The prospect of a twin-cylinder Royal Enfield evokes memories of the mighty Royal Enfield Interceptor of the 1960s.
I reported in January, 2011 that Royal Enfield plans a parallel twin, the same configuration used by the 750 Royal Enfield Interceptor back in the day.
Since then, my email has reflected the hopes of fans in the U.S.
"Now would be the time for the parallel twin; blow your competitors into the weeds and unlock markets that haven't been yet served," wrote John Donlon, of LaGrange Park, Ill.
"As I have said before: a Bullet with a twin becomes a Meteor, an Electra with a twin becomes an Interceptor and the Continental GT with a twin becomes a Metisse. Three new bikes with one engine change."
Such a motor is coming, the authoritative blog Visordown reported. (I have not been able to confirm the size of the twin or the timing of its release reported in that article.)
But what would a Royal Enfield powered by a twin look like anyway? And how would it fare in the U.S. market? I found interesting the following cautionary comments by "Lannis," of Appomattox, Va., on the WildGuzzi forum. He wrote:
"Being a Britbiker with original '50s and '60s bikes myself, I understand why the Enfield single was and remains popular. It doesn't have anything to prove; it can johnny-pop around the countryside and break down every once in a while and go really slow and that's all OK, 'cause it's cheap and historic.
"What I mean is, the Enfield single was attractive to a certain type of person because it was a direct, genuine descendant of the British Enfield of 1955. Made the same way, with the same warts, eccentricities, and idiosyncrasies, and looked the business, too...
"So with the 'new' Royal Enfield Interceptor twin they've got two choices:
"1. Make it a direct copy of the 1970 twin, like the single was; hey, it worked once, maybe it'll go twice. If they do that, it'll be a nightmare and no one will buy one. They'd rather have a Chang Jiang, and with good reason.
"2. Make it a brand-new bike, with styling cues from the old RE 750, a la Hinkley. I'm not sure that would work.
"Heckfire, people didn't know what the RE twins were back when they were NEW! There weren't many around, and they didn't run for long when they were around. There's just no 'history' to help the new technology get accepted with the 'cachet' of the old one.
"I'm not hoping they fail. I'm just not going to be blindly optimistic about its chances, in hopes of adding to some karma stream that will get the bikes sold."