Friday, April 24, 2015

Royal Enfield Interceptor chopper just looks sad

This Royal Enfield Interceptor chopper seems to be pleading "save me!"
Predictably, the sad little chopper for sale on eBay in Dallas, Texas drew negative comments from the Yahoo Interceptor group.

Why? "Because choppers are the Spawn of Sayton. They are about as respectable as a Enfield powered guillotine," one member commented.

The present seller of the Interceptor chopper was careful to note in his ad that he is not responsible for the chop job. This was what the motorcycle was like when he bought it.

He writes, frankly: "It will require a lot of time and effort to convert back to stock trim. These are rare bikes."

Whatever the previous owner's plan had been for the chopper, it hadn't gone far. The raked frame, extended fork, tall handlebars and a mangled front fender appeared about the extent of it.

No obvious added chrome; no shiny front disk brake; no hard tail conversion. Even the Interceptor's original instruments appear to be there, at a cockeyed angle. Not much artistry here.

Somehow the lack of change seemed to make it worse; as though the whole point had simply been to ruin the purity of the original design, while contributing nothing of value.

While recognizing that this project fails to rise to a level worthy of art criticism, I contacted Paul d'Orléans for comment.

He is the respected authority on vintage motorcycles, writing on the The Vintagent blog. He is the co-author of the coffee table book Café Racers, Speed, Style and Ton-Up Culture, an examination of that phenomenon.

More recently, d'Orléans surprised himself when, turning his attention to choppers in the book The Chopper: The Real Story he discovered a fascinating subculture full of ground-breaking creativity.

His comment on the eBay Interceptor:

"A well-executed chopper is worthy of preservation as an example of a native Folk Art impulse, and I'm certain history will bear me out on this point. Choppers are perhaps the most neglected Art branch of all, being laden with considerable unpleasant baggage since the mid-1960s, with films like 'The Wild Angels' and reams of scare-press generated to make profits at the expense of a very small yet flamboyantly visible subculture. Original-condition choppers from the 1940s-'60s are extremely rare today, and should be preserved for the future — I'm curating an exhibit of such beasts at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa this summer.

"That said, the Royal Enfield chopper currently on eBay is a botch job, unformed and stillborn, so deserves to die, that it might be reborn."

Thank you, Paul. Now back to my opinions!

Personally, I like a fully realized Royal Enfield Interceptor chopper, built back in the day. One like this example. Hey, I was young once, too.

Officially now a senior citizen, I find the aggressive, in-your-face attitude of modern choppers unappealing. There is no doubt in my mind that the extended forks and high-rise handlebars are the equivalent of a middle-fingered salute to the world.

The chopper rider doesn't care what I think and, as a matter of fact, he prefers that I feel intimidated by a machine that is deliberately made difficult to steer and look-at-me loud. I'm not "man enough" in this guy's book.

Well, it's just a pose; I can take a joke. Behind the shades is a fellow who works for a living — probably at something useful to society and boring to him. Let him have his fun on the weekends.

But not with this Interceptor!


  1. See what's salvageable on this unfortunate bike (chances are there's more than you'd think). Make a list of what you'll need from NOS parts (there's plenty out there) and get to work. Otherwise, what you have is a giant plant stand.

  2. That poor Interceptor.
    What did it ever do to deserve that treatment?
    Somebody save it please!

  3. Find a wideline frame and give what's salvageable a loving home

  4. Find a wideline frame and give what's salvageable a loving home


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