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    Royal Enfield Bullet-The Indian Cult ?

    Royal Enfield Bullet-The Indian Cult ? Find out !!

    There are a few sturdy icons that spring to mind when it comes to road travel in India. There's the ubiquitous rickshaw, the black and yellow cab, the rusting train carriage with people hanging out of the sides. And then there's the Royal Enfield motorcycle.  

    For serious road trippers it's an Enfield or nothing and no amount of ads featuring Priyanka Chopra astride a Honda Hero will convince them otherwise.  

    "It's a passion," says Gauthier Deschamps, French managing director of Vintage Rides, a company offering guided Enfield tours of India. "All of us fell in love with India from the back of an Enfield." 

    The hefty bikes are good for riding on India's notoriously badly maintained roads and in varying terrain. Their low center of gravity and weight of roughly 190 kilograms means they provide a stable ride. 

    "We love Enfields because they're vintage, they're a piece of living history. The mechanics are simple all the way through and they're solid and sturdy," says Deschamps. "Old is gold, as far as Enfield lovers are concerned." 

    Royal Enfield began life as a division of a British arms manufacturer in the late 1800s and carried the motto "Made like a gun, goes like a bullet". Production of Bullet motorcycles began in India in the 1950s and, with the UK company ceasing production in 1971, the Indian arm acquired the rights to the Royal Enfield name 15 years ago.
    The Chennai-based manufacturing plant now churns out tens of thousands of bikes each year and they can be seen with all sorts of Indians cruising the Rajasthani desert, gliding along the Kerelan backwaters or hitting the high-altitude snow passes of Ladakh. 

    Vintage Rides is one of numerous outfits offering Enfield tours. It's a relative newcomer to the market, having been around just three years, compared with other groups, some of which have been running for more than two decades. As the founders are French, the clientele has traditionally been mainly from France, Belgium and Quebec, but Deschamps says this is changing as awareness about the company grows.

    Vintage Rides offers tours to a variety of destinations, including Ladakh, India's remote, mountainous northeast, Bhutan, Nepal and, security situation permitting, Tibet. 

    Vintage Rides, C-66 Okhla Phase I, New Delhi; tel. +33 9 70 448 404; www.vintagerides.com; please email chloe@vintagerides.com for a catalogue or check the Facebook group for current details.

    courtesy : www.cnngo.com

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