Monday, August 13, 2012

How much is an old Royal Enfield worth? It all depends

The email came weeks ago, so I hope that "Dave" has completed his transaction and will not be embarrassed if I use his message now as an example:

"Could you give me a value or range of value for a 1952 Royal Enfield 500cc thumper, that is in totally restored, museum quality condition? Thanks. Dave."

Emails like these are among the most common I receive. That seems perfectly natural, since this blog is devoted to listing Royal Enfield motorcycles for sale in the United States.

But wait. Is Dave in the United States? Prices vary. Any Royal Enfield would be almost one-of-a-kind around here, but not so rare in the UK.

But wait. What model Royal Enfield is it? Dave calls it a "500cc thumper." That would suggest a single cylinder, but the reference material I have tells me the 500cc single came along only in 1953, not 1952. Could Dave's motorcycle be the 500cc twin of 1952? That would make it more valuable to some, less to others.

But wait. Is Dave seeking to price a motorcycle he wants to sell or is he asking the value of a motorcycle he has an eye on buying? Depending on the answer, I'd suggest he ask high but offer low.

Flat-sided tool box lids say "1952"
but the five-speed gearbox says "2012."
But wait. What does "museum quality" mean? There was an ad on CraigsList recently for a beautifully restored "1952" single-cylinder Royal Enfield. But this motorcycle now has 535cc, the seller said, plus the new five-speed transmission and the photos show it wearing the Royal Enfield nacelle that only came along 1954. Beautiful it may be but it is too altered to be a museum piece (and to his credit, this seller did not claim it should be).

Another picture from the same seller with the five-speed
already installed in an obviously much older  Royal Enfield.
Bottom line: There are too many factors at play to answer Dave's question.

Even more important can be the emotional attachment the seller has to the motorcycle, the enthusiasm of the potential buyer and how much a dollar means to each of them at the moment.

And there is one more thing: I am not and do not claim to be an expert on Royal Enfield motorcycles. I'm just an enthusiastic fan of the brand. You can't go by me. All Royal Enfields are under priced, if you ask me!

All I could advise Dave is that he open negotiations and see where the price falls.


  1. AgentX8/13/2012

    $30,000 seems reasonable for a 350 Bullet with a vaguely interesting history and no swingarm bolt... Not kidding. Seriously.

  2. AgentX jokingly refers to a CraigList ad currently offering a 350 Bullet in Florida for $29,900. Although no expert, I feel confident when I say that price is probably too high.

  3. Anonymous1/02/2013

    My husband owns a 1952 500 single Royal Enfield. He was told there were only 17 ever made in 1952. Its all original except for the paintwork.

    1. Anonymous, we would love to see pictures of your 1952 and read it's story. Please contact me by email and I will feature it on this blog. All best.

  4. Anonymous5/01/2015

    Hi to all-- I have a 1963 Royal Enfield 500 sport twin, 3000 miles, that needs TLC to make ridable again ( stored for 35 years). Can anyone recommend someone? ( I am in Montana)
    Randy email


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