.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

1958 Indian Lance, as built for U.S. by Royal Enfield

This 1958 Indian Lance is as it must have looked brand new.
Low mileage Royal Enfield motorcycles are not unusual. After all, they're still making them new, with zero miles on the odometer. An Indian Lance motorcycle built by Royal Enfield in 1958, with only 1,361 miles showing, is unusual.

"I just purchased an Indian Lance over the weekend (May 19-20) and need some technical information on it. It's totally original and looks great," wrote Dennis Morgan, of Junction City, Ore. He attached pictures to his email.

Smiths speedometer, "Made in England."
"The mileage shown on the speedo is original as are the Dunlop tires. This is exactly how I got it. The gentleman I got it from has had it for over 20 years. I didn't get any manuals with it. I have the title and it has not been registered since 1960."

Dennis may be without manuals but he is not without experience on motorcycles.

"I have been in motorcycling for 60 years. I have worked outside sales and for Harley dealers for many years. I own a 1941 H/D knuckle head and 1948 Whizzer, 1960 Mustang Thoroughbred, 1981 Yamaha XT500 Enduro and the Indian.

"I purchased the Indian at our Oregon vintage swap and show. I thought it was very interesting and the price was right. The Indian has been in Oregon since new," he wrote.

Although small, the Lance looked like a real motorcycle.
The Lance dates from 1955-1960, when the Indian nameplate was owned by Brockhouse Engineering of England. They imported nearly all the Royal Enfiled models to the United States to be sold as Indians.

One especially interesting model of the day was the Royal Enfield Ensign, a descendant of the Flying Flea that had been air-dropped to British troops during World War II. The Ensign looked much more substantial than the Flea. Telehydraulic front suspension replaced the Flea's girder forks sprung with rubber bands.

There was even a form of rear suspension, although Roy Bacon, in his book "Royal Enfield, The Post War Models," dismisses it as "odd" because it did not provide dampening.

Like the Flying Flea, the Ensign was still a two-stroke, with only three gears in the transmission, although the motor was up from 125cc to 148cc. Motor Cycling Magazine found top speed was 52 mph.

Bacon considers the Lance a "trail form" of the Ensign. He writes that the Lance came in Sahara Yellow and I have seen pictures of one that color. But, elsewhere in his book, Bacon refers to the 1958 Ensign as being "Surf Green with black as option."

The Ensign came as the Ensign II and Ensign III in 1958. The difference between them seems to be limited to the electrical system (the III came with a battery), and Bacon lists much the same specs for them:

Ensign (Lance?)
Bore 56mm
Stroke 60mm
Capacity 148cc
Compression ratio 6.5:1
Tires 2.75  X 19 inches
Wheelbase 48 inches
Wet weight 183 pounds
Power 6 bhp at 4,750 rpm

I'm sure Dennis would appreciate information and advice specific to the 1958 Indian Lance. If you have something to offer, write him at griffin303@q.com
Rear springs had shiny covers but no shock absorbers.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks unique. Love the rear shock absorbers, never seen any like those.

    ReplyDelete
  2. All Indian Lance's were Indian yellow color,with black pinstripe around side of gas tank. Lance muffler should angle upwards,bike is missing tool box,footrest rubbers ,brake light switch,and has RE points cover. This still a pretty good example of a Lance tho. Only 274 made in 1957-58, if you have a 59 it is a 58 sold in 59.

    ReplyDelete

Please patronize our advertisers

Translate this blog