Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Royal Enfield J2 1954 brochure

The J2 was essentially a pre-war bike with telescopic forks fitted and was out already out of date by 1954, the year of this brochure. The 350 Bullet, an all new design had come out in 1949 and was joined by a 500 stablemate in '53. Never ones to let an old design perish RE simply marketed the J2 purely as a sidecar hauler. Back then there was still the preconception that a spring frame wasn't the right thing for outfits. 

I'm a big fan of Royal Enfields, they produced some fantastic bikes and were innovators but their reputation suffered from churning out budget parts bin bikes using up spare stock and extending older models beyond their sell by dates. The '54 J2 is a case in point, they had the 500 Bullet motor, a better unit in all respects, it could have been fitted into a rigid frame for the sidecar market. The J2 was still fitted with the older steel tele forks rather than the alloy legged version used on other models and with that dreadful 6 inch single-sided brake when they had the dual-sided which stood a chance of hauling up an outfit. This is all hindsight, postwar times money was short and there would have been a strong market for transport where price was the main driver and the J2 was the cheapest big bike around to bolt a sidecar on to and give the working man family transport. Of course it's all totally irrelevant nowadays, being into old bikes we are seeking out the outdated and venerating them for that very quality. Whilst the J2 is never going to be considered a design classic the late model without the earlier version's horrible bulbous unsprung front mudguard is a fine looking machine and makes a good easy to live with and rare fifties ride. 

1954 Royal Enfield J2 brochure page 1.

1954 Royal Enfield J2 brochure page 2.

1954 Royal Enfield J2 brochure page 3.


  1. Hi there, yes a good workhorse, I had a J myself in the 70's. Those forks were one of the best designs ever, made the Tri/ BSA designs look very primitive....
    BTW, that horrible bulbous mudguard is in fact a much better design, as it is SPRUNG WEIGHT, not unsprung weight, as it would be if it were attached to the wheel [unsprung] as most designs are, mainly for aesthetic reasons....

    1. Hi there. You are quite right, the bulbous mudguard is in fact good practical design - unsprung weight and good weather protection but you've got to concede that looks were secondary when they designed it! I enjoyed my pre war J2 whilst I owned it, certainly not a sports machine but very torquey and flexible.