Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Enfield counterfeit tricycles

Occasionally one sees on ebay Royal Enfield tricycles for sale. David Blasco wrote about one that specialized in creating rainbows (!) recently. They are usually apparently of recent manufacture. Some are alleged to say "Made in Japan" on the frame. This is interesting, since Royal Enfield does not appear to have produced tricycles, not recently. I decided to get to the bottom of this by writing to the National Cycle Museum in the UK. The Royal Enfield Owners' Club in the UK refers questions about bicycles to them. They replied very kindly, stating that they get so many queries about Royal Enfield bicycles that they have crafted a form letter to reply to them. Here are relevant paragraphs from said letter,

"Manufacture of bicycles continued until the late 1960s and the company was finally closed in 1970. The remaining cycle components and machinery were later sold to a Birmingham firm, Kirk and Merifield, who continued to offer some models of bicycle under the Royal Enfield name until they finally ceased production in 1992.

In the later years of production at Redditch, cycle components and complete badged bicycles were bought in from manufacturers in the Far East. It is believed that these makers continued to produce machines after 1970, illegitimately using the Royal Enfield name and to ship these to overseas markets. A number of bicycles and tricycles badged as 'Royal Enfield Quality Bicycle' which are certainly later than 1970 have been identified in the United States. These are to designs which were never produced in Redditch or Birmingham."

But this of course raises another Enfield mystery: why would someone decide to use a brand in a counterfeit way when the brand itself was dying in the UK? Or was it? Perhaps in bicycle circles, since Royal Enfield continued as a brand after the demise of the Enfield cycle co. the name carried enough prestige as to be attractive? Who and where in the "Far East" carried out the production?


  1. Good information. I have added a link to this item to the post I did about them. Although I realize there is no connection to Redditch or the motorcycles, I still find them fascinating.

  2. Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.

    Keep Posting:)

  3. I purchased an old Royal Enfield Tricycle a few years ago. It has a very large tractor type seat made of white material. The back axle looks like a regular bicycle with the frame spread open to fit the framing for the back wheels. Does anyone know if this is how Royal Enfield made their trikes? I am disabled and enjoy the freedom my trike gives me on a good day.



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