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In this blog I will be reviewing the accessories that elevate your Bullet riding experience. Click here to read my reviews on Performance Modifications for Royal Enfield Bullet. For the uninitiated my distinction method between a modification and an accessory is very simple. If you are replacing an original item of your Bull then it will be a modification, whereas if you are adding an object it becomes an accessory. So I consider an LED headlight as a mod, whereas the fog lights would be an accessory. By that same distinction the Deltran LiFePo4 batteries and the Boyer Bransen Powerbox are modifications as they can replace your existing battery. Crash guards though an integral part of motorcycle, since does not replace an existing part becomes an accessory.
In this blog I’ll not be reviewing riding gears like helmets, armor or gloves. This blog is strictly for the bullet. So if you find an innovative accessory that improves the Bullet riding experience do mention it in the comments section. Happy thumping.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Dragonfly sidebox from Bluegarage for Royal Enfield Bullet review

I always envied large tourers that had those huge capacity sideboxes that could pack away a family and the rider can roam the countryside in peace. Unfortunately our Enfields do not come with such storage space and till date only himalyan seems to have been given with any type of storage accessories.
Dragonfly sidebox from Bluegarage for Royal Enfield Bullet
Dragonfly sidebox from Bluegarage
I am not a fan of saddlebags, as most develop holes when you least expect. Even the best quality cramster bags, if they get anywhere near the exhaust, will burn open huge holes on the underside. Furthermore saddlebags tends to spoil the balance of the motorcycle on bad roads and most of them have buckle system that afford very little in security.
My only option was to go for hard sideboxes. However even after much research I could not find one that suited my requirements. Some were very angular and looked incongruous on the bullet. Others were too small. Then there was also the question of colors which would not match with my forest green color. And then I chanced upon the dragonfly boxes from Bluegarage. At first glance it looked like my dream had come true.

Pros or advantages of Dragonfly sideboxes from Bluegarage

Dragonfly sidebox from Bluegarage for Royal Enfield Bullet
Dragonfly sidebox from Bluegarage back
Words cannot express how happy I was when I found these sideboxes online. With regards to design and aesthetics it is one of the best boxes I have seen in the market. Even more the people from Bluegarage customise the sideboxes according to your model of Enfield. I was in touch with them from the day I ordered the product till the day I got it and was constantly bugging them about one thing or the other. Not once did they lose patience with me or answered in an offended tone. The people at BlueGarage really know how to service clients.
The sideboxes are smoothly contoured to match the round curves of the bullet. One of my concern was the paint. Whether they would be able to match it to my shade of forest green. Even there I was pleasantly surprised. The colors almost perfectly matched and in rich glossy finish. Since they have added no additional branding on the boxes, they do not look like add on. The look is of one seamless design. The material they have used is ABS. Which makes the boxes very light. During the ride there was almost no vibration and the whole thing filled to the brim did not interfere with the balance or ride quality. The rear light is so bright that my brake lights felt dim in comparison. The wiring of the light is of high quality and the wiring is also protected with a sheath to prevent it from damage. Little things like sidebox lock having a metal cover and even the keyhole having a sliding metal plate to prevent water from getting in shows the detailing they have attended to while designing the sidebox. Many times during my long trip I found people looking back and asking me where I purchased these from and therein lies the true worth of these sideboxes.

Cons or issues with Dragonfly sideboxes from Bluegarage

For all its positive aspects these sideboxes are not perfect. Like most of the products I review even these have certain flaws. To make the box lighter and to maintain fuel efficiency the boxes have been made of ABS. Though it is tougher than plastic still it is not as durable as metal. Furthermore in case of breakage metal can be easily welded. Not the case with ABS.
The size of the box was another issue. I somehow expected it to be bigger. Then again as the manufacturers wanted compatibility with every bullet model and even with upswept exhausts, so they might have had size limitations. The main concern is that, due to the design of the lid you can only see a small portion of the whole box. This further prevents you from using the sideboxes completely. Furthermore the lid is quite thin. So unlike steel lids you cannot push it close when things are tightly packed as the lid will just bend instead of closing.
metal scratch Dragonfly sidebox from Bluegarage for Royal Enfield Bullet
Metal scratch on Dragonfly sidebox
The paint job, though one of the best aspects about the sideboxes, also turns out to be its biggest flaw. The paint is almost identical in looks to the original Enfield paint, however it is a little more sensitive to rough use.  By the time I came back from my trip there were so many scratches and discolorations that I had to send my sideboxes for repaint.
The electrical wiring for lights is routed from inside the box. Twice my light stopped working because something inside the box fell on the wiring. The light though quite bright comes from tungsten bulbs. So electricity draw is a constant worry. I think by default any manufacturer should now have LED as their light solution. LED is more energy efficient and is also brighter. I and one of my mechanics tried to replace the light with an LED and were unsuccessful in even removing the bulb. I fear now for the day one of these bulbs blow out.
Paint fade due to cloth rubbing on dragonfly sidebox from Bluegarage for Royal Enfield Bullet
Paint fade on dragonfly sidebox
Installation was another issue. The sideboxes and their clamps do not get shipped together. I was the unfortunate victim for whom the clamps got misplaced and I got only the sideboxes. I spent quite a few hours at my mechanic’s place wondering how to fix sideboxes on my Bullet. Only when I called up Bluegarage, I was informed that I had not received the clamps yet.
The installation even after the clamps arrived was not so straightforward. It took me and my mechanic a good 3 hours and lots of browsing of Dragonfly sideboxes images to figure out how to install them correctly.
Broken lid in Dragonfly Sidebox from Bluegarage for Royal Enfield Bullet
Broken lid in Dragonfly Sidebox





