Monday, November 19, 2012

Lower the Boom! Bring Back the Enfield Model G

Reading David Blasco's excellent Royal Enfield blog about the new Hitchcock's rigid Royal Enfield frame got me thinking. Something is missing from this modification. The bike looks exactly like a standard Bullet, only now it's removed all the comfort of a swingarm rear end.

I always preferred the lower, longer, sleeker stance of the 1940s generation of motorcycles. I guess that's why I'm drawn to bobbers.  The 1955-present Enfield has a funky frame that is supported in part by the engine itself which can make it trickier to add a standard hardtail frame mod like those made for Triumphs and Yamaha XS650s at suppliers like Lowbrow Customs. Hitchcock's realized this and spent a lot of time creating a high-quality rigid rear end... which doesn't seem to change the look of the bike at all.

I decided to look at Enfields, old vs new. You may know that the Royal Enfield Bullet was a design almost completely unchanged from 1955-2008 when the company finally redesigned the engine. Below you'll see a comparison between the 1940s and the 1950s (modern) eras of Enfield motorcycles. The 40s was a little longer and much lower. The 50s were more compact and a lot higher in the center.

Old Empire Motorcycles comes closer to a lower bobber look. Check out their custom Enfields.

I love my Enfield. If I were going to drop some cash on a proper hardtail frame mod, which I would in a second, I would want it to have about a 3-4 inch drop, bringing the center of the bike, the gas tank, engine, and seat lower, closer to the feel of say a 1940 Enfield Model G. You would, of course also need to shorten and possibly rake the forks a bit as well. Or replace the entire front end with a girder fork.

Or Royal Enfield could just reproduce the entire Model G frame!

I'll keep dreaming.

1940 Royal Enfield Model G

1955-2008 Royal Enfield Bullet (My own)

A comparison of the last two generations of Royal Enfields


  1. Fascinating! I love the look and it's an appealing idea. Can you imagine the poor passenger riding on that pad? Thank you for the comparison.

  2. Won't happen,of course. But what COULD happen is a softail frame..achieving the lowered 40's look w/o
    the disadvantages of a true hard tail. Would position RE to compete with other cruiser bikes likely to be
    introduced into India in the conceivable future...perhaps the rumored new-for-Indian market entry level Harley.