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Friday, January 30, 2015

Royal Enfield riders praised by President Obama

Royal Enfield motorcycles paraded, and President Obama was impressed.
Royal Enfield motorcycle riders received a verbal salute from U.S. President Barak Obama after he witnessed India's Republic Day Parade Jan. 26, 2015.

The president referred to the impressive performance of Border Police on Royal Enfield motorcycles in the parade. Obama noted their dare-devil stunts to set up a joke about how the Secret Service doesn't let him ride motorcycles.

Ritesh C. Soni, film editor for yash Raj Films, prepared this clip of the President's remarks for Facebook.

View this YouTube video of the parade to get some idea of how remarkable it is that the Royal Enfield segment was mentioned. The Republic Day parade is a combination of floats, military bands, drill teams, costumes and military gear with a touch of Bollywood thrown in.

Reader Charles Fernandes kindly found this additional link to a short YouTube clip of the Border Police performance itself.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Royal Enfield gas mileage: Still a selling point?

Royal Enfield motorcycles are easy on gas. But does anyone care?
"Too bad gas prices have dropped 'cause one of my main selling points was going to be the 70 mpg gas mileage," writes the CraigsList seller of a 2011 Royal Enfield B5 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

"But you'll be thankful for it if gas goes back up."

Commuting to work on a Royal Enfield — before I lost the job I was commuting to — was always a joy. I never thought about the gas I was saving.

I vividly remember filling up at more than $4 a gallon in 2008. Sure, we knew that Europeans and others paid more. U.S. drivers pay an average of just 48.5 cents a gallon in taxes.

But the price per gallon seemed like an awful lot to me.

Peoples' memories are funny.

Tim McMahon, who writes about monetary inflation at points at that even though U.S. gasoline prices adjusted for inflation were low in 1998, most people didn't realize it since the pump price then seemed high.

"But they knew it intuitively since a smaller portion of their budget was going toward gasoline. In fact, gas had gotten really cheap by historical standards allowing people to buy gas guzzlers like SUVs and Hummers."

Americans who bought Hummers as fashion statements were in for a shock in 2008 when gas prices rose. General Motors, maker of the Hummer, filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and the last Hummer, by then a symbol of wretched excess, was produced in 2010.

Today gas prices at the pump seem low but, in fact, according to McMahon, they are no where near as low as they were (adjusted for inflation) in 1998. In fact, he noted in 2013 that the average price of gasoline in the United States (adjusted for inflation) has been $2.60 per gallon since 1918!

In other words, the price we pay today at the pump in the U.S. is below average, but not by much. Prices may go lower and they certainly will go higher.

Hang onto that Royal Enfield.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Royal Enfield Interceptor Register tracks famed motorcycles

Gary Elder's 1970 Royal Enfield Interceptor
 in a photo taken circa 1973.
The powerful and rare Royal Enfield Interceptor motorcycle only grows in fame and value as its days of glory in the Swinging '60s become ever fonder memories.

To keep track of these special motorcycles, vendor Burton Bike Bits began a Royal Enfield Interceptor Register years ago.

In 1981 Burton Bike Bits had purchased the remaining factory stock of parts originally saved from the Bradford-on-Avon factory when Royal Enfield went out of business in England in 1971. Burton's public Interceptor Register was handy for research, and has recently been improved and updated.

Now the Royal Enfield Interceptor Owners Group has added its own Interceptor Register where members can share information, stories and photos of their Interceptors.

It's not as public as the Burton Bikes Bits register; you'll need to join the Royal Enfield Interceptor Owners Group on Yahoo  (easily done) to keep updated. But there's more there and the goal is to follow each machine into the future as owners and future owners restore and update components.

This Interceptor Register is the handiwork of member Gary Elder, of Ontario, Canada, who titles himself PMR ("Person Maintaining the Register"). He first posted the REIOG Interceptor Register in March, 2014. His introduction to the register gives plenty of credit to other Interceptor enthusiasts who contributed inspiration, information, help, suggestions and concerns.

The resulting register is very detailed, including a "Condition Code" describing a motorcycle's present state, how close to "stock" it is, how close to operational it us and what sort of use it sees. There is a separate photo gallery keyed to each machine's register number.

Information on the register is "for the pursuit of the Interceptor hobby," and commercial use of the data is prohibited. Concern for owners' privacy has been key, with data made public or not depending on the preference of each owner.

Here's a "sample" view of the register (stripped down by Gary to include only his own Interceptor).

I counted 23 motorcycles on the actual register, all with additional Detail Pages and many with photos. Among them is Gary's own 1970 S2 Interceptor, Condition Code W2P5 — meaning "Under restoration, mostly stock, partly assembled, not used."

Are there other Interceptor owners out there who want to be listed in the registry?

"Anyone else that wants to put their machine data into the register, please just send me an email (at) and we'll get the ball rolling," Gary writes.

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