Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Royal Enfield Interceptor Group gets down to brass tacks

Is this the last roll of correct vintage Royal Enfield seat cover material?
India's Royal Enfield is widely believed to be about to announce a new parallel twin motorcycle that will revive memories of the iconic Interceptor, produced by Royal Enfield in England in the 1960s.

If and when it does, I will be watching for reaction from the denizens of the Royal Enfield Interceptor Owners Group on Yahoo.

These are the guys who have devoted time and treasure to restoring and maintaining their beloved but balky 50-year-old Interceptors and other Royal Enfield twins.

Their judgement of any "New Interceptor" could vary from a hearty "Nice Try!" to a disappointed "No Thanks."

Whatever the reaction, it will be fun eavesdropping on the conversation.

I don't own a Royal Enfield twin. But I monitor the Interceptor Group closely because these guys are so knowledgeable — and funny.

The group recently spent considerable time debating whether a particular washer goes on the motor square-side up or rounded-side up. Either way works, but which is correct? (Rounded side — chamfered, really — seemed to be victorious.)

Recently the old matter of seat pans reared up once again. Royal Enfield Interceptor seat pans came in different lengths — or they didn't. Seat pans are the metal trays that support the seat foam (some seat pans might have been plastic — more mystery).

Some attachment holes in some seat pans are easily explained as these would accommodate the various sizes of available gas tanks. Other holes, though, are mysterious.

It may be the case that Britain's Royal Enfield, at the end of its existence, employed the same seat pans for the mighty 750cc Interceptor that had been used on its much smaller 250cc models.

Sounds like a desperate measure. But it actually makes sense, one group member pointed out, "as the same sized riders rode both models."

So, since the frame of the larger motorcycle would be larger than the frame of the smaller anyway, it actually made sense to adjust the rest of the motorcycle to fit the seat.

That's seat of the pants thinking, if you ask me.

The seat pan discussion veered off to consideration of the gray-checked material once used to cover Royal Enfield motorcycle seats.

An exciting development! A seller in Brierley Hill, West Mids, UK believes he has found what may be the very last original roll of the material and is selling it off on eBay in one-foot lengths.

He's asking about $15 a foot, but nevermind the cost! It's correct.

UPDATE: Lest anyone think I am making any of this up, Interceptor Group member Chris Overton has subsequently removed the seats from four Royal Enfields of the 1960s, including big twins and a 250cc model, and measured them.

They are the same length, but Chris discovered a fascinating variation. In later years the seat pans have an upwards "dent" in the bottom to clear the rear fender. Earlier years use a bracket and bolts to get the clearance. Chris surmises that the dent eliminated the cost and complication of the bracket.

ADDENDUM: Re-reading this post I fear it could be interpreted as unjustified criticism from someone who, as an eavesdropper, contributes nothing of value to the group.

What I in fact mean to convey is my own sense of  appreciation for the depth of knowledge that exists among members of this group, and my wonderment at the breadth of discussions that arise.

If I have offended anyone, I beg pardon. In fact, I recommend the Royal Enfield Interceptor Owners Group to everyone interested in Royal Enfield motorcycles. It's informative and — I say this unashamedly — fun.


  1. Anonymous3/09/2016

    Okay.......C'mon Sid, C'mon Rod: show us what you've got and do it with more enthusiasm than that extremely uncomfortable Himalayan rollout. I thought I was watching the Watergate hearings all over again. Let's go!

  2. A NEW INTERCEPTOR!!! If I were the marketing director on this I would hire Eric Burdon of the Animals as my spokesman with the tagline, "Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted." Even if the bike didn't cut it, Eric might get more mileage out of that album.


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