Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Royal Enfield hires designer Pierre Terblanche

Royal Enfield brings on Pierre Terblanche.
(Photo from Twisting Asphalt.)
Royal Enfield has engaged the services of Pierre Terblanche, a South African widely considered "one of the most influential motorcycle designers in the world today."

Rather a surprising move from a company that hasn't found the need to change the basic look of its most iconic products since — actually? — at least 1955.

Most famous for his designs at Ducati, Terblanche is responsible for motorcycles that look to me to be nothing at all like any Royal Enfield marketed so far.

Here's a short YouTube video of Terblanche discussing one of his Ducati designs. Never mind the motorcycle. Watch the way he strokes the motorcycle with his hand as he speaks.

This is a person who cares about design. He obviously hasn't joined Royal Enfield to reinterpret the glories of its 1949 model.

And Royal Enfield hasn't hired him to turn back the clock. Here's the quote from Siddhartha Lal, managing director and CEO of parent company Eicher Motors Ltd.:

"I am very excited that Pierre Terblanche has recently joined our team; he is one of the most prolific industrial designers for motorcycles, and is best known for having created some extra-ordinary motorcycles as the head of design for Ducati for over a decade."

The key words there are probably "extra-ordinary." On Twitter Lal referred to Terblanche as "the motorcycle design genius of our generation."

The BikeEXIF interview with Pierre Terblanche is three years old, but it is revealing and it is the link Lal provided on his Twitter feed.  It may provide a further clue to what Lal is thinking Terblanche can bring to Royal Enfield.

My favorite part is Terblanche's reply to a critic under "Comments."

"You have to remember that I am a designer and that we are notoriously romantic."

I like that.

I also liked his passing reference to the classic (and often beautiful) fighter planes of World War II.

"I like Spitfires. Not as much as the Mustang P-51 or the P-38. But it's nice."

1 comment:

  1. I wish him my best. Maybe he'll be the one to tell Sid and his pals that "your machine has no balls" and you better get some before any hyper motard window dressing. Otherwise it's just an expensive design exercise at the investors' expense.


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