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Friday, June 24, 2016

Royal Enfield Owners Club provides news that will amuse

The Royal Enfield Owners Club UK has published The Gun magazine since 1978.
Issue No. 253 of The Gun, the magazine of the Royal Enfield Owners Club UK, arrived in my email in box the other day. Opening it, I realized that I had somehow failed to receive Issue 252, for April/May, as happens occasionally.

This is no disaster. As a member, I can easily read any issue of The Gun back to the first (in 1978!) on the club website.

I promptly went there and hunted up the issue I'd missed.

Issue 252 included Part 1 of "Ride of My Live," an account of a motorcycling adventure on a Royal Enfield in the Himalayas, by Alistair Matheson.

"If this was a test ride for the new Enfield Bullet, then it passed with flying colors," he wrote.

Editor Robin Gillingham reproduced a summons (traffic ticket to us Yanks) from 1933, discovered in the shed of the cottage he has just moved into. The then owner, a motorcyclist, had been cited for riding at night through the Parish of Henstridge without a light illuminating his license plate.

Robin was also able to include a period photo of the former owner of the cottage on a motorcycle, and asked for help identifying the motorcycle (more on this below).

In other news, there was a notice "To confirm, The 2016 Home Counties Rally will take place on the 29th to 31st July 2016 at Henlow Bridge Lakes, Bridge End Road, Henlow Befordshire... We'll have... a quiz hatched by several Members who will probably argue about the answers and both Julian and Mark will attempt new and unusual breakdowns on different bikes to last time."

From the Branch Reports came word that Wiltshire branch visited the Cotswold Motoring Museum, where "Dave T now had trouble with the carburetor of his Super Meteor, but he got further than last time. Next time he is hoping to go all the way."

It was then on to read my copy of Issue No. 253 for June/July. Here I was satisfied to see that member Mark Mumford was able to identify editor Robin's mystery motorcycle as "a Velocette GTP, a 250cc two-stroke quite an expensive machine at the time."

It is nearly impossible to convey the breadth of Royal Enfield topics explored in The Gun.

It's all there, from suggestions for a carrying a mammoth spare battery in the sidecar, and restoration details of a Royal Enfield Ensign, to discussion of whether the little known New Bullet  of 1965 would have been factory equipped with a "bathtub" rear enclosure.

To share in the delights of The Gun you have only to join the club. Membership details are on the website.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Is this the worst motorcycle ad ever? Yes!

This JAWA motorcycle ad is the absolute worst.
In the computer era, no one can be certain that the photos in motorcycle ads are real.

It was easier to detect the phonies back in the days when photographers had to use film to fake pictures.

Sometimes, the limitations on what could be done in the darkroom gave rise to a silliness all its own.

An example is this period ad for JAWA scramblers, spotted for sale recently on CraigsList in Texas.

It's just awful.

The best they could do was to paste together mirror images of the front of the motorcycle to support a meaningless "Two-Faced?" headline.

But the ad copy is even worse.

In it, the ad explains that they are also including the mirror images of the back of the motorcycle "at the insistence of our art director. Being the left-over portions of the photo above, he felt this model offered tops in traction, a genuine straight-through exhaust and something unique in dual seating arrangements."

Of the hacked up images, the ad comments "don't ask us which of the four models it is, as they all look alike to us and even we get confused sometimes...

"Why not see your JAWA Dealer and ask him to show you the model that doesn't care if it's coming or going."

I have a better question: Why not just shop for a motorcycle that takes itself seriously — perhaps a model that anyone can tell is unique in its own right? Anything but a JAWA, apparently.

To my mind, the ad is abysmal. But there is a more important question:

Did it sell motorcycles? What do you think? Leave a comment.

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