Tuesday, January 5, 2010

More details on Royal Enfield mystery bike

The mystery of Jim Luzier's lovely little Royal Enfield motorcycle was solved when his daughter Aimee found a photograph of her father posing with the bike, holding a sign that identified it. The picture, taken as a joke to amuse a friend named Alun in Britain, seemed the best evidence of what the motorcycle was after Jim Luzier died July 15, 2009.

So I was thrilled to see comments on the blog item from Alun Thomas himself, providing more details.

"I'm very, very sad to learn of Jim's passing. We became acquainted through the Hitchcocks Motorcycles web site from early in 2008. Jim had made a beautiful job of the restoration but couldn't fire it up. We spent months going over every aspect of the set-up from carburetor jets to auto-advance, valve timing and points gap. Nothing seemed to work, despite tests proving there was a spark at the plug and fuel in the carb.

"Jim sent me dozens of photos and we checked everything; I pored over the books, dismantled my own bikes, took more photos and wrote emails giving hopeful instructions. We came to the conclusion that the bike was a Hounds Arrow with modifications and, although we could never get it to run properly we did get some signs of life eventually and I like to think we became good friends during the attempt!

"I now think the bike is, most likely, a Hornet, but, at the time, I thought it was built before the Hornet was available. The cylinder head has a single screw in the push rod tunnel (later engines have two) and the frame number is 16573.

"When we began Jim lived in Scapoose, Ore., and I had hoped to visit him there as I have family nearby. In the event, Jim and Aimee moved to Rocklin, Calif. and we never actually met. I last heard from Jim in February, 2009. He had got the bike to run, but only at full throttle. He took great delight in the noise and smoke thus created, but still couldn't get it to idle.

1961 Royal Enfield Hornet

"I really hope Aimee can find a good home for the bike as Jim spent so much time and effort on it, even though he did threaten to set fire to it once or twice! Jim was a gentleman. We are all the poorer for his passing."


  1. Anonymous1/05/2010

    Very sad story re:Jim and his friend Alun. Alun certainly went to great lengths to try and solve his starting problems. I have found RE owners in general to be very helpful. We're a small branch of the British bike tree compared to BSA and Triumph so don't have as much info available.
    You may recall Nate from Colorado also had a Hornet though with a Bullet tank. I bought it from him back in the summer as he was moving to Europe. I am in the process of rehabbing it. Hopefully it will be back together in the spring. I will pass along some photos when I get farther along.

  2. George, that would be terrific. We would love to see them.


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