Friday, March 3, 2023

Shock! 2001 invoice for Royal Enfield

2001 invoice for Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle.
Invoice for my 1999 Royal Enfield Bullet. 
Actual out-the-door cost in 2001 was $4,100. 

 How much did you pay for your Royal Enfield?

Look up that old bill of sale. The answer may surprise even you. (I'm still amazed at what I paid for mine.) 

Recently a 1986 invoice for a 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet purchased in India went viral. Here's why: the 1986 price struck customers in India as incredibly cheap compared to what a Royal Enfield costs in India today. 

Judging by the number of times this 37-year-old invoice showed up on social media, the price "increase" over time was seen as flabbergasting. But in fact, the reverse was true. It was the 1986 price that, adjusted for inflation, was more expensive. 

Jorge Pullin notes on his blog My Royal Enfields that the 1986 price on the invoice, adjusted for inflation, is actually more than a Royal Enfield 350 costs today! 

And, indeed: today's Royal Enfields do seem incredibly cheap to me. 

Here's why: my 1999 Royal Enfield Bullet came with no electric start, no ABS, no passenger seat and a headlight so dim you have to squint into the darkness to see anything. Tripper navigation, five (or six!) speed gearbox and disc brakes were unthought of when I bought my Royal Enfield in 2001.

Yet my Royal Enfield Bullet cost me $4,100 U.S. dollars, and I considered that a real bargain at the time. (At the time I considered almost any motorcycle a bargain, compared to the automobile I would have needed to buy instead.) Adjusted for inflation, that price was the equivalent of $6,900 in 2023.

Today that will buy you a technically vastly superior, brand new 2023 Royal Enfield motorcycle.

Now THAT is a real bargain.

Man about to board Royal Enfield motorcycle.
Me leaving work in 2001 on my new Royal Enfield Bullet.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3/10/2023

    Greetings! I just bought a brand new 350 Meteor for 4200 euros here in Germany. It felt like a real bargain to me, considering what you get. I suppose 20+ years ago Enfields were pretty exotic in the US, and with all the customs and excise taxes put on anything coming from India, it's a wonder they didn't cost even more.


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