We like modern Royal Enfields. The current Bullet model range are un-intimidating, easygoing motorcycles which unashamedly show off their classic 60 year old British heritage. The lovely Continental GT café racer we tested last year is a modern classic straight off the showroom floor. Royal Enfield is best recognised for its Bullet model, which has been in continuous production since 1949 and their only surviving model since the early ’70s. Our featured bobber, with its genuine rigid frame and girder front forks, is even older than the first 1949 Bullet which already had sprung rear suspension and telescopic forks.
Royal Enfield is the oldest motorcycle brand name still being produced. This name first appeared as Enfield on a motorcycle in 1899 and proceeded to build an enviable history by building quality motorcycles. The Enfield company had it’s roots in weapons manufacture, hence the slogan, ” Made like a gun goes like a bullet.” Royal Enfield secured contracts to supply motorcycles in both the World Wars. The donor motorcycle for this stunner is a 1945 ex army model WD/CO 350cc. This war machine now oozes peace and tranquility.
Tiago of OneOne Customs created this clever modern interpretation of a 1950’s bobber using a 1940’s Royal Enfield. The original girder forks are retained. The rear of the original rigid frame has been stretched by 10 inches which has also lowered the rear of the motorcycle and increased the fork rake angle slightly, without having to modify the neck. A Harley Davidson peanut tank has been installed. The original 19 inch wheels and drum brakes still do duty but have modern Metzeler tyres with locally vulcanised whitewalls fitted. The rear mudguard is a generic Japanese unit, modified to fit. Tiago is known for fabricating and fitting a variety of saddle designs onto his bobbers. This time an imported, US made Larosa Designs saddle has been fitted on scissor springs.
The engine is the original 350cc overhead valve unit with separate gearbox. Brass plating is used to contrast with the black finishes. Although this is a dry sump engine, the oil tank is contained within the engine. There is thus no need for a separate oil tank. A less user friendly but way cooler hand shifter replaces the easy to use foot shift on the right hand side of the bobber. All the electrics, including the battery are hidden inside the fabricated box under the saddle which Tiago has mounted at an unusual but eyecatching angle.
When new this military motorcycle would have also been painted a shade of green known as olive drab. The shade of green Tiago painted the bobber he refers to as “ice cream parlour” green as it reflects the colour scheme of those 1950’s American social hubs. Another 1950’s touch is the catchy “Lady Luck” name, which also ties in well with this Royal Enfield’s military history. Traditionally airmen named their aircraft during WWII. This name was painted on the front of the fuselage of the aircraft. These were also the same men who first created the bobbers, to which they also gave names.
Brass plating has been extensively used on this bobber in keeping with its age. The aftermarket headlight was painted and a brass plated surround fitted. The springs, suspension components and handlebar components, including the imported levers are also brass plated. The handlebars are flipped and shortened bars off a scrambler. Tiago has cut open the chaincase to expose the primary chain. The OneOne logo is becoming justifiably well known and respected in custom motorcycle circles.
We like modern Royal Enfields. We think modern Royal Enfield owners are going to really like this almost seventy year old revitalised military veteran.