Thursday, January 22, 2009

Royal Enfield facilitates time travel

Chris Bartlett, the artist whose file of Royal Enfield photos on Flickr I pointed to recently, was kind enough to provide some biographical information. He explains why he dresses as C-3PO sometimes, but first here's the part that relates to Royal Enfield motorcycles:

"I think while I was waiting my turn to be born on Earth, there was a clerical error and instead of being born in 1940, I was accidentally born in 1970. I love history and I especially love the designs and machines of an earlier time. As an artist, I enjoy yesterday's view of the future. When the guys at work talk about buying brand new Porsches and Corvettes, I look out to the parking lot and see my 1955 (OK, 2003) Royal Enfield and am completely content. When I ride my Enfield, thumping with acceleration out of a curve, I feel like I'm literally on a time machine."

That's what appealed to me about some of Bartlett's pictures: without artificial aging, they pointed toward the past. Here's more about him:

"I'm 38, married, father of four living in Wake Forest, N.C. I'm an artist for Epic Games, and a contractor for Lucasfilm, where I design and build props and costumes. My job these days for them is that I am the Star Wars character C-3PO for any Lucasfilm TV and media appearance that calls for the golden droid. I've been working with LFL since 2003.

"My Enfield story is probably not very different from most others. I bought my '03 500 Bullet in August, 2008. A friend knew I liked and had ridden old motorcycles, but also knew I'd never owned one. He gave me the Royal Enfield brochure and said, 'I thought you'd like this.' I immediately fell in love.

"I was drawn to Enfields first because of their look, and their story, and then the price. The opening of the Indian factory in 1954 and the techs being trained only to build 1955 Enfields... and that I can own one today!

"I've owned several vintage vehicles: the '63 Corvair convertible, the '56 Ford , the '64 Dodge Dart GT, or the'72 Karman Ghia. I feel a tangible pleasure when I look at the impractical curves, or smell the musty interior, or hear the sound of a more primitive engine.

"Since getting my 500 Bullet, I replaced the front fender with the fuller 350 style fender and added a pedestrian slicer. Kevin and the folks over at CMW are very accessible and I got my parts quickly. Hurry up spring!"


  1. Great story -- seen this guy all over the Enfield forums, and after learning a little about him, I have to say that he doesn't sound all that different from me at all!

  2. Josh, I thought the same thing. There must be a common gene. Readers, to see what I'm talking about, look at Josh's blog,


Follow royalenfields on Twitter