“Its a small world but I don’t want to have to paint it.” These are the words of American comedian Steven Wright. The truth is, as communication around our globe becomes almost instantaneous, we are forced to realize that we are perhaps all part of one huge dysfunctional global family. With this in mind, tolerance has increased of products being manufactured in countries other than their country of origin. Forty years ago, riding a Triumph Bonneville assembled in Thailand would have seemed ludicrous and probably unacceptable to a prospective purchaser. Today this is a reality and no one even raises an eyebrow. I sometimes wonder how many of my beloved Harley Davidson’s components were actually made in the US of A. I wonder, but I don’t really care. As long as the quality of manufacture is good, I’m happy.
India seems to be a country which is benefitting tremendously from this economic globalization. European and Indian manufacturers are forming mutually beneficial partnerships. Europe supplies the technology, India provides the manufacturing facilities. The result is an affordable yet advanced product. An example of this partnership in motorcycle manufacture is the one between Austria’s KTM and India’s Bajaj.
Further evidence of changing perceptions are the ever increasing demand for the Indian made Royal Enfield Bullet 500. The originally British made bullet has been around since 1948, making it the world’s oldest motorcycle model. Since 1957 these motorcycles have been fully manufactured in India. Without going into a long history lesson, it suffices to say that after many years of being sold only or mainly in India, these honest classic motorcycles are now in ever increasing international demand. The combination of a fuel injected modernised engine in a classic motorcycle resulted in a 113 000 Bullets being manufactured and sold in 2012. The new 50 acre plant anticipates production of 175 000 Bullets in 2013, and 250 000 in 2014. The new paint shop can paint 600 motorcycles a day. Pinstriping is however still done by hand.
Our featured Bullet belongs to Marthinus. This eyecatcher is a 2009 model with older front forks and drum brakes fitted. The front fender is now the bobbed rear mudguard. The tan solo seat, chromed everything and high gloss black paintwork including the rims, puts this Bullet right in the Bullseye.