|Vintage photo of a woman motorcyclist on a Royal Enfield in the 1930s.|
"I've just found this old photo. It's my late mother, born in 1913, so my guess would be that this photo was taken in 1935 (...in Denmark) give or take a few years. I'm sure you can identify the bike she's sitting on?"
I can try. Old Royal Enfield catalog art usually shows the right side of the motorcycle, which has the showier bits such as gearshift and transmission. Photos of restored motorcycles can't always be trusted to date old pictures, since restorers may have changed elements of the original.
The mystery motorcycle is clearly of the era after 1928. According to Jorge Pullin's Royal Enfield Virtual Museum, Royal Enfield introduced the rounded saddle tank (straddling the frame), as seen here, in 1928.
The primary drive cover has a nice circular lump, bisected by a rib, something like the cover seen on a photo of a 1930 Model K V-twin posted at the Royal Enfield History Facebook page.
|Some details match this 1930 Model K V-twin.|
|The arm running back to the tank appears in Ole's photo.|
And where is that magnificent fishtail silencer seen in our picture? It appears that Royal Enfield ran both exhausts of the V-twin down the right side of the motorcycle. In fact, this would have been good policy, since, if placed on the left the dual pipes might have interfered with fitting a sidecar. Pulling sidecars (fitted on the left in England) was an essential duty for V-twins of the day.
I think the mystery motorcycle is a Model J of the early 1930s. Although it had only one cylinder, this cylinder sloped forward like the one in our picture to give a sporting appearance (and perhaps also to ease sharing parts with V-twin models).
The Model J was the only single-cylinder Royal Enfield with dual exhaust ports. Since tugging a sidecar was not its primary duty, a gorgeous sweeping silencer could run down each side of the motorcycle to service each port.
Here's a catalog illustration (as usual, from the other side) of the 1930 Royal Enfield Model J.
|1930 Model J; one sloped cylinder, two silencers.|
As a match, I like the shape of the silencer in the 1932 catalog illustration better than the 1930 version, as well.
|1932 Model J silencer looked more like that in the old photo.|