A Tale of Two Singles

At around three on Tuesday afternoon, Mohan knows he’s very near closing an important deal for his airline, which would get him out of his unfamiliar low sales rut. Just before the sun sets, he loses out to the rival player, this after three days of persistent sweat and sweet talk. His calm expression hides a downed heart as he wishes the boys a good night, and rolls back home on the 5:46, head bobbing ever-so-slightly to his favourite JJ Cale playlist. It’s been a rough day.

Mohan ducks in and out of the shower, then heads down the elevator into the basement, and walks towards a little glint of chrome in that unlit corner. As he nears the two wheels he’s proudest in the world to call his own, a small smile melts away all his previous intestinal by-product descriptions of the day. A decompression and two kicks later, he’s off to buy bread at Satya’s bakery twelve kays away, after deciding against getting it delivered home. Because somehow that beat his silver Bullet orchestrates never fails to soothe stressed neurons.

Chicken and cheese sandwiches swallowed for supper, he sits on the single couch and places his prized book on the coffee table, feeling the familiar nirvana of slowly turning the glazed pages of one Royal Enfield collector’s edition hardbound…

… It was around the time Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced Dr. John H Watson to Sherlock Holmes when the gods smiled down on the vision of a sturdy frame for the bicycle that would mature into a rather famous motorcycle. In the early 1880s, George Townsend Jr. had driven the “Townsend Cyclists Saddles and Springs” company from producing a local inventor’s single coil saddle to manufacturing complete bicycles remembered for their robust scaffolding.

Around ten years later, after bagging a valuable contract to produce precision rifle parts for an arms factory in Enfield, Middlesex, the newly named and controlled Eadie Manufacturing Company Limited commemorated the occasion with the release of the “Enfield” bicycle. The link to ‘royalty’ began when the specialised company producing storybeat pro apk these bicycles became “Royal Enfield Manufacturing Co. Ltd.”

Royal Enfield’s initial foray into mechanised vehicle manufacture began with three and four-wheelers with an unimaginable output of 1.75hp. Quite soon after the hype and hangovers of the biggest parties the right side of the 19th century had died down, French designer Louis Goviet penned the first ever Royal Enfield motorcycle. With the remarkably small Minerva engine mounted over the front wheel, it went into production immediately in 1901.

The front-engine design soon lost ‘traction’, since the first wheel was overtaxed for grip around corners due to excess weight up front. The engine was moved to behind the front wheel on the frame and came to temporary resting under the rider’s rear. Royal Enfield then furthered a division purely for production of cars and motorcycles called the Enfield Autocar Company. The Alldays and Onions Company took over proceedings of the soon cash-strapped Enfield Autocar from 1907 up until 1924, when the name “Bullet” was first adopted for car models produced under “Enfield” and “Enfield-Allday” badges.

Where there is a wheel, there is usually a way to compete. In 1909, Royal Enfield produced a quality set of two wheels that used a strong 297cc, Motosacoche V-twin motor coupled with a belt drive. The V-Twin went on to become very successful, winning prestigious reliability trials like the Edinburgh to London in 1910. Two years later, the Royal Enfield Model 180 with a 770cc JAP engine and sidecar competed convincingly in the acclaimed Brooklands races. Some versions were exhibited with a machine gun fitted to the sidecar for public awareness of their versatility. This publicity did not ‘stunt’ the company’s growth by any means, because when World War I ensued, strengthened Model 180s realised huge demand not just from the UK, but France, Belgium and Russia as well.

However, the motorcycle we so fondly know here in India actually spawned in 1934, when 350cc and 500cc displacement iterations were released with exposed valve gear – the first true Royal Enfield Bullets. Post WWII in 1947, Enfield reintroduced the 500 Model J with kinder-to-spine front hydraulic damping. This economical workhorse sold well; revolutionary rear spring suspension was introduced on the Bullet 350 OHV and 25hp 500 shortly afterwards.

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