Which brings me to the reason for this posting. I remember with affection those Royal Enfields I owned over 50 years ago. I have often hankered to own another. I could have bought an original to recondition, but age and a prostate operation have led to a drawback – no electric starters in those days and kick-starting a 500cc single cylinder is only for the young and active! But, praise be, India has now equipped their time-warp machines with electric starters. A chance trawl in eBay brought up a 2005 model so equipped. I succumbed and won the auction for it.
My 48th motorcycle, it now shares the garage with the BMW and the Honda scooter. By no means a motorway rocket, it is happiest thumping along between 50 and 60 miles per hour, but returns an incredible 85 miles to each gallon of petrol. In this manner one enters an earlier motoring world - delightful, serene and relaxed. Almost without exception, whenever I park it I am engaged in conversation; “I had one of those when young”, “Is it original?” etc.
There is something about the exhaust beat of a “big single”. Akin to the chug – chug – chug of a traditional canal barge, it is deeply relaxing and pleasurable. Some have said that this is the result of spending 9 months nestling in the womb under a mother’s steady heartbeat.
Here is a picture of the beast (It has been re-registered with a 1963 number plate - the year I first owned a Royal Enfield) There is not a lot of superficial difference between it and the1956 version above, but it has an ELECTRIC STARTER!
(click either photo to enlarge)