Classic English Bike?!?!?!?!?

Hondax

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This article, although kewl, says somethings I don't agree with. For instance referring to Royal Enfield as a British bike? How about stating that even Triumph is not made in England but oversees, as opposed to Royal Enfield?!?! But wait, when was even one screw made in England for Royal Enfield, during the 60's maybe. I know this guy is using this interview to build business but I can't give him a free pass.

http://wvgazette.com/section/Business/2007032623
 

Toystoretom

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It depends on which Royal Enfield they were talking about. The original company went out of business back in 1970 with a few oddball models lasting until 1972. These were all British.

The bikes made under license in India are not considered Royal Endfields, rather India Enfields, or depending on symantics.. Enfield India.

To confuse things further, Floyd Clymer tried to ressurect the Indian Motorcycle company by selling redesigned Royal Enfields that were re badged as Indian Chiefs, and these bikes were known as Indian Enfields. This was in the 50's.

I'm somewhat of a Royal Enfield nut... I love Bullets, Connies, and Interceptors and have owned some of these in the past. Most of the confusing history can be found in Roy Bacon's book "Royal Enfield, the Post War Models".

If you didn't know... most postwar Royal Enfields were manufactured in a cave were the temperature was a constant, therefore much closer tolerances were obtainable. They also took great pains to balance the crankshaft on several models. Ride a 750 Triumph Bonneville on the Hiway and then switch to an Interceptor, you won't believe the difference in power and smoothness. Those old Interceptors could easily crack 120 mph.

There is a lot of inaccurate info in that article...

I'm sorry... I get carried away with this stuff... I'll go away now..
 
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Sidecar Flip

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Tomo:

I never knew you were an Enfield buff. Of the 2 bikes at the top of my wanted list, a 750 Interceptor and the Norton P11A are paramount. The Interceptor is within striking distance. I have a riding bud north of here that has one. I've even rode it before and I've tried to pry it from his sweaty little mitts but I've had no luck to date. The Interceptors were the giant killers of their day and are still respectable performers even by today's standards. The India Enfields by comparison are crude reminders of a fallen marque. Who, in the sane mind would ride an anemic 500 sidevalver withy an advertised top speed around 68 mph with a tailwind. My late 60's Velocette Thruxton sidevalve single would break 100 and your leg if you didn't follow the proper starting drill.

A 750 Enfield with Boyer Ignition and the Amals on the shelf is a good reliable bike. A bike you can tune with a screwdriver. Just don't miss a powershift. The POD electrics will still leave you in the dark.

I never knew about the Enfields and caves. All of us, when we were born came from a 'cave', but that's another story.:D It did nothing for my tolreances, however.

Are you sure about old Floyd being in the 50's? I thought that he was rebadging RE's in the 60's? Wonder what ever became of Floyd?
 

Toystoretom

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Old Floyd tried more than once to bring back the Indian Marque using Royal Enfields. He had pretty good success in the 50's but that effort eventually died out. He tried again in the 70's and made about 200 500cc singles based on the Enfield bullet but with an Italian Frame and electrics. Along with those he made 7 750cc bikes using the Interceptor motor.

The reason the second attempt had so few bikes to its credit was that poor old Floyd had a massive heart attack at his desk and he was dead before his head hit the table. What made matters worse is that he had no last will and testament, so all of his holdings went into probate. About a million people wanted the Indian name, trademarks, and the rights to manufacture and many of them showed up in court with some pretty flimsy claims against his estate. The problem is with all of that is that it tied up the Indian name in a virtual quagmire even to this day. There are still scams and court battles going on over this. It may never get straightened out.

I know where 3 of the last 500cc singles are at and one of the 7 750cc bikes. No one wants to sell but none of them are doing anything with them and they rot just a little bit more every day. I, too, know of a perfect 1970 Interceptor and have been trying to buy that for years.. I may get the job done one day:D...

I'm always on the lookout for Connies, Clippers, Bullets and Interceptors... they are just too cool...

Velos are another story... I like those too. :D
 

Sidecar Flip

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Tomo:

The absolutely neatest thing on the Velo was the fishtail chrome muffler and the short, Norton like kickstart lever. You could start the 650 Bonnies with your hand on the kickstart. The Velo would break your wrist. My gottahaveit level is rising again.

I try to keep it in check 99% of the time.
 

Hondax

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Tomo and Flip,

Stupid me, I'm just now realizing the breadth and scope some Rocket owners have to English bikes and their grand history. In the early 70's I got totally turned off by the oil drops under brand new Triumphs but you guys steam rolled right on past that itch.:bch: :bch:
 

coyote569

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All the talk about British bikes takes me back to my BSA Lightning, which I thought I would ride for the rest of my life. That didn't work out, but I held my dream of owning a BSA Rocket III, which also didn't work out. It is kind of funny that I replaced the Lighting with a Triumph (Bonneville), and the dream came to reality in the form of a Triumph Rocket III. Yes, I have had a lot of different bikes, including Harleys, over the years, but it feels good to the soul to throw a leg over my Rocket and think back to those early days...
 

Sidecar Flip

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Hondax and Coyote:

That's why Japanese bikes won the hearts of American riders. It wasn't only the 750-4 and the 305 Scrambler, it was the fact that the Japanese split their cases horizontally eliminating the oil drips. If old Brit bikes didn't leak something was wrong. The Japanese are pretty shrewd.

It was always said the Beezers shook and shook hard. I never owned one but I rode with a few A65 lightnings and they didn't shake any harder than my '68 T120 Bonnie. The word of the day then was plenty of Loctite and safety wire. I even lost the oil tank filler cap once. I remember the slogan for Beezers .......riding in a blizzard of nuts and bolts.:D

I think in another post I counted up the number of bikes I've owned over the years and it's around 30. Some were easy to forget and others, most notably the Bonnie, Norton and the Velocette I should have kept. That's why when I was informed a few years back that Triumph had resurrected the Bonnie, I immediately went and bought one and then fulfilled my childhood dream of having a sidecar too.
 

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