Episode 68 – Beemers, Enfields, & Indians

Today’s episode is all about BMW's new R 18, Royal Enfield Meteor 350, and Indian’s Challenger recall.

2021 BMW R 18

The first week of April BMW announced that the R 18 will be available in the 2021 model year. It has an 1802cc two-cylinder boxer-engine boasting 116lbs of torque at around just 3000 rpm and 91hp at 4750 rpms. Furthermore, BMW says that in the 2000 to 4000 rpm range, this engine is consistently at its most torquey and responsive. There will be two models for the release. The R 18 and the R 18 First Edition. The R 18 comes in Black Storm Metallic, and starts at an MSRP of US $17,495. The R 18 First Edition also heavily features black, but adds in double white striping and chromed elements with an MSRP of US $19,870.  

 

The R 18 weighs in at 761 pounds at the curb, and comes with a 4.23-gallon fuel tank. Suspension is comprised of a telescopic fork with 4.7 inches of travel and a rear central shock strut that has 3.5 inches of travel. Four-piston fixed-caliper brakes stop you front and rear with 300mm brake discs with ABS standard. 

The First Edition package will cost you $2,150 more and will officially be limited to the 2021 model year. You can also add the Premium Package, which comes with hill start control, reverse assist, and an adaptive headlight. Finally, the Select Package costs $225, and adds an anti-theft alarm system, lockable fuel filler cap, and heated grips.

 

2021 Royal Enfield Meteor 350 - Royal “Yuppie Bike Builders” Enfield

Rumors of the Royal Enfield "Meteor" have been bubbling for almost a year now. It all started when the company trademarked the name back in May 2019.

 

More speculations around the Meteor was that it was set to take the Thunderbird’s place in RE’s Indian lineup. Now, a test mule sporting a “Meteor 350” sideplate recently spotted on the roads in India not only confirms that the new model is in fact coming but it also seems to confirm the theory about a Thunderbird replacement. 

While the Thunderbird has become a well-established and popular name on the Asian market, the platform is getting old and its engine isn’t BS6 compliant (India’s version of Euro 5 emission standards).

But why would the company decide to change a name that customers have become familiar with? It's suggested that it could have something to do with the fact that the company doesn’t own the rights to the “Thunderbird” nameplate everywhere in the world. In the U.S., according to the Trademark Office, in the “Motor Vehicles” category, the name Thunderbird still seems to belong to Ford. In other foreign markets, Thunderbird is apparently still is owned by Triumph. This move could in turn suggest that the company is considering exporting the model to Western markets.

Indian Challenger Recall

Indian Motorcycle Company issued a recall on a number of Challenger baggers due to a possible engine output shaft issue.  

According to the information published by the NHTSA, that around one percent of 616 units of the new 2020 Indian Challenger could be affected by the problem. Here are the details of this recall.  

According to the defect notice, Indian mentions that on some Challengers, the engine output shaft bearing might not have been lubricated during assembly. This could potentially lead to the bearing malfunctioning and to a sudden deceleration which, in the most extreme cases, could cause a crash. According to Indian, should the vehicle present the flaw, it will do so at a very low mileage. The manufacturer explains that the motorcycles affected didn’t undergo a quality audit and were produced prior to the issue being flagged and fixed at the production level.  

Indian recommends to owners of a 2020 Challenger with fewer than 50 miles on the odometer not to use their motorcycle. They should make arrangements to have the bike towed to a local Indian dealer where the bearing will be properly lubricated and any required fixes will be performed. Both the service and the vehicle’s transportation will be performed free of charge for the owner.  

Owners of vehicles with more than 50 miles on the odometer can either submit an electronic form via a dedicated portal or they can have their dealer complete and send the form for them. No further action will be required of them. Internal reference number for this recall is I-20-20 and it began on April 3, 2020.  

Should they have any questions or concerns, owners of the model affected are invited to contact the Indian Motorcycle customer service at 1-877-204-3697 to have their VIN verified. The NHTSA also offers a safety hotline service that can be reached 1-888-327-4236.

Closing Argument: Do recalls influence your purchases?