Then they had not even provided nuts and bolts. So my mechanic found an assortment of different sized nuts and bolts and fixed the boxes. He just did not think to put washers on the small sized nuts. During my trip, one of the boxes totally dislodged due to this and I had to tie it with a rubber tube for the rest of the journey.
Broken hinge in Dragonfly Sidebox from Bluegarage for Royal Enfield Bullet
Broken hinge in Dragonfly Sidebox
Another revelation on my trip was the brittleness of ABS. I know it has been advertised on the Bluegarage website that the boxes are made of unbreakable ABS. This statement must be taken with a grain of salt. For starters the lid of the boxes are quite breakable. Mine broke when an air pressure pump fell on it from the height of 6 inches.
The top and bottom part of the box are joined by screwing three hinges. This joint is another weak area. As I had filled both my boxes to capacity, the strain on the box split open the left sidebox, also breaking one of the three hinges. I also noticed gap opening up at the joint of the right hand sidebox.
Joint coming apart in Dragonfly Sidebox from BlueGarage for Royal Enfield Bullet
Joint coming apart in Dragonfly Sidebox
The rubber lining is only provided for the bottom and is very thin. I could hear all my stuff shaking inside throughout my trip and it was quite irritating.
The boxes are splash proof and not waterproof. So in case of rain do remember to pack up everything in a plastic bag before tucking it in the sideboxes.

Further improvements required in Dragonfly sideboxes from Bluegarage

The Dragonfly sideboxes are in their first version or possibly on version 1.1 as now they have started color and model customisation as their option. However if they ever want to come up with version 2, these are my sincere suggestions.

  1. Material: I would prefer if the boxes were made of metal. Metal is durable, will last as long as the vehicle and can be easily fixed in case it gets broken.
  2. Size: If the company can come up with different sizes for diverse needs of the riders it would help. Like for tourers the sideboxes can be made 20% biggers to accommodate their extra requirements. 
  3. Design: The lid of the box should be like the airfilter box in Bullets. This will allow the users complete access to the sidebox. Same as the air filter box the inside of the box could be shaped with a single piece metal. The jointless design would stop water from seeping in and also prevent any weakness in construction. The current shape of the sideboxes can be retained even with these changes as the current structure is quite good and unique.
  4. Electricals: Bulbs should be LED. Also there must be replacement bulbs provided and in case of blowout and they should be easily replaceable. The current design leaves bulb wiring and even the bulb casing vulnerable to damage. The wiring and the casing should run from outside the box. A channel must be made and the wire can run through its recess. 
  5. Lining: Whole of the inside of the box must be rubber lined. This will prevent damage to the interiors as well as give some sort of water resistance. This will also reduce noise from the things shaking up inside while driving. The lid of the box should also be given rubber piping in the edges to further waterproof the box.
  6. Waterproofing: With the above changes the box should be fairly waterproof. However to protect important documents and sensitive items a waterproof bag must be provided.
  7. Installation: A one page instruction can be provided with box explaining its installation. For more tech savvy users the manufacturer can also post a youtube video. Good quality nuts, bolts and washers must be provided along with the clamps. One more welcome addition would be the ability to slide the box from top and fix it onto the clamps without nuts and bolts. If some method can be devised so that after sliding the box on, it can be fixed in its place by turning a key from inside the sidebox then this box would be unbeatable.

Usage tips for Dragonfly sideboxes from Bluegarage

In the end my verdict is these sidebox are great for city use. However in case you are planning offroading or travelling through rough terrain, leave these sideboxes at home. They are not made for it. Do not load more than 5-7 kgs of weight in each of the sideboxes and if you are keeping any heavy or sharp metallic thing inside wrap it up with cloth or rubber. Also fill up empty space in the box with rags. They are immensely helpful when you get your hands dirty and they also stop things from shaking up too much. Keep good quality plastic bags inside for rains. Also in case you are skilled enough cut open tyre tube and paste it on the inside of the box with rubber adhesive before use. 

Where to buy Dragonfly sideboxes from Bluegarage

Can be bought online here

Price (approx) of Dragonfly sideboxes from Bluegarage

Rs. 7999/- for a pair


2 comments:

  1. hi Adamya,

    I am on the lookout for some decent hard side box (TB) and I had almost finalized on the Dragonfly ones; however I was apprehensive on the material used and after reading your review I would not like to go ahead with this :(

    Seems I have to continue my search for a metal box !!

    BTW, I believe Bluegarage doesnot manufacture the boxes but import them...exactly similar boxes are readily available in Aliexpress :)

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  2. I came across this blog after visiting the Blue Garage website, checking out whether they have a Stone Black finish of the product, and other criteria. This is a very exhaustive review, and now I'm inclined to get a similar design fabricated with steel, make it bigger and put the cover on the top of the box.

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