Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Interceptor in Cycle World

In May 1969, 14 months before the total collapse of Royal Enfield in the UK, Cycle World reviewed the Royal Enfield Interceptor in the US. The beginning of the article is quite remarkable:

"Some people think caverns are reserved solely for truffles, troglodytes and an occasional spelunker: not so. Royal Enfield's are made in caves underneath England. Inside a vast complex of tunnels and caverns hewn from the earth during World War II [sic: the quarry is really much older than that], where the temperature stays at a constant 58 degrees year-round, men are hard at work assembling motorcycles for the Surface People. With ritual befitting a Druid sacrifice, white-cloaked mechanics assemble the enormously powerful Interceptors.

Big machine, the Enfield. Strong and authoritative, like Little John of Sherwood Forest. Sure, machines are just metal pieces with a plan, but there is a magical something about this bike that throbs with the sap of life and a chivalrous serenity. Its sturdy mien will always stand out amid a shock of motorcycles because enthusiasm for the machine is just a natural reaction. It cannot be taken for granted; after riding it, one feels impelled to take notes of his experience and save them for retelling and retelling.

The Enfield epitomizes the British road burner, and many riders speak of it with reverence. It is a machine for the rabid road enthusiast."

Then the article goes on to review the machine. That seems to have had a detrimental effect on the poetry of the writer. He writes:

"Undoubtedly, many will expect that the Royal Enfield, being of such large displacement, would deliver its rider some fantastic speed and acceleration figures. Not so. The machine tested by CYCLE WORLD was singularly un-astonishing... Interestingly the Royal Enfield 750 Interceptor tested by CYCLE WORLD four years ago was a much faster machine. One can draw two conclusions: either Enfield's are getting slower. Or the CYCLE WORLD test machine was in deplorable mechanical state. The latter idea is somewhat frightening, for if such a poorly prepared machine is given to CYCLE WORLD, think what the poor guy who walks in the street must get. Either conclusion is rather sad."

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