Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Classic Royal Enfields carried tools in classy cases

This 1911 Royal Enfield Model 160 twin got along with only a small tool kit.
I appreciate the enormously practical toolbox on each side of my 1999 Royal Enfield Bullet. With careful packing, these swallow just about everything I really need to carry. Even my rain gear, if I squeeze!

(In actual fact I find it more convenient to carry the rain gear in a back pack, where it can be stuffed wet and without careful repacking when the sun peeks out again.)

But there is no arguing that the tidy leather tool kits attached to the sides of really old Royal Enfields are attractive. Three Royal Enfields up for auction June 7, 2014 at the Historics at Brooklands event captured my eye.

The Royal Enfield gun embellishes the tool box of this 1911 Model 160.
Here are three lovely vintage machines, separated by decades, with a distinctly similar take on how tools are to be carried.

The 1927 Model K has much the same kit, but one on each side.
These old motorcycles undoubtedly needed much fiddling. Nevertheless, the accomplished roadside mechanic apparently was expected to do with no more tools than a woman of today could carry in her purse.

(Now there's a thought!)

The 1932 Model K still offers two leather kit bags.
In each case, the leather box seems to be supported and encased to some degree by a metal structure attached to the motorcycle. It would be only one step more to put a hinged metal door on it, but this was years in coming.

Lovely as these tool boxes are, the streamlined, all-metal toolboxes on the post-war Bullet must have seemed thrillingly modern and convenient when they came along.


  1. Anonymous5/28/2014

    The old style leather toolboxes are far superior to the cheap and nasty tin boxes found on later machines - quite so .
    You see old chap , they are long and rectangular and therefore admirably dimensioned for the containment of spanners , screwdrivers and the like . Treated with a beeswax concoction they would be waterproof and made of leather would not rattle or rust - 'deed not . They seem to have lasted more than 80 years in some case , so there can't be much wrong with 'em .
    Bad form to wear a "backpack" , haaaarumph , apart from looking like a ghastly teenager or a nancy boy , one is badly equipped for a trip of any distance - don't yer know . Far better to have waterproofs in a purpose made bag that can be strapped to the bike semi permanent fashion , mmn yes , I think so . One is also less likely to forget the ruddy thing .
    As for meself , I adjourn to the nearest hostelry and wait out the storm .Rain can be a blessing at times . Or if needs must ,I'll put up the rain cover on the sidecar and make Ballsack drive the outfit home - eh what - haaar haaaaaar haaaaaaaaaaaaaar!
    Your servant ,
    Maj Bunty Golightly MBH , Defender of the Kickstart , Companion of the Royal Floatchamber .


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