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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Royal Enfield Interceptor chopper is odd; but is it obscene?

This running Royal Enfield Interceptor became a chopper project.
A 1969 Royal Enfield Interceptor chopper for sale on eBay in Sterling Heights, Mich. ignited a discussion on the Interceptor Yahoo group.

The topic was entitled, tellingly, "This is just so sad."

"Really a shame that the project got this far," the author of the discussion commented about the radically stripped and altered chopper, with a crude looking strut disabling its rear suspension.

"The motor (and) trans(mission) is all there is worth saving," commented another member.

This is a group almost entirely devoted to saving and restoring the iconic Royal Enfield Interceptors, the fastest (and final) Royal Enfields produced in England before the firm went out of business in 1970. Horror at the damage intentionally done to what had been a running Interceptor is certainly understandable.

Many a dollar and bruised knuckle has gone into members' efforts to authentically restore Interceptors to their glory.

But surprising support for the chopper's unknown creator came from "Royal," the Yahoo groups' moderator.

He made it clear his opinions were meant "in general, not on this particular chopper custom."

He also acknowledged that "After all that, the main purpose of this web site and group to me, remains to restore Interceptors to as close as possible manufacturers spec, design and finish and get them back there on the roads.

"I think we can accept that preferences and tastes differ. If someone wants a rigid instead of a featherbed customization or if someone wants a raked front end, then that doesn't make them less customizers than the guys who prefer clip ons, featherbed and fibre glass tanks, even if many of us don't agree with their choice.

"It does not necessarily make them less of an Interceptor owner. A bit of tolerance goes a long way. Or should we make a list of acceptable Interceptor engine uses, what frames, cross brands, engine and chassis modifications are kosher? I dare anyone to prepare a tick list everyone would subscribe to. Subjectively dismissing builds might create unnecessary issues.

"I know nothing about this chopper bike for instance. But I doubt the starting point of the build was a pristine original bike or even a complete one, not totally composted.

"If there were an Interceptor chopper owner with a completed well polished chopper customization in this group I wouldn't want to alienate him or her, but would hope they would be welcome here and benefit from what the group has to give as well as for them to contribute."

All well and good. "But doing a cafe project is one thing, adding a few aftermarket items to increase reliability or a bit of bling is understandable; but mutilating a rare beauty with that unsafe extended front end and goofy tin work is sad," a member replied. "Unfortunately it was the thing to do in the post 'Easy Rider' '70s."

Full disclosure: I referred to the long forks as "obscene" in an email to one member. So my attitude is clear. Nevertheless, I fantasize about finding a cheap chopper project with a working Interceptor motor. Despairing that it could ever be restored, I would do my best to tuck made-in-India Bullet bodywork around it.

It would be fantastic to go for a ride with friends who expect me to tag along at the back as usual and suddenly disappear over the horizon on my bastard "Bullet."

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