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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Photos of Royal Enfield's two-stroke motorcycles

One spark plug but two exhaust pipes on 1926 Royal Enfield two-stroke.
Richard Miller, author of the Red Devil Motors blog,  recently pointed to a trove of photos of Royal Enfield two-cycle motorcycles.

Royal Enfield Two Strokes Models is a Flickr collection by Motos Anglaises.

The photos reveal Royal Enfield's long history with two-stroke motorcycles that began before it got around to producing the famous Flying Flea for World War II paratroopers.

The oldest models, in particular, display the absolute basics of early internal combustion motors.

Also on view are what look like crude but effective suspension systems and workable provisions for tools and luggage. Much of what we call "a motorcycle" was on sale by Royal Enfield a 100 years ago!

Improvements have been many. One of them, in my opinion, has been four-stroke motors.

The only example of two-stroke technology in my garage is a small outboard motor boat engine for our canoe. I view it with suspicion. Mixing oil with gas is too much of a math challenge for me. I don't want to go too far in the canoe because of the likelihood that I could be paddling back!

That has never happened; but a two-stroke rental Vespa barely made it up hills in Corfu and then only after my wife got off and walked up.

That was enough of that!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Royal Enfield: The Story of the Company and the People

The history of Royal Enfield is the subject of Anne Bradford's book.
In creating his Royal Enfield's Early Years Virtual Motorcycle Museum, blogger Jorge Pullin frequently referred to Anne Bradford's book, "Royal Enfield, The Story of the Company and the People Who Made It Great: 1851-1969."

That book has become difficult (and expensive) to find in the United States, but a new publisher, Brewin Books is here to help.

When asked, Alan Brewin explained what it offers:

"Anne Bradford’s book originally appeared in 1996 in a small edition under her own imprint, Hunt End Books. We acquired publishing rights and are publishing a new edition which has been completely reset with minor amendments, corrections, updates and improved images, all approved by the author and illustrator.

Royal Enfield,
The Story of the Company.
"The ISBN is 978-1-85858-532-1 and the cover price is £14.95. We can ship single or multiple copies to the U.S., payment by PayPal, sorry no credit cards. Single copies are £14.95 plus £8 airmail. We will quote for multiple copies or trade.

"As a matter of interest, our print works and warehouse is in Redditch on the Enfield Trading Estate."

That last bit means that Anne Bradford's history of Royal Enfield emerges from the one-time site of the Royal Enfield factory.

Bradford herself has a surprising connection to an even older Royal Enfield factory, as Pullin explains:

"Redditch historian and Royal Enfield author Anne Bradford says that her interest in Royal Enfield started because local historians claimed that the house she lived in was the Givry Needle Works, which later became the first Royal Enfield factory in Hunt End.

"It turns out this is not true, the Hunt End factory was destroyed by a fire and there is now an industrial estate in the place it used to occupy. However, it is true that Anne Bradford's house was a replica of the construction that anchored the Givry needle works."

The new edition is a (roughly) 8-inch by 8-inch, 168-page paperback with 117 illustrations.

"Over 80 ex-employees and their descendants give perspective and often humorous accounts of life in the Enfield works, charting its expansion from a humble needle factory into one of Britain's best known motorcycle manufacturers," the publisher writes.

"They create a company renowned for its family atmosphere, where generation succeeded generation..."

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