Friday, September 7, 2012

Royal Enfield Quality Bicycles were Made in Japan

This attractive Royal Enfield ladies bicycle is obviously nearly new. 
Royal Enfields, both motorcycles and bicycles, were made in Great Britain originally, and the motorcycles are still made in India.

Used but still newish Royal Enfield bicycles, most labelled "Royal Enfield Quality Bicycle," still turn up for sale frequently. But where are they coming from?

One probably safe assumption is that they come from Japan. The British company itself may have sourced parts and perhaps whole bicycles there toward the end of its life in the 1960s. Perhaps a supplier carried on production, at least for a time.

Now there's some hard evidence, in the form of a red ladies bicycle offered for sale on CraigsList  in Iowa City, Iowa.

Silver tag just above the fork appears to read "Made in Japan."
The headtube of this bicycle proudly carries the Royal Enfield Quality Bicycle badge. Beneath it is a silver label that to my eyes appears to read "Made in Japan."

So, that mystery is solved. But I still have a couple questions: Are they still in production? And do they have any, even tenuous connection to Royal Enfield England?

It's a Royal Enfield; but who built it, and when?

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