Friday, August 17, 2018

Royal Enfield road bicycle of the '80s is a rare sight

1980s Royal Enfield bicycle for saile in Lawrenceburg, Ind. still looks fresh.
It's a cool looking "Royal Enfield" bicycle, but it's no product of the old Royal Enfield of Redditch, England, or the modern Royal Enfield of Chennai, India.

No, the Royal Enfield AERO Grand Prix 12-speed, for sale on CraigsList in Lawrenceburg, Ind, is a Japanese bicycle. It is one of a wide variety of bikes sold under the Royal Enfield name in the 1980s by an American company.

Rights to the Royal Enfield name briefly belonged to George Joannou's company. Joannou's biography credits him as as the "original pioneer of lightweight English bicycles to the United States." He started in 1937!

By the 1980s, of course, his bicycles imported into the U.S. tended to come from Asia, not England.

Royal Enfield badge gives no hint where it's made.
These Royal Enfield bicycles were sold by the G. Joannou Cycle Co., Inc., of Northvale, N.J. There is a 1983 catalog of the company's offerings in the online files of the Yahoo Bicycle Restoration group.

Most of the bikes were recreational models, or for children, and were not terribly expensive although more than you would have paid for department store bicycles at the time.

The AERO Grand Prix road bike was an exception.

At first, the asking price on CraigsList sruck me as high: $349.

Here's the Royal Enfield AERO Grand Prix bicycle in the 1983 catalog.
But then I took a look at the price list in the 1983 brochure. Dealer cost for the AERO Grand Prix was $335. With inflation, that would be $850 today! You'd have paid more at the retail store, of course.

At that price, not many could have been sold. Which makes the CraigsList bike possibly a good deal for a collector of road bike rarities.

This could be a catalog photo but it's the actual bicycle for sale in Ohio.
It appears to be in very good shape. It even appears to have the original "KASHIMAX Aero Super Pro Silver" saddle visible in the 1983 catalog photo.

If I lived close by — and didn't already have five bicycles in the garage — I'd take a look at it.


"Made In Japan" sticker leaves no doubt where it's from.

2 comments:

  1. David - that would be in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, which is in the southeast part of Indiana. It is just a few miles west of Cincinnati, Ohio, and is home to the well known, among racing fans, Lawrenceburg Speedway. That would be a great find and buy for someone!

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