People today seem to be buying the Bullet for reasons like machismo (pun unintended), attitude, power and freedom. All the wrong reasons if you ask me. Because they’re all easily re-created, duplicated, and maybe even outdone by competition. Just like the 100cc Japs stopped the Bullet in its tracks 15 years ago, we’ll soon have 250, 350 and maybe even 750 and 1200cc Japs shooting the Bullet down again with weapons like cubic capacity, cruiser styling, fatter tyres, more chrome, and more jeans-leather-and-scantily-clad-women advertising — all of which are in vogue now.
So what is it that will keep the Bullet competitive through the waves of onslaught from bikes that cater to the changing fancies of fickle Indian motorcyclists? What does the Bullet have going for it that no other manufacturer can hope to match no matter how much money he spends on research, development, space-age materials and nubile models?
I think the answer can be summed up in one word. Character.
To me, the Bullet stands for simplicity. A design that worked well not because it changed to incorporate every new discovery at NASA, but because the folks that designed it 50 years ago got everything right the first time. And then didn’t try to fix things that weren’t broke. It’s a bike that has built a reputation for being reliable, simple to work with, comfortable to be with, and lasts a whole lifetime… which is definitely a whole lifetime longer than the Japs, who out-date their throwaway models before one has even paid the second EMI. The most interesting thing is that over the years, this un-glamorous but truly solid reputation has rubbed off on people that ride the Bullet too. The result, when one looks closely, is a bond between an individual and his Bullet, where one is but the mirror of the other.
To some folks like me who’ve wanted a Bullet since we were kids, it was the persona of these people that inspired the choice of a motorcycle more than the intrinsic value of the motorcycle itself. They were simple people, responsible people, strong people (not just in body) and they were people you could trust and rely on. I for one just bought into the quiet pride, solidity and soft spoken yet powerful image of Bullet riders I saw as a child, only to realize much later that these were the qualities of the bike itself.
In this day where people are realizing it’s better to step back from technology and glamour sometimes and fly subsonic rather than supersonic, I hope that people soon learn to appreciate and aspire to own the Bullet for what it is. A piece of machinery that has lived, served, rewarded and stood by its owners long enough to develop a character of its own. A motorcycle that has reached that point in evolution where its value cannot be measured in cubic centimeters, kilometres per hour or pounds per square inch. And a brand that speaks volumes for its owner for a lifetime… always saying just the same old good things.
Eliminator will get eliminated by a bigger, faster, Eliminator. A new Terminator will overcome the pulse of the Pulsar. The Shogun will be overshadowed by the Ronin, the RX 135 by the ZXR, and so on. But the Bullet will remain Bullet. For it is not a reality. It is a dream.
Dreams are of many types – pleasant, painful, enjoyable, scary, exciting, new, old and many more. Bullet is all this and much more! It is the closest any bike comes to being all things to all people. Being all things to all people is impossible.
A theory. That is what Bullet is. A theory. And people love theories. All people love theories. Especially if they sound so good. And nobody can deny (even my 100 year old grandmother does not deny) that no other bike in the world sounds like Bullet.
Credits for writing this piece : Swami Ashwinananda (from the RE website) & Dilip Bam