Friday, February 25, 2022

Confessions of a confirmed Royal Enfield blogger

The new Royal Enfield Classic 350.
The newest Royal Enfield Classic 350 means I'm not out of a job yet.

 Back when I started RoyalEnfields.com in 2008 people only dreamed that someday Royal Enfield of India might bring back the Royal Enfield Interceptor. That would have seemed too good to be true

 It was too much then even to have imagined that Royal Enfield might give us a new Continental GT (first as a 535 single and then 650cc twin), and then a new Meteor 350.

 Today we hopefully read Royal Enfield's concepts and various "spy shots" as predictions that someday we'll get such wonders as a big V-Twin, maybe like the old Royal Enfield KX of 1938.

 Royal Enfield history leaves a rich trove of treasured names: Super Meteor, Constellation, Continental, Clipper, Super 5. Did you know there was a Royal Enfield "Olympic" in 1965? It was a racy 250cc with drop bars, leading link forks and a styled "enclosure" atop the rear wheel.

There are separate names of Royal Enfield models created for America: Trailblazer, Woodsman, Westerner.

We're unlikely to get some names from the past, such as Fire Arrow (sounds combustible), Hounds Arrow (a bit doggy) or Meteor Minor (for people too young to ride?). Tomahawk, Apache and Chief are too loaded for commercial use and that goes for Crusader, too. Ensign and Prince might sound a bit dull? So, not those.

Scratch Flying Flea, too, although its military memory is safely under the skin of every Royal Enfield enthusiast.

Great names from the past are most appropriate for retro-styled motorcycles that at least nod to the look and character of the originals. This is that special something Royal Enfield has to offer, and I'm delighted the company has shown understanding of its own heritage.

To me, the surest proof of this is the new Royal Enfield Classic 350. This new motorcycle seems to me to be the guarantee that whatever else it may build and sell, Royal Enfield recognizes that the British style motorcycle is its claim to fame. It is promised for the U.S. this riding season and I can't wait to see it.

Things could have gone the other way, you know.

Without Siddhartha Lal's determination to save it, Royal Enfield could have sold out and today the name might appear on imitations of modern motorcycles sheathed in fiberglass, or on mini-clones of Harley-Davidsons. Perhaps Royal Enfield could have disappeared forever, or turned to making household products.

If any of those things had happened I could not have continued blogging about Royal Enfield.

Being a Royal Enfield enthusiast for me isn't about speed, being up-to-date, or fashionable. Really, if I'm truthful, it's about the shadow we cast when the sun is low, of a motorcycle and motorcyclist that has travelled this way before. There is a connection to the past, and to my youth.

By 2008, when I started blogging, Royal Enfield was past the danger point. In 2009 came the Unit Construction Engine in the lovely and very retro new Classic and Royal Enfield's retro Brit-bike future seemed assured. The then new Classic was styled after the Royal Enfield motorcycle of 1951, actually older than the 1955 Royal Enfield my old Bullet resembles. I was delighted.

The newest Classic 350 seems to me to renew the promise that I'll continue to have new Royal Enfields to blog about into the future.

I passed a landmark of my own recently. When my laptop began to slow down I archived more than 4,500 photos of Royal Enfields in the U.S. that had appeared, for sale, on RoyalEnfields.com since 2013. I've gotten kind notes (so far no bad ones) from people who found their Royal Enfield on my blog.

In the process I've been able to get a look at what people are doing to modify their Royal Enfields, and how they're using them.

It has been a great ride.


2 comments:

  1. In case you were wondering, you're sort of a belovéd figure amongst our Horde of the Archaic, and there are more than a few who owe their entry into that group to your blog and the tips you offer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a very nice thing to say, thank you. RoyalEnfields.com is my hobby and I enjoy "meeting" the people I do through it, and constantly learning about Royal Enfield. All best.

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