Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Photos of 1926 Royal Enfield make me smile

Shannon "Buddha" Baker photographed a 1926 Royal Enfield motorcycle at the 2010 Harvest Classic European and Vintage Motorcycle Rally in Luckenbach, Texas Oct. 22 and 23.

He knew right where to send the pictures. Feast your eyes.

Baker writes the Backroads Buddha blog  about his adventures riding the back roads of Texas. His ride reports and reasoned opinions about all things motorcycle are always a delight and are always well illustrated with photographs.

His pictures of the awesome 1926 Royal Enfield left me feeling impressed and, at the same time, grateful that my 1999 Royal Enfield is based on a 1955 design.

For one thing, look at the amazingly complex, and no doubt delicate (exposed gears!) device that drives the speedometer from the front wheel.

On the other hand there is the tire pump conveniently nestled along the top of the flat gas tank. Handy and yet safely away from getting caught in the spokes. By 1955 there would be no really practical place to attach a pump.

1926 Royal Enfield
I immediately jumped over to Jorge Pullin's Virtual Royal Enfield Museum, a growing, year-by-year resource for information on Royal Enfields. The 1926 entry has a picture of a similar machine and we learn it was a new design. The year 1925, I also learned, was the first for internal expanding drum brakes on a Royal Enfield.

Still another reason I appreciate my 1999 Royal Enfield. You only think the brakes couldn't be worse.

One thing I envy about the flat-tank era: the curious rectangular luggage tucked above the rear wheel. The implication, I suppose: Yes, you need to bring tools. But not many.

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