Thursday, April 18, 2019

Royal Enfield celebrates its new 650 twins in 8 cities

Royal Enfield Pick Your Play logo.
The Royal Enfield INT650 and Continental GT 650 launch at eight North American cities.
Royal Enfield North America is calling it "the Royal Enfield North America, Consumer Twins Demo Launch."

It's a big name for a Big Event. It will showcase the Continental GT 650 and INT650 twin-cylinder motorcycles in eight cities during May through June. Food, drink, demo rides, live music and local vendors are geared to make each venue unique.

Miami, Florida, Saturday, May 11.

Summit Point, West Virginia, Saturday, May 18.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Saturday, June 1.

Toronto, Ontario, Saturday, June 8.

Denver, Colorado, Saturday, June 15.

Monterey, California, Saturday, June 22.

Brea, California, Saturday, June 29.

San Diego, California, Sunday, June 30.

Note that the Summit Point Motorsports Park event May 18 promises a chance to ride on the track, "with no speed limits." The others emphasize enjoying the characteristics of the cities, or taking advantage of a concurrent motorcycle show.

The events are free, but you must RSVP to attend. Click on the cities above and scroll down to sign up to be on the list and get event updates.

Meanwhile, and most importantly, local dealers will begin stocking the Royal Enfield 650cc twins for sale.

"We are bringing the legacy of this lifestyle brand into the present in a way the world has never experienced before," the website enthuses.

Big Talk? I suspect the point is that in buying one of these groundbreaking (for Royal Enfield) motorcycles you are buying not just two wheels, but membership in a heritage that no motorcycle  brands have offered in America except Harley-Davidson and Indian.

It's a remarkable claim given that the motorcycles themselves — the classically styled INT650 ("Interceptor" in the rest of the world) and Continental GT 650 cafe racer — are deliberately mild in specification. Thoroughly modern, yes, but easy to ride, unintimidating and understressed.

And hopefully reliable. They come with a three-year unlimited mileage warranty and roadside assistance.

Along with their attractively modest prices (starting at MSRP $5,799 in the U.S.), the Royal Enfield twins are, executives keep saying, "accessible."

Other modern motorcycles are so aggressive in size, power, style and marketing that their slogan might as well be "Get the Women and Children Off the Streets!"

Royal Enfield, in contrast, might say "Hairy Chest Not Required." The young, the female and people new to motorcycling are welcome customers.

At Royal Enfield they can buy not just a plastic scooter but real motorcycles proud of their looks and their legacy, which extends back to the beginning of motorized transportation.

And what a legacy it is. The Royal Enfield Interceptor was the sexiest British motorcycle of the Swinging '60s, while the Royal Enfield Continental GT was the cafe racer every British kid wanted back then.

The fact that three of the eight venues on the launch tour are in California tells all you need to know about the connection those Royal Enfields had to that era. Think youth, sun, fun and rock'n'roll.

Friday, April 12, 2019

His Royal Enfield sidecar rig takes him surfing

Motorcycle and sidecar with surfboard on top.
Bruce Gipson likes to surf. Now he can ride his Royal Enfield to the beach.
"Thought you might want to see the quick-release rack I built for my Royal Enfield so I can take my surfboard and surfski," said the email from Bruce Gipson, of Boca Raton, Fla.

"Works well!"

The photos he attached showed a Battle Green Royal Enfield sidecar rig with a surfboard on top.

And not just a surfboard: a "surfski" (a high-performance kayak) took a turn up there too. It's longer than a car!

Was this even possible, I asked?

"Yes, I have tested it out already," Bruce replied. "The Fenn surfski is 21 feet and 24 pounds (I am a surfski  and watersports dealer). Just won't take it in heavy side wind."

Motorcycle and sidecar with surfboard on top.
Bruce says the surfboard has no effect on performance up to 50 mph.
"I bought the bike brand new in 2014," Bruce wrote. "I just added the sidecar a month ago and did the rack system... I kayak and surf all the time — more now that  am retired from Miami Beach Fire Department. I am two miles from the beach so I figured why not get in a ride and surf or kayak along with it?

"I used SteelTek products from Loews. All you need is one Allen wrench and a hack saw or reciprocal saw. There are about a dozen different connectors with set screws. I used one-inch structural tubing. I can remove that whole rack from the base connectors just by loosening eight set screws in seconds.

"The crossbars are all adjustable so I can set the top bars to any height and more crossbars can be added in seconds just by adding more connectors. I used "U" brackets to connect two-by-fours under the front of the sidecar and on the top of the rubber suspension in the rear.

Motorcycle and sidecar with surfboard on top.
Royal Enfield is just as cool looking as a woody wagon or VW bus.
"Really works well — I don't feel any difference with the surfboard up to 50 mph. The kayak is just more difficult if you have a side wind...

"It does not have to be that high on the rack but gives more options and unobstructed view."

Motorcycle and sidecar with kayak on top.
Surfski kayak is longer than a car, weighs about 24 pounds.
No sooner did I absorb Bruce's design than I encountered a custom Ural sidecar with topside surfboard, being offered as the prize in the Paddle and Pistons contest by paddle equipment maker Bote. (Entries due by May 31, 2019, if you're interested.)

Do great minds think alike?

Bote posted this video of the Ural outfit.



"You'll never see anything like this again," Bote boasted.

They were wrong about that. "Thanks for the link about the Ural," Bruce responded.

"That one looks like a more permanent, non-removable rack, but nice job. I did it all for about $100."

Only a hundred dollars? That, has to be the final word, on that.

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