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Friday, August 29, 2014

Bunty's advice on 2014 Distinguished Gentleman's Ride

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride is Sept. 28 in the U.S. and worldwide.
Have the footman gas up your Royal Enfield, trim your beard, button all your buttons and register for the 2014 Distinguished Gentleman's Ride Sunday, Sept. 28.

This distinguished (peculiar?) ride is described as "an international event for Classics, cafe racers, bobbers, trackers, customs, modern classics, classic scooters and undefinable 2/3 wheeled machines." It raises money for global medical research to fight prostate cancer.

(Distinguished ladies are more than welcome to ride, but organizers describe the ride as "a piece of theater as much as it is a ride," so an appropriate motorcycle and appropriate attire would be most appropriate for both sexes.)

The first Distinguished Gentleman's Ride in 2012 drew 2,500 riders. This year 20,000 are to get expected to get dressed up and ride.

Check the website to find the ride near you. None near enough? Sponsor your own.

Don't know what to wear? Consider this advice, graciously provided in 2012 by Maj. Bertram "Bunty" Golightly, distinguished authority on all things distinguished:

Maj. Golightly.
"Blasco old chap, some of us are already distinguished gentlemen and furthermore a 'gentleman' would never ride a ghastly cafe racer — 'deed not! As riding a motorcycle is akin to riding a horse — quite so, Bunty has always deferred to traditional wisdom and insists that guests who are invited to hunt with the Blotto Hall pack of Bullet Hounds adhere to long established etiquette — don't yer know.

"Suitable attire would be 'ratcatcher' (for informal occasions and summer jaunts); flat cap or other tweed cap or brown bowler. Tweed jacket and tan breeches with brown boots (highly polished) or brogues. tattersall shirt with collar and predominantly green or brown patterned tie.

"A more formal occasion would necessitate the wearing of official hunt jacket (normally scarlet for foxhounds, green for harriers or just black with a suitably colored collar as an alternative), black silk hat (top hat) or a bowler, black boots (highly polished) with brown tops. White shirt with white stock (somewhat like a cravat) white breeches. Tan or white gloves.

"Members of the armed forces would be allowed to wear their number two dress uniform with breeches and boots and service peaked cap, it is not customary to carry a service revolver unless anti-hunt saboteurs are expected to be present — haar haaaaaar haaaaaaaaaaaaaar!! Americans please note that automatic weapons are frowned upon as being ungentlemanly, one prefers to give the buggers 'a sporting chance' — eh what.

"Inclement weather might necessitate the donning of a trench coat and waders — mmn indeed.

"Dressed in this manner a gentleman would not embarrass himself or his host and friends when indulging of social or sporting occasions upon a motorcycle.

"One hopes that this little message will prove of some assistance to those not blessed with an innate sense of sartorial elegance.

"Good Luck to all...!

"I'll drink to that.

"Bottoms up!

"Your servant,

"Maj. Bunty Golightly MBH, Defender of the Kickstart, Companion of the Royal Floatchamber."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rider pushed his Royal Enfield GT flat out in relay run

Tom Bray tells the inspiring story of riding his leg of the Royal Enfield "Top to Tip" run in the August/September issue of The Gun, the magazine of the Royal Enfield Owners Club in the UK.

Bray was one of the riders who reenacted the 1964 launch of the original Continental GT aboard new Royal Enfield Continental GTs May 10-11. It was a relay run from John O'Groats across Britain to Lands End. That's 900 miles in under 24 hours.

Royal Enfield Owners Club
Bray mounted his Continental GT at Lydford on Fosse and rode the final — and fastest — roads to Lands End. Told the bikes were now 50 minutes behind schedule he determined to at least gain time on the GT said to be 10 minutes behind him.

"The poor little bike was absolutely flat out all the way with me laying flat on the tank, elbows tucked in, my chin on the Sat Nav and the throttle wound as far back as it would go!" he writes.

But not far enough. He began to realize that the wire powering the heated grips had twisted around so much that it was tight, restricting the throttle opening. Bray refused to slow down to fix this.

What he did do, in the face of cold and wet weather, was twist the throttle until the electrical cable broke. Bray averaged 65 mph for his leg, and his was the first of the Continental GTs to arrive at Land's End.

His is typical of the stories you'll find in The Gun. Editor Robin Gillingham provides his own pleasant touches to a magazine that is, ultimately, reassuring to a foreign reader. Through good luck and adversity, you surmise, there will always be people who appreciate Royal Enfields.

Even the charming Chapter Reports repeatedly introduce us to people who "press on regardless" not only on vintage British motorcycles but through vintage British weather. Their reward, usually, is just satisfaction and a pint "of the dark stuff" at day's end.

You can join the Royal Enfield Owners Club UK online. There's a considerable discount if instead of a printed magazine you take it as an emailed pdf. That's how I get it.


Tom Bray on May 11, 2014 in Land's End, England.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Royal Enfield diesel motorcycles in the U.S.

Tom Judd and Aaron Scott will build you a Royal Enfield diesel motorcycle.
Converting Royal Enfield motorcycles to diesel power is a popular notion — diesel Royal Enfields have even been produced commercially, although not in the U.S. Now Coloradans Tom Judd and Aaron Scott want to do it for you.

They describe themselves as "two environmentally-conscious motorcycle enthusiasts trying to bring something to market that the major manufacturers just have not provided." The environmentally friendly motorcycles they make will be able to transport people using diesel fuel or carbon-neutral fuels like vegetable oils or biodiesel.

Their motorcycles will be multi-fuel, simple, reliable and serviceable AND will get 130-plus miles per gallon, they promise.

They call their operation MotorEarth to emphasize the mission.

MotorEarth diesel motorcycle.
To make it happen they've started an IndieGoGo campaign to raise $25,000. The money will enable them to buy the engines, transmissions, body parts, paint, rims and tires to complete the 11 chassis currently in Denver. Those who contribute get a variety of "perks," from a toolbox sticker to the opportunity to buy the first motorcycles at introductory prices.

But the dream doesn't end there.

"If there is room for it in the funding, we will put research into moving full production to India and making a completely new, high-efficiency, light, diesel motorcycle for the world market," they write.

That future motorcycle might not look much like a Royal Enfield. But, for now, Royal Enfields were an obvious choice for conversion. They "are known for their simplicity. They are rugged, field tested, easy to maintain and repair," the Indiegogo proposal notes.

"All Steel, All Mechanical, All Analog!"

It's a great slogan. The single-cylinder diesel motor promises 13-horsepower, which they say will take you to 100 kph. A prototype continuously variable transmission maximizes the available power.

Check MotorEarth's website for more information on the diesel conversion.

Tom is a designer, engineer and machinist and Aaron has experience sourcing and manufacturing products in India and the U.S., according to the proposal.

One last promise they make: "We will get it done."

Meet Tom and Aaron and see a prototype run in the video: