Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Accessories and gizmos for my Royal Enfield

Obsolete handlebar AM radio is just the thing for a Royal Enfield.
Of all the accessories available for Royal Enfield motorcycles, it's the odd ones I like best. Let me explain:

Every Christmas, my Mom would send a check instead of a present.

"Get what you want," she'd write. This wouldn't do for my Dad.

My father would send a box containing a variety of wacky presents, each "Christmas wrapped" in old newspaper.

My wife and I would open these, marveling at the year's take of what can only be described as "gizmos." Strange as they were, they were wonderful in their way.

One I've always treasured is a square plastic AM radio meant to be attached to the handlebars of a bicycle. It's a Radio Shack Archer Road Patrol, powered by four "C" batteries and incorporating an electric horn.

Obviously impractical, its made-in-Hong-Kong guts would be shaken apart on the handlebars of any bicycle. But I would attach it to my Royal Enfield Bullet in a minute, if only it fit (the plate holding the Bullet's bars obstructs it).

You could never hear it "play" over the roar of the wind, and the horn would sound silly. But I love the whole cockeyed notion of it.

Another handlebar accessory I would love is one of the shiny "bullet" headlamps like the one I really did have on my bicycle as a kid. Mine was powered by two "D" cell batteries and even on a bicycle didn't cast enough light to be useful. But I loved the look.

You can buy new ones on eBay in plastic, but for my Bullet I'd have to have it in metal. Not many of those will still be around, as their shiny "chrome" soon rusted off.

Tinny metal headlight would look grand; note the wire providing power.
One appeared recently on a vintage bike for sale on eBay; it had a terminal for electrical wiring so it might even have cast some light!

Another accessory I've always wanted is a long, tube-styled air pump. Yes, the modern compact versions are wonderful, but those don't interest me.

Nfield Gear sells a vintage looking pump with screw-on clips. When I was a kid, English bicycles always had the hooks to secure the long pumps, but the pumps themselves were usually missing. I assume they were stolen, but they may have fallen off, which might make you think twice about putting one of these things anywhere near your spokes.

Air pump was obviously original equipment on this 1950s Royal Enfield.
But Royal Enfields did really have these pumps back in the day. A photo of a pump installation I like recently showed up in an eBay ad for a circa-1956 Royal Enfield. It shows the pump apparently well secured by metal tabs as well as the end hooks.

My parents have passed, so it's no longer a matter of "get what you want" or finding an odd accessory wrapped in newspaper. I miss those days.

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