Friday, January 10, 2014

Two videos tell the history of Royal Enfield motorcycles

A Flying Flea in battle, from "Royal Enfield 1901-2013 History."
Two outstanding videos, one old, one new, tell the history of Royal Enfield motorcycle production.

If you watch "Perpetual Motion" and "Royal Enfield 1901-2013 History" you'll know pretty much all you'll need to know about the heritage of Royal Enfield.

"Royal Enfield 1901-2013 History" carries the story all the way to the new Continental GT.

In contrast, "Perpetual Motion" is a 1992 BBC program, but looks much older. Because of its age it includes priceless interviews with Royal Enfield employees, riders and a dealer from the glory days of the brand in Britain. It's a chance to hear how it was from the men who were there.

Both films give India full credit for carrying the brand into the present and, ultimately on into the future.

Both also state or at least imply ("perpetual motion") that Royal Enfield is the oldest motorcycle company "in continuous production."

In his excellent Royal Enfield Virtual Museum, blogger Jorge Pullin points out that Royal Enfield produced only cars, not motorcycles, for a period between 1905 and 1910.

So be careful what you tell your friends.

Perhaps it's ultimately more significant that the Royal Enfield Bullet remains in many respects recognizably the descendant of the motorcycle built in Britain in the 1950s.

"Perpetual Motion" gives the final word to S. Viswanathan, the chairman of Enfield India in the 1980s:

"I will put it this way. If one is asked to design a two-wheeler for utility and comfort of riding — joy of riding — one would design a Bullet today."

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