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Friday, January 20, 2012

Royal Enfield Revelation was compact bike for adults

Royal Enfield Revelation bicycle: One size fit all.
Royal Enfield bicycles may not have much place in a blog about Royal Enfield motorcycles — but some of them are just irresistible.

Probably one of the best documented Royal Enfield bicycles is the Revelation, the last model designed and built in Redditch, UK.

Member "Russcoles11" recently enthused on the Bike Forums discussion group about his purchase of the green Revelation shown here on eBay.

"Have won an eBay auction for a Royal Enfield Revelation. It's not a folder but it is a small-wheeler and supposedly one of the best ones. Cost me £51. Can't wait to get my hands on it and take it for a ride."

"I'm bound to give it some retro touches like a bullet shaped front lamp."

The Revelation was designed in 1964 by Vic Bott, who had joined Royal Enfield in 1920. He was presented with a Long Service Certificate from the company in 1946, but still didn't leave it until the final shutdown in 1968.

Bott was asked in 1964 to produce a prototype for a unisex adult bicycle with 20-inch wheels. He jokingly offered to do it in two weeks, only to have the company jump at that promise.

Non-folding 20-inchers were newly popular at the time. They were handy for commuters, since they were light and compact enough to be lifted and carried into the office.

Revelations were available with the option of three forward gears. Front and rear racks were available, the rear with a handy removable case. Available colors were eye-catching flavors of burgundy and blue and, apparently, green. Tires were all white!

In 1967, the Enfield Cycle Company quit, Redditch workers being laid off Jan. 31, 1967. The Royal Enfield bicycle brand name was sold and the model name Revelation was applied to a small-wheeler made elsewhere and also sold under the name Vindec.

Royal Enfield used the serial numbers 137430-151727 for its Revelations, but this isn't considered proof that 14,297 were made. The actual number may have been far less.

6 comments:

  1. This was apparently Enfields answer to the very popular "Raleigh 20"

    The Enfield in the photo is equiped with a Sturmey-Archer front Dynohub which produced a very feeble A/C current that powered an equally feeble front lamp. The rear hub can not be clearly seen but is probably a Sturmey Archer AW (wide ratio three-speed.

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  2. Thats my Bike!

    It looks a bit different now though:
    http://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/album?albumid=12876799

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  3. Russell, it's hard to believe it's the same bike! What is it like to ride? Surely it doesn't "eat up the miles" like a standard wheel size?

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  4. Well I've only just finished the refurb. I made new wheels around sturmey archer drum brakes and 5 speed hub gears. Its a very smooth ride and I'm sure once I get the gear ratios right it will "eat up the miles". Small wheels tend to give better acceleration due to less mass in the wheels at the expense of a bumpier ride. So I used a dutch mattress sprung saddle :)
    Incidentally this was not a response to the Raleigh Twenty (not made until a year after RE went bust), it was a response to the Moulton.

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  5. Hello: Your bike is major cool. I just purchased a Royal Enfield folding bike today.(quite small) Could use some work. Is it worth restoring??? I have been riding it through the neighborhood and causing a lot of excitement. Claudia

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  6. Folding bicycles marked "Royal Enfield Quality Bicycle" probably are not products of the Royal Enfield of Redditch, UK. It would be interesting to know the full story behind them. Not many are out there and they are unique, regardless of their origin. If I had one, I would keep it as nice as I could. Tell us more about yours. You can email me at david@royalenfields.com

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