Friday, February 8, 2019

1999 Royal Enfield goes on stage for auction in Las Vegas

1999 Royal Enfield Bullet Deluxe.
1999 Royal Enfield Deluxe as advertised for Mecum Auction in Las Vegas in January.
Several Royal Enfield motorcycles were on offer at the Mecum Auction in Las Vegas in January. Most were pristine British made models straight out of the history books. One was a made-in-India 1999 Bullet of no particular distinction except that it somewhat resembles the motorcycle in my own garage. It was Mecum Lot G73.

My first reaction: why would anyone go to an auction to bid on something available pretty much every day on CraigsList?

Even the seller seemed to consider this pretty Bullet nothing particularly special. The auction listing included only one photo, and no information, not even the mileage.

But a picture is worth 1,000 words, so let's see what we can see.

We know this is a Deluxe model by its chrome tank and fenders. It still has the stock muffler (normally the first thing an owner replaces) although the motorcycle has been accessorized: the little hood over the headlight appeals to some people.

Also the hand grips are replacements and look to be much better quality than the originals. They may incorporate "bar-end" weights in an attempt to reduce vibration in the handlebars.

The mirrors aren't visible but the stalks look to be the long poles that carry the standard, Mickey-Mouse-ears mirrors. These are often replaced, as mine were, when vibration causes them to get so loose they can't hold an adjustment.

This is a U.S. compliant motorcycle, with the brake pedal moved to the right-hand side, which involves moving the gear shift to the left via an added and very sloppy linkage. (It can be made to work fairly well.)

The headlight is the DOT-approved adjustable lamp that looks slightly too small in its nacelle. The nacelle holds the standard full-size headlight in perfect adjustment in the rest of the world, but the U.S. insists headlights be separately aimed.

The headlight must be smaller to accommodate this and so it throws a noticeably inadequate amount of light at night — ironically forcing the rider of the slowest thing on the road to slow down still more just to keep stopping distance within its dim beam. There used to be a kit available to restore the headlight to the world standard.

The exhaust pipe is slightly blued at the top, a normal indication that the motorcycle has been ridden at least a short distance. The foot-rest and kickstart rubbers are not heavily worn so mileage must be low.

The carburetor and air filter are connected in the original fashion as they should be, an oddly awkward job to perform if they are once removed (as they must be when the attaching rubber hoses tear, as they soon do). Perhaps they have never been removed. Again, low miles seem likely.

Incredibly, all four turn signals seem to be present: their stalks should long ago have dissolved and let them fall. What could have preserved them for two decades? Refrigeration?

I'm of two minds about the seat. It is so new looking that it may be a replacement, but it is the general shape and style of the standard fitment.

The lone photograph, no doubt provided by the seller, shows the bike artlessly posed in the yard. It is crude compared to the carefully staged and lit images of the other Royal Enfields going under the gavel in Las Vegas.

But I still got a 1,000 words out of it. Did I miss anything? Leave a comment below.

According to the Mecum website, the 1999 Royal Enfield sold for $2,090. A respectable figure. Shortly afterwards it turned up, advertised for $2,995 by a Nevada motorcycle store.


  1. Also at that same Mecum Auction there were two R/E Interceptors sold. A 1968 and a 1969, and each one sold for $12,100 .... which is very interesting!

  2. clarkthespark2/09/2019

    David, you're good.


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