Monday, July 23, 2012

Where in Montevideo, Uruguay?

I have been visiting  Montevideo for work reasons for over 20 years several times a year. The motorcycling scene here consists mostly of Chinese knockoffs of low displacement Japanese bikes. For some reason they try to hide their far Eastern pedigree through funny brand names like "Winner", "Motomel", "Yumbo", "Keeway", "Koreni", "Regal Raptor", "Mondial" (probably oblivious to the existence of a defunct famous Italian motorcycle brand of that name) and the even funnier "Hacker".  But also others that sound like Japanese-mongrel-bikes like "Yasuki" or "Hamazaki".  Harley-Davidson, Ducati and the Japanese Four have dealerships here and one can buy BMW bikes through their car dealerships and Aprilias trhough the Alfa Romeo dealerships. But they all cost double or more what they cost in the US or Europe, which is very expensive by local standards and makes them only accessible to the super-rich. So one may see every once in a while some of these bikes as they are leisurely ridden on nice weather weekends, but not much more.

But now, everything is about to change. Royal Enfield is in town!  They sell what in the US we would call the C5 in all three colors, the Deluxe in maroon and black and they have the Desert Storm, the Military and even the 350 in black.  They also have a Facebook page. And two Uruguayan riders  took part in this year's Himalayan Odyssey, they were the only ones not from India. Here's a picture of one of them with the Uruguayan flag,
The owner of the shop is William "Willi" Lemes, a well known figure in Uruguayan motorcycling who already had a collection of notable bikes before starting to sell Royal Enfields. I think it is a very good omen for the brand here that a respected figure like him is behind the effort. Here is the front of the shop,

and here are the bikes on display inside,

Including this most unique "Royal Enfield" crafted from a Harley with a GM car engine,

Good luck to them!

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