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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Turn back the clock: Buy a Royal Enfield

This is not about odometer fraud. Yes, you can "turn back the clock" when you buy a Royal Enfield, but I'm talking about calendar pages, not the gauge on the casquette dashboard.

Part of the appeal of a Royal Enfield Bullet is that you can buy a new or almost new motorcycle that is made much like it was in 1955. The amazing thing is, you can buy a practically new Royal Enfield that is exactly like they made them in 1999. That's because it is quite possible to buy a 1999 or similar Bullet with almost no miles on it.

Opinions vary on why this is (Enfield guru Pete Snidal has his opinion). But months of listing used Royal Enfields on this blog have convinced me that great, low-mileage bikes are available for sale in the United States.

So, if you wish you had bought a new Royal Enfield while they were still kickstart only, with the time-honored Albion four-speed transmission and iron-barrelled motor, don't worry. You still can.

Chances are, as the second owner, you will also get a motorcycle loaded with accessories first-time owners buy. Single seats, pillion pads, nicer turn signals, saddle bags and so on, at little or no additional cost (depending on how you bargain).

What you likely will not get is much of a warranty, and you will have to trust your own instincts as to whether the bike has problems. There is a chance that the first owner will have taken the trouble to sort out the little troubles of the break-in period and you can just ride away. So don't be shy; just be careful.

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