Monday, April 4, 2011

Photos show Royal Enfield project bikes in Japan

Royal Enfield restoration project on the road, by truck.
Two days after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan I was idly cleaning out email when I stumbled across one I'd somehow missed, from a Royal Enfield owner — in Japan.

Chris Jeavons had written me in November, 2010, but I'd never noticed his message or read it. I immediately checked the map and saw that his home, Fukuoka, was not in northeast Japan. Even so, I wondered how his life had changed and how relevant my answer might be now, four months and a devastating natural disaster since he wrote it.

"I am a 45-year-old British guy originally from a place 8 miles outside Redditch, Midlands, UK," Chris had written.

What stories does it have to tell?
"I have just bought two 1996 350cc Bullets from a guy who imported them into Japan (maybe not realizing differences in export and local models), with a view to selling them on. The red one is a Deluxe that has been dismantled and stored inside for 10 years whilst the black one was left outside for the same period. This will be my first project and I have so many questions; is there a good starting place regarding restoration to look on the web, and also are there any publications you might recommend?"

He attached the pictures here of his bikes coming home and in their new dry storage. Based on the links on his email, I guessed that he runs The English Event Company, an English language school and event company in Japan. His website and Youtube channel are full of lovely pictures of customers, family and staff enjoying themselves.  I found myself hoping that everyone was still smiling.

I wrote back:

"I very much hope that this return email finds you reasonably secure. The whole world has been stunned by what has happened in Japan. Probably it seems a bit late to reply to your questions now and, I am afraid, I am not a fountain of information, having never restored a motorcycle myself. However, I always recommend joining the Royal Enfield Yahoo message group and asking any questions you have there. Many on that forum are experts and will help you if they can. Again, I hope you are well."

Would I get a reply? I am delighted and relieved to say that I did.

"Dear David, I greatly appreciate your reply, I guessed something like that was the reason, judging by your excellent blog and postings. Thank you for your thoughts and advice. Fortunately we are in the south on the island of Kyushu in a beautiful city called Fukuoka about 800 miles away from the real devastation. I am intending to crack on with my restoration this spring with the help of another local Brit and see what we can do. Fortunately I have bits and pieces from a seconds bike to help. Once again I really appreciate your reply and look forward to keeping you informed with my progress. Best regards, Chris"

I look forward to seeing the project take shape. It's always fun to watch somebody else do the work.
It's all there, somewhere.

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