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Monday, May 18, 2009

Royal Enfield brand is older than others

Postscript: The New York Times made an error in its article about Royal Enfield motorcycles. It incorrectly stated that Harley-Davidson, Triumph and others are "older brands" than Royal Enfield.

The Royal Enfield brand dates back to 1893 (when it was applied to bicycles) and surely predates all the others. In his blog My Royal Enfields, Jorge Pullin playfully suggests that fans try to get The Times to correct the error.

All in good fun. Here's what The Times said:

"While a list of motorcycle brands predating Royal Enfield is short — Harley-Davidson, Triumph and a handful of others qualify — the tally of bike models that have lasted 54 years is pretty much limited to the Royal Enfield Bullet. "

The first part of the statement is wrong. Royal Enfield in England created a motorcycle in 1901, so the Royal Enfield motorcycle brand is very old. Triumph seems to have come up with a motorcycle in 1902 and Harley-Davidson in 1903.

The second part of the statement is correct in so far as it refers to Enfield Bullets made in India. However, the Royal Enfield Bullet model emerged in England in 1933 -- 76 years ago, not 54.

It doesn't really matter. The Times article about the new Royal Enfield C5 motorcycle got the important details of that bike correct, as far as I could tell. I'm just happy to see the brand get the attention it deserves in America's most prominent newspaper.

According to its archives, the last time The New York Times referred to a Royal Enfield motorcycle was in 1969.

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