The ride and fall of British Motorcycles

The ride and fall of British Motorcycles
Photo Credit: Outlook Traveller

A reminder of times when British motorcycles were the most sought after among them all

January 27 , 2016
01 Min Read

The Bullet is the only living symbol of a glorious, albeit oily chapter in the history of two-wheeled transport. A reminder of the time when British motorcycles meant something. There was BFA, Triumph, Norton, Matchless, Brough, Vincent and yes, Royal Enfield. Many made their mark with their sports/utility bikes, Lawrence of Arabia Died riding a Brough Superior, the 'Rolls Royce' of motorcycles. During the world war the emphasis was on reliability and sturdiness, not handling the speed. Britbikes acquired cult status; it was said that as long as you kept an eye on the engine oil and spark plug, they could get you back to England from any corner of the world. The Café Racer was the European counterpart of America’s Mean Biker. The 1955 model of the legendary US bike, Indian, was actually a souped-up Enfield. The Britbike’s heyday continued till 1959. But they needed a lot of mechanical TLC. The Japanese attacked the market with easy-to-maintain speedbikes. Harley Davidson announced the return of the big. In 1970, the Enfield factory in Redditch closed. Others modernized or perished. But the Enfield factory in Madras still produces the Bullet, much as chief draughtsman Ted Pardoe designed it in 1949. 

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