Hand painting a Royal Enfield fuel tank

Dailies -



Tiny Indian bike maker Royal Enfield continues to prove that it has a better handle on branding and image than virtually any other motorcycle manufacturer. Here, it details the hand pinstripping process applied to every Enfield fuel tank. Authenticity, craftsmen, passion and slick production. Even if the bikes are a bit crap, this, together with Handcrafted in Chennai, still kinda makes us want one.

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  • Thom

    A bit of crap they are , but boy do they sure look pretty in the metal . I can never take my eyes off them when I walk by one . Now if they’d just bring up the mechanicals a notch and make them worth the ride . Not too much mind you , as you’d want to keep some of the nostalgia theme . Just enough .

    • Kerry

      They have. The new UCE fuel injected motors are leaps and bounds better than anything they used in the past in both design and materials.

      I am no small guy (6’5″ and a cut hair less than 300lbs) and I managed to keep one pinned on the sprain parkway for 30 minutes straight as fast as it will go with no ill effects. The bike didn’t even have a proper break in (we were still in the break in period) and to this day it still hasn’t had an issue.

      I will agree the old Iron and AVL engines left something to be desired, but the UCE is a tank.

      • Thom

        @ Kerry – Thats great to hear . May have to give one a go myself cause they sure are Lookers . Couple of owners here have Cafe’d as well as Retro’d theirs . All good .

        • Kerry

          I should also add, that trip the bike returned an actual 70mpg fuel economy, as charted by my pen and pad and gas card. Our resident flat tracker Scott also manage to drag every hard part on a couple of highway off ramps and revealed the one major flaw-ish feature: the foot pegs are fixed, thankfully they are also meaty rubber and left a black streak through the turn. There was still about half an inch of tire left to go when it touched down so it was pretty close to the bikes limits. Most people won’t ever ride it that hard.

          If you search the HFL archives, any pic of a c5 military with an HFL logo on it is the same bike.

          I would like to secure one to set an ironbutt record with buti haven’t had much luck……yet.

    • JK

      Two of my Non Biking friends have asked me in particular about Royal Enfield. They are attracted by the styling and originality.Not a bit of crap anywhere in my eyes.

      • http://www.xenophya.com Xenophya

        That’s really good to hear.

  • Tony

    Nice… it makes me want one even more. These bikes have soul.

  • http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=305107 stickfigure

    If that doesn’t make you want to buy an Enfield and ride it across India, any of the videos from these guys will:


    (it’s on my TODO list just after riding a 2wd Ural hack across the road of bones)

  • HammSammich

    The local dealership has a C500 Classic in Black mated to a Cozy Sidecar…I know I want more power and better handling than my Bonnie in my next bike, but I still find myself daydreaming about the Enfield…

    • Thom

      HammSammich – Give a review of how it rides if you do with the Sidecar as thats my current interest . I’m curious if the Enfield has the power to carry the sidehack .

      • HammSammich

        Will do, Thom. I was planning to head out there this weekend. Although I’ve never ridden a sidecar rig before so I’m not sure I’ll have much to compare it to.

        A sidecar is attractive to me though, because I’ve got a 5 year old son who rides with me on my Bonneville occasionally, and a 3 year old daughter who is very excited to start riding when she’s old enough.

  • Restless Lip Syndrome

    As somebody who doesn’t have steady hands, I find this awesome.

  • Miles Prower

    I was at my local shop getting my two motorcycles state-inspected today (I know, a couple weeks overdue), and there was a Royal Enfield being worked on. And yeah, there was a certain irresistible, handcrafted beauty to it up close.

    As an aside, the guys in the shop were speaking in faux Indian English to each other. I thought it was funny! Another aside — my son can bust out an awesome Indian English accent on command… from having watched too many episodes of Voltron! My wife gives me dirty looks when we go to an Indian restaurant and I crack a smile when my son gets all culturally insensitive. (We’re of various color ourselves, so we’ve been on the other end of that too.)

