A new Enfield V twin
Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:04

ONCE UPON A MOTORCYCLE - A potential new Royal Enfield V-twin

At the 2018 EICMA show Royal Enfield produced a concept model of an 838cc V-twin

which they say may be made in the near future as an homage to the original

and comparing them I have to say that they've done a pretty fair job in attempting a similar appearance although I have several criticisms.

First and foremost is that front end. I don't like girder forks for good reason having ridden two motorcycles so equipped, one of which - the Vincent 1000 - was downright terrifying because of the way the forks wandered and flexed.

A better attempt was done by Coventry Eagle who used a pressed steel girder fork which although not very pretty was a lot stiffer than the Vincents but then it had a lot less power and weight to cope with but even so didn't inspire confidence. A modern design of girder fork with traditional appearance would be better.

However I could live with the forks shown on the concept model if the headlight was at least twice the size and stood out front not tucked away like that. If I had megabucks I might ask someone like Wilwood Brake systems (which Leno raves about) to build me a fake drum brake hub with a couple of discs hidden inside, it would look much better.

I dislike 'bobbers' intensely. They are a dumb idea in my opinion. Why would anyone want to lose their rear suspension and just to get a 'look' have to live with a rear wheel hopping and skipping at every minor irregularity? Of course this RE effort isn't really a bobber it's a monoshock (and I don't like them either).

What I dislike is having a solo saddle with no bum stop so that you feel you could slide off backward under certain circumstances. I prefer the look of a dual seat but on the other hand the original KX was a bobber, a real one and it at least had a luggage rack behind the saddle, that I could live with.

If I'd been asked to make design suggestions I'd have said go with a pressed steel frame. Its light and strong and can give you plenty of storage space, such as the Ariel Leader/Arrows

This way you can make the engine part of the structure and you can also have rear shocks and a swingarm which is much better than either a solid rear end or a mono shock in appearance if not function. I never could see what the supposed advantage was except possibly to save weight and perhaps to get more travel from the laid down shock which idea came from dirtbikes originally, Roger DeCosta's Suzukis? Vincents predated that but the concept is different, not that I'm a fan of Vincent anyway, that beautiful engine is a powerhouse but the rest of the bike is an after thought in my opinion, rank heresy though it be.

Last but not least in the looks departemnt why not have a two into one exhaust terminating in a fishtailed 'Brooklands can'? I think it would fit the lines of the bike much better

Oh and one last remark, the gas tank isnt very attractive, there's too much sheet metal showing at the nose right behind the steering head, surely you could make a tank that was more bulbous yet flattened like a Brough's only with a couple of semi-circular reliefs at the front to allow the handlebars their full movement without denting the gas tank. Also why not fit a full mudguard on the front, who needs mud and rocks thrown up against the engine?

Don't much care for blacked out engine cases either while we're at it! However despite all of the above its a jolly good attempt and like all the best motorbikes it should be regarded as a starting point for the owner to customize to suit themselves. Frankly I think the old original KX looks the best by far and thats what I would have aimed for and why not? You're never going to sell all that many of them because big cruisers appeal to a rapidly dwindling market, one has only to regard the numerous failures such as Victory, Indian and a few more whose names escape me.

It might be better to build a base model at an attractive price whose design allows for easy after market parts to be fitted to make it appealing to as wide a range of potential owners as possible and definitely don't forget the sidecar crowd, make sure the frame is suitably lugged and produce a sidecar frame to go with it but leave the bodywork to be chosen or built by the owner or a seperate coachwork company.

    • I do like... - sarge, Sat Nov 10 15:03
      ...the look of the original, as well. My experience (read: "Just enough to be dangerous") tells me a clean solid looking machine is usually just that. A "pretty" design often means something to be... more
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