be an off-road capable and comfortable stress-free touring motorcycle. The RE Himalayan fit the bill and the bonus was a wide service network across the country and low cost of ownership. This also meant I could spend on some good premium accessories and have extra moolah for my travel funds. Show me another touring motorcycle in India capable enough, within the said parameters. The Hero XPulse, some might say. A capable off-roader, yes, it is. Touring, maybe not.

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So, in my outlook, the purchase of the RE Himalayan is an upgrade for me (even though I went from a twin cylinder to a single) as I can do all that I did with the Benelli TNT 300 and additional I can do more off-road trails, even the rocky terrains. I had money left after selling the Benelli and buying the RE. My service costs are less now because the motorcycle and spares are made in India and labour costs are less, which in turn lets me save more for my travel & motorcycle fund.

Eventually, I had to take a call between my ‘wants’ and ‘needs’. What I ‘need’, may not be what I ‘want’. But it will get me going for sure. And, what about my ‘wants’, well – that story is far from over my friend.

I’m taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s

MY Friend ALEXA

61 Comments on “What if a downgrade is ‘the’ upgrade you were looking for?

  1. Nice, this is real experience based on practicality, totally unbiased and not influenced by anything. Much appreciate.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Perfectly summarized.. I hope more people understand their needs than wants.. Ride out their machines and enjoy the travels… Marketing guys of every automobile manufacturer are paid to confuse the customer.. If you have a choice made up, just go for it.. I have followed your travels to a fair bit and yes, the segment of the Himalayan has undoubtedly no competition and fits an aspirant like a tailor made suit!! Enjoy your travels Binil.. It’s always the ‘nut’ behind the handlebar!!
    #TheAdventuresofArmstrong

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, you are right… Marketing and Peer pressure is what throws everyone on an ‘upgrade’ path. And most only look at upgrading the machine. Why not ones capabilities too?

      Like

  3. Oh if I would have read this before I wrote my Marketing Management Paper today, definitely would have copied this.. 😁…

    That’s more smart and calculative step! When I decided to buy bike, I looked up at number more than my needs and wants! Because of that couldn’t get money for traveling anyways lesson learnt! Adventure and Fun of riding is not basically on how premium your bike is, but more about how you live that life!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting. I especially liked the part about lower service charges and the parts thing .People dont look into.these aspects while buying and it can get expensive fast!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Royal Enfield is my favourite motorcycle…in fact, I even wrote a story about it in my book. For me, any and every Royal Enfield is a dream motorbike. Thank you for writing such an insightful and informative post – I loved reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Okay! I love bikes and would like to ride one, one day. Go on a long drive too…
    But whatever this blog post said, i could not much understand 😝… Sorry but maybe this is too technical for me….

    Like

  7. Such an apt heading you chose for this post. Liked reading the post. I actually shared your blog to one of my colleague who likes biking.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hey Binil, totally agree with you that a downgrade may not be actually a downgrade for a particular person. I like the idea of saving money while buying and using it up on premium accessories thereafter.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am not a biking enthusiast but I fully appreciate the reason you switched to the Himalayan. It is always about the riding style. This is true of all vehicles not just bikes.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Considering my total bike experience is…zero, this post was picked just because I have to read it for the challenge. Having said that I am actually happy I read this post, You have said one thing which I do try to follow, what you “want” and what you “need” are two different things, we need to know the difference of both. Happy biking to you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I was not sure if I would understand an article about motorcycles, but through your words “sometimes a downgrade becomes the upgrade you are looking for”, is a serious lesson in life.
    P.S. I wasn’t sure my previous comment was published so wrote again!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. See I know you’re talking about motorcycles and their add ons but I swear what I read was do you really need this shiny new thing in your life or can you work with the things you have. This was a life lesson!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I guess this is what all of us need to apply in our lives on a day to day basis, letting our decisions being influenced only by us! This post tingled a part of my thought process and has made me realize how my “downgrades” till date have actually been my “upgrades” in life! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your journey, Binil.

    Like

  14. Totally agree, even I’m not sure why people consider a more expensive item as an upgrade in your life. I mean, satisfaction is more important than the cost of it, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m not much interested or know about bikes but all I can say is – the vehicle has to suit your requirements. Your requirement may very well be style – so be it – but it has to fit you. That’s simple really.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You went for what suited your requirements and hence that’s not a downgrade at all! This was a nice glimpse of passionate biker’s life.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Opting for the best options based on your experiences and preferences is always appreciable. I think on the technical part, I won’t be the right person to comment on,

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I don’t know much about bikes, but I like your perspective about downgrade and upgrade which is true for a lot of other things. At times people forget the functionality and gave too much importance to upgrade and downgrade!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. An apt perspective on “the upgrade you want” more than the one that’s needed.
    That is so true about the kind of change more than upgrade that’s required.

    The pics here are absolutely stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Hmmm! I was not sure if I would call a shift from double cylinder to single an upgrade but reading your account, I am kind of sold! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I’m not a bike-enthu, but my husband has always raved about RE. Your post is such a delight to read & I specifically like the way you draw the equation of wants & needs here. And yes, I guess the money-saving part applies to any important purchase in life.

    Like

  22. An upgrade is moving over to your needs, I believe.. and loved your last line… Your want can not be your need sometimes

    Like

  23. I’m not a biker, but can totally appreciate your sentiment. People often throw around the terms “upgrade” or “downgrade” without realising that the right “grade” is what works for you at that time in your life! Wish you many wonderful adventures on the new Enfield.. and may your journey never face the obstacles of “log kya kahenge” 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Well my knowledge of bikes is limited to just knowing their name. I like RE n so my husband got one (on which we never rode alone, thanks to our two kids) and now he got a Triumph while my bro in law rides a gixxer 1k cc….

    Liked by 1 person

  25. That’s a lot of new info for me. This year’s Alexa had got me reading all that I hadn’t ever thought of. Thank you for this post. I learnt something new.

    Like

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