    • http://www.urbanrider.co.uk UrbanRider

      Your daughter kick my dog you bast*rd guy!!

  • Johndo

    yep, dont have steady hands here either so I can appreciate people that do hand paint like that…

  • http://www.firstgenerationmotors.blogspot.com Emmet

    my hipster friend wants an old Triumph (Bob Dylan rode one), but a new Royal Enfield would be PERFECT for him.

  • Jens

    HD training facility?

  • equ

    Steady hand dude didn’t even use a thinner brush for the striping.

    • Donovan

      It’s too bad he is painting a dented tank. 1:49 you can see the dent in the side.

      • Mattro

        that’s a mounting point/reference for the knee pad, i’m pretty sure…

  • http://plugbike.com/ skadamo

    Love them more now.

  • http://www.cdavisdesigns.com Chris Davis

    What did that guy do before, defuse bombs?

  • http://www.urbanrider.co.uk UrbanRider

    Don’t know about the US, but there was a price increase about 18 months ago here which pushes them too close to Triumph money.

    I’d love one of their cafe racers..

    • HammSammich

      Yeah, here they are around $6,500 new…compared to a new Bonnie at around $8,000 it’s kind of hard to justify. They sure are pretty though…

      • Kerry

        They are coming out with a new cost cutter model mid year, a 500cc UCE in a 350 frame with an entry level price expected to be right around $5K (my guess is it will be $5500 out the door).

        Every RE dealer I know has leftovers, even of the UCE bikes and are willing to cut deals. None of the triumph dealers I know have leftovers on bonnies and you pay sticker or close to.

        • HammSammich

          Yeah, looks like the base RE right now is the Bullet B5 ($5,495 MSRP) – not sure if that’s what you’re referencing, though.

          I will say, that after having the battery die on my Bonnie recently, I would definitely appreciate having a kick-starter, as on the Enfields…

          • Kerry

            Yeah, that’s it. Looks like they raised the price about $500 since I saw it in January. Still I know dealers who would be happy to sell you a 2010 delux for that price out the door.

            What is nice about the B5′s 350 frame is that a lot of the accessories for the old avl and iron barrel bikes work for the 350 frame (most of the other uce bikes use a different frame and therefore have different accessories). in NY tax/prep/lic will add between $500 and $1000 to your bike, so any $8k Bonnie is now $9k and there are no leftovers in the pipeline I know of.

  • noone1569

    Man, I crave one of these bikes.

    I know I shouldn’t . . . I know they have issues. . . I know they cost too much for what you get. I know it will get me in trouble. . .

    But DAMN it, I want one.

    Sort of like my friends hot ex, that is just batshit crazy.

  • http://pics.zenerves.net/index.php?gallery=vehicules tropical ice cube

    I enjoyed my Bullet 350 Standard a lot as daily commuter + week-end getaway tool for quite a few years. Those older Enfield did require about 2 hours a month of maintenance, but that got you to know the bike and realize it is truly built by hand; It’s not intimidating the least, actually encourages you to get your hands dirty.
    Of course, now that the engine is a Unit model, with electric starter and, GASP, left-foot gearchange, they don’t smell the same to me anymore.
    Forget speed, get style instead: kills less, adds more sex life.

  • Peter

    A bit like the pin stripes on Triumphs, except not done in a factory in Hinckley.

  • Ducky

    I know if I tried that, it would look like something a child with Parkinson’s would have done

  • pavinguire

    Bravo, that is craftsmanship..

  • Max Headroom

    For what it’s worth, the pin stripes on the Triumph Bonneville tanks are all hand painted and initialled by the painter on the under side of the tank. The fact that Enfield does this doesn’t make it an exclusive but their crappy bikes come closer to making them unique.

  • zato1414

    What’s up with that red shirt-blue shirt thing?

  • Gene

    What’s funny is 2 days after this was posted, I saw my first Royal Enfield ever, as he pulled up next to me at a stoplight. Boy, it sounded like someone had dumped a handful of BBs into his crankcase!