Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Powerhouse blog features Royal Enfield

A tidal wave of attention washed over the Royal Enfield brand March 31, introducing the motorcycles to unknown (but undoubtedly immense) numbers of people who'd never heard of a Bullet before.

An off-hand question posted on a powerful Internet blog triggered this cyber boost for Royal Enfields, yet many owners and dealers probably missed it. I would have, as well, except for an email from my wife, the multi-media journalism professor. It began with the letters "OMG (Oh My God)."

Royal Enfield, she informed me, had been mentioned on the blog Boing Boing.

"This is AMAZING exposure for Royal Enfields," she wrote. "I mean: Boing Boing is all about the hip people of the moment. It is, according to Technorati (which keeps track), the No. 4 most popular blog in America."

Boing Boing says of itself that it "is a weblog of cultural curiosities and interesting technologies." It also claims to be not No. 4, but in fact the No. 1 most popular blog in the world. Pretty big stuff for a motorcycle that is very well known in India (itself a big place) but not much elsewhere in the world.

The Boing Boing post by Joel Johnson concerning Royal Enfield turns out to be casual and somewhat misinformed. And yet, if you search Google right now for "Royal Enfield Military," Johnson's quite unremarkable post will be No. 5 in the results. Here it is, in its entirety:

"Rob and I are both under the weather today, so pardon if we're not up to our usual military-grade precision. Swiss watches we are, of normal. But today our clockworks are busy churning up phlegm.

"Gross! Why am I...

"So anyway, what do you guys know about Royal Enfield motorcycles? I have been toying with the idea of getting a motorcycle for a while, and I'll probably just try to pick up an old Honda or BMW or Yamaha or Suzuki or whatever since I haven't ridden since I was a kid on the farm, and even then not much. But then I saw this Bullet 500 and it's a real looker, plus its MSRP is only $5,500, which may be about $4k more than I intended to spend, but it's certainly not wildly expensive. And it's apparently got a modern engine, too, and isn't just a cast-for-cast recreation like those Russian BMW clones—Urals, right?—so you don't have to deal with weird stuff like paper air filters and the like. [via Uncrate]

"Probably a stupid idea. Parts are probably a bear to get. I really should just get an old Magna or something and call it a day."

Comments poured in, many of them from Royal Enfield Military owners seeking to provide accurate information. My favorite was from someone who signed himself USONIA:

"A Royal Enfield, on a gadget blog? For a moment, I thought this might have been an April fool! ;-)"

Another good one came from PURLY: "I know nothing about motorcycles, but I approve of this bike. It's adorable!"

There were 58 comments last time I checked, many lengthy, but one of the shorter ones was from Chris Bartlett, who comments here often:

"I own a 2003 Royal Enfield 500 and is runs beautifully. It's easy enough to change your own oil etc and is like riding a time machine. Lots of looks and conversations on these."


  1. Uncrate.com, the site BoingBoing Gadgets credited for finding the RE bike, gets just as much traffic. Note that RE was not on the main page of BoingBoing -- just their gadget sub-blog.

  2. Thank you, DJ. I learn something new every day. I'm working on Twitter now. It's tough on an old guy who still remembers how to change typewriter ribbons.

  3. I thought typewriters typed in pencil back in your day David. ;)

  4. "And it's apparently got a modern engine, too, and isn't just a cast-for-cast recreation like those Russian BMW clones—Urals, right?"

    Wrong. The only thing new BMW's and Urals have in common is the engine layout. It's like saying every V-twin is a H-D clone. Oh, but H-D wasn't the first V-twin...


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