Stories from the Road

Mr Chrome Come Home

It was kind of a warm day, for mid-January that is and in central Massachusetts too. I was walking my dog Bella like we had been doing all winter. Trying hard to keep off those dreaded winter lbs.! Also, I was trying to come up with reasons why I should by this bike.

If you know me that isn’t usually a problem I have, why? Well I’ve purchased almost 30 motorcycles now since I fell in love with this sport 38 years ago. Mostly sport bikes or sport touring bikes have come through my life, with a few dual sports and only one v twin cruiser.

So why was I struggling with reasons to purchase this one? Hmmm, good question! I think some of it was the timing. See most winters I use my plowing money to finance my motorcycle expenditures. So far this winter was a bust, I spent way more time riding my motorcycle vs plowing so that was reason #1.

Another reason was this motorcycle itself, Royal Enfield? Ive known about RE for a long time, matter of fact it’s the oldest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. However let’s be honest their reputation has not always been producing quality machines, and almost all are very low powered , kind of heavy bikes.

A few year back a friend sent me a link to a beautiful red RE Continental GT for sale. It was the single cylinder version only 535cc but it was stunningly beautiful. I did some research on it and read a lot of mixed reviews with their reliability, and I hesitated just a little bit and ended up losing the sale.  But I always thought about that bike and looked for another from time to time.

So now fast forward to this January and I’m in the market for a small dual sport bike. I see my local RE dealer has a used BMW listed for sale so I decided to go take a look. Turns out when I got there the bike had already been sold, no big deal I’ll just have a look around. Royal infield makes the wildly popular Himalayan, which is the Indian KLR. If Itchy Boots can ride one all over the world maybe it would be a good back woods bike for New England? Which I think it is, however I only looked at the Himalayan for maybe 2 min and then I saw her!

All shiny sitting in the corner. Chrome tank , wire wheels, low clipon bars, dual exhaust…oh wait, dual exhaust?? I knew RE expanded their motor line with a twin , but I had thought it was just the Interceptor model. Ah, the salesman said that’s the new Continental GT in the Mr. Clean addition. Wow, I was stunned, and usually I’m not into chrome bikes, but that tank most certainly was doing it’s very best to seduce me right then and there! Do I hand over my Amex and succumb to the power of a toaster tank?

I ask a bunch of questions , sit on her, take a few photos and I catch my breath. The salesman tells me it might be the only Mr. Chrome in New England and with covid creating limited supply of bikes it most likely will be gone soon.

I left with telling the salesman I call you tomorrow and let you know. So tomorrow comes and I’m walking Bella, see how I tied it all in 🙂

I’m texting with my good friend Tommy about it. He’s a bad influence just so you know, I think he’s owned way more bikes than I have. I was expecting him to say yeah Royal Enfield, it’s pretty but it’s under powered only 48 ponies, cheap components throughout the whole bike, and who knows how reliable that new 650 twin is?

But instead he says ….Buy It!

Damn you Tom!

He continues with “that bike is so you, Ride it take photos, write stories about it. It’s a time machine that will take you back the the early years”. 

Wow was he right! I only have 178 miles on it so far, and quite frankly it’s not a bike that I’m gonna put 15,000 miles a year on. I have my Ducati’s and my Triumph that will get those types of miles. This little bike is for a different kind of ride, And yes it’s pretty slow, The single front disk is adequate at best for Braking.

But boy is she pretty and when you’re riding down the road, the wind is in your face and you look down at those simple analog gauges it brings you right back to the glory days of riding.

If you started out on motorcycles like I did long before there were categories like sport bike, touring bike, adventure bike , adventure touring bike, Hipster Bike power cruiser etc. etc…Back when motorcycles were just motorcycles. Then you owe it to yourself to ride a new old bike. It doesn’t have to be a Royal Enfield there’s a lot of other examples of Time machines out there.

Matter fact the sun just peaked through the clouds, I think I’ll skip work today and go for a ride back in time!