Friday, March 26, 2021

Nine great names for motorcycles and one that isn't

Person holding Royal Enfield INT 650 side cover.
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is called the INT 650 in the U.S.

Writer Michael Weyer reveals his nine favorite names for motorcycles in a recent column on

He also names his choice for the worst-ever motorcycle name. I won't give that one away (go read his column).

But I think his nine favorites are so well known you won't be surprised. They're all so great that I'm not certain what order he has them in, but whether it's top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top, I like the one right in the middle:

The Royal Enfield Interceptor.

The rest are:

BSA Thunderbolt (and sister Lightning).

Velocette Viper.

BSA Spitfire.

Norton Commando.

Triumph Thunderbird (and Thunderbird Storm).

Kawasaki Ninja.

Velocette Venom.

Vincent Black Shadow.

Note that all but one of his favorites is on a British motorcycle, although others have used them.

Honda has used the name "Interceptor" and still owns that trademark for use in the United States. This means that, in the U.S., Royal Enfield's Interceptor 650 must be marked and marketed as the "INT 650."

This drives reader John Donlon of Illinois wild.

"INT 650 belongs on the shipping crate and not on the machine," he told Royal Enfield more than a year ago. He thinks Royal Enfield should be trademarking the great names from its past more often.

He was happy to see Royal Enfield bring back the "Meteor" name for its latest new model (even though the name is on a single-cylinder motorcycle while the original Royal Enfield Meteor was a twin).

John thinks Royal Enfield needs to do the same with "Constellation." He noted that all it takes is "a filing fee and a stroke of a pen" to pin down the legacy of that famous motorcycle name (as long as no one else gets there first).

Last time I looked, the Constellation name was still available for motorcycles.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3/27/2021

    Thinking of ridiculous motorcycle names, the BSA Beaver deserves some recognition.
    Can you imagine a conversation something like this : "I just rode a new Beaver !... We don't need to know about yer personal life mate." LOL

    The 50's and 60's were a time when the space age sparked everyone's imagination, hence all the references to rockets and celestial things like Meteors and Constellations. And then to denote an upgrade in power, the factory got creative and added "super" to the moniker. Or as I like to say- SOOP-er Meteor !!


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