Sunday, January 10, 2016

Royal Enfield shines at Miami motorcycle show

Custom gray Royal Enfield Continental GT at Miami motorcycle show.
I walked into the International Motorcycle Show in Miami Jan. 9 expecting to have to look around for the Royal Enfield display. But there it was, just beyond the entrance doors. You couldn't miss it.

It was no surprise to see Battle Green and Chrome C5s and a red Continental GT on display, along with a British racing green Bullet (in center stage).

I wasn't expecting the dark gray custom GT on display. It gives quite a different feel than the iconic red model and shows what can be accomplished with color.

This dramatic and tasteful custom was in marked contrast to the gaudy and undignified showboats displayed elsewhere at the show. You know the kind of thing I mean: is that a motorcycle or a parade float?

Three young women pose for iPhone photos on Royal Enfields.
I was also pleased to find Nadine De Freitas there, sitting nonchalantly on the Battle Green Royal Enfield.

Here's the rider who took Royal Enfield to its latest glory at Bonneville. And here she is, available to talk with anyone passing by who is curious about what the heck is a Royal Enfield.

I kept trying to get Nadine to tell me how she casually brings up in conversation the fact that she rode a Royal Enfield Continental GT to a class record on the salt.

She just didn't seem to think it was any problem. I guess, when you've done that kind of thing, you're more matter-of-fact about it.

Nadine De Freitas, left, and Breeann Poland on hand to meet show goers.
Also talking to interested show goers was Breeann Poland, digital and social media manager for Royal Enfield North America.

Crowds were thinning by this hour, near closing time Saturday, but Breeann and Nadine told me they'd had a lot of interest in Royal Enfield during the day.

Nadine said people liked the handy size of the Royal Enfields, particularly the ability for most people to get their feet on the ground when seated on the bike. They liked the color of the Battle Green. They liked the history of the brand. And, especially, they liked the "price point," she said.

Brand new Royal Enfield looks a LOT like they have since 1955...
As far as marketing Royal Enfield in North America, Breeann emphasized personal contact: getting conversations started wherever bikers gather. In fact, she mentioned bringing Royal Enfield to the attention of people who don't ride yet.

That sounded like a much more from-the-ground-up strategy than I would have expected.

Show goers could pick up a very impressive (expensive looking) oversize catalog with full specifications on each model as well as center pages about the brand's history back to 1891. This piece was virtually a collectible itself.

"So what you get is not another replicable machine, but a rare, handcrafted motorcycle that has character and soul," the booklet notes.  I agree, of course, but I really just wanted to find an excuse to repeat the word "replicable."

Naturally I asked Breeann the important question about upcoming Royal Enfield products.

...but they also come in "fancy..."
To which she responded: "I'm not allowed to answer that question."

But she did offer this:

"All I can say is, don't give up hope."

...and "fun." Note parade float in background.

Please patronize our advertisers

Translate this blog