Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Royal Enfield tricycle is still making rainbows

Royal Enfield tricycle has water barrel and spray nozzle.
A Royal Enfield tricycle that generates rainbows caught my attention when it was offered for sale on eBay.

It didn't sell, but its creator, Matt Rink, spotted the item I wrote and contacted me with more information about his intriguing creation.

Attention museums and discovery centers: Matt is now willing to accept offers substantially below his original asking price just to see it find a good home. I think children in particular would be delighted and inspired by this clever piece of functional art. Contact him at His website is

"Just to give you a little background, I found this trike at the Pickens County flea market in South Carolina back in the fall of 2009 when I was pursuing my masters in art at Clemson University," Matt wrote.

Royal Enfield badge was standard; fender ornament wasn't.
"Picked it up in pretty rough shape for about 30 bucks. Only knowing of Royal Enfield by their motorcycle heritage, I was equally baffled and found inconclusive information online about their origin. Judging by the mechanicals, I figured the bike was from the '60s or '70s, probably not too much earlier.

"There are no markings indicating a country of origin... It appeared to originally be a three speed, but with a roached derailleur and no shifter, I opted for a new single-speed chain and tensioned the chain by pulling back on the rear part of the frame.

"I stripped the bike down, bead-blasted the frame and all small parts. Swapped the bent front fork for another newer one that I had on hand and replaced the seized-up front brake with a newer model cantilever. Did some welding on the rims to fix the tire bead, which was corroding, and picked up some new white wall tires. As part of my thesis (don't laugh because this is actually what we can get away with in the art world) I set up a rainbow making mechanism to create impromptu visual absurdity around Clemson.

See the rainbow? Now you can make your own!
"It was a blast to ride around and definitely got a lot of attention.

"The tear-drop trailer, which I fabricated from scratch, held a gas generator and powered the fan, which actually inflated some parachute sculptures. All in good fun!

Fan mounted on trailer inflates balloon sculptures. Of course!
"I just moved to a new apartment in New Fairfield, Conn., where I'm sharing a 4,000 square-foot fabrication studio complete with all sorts of fun equipment for metal and wood-working. During my days I work as a carpenter and nights, weekends and all other time is spent applying for public art sculpture commissions, building furniture and working on bikes, jeeps and whatever else I can get my hands on. I also like to ride them whenever I can!"

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