The ideal bike?
I’ve been reading OBA for some time now (12-15 years) and thoroughly enjoy it. See if you can resurrect Mr Jessop. On a good day he is priceless. But my reason for writing has to do with a bit of reminiscing. The thing which caught my eye was the photo of Ron Weste in ‘Under the Chequered Flag’ in OBA 80. Sad and all as these matters are (sincere condolences to the Weste family, we have never met), I couldn’t help but notice his broad smile, as he sat astride a brand new Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 twin.
I took delivery of one of these, with exactly the same livery, in February this year. And what a pleasure – it goes, handles, stops, and looks like a real bike. A fly on the wall at its original Royal Enfield design meetings (in India) might have overheard something like this:
“It needs to be well-built and robust, we’ve got crappy roads. Its got to be able to carry 2 adults, 3 or 4 kids, and a pile of other stuff. And its got to do that every day of its life for the next 10 years. Its got to be able to take searing heat, tropical downpours, and put up with the cold. It needs to do 100mph, cruise all day at 65mph with still a good turn of speed, but also putter around in endless snarling traffic at 10mph. All without missing a beat. It’s got to be easy to ride, easy on the bum, all controls readily accessible, with none of the clunky gear-changes of the old Bullets. And it needs to be easy to own and maintain”. “We don’t want just another bloated, wheezy, corpulent, tech-fest, with all those wiz-bang unnecessary electronics and plastics – or too much power either. What’s important is what it is able to do in the real world, every day. Just good, honest, straight-forward motorcycling. Plenty of fun surely, but particularly important is rejuvenating the idea of ‘working man’s transport’ ”.
Well, Louis the fly or not, I strongly suspect they’ve got it right. It is certainly well designed, well built, and fun to ride, but time will tell. All of which is clearly relevant to Australia. As much as anything, there is the sense that it has been designed and built by people who understand and love of motorcycling, from the inside, not just the dulcet tones of the cash register. While this exuberance might sound suspiciously like yet another sad old blighter pining for the romance of yesteryear, I suspect Royal Enfield are in genuine danger of re-accessing the essence of motorcycling. Not perfect mind you, but a pretty damn good effort. Ron’s smile says a lot. Ted Davis Caulfield Junction. Vic. It required nothing else. It developed around 9 or 10 horsepower, had an excellent gearbox which was semi-automatic. First gear was very low and the other three well spaced. The motor revved out well and gave excellent response. With its sprung heel it gave a much improved ride than my earlier rigid frame 1948 BSA 250. Perhaps you may consider a feature about Jawa in a coming edition? Thanks again for your excellent magazine. Edwin Youll Beaudesert Qld Your prayers are answered Edwin. We have a Jawa feature scheduled for issue 82. – Ed
ABOVE Sydney Jawa agent Eric Moore’s 1950 ad.