Royal Enfield Superlight 1950/60s

Always had an affection for Royal Enfield…..

Proof is here: Their Superlight 531 Tourers were current from early 50s to closure in late 1966.

I had two of them, the latest being this one.

Front 3 4 2 LRThis one is in original paint & was intended for a sympathetic renovation & use.

But it got sold to a Royal Enfield enthusiast I met at a recent bike jumble in Stafford…..

My second Superlight is still here though & now rebuilt as a Single Speed town bike/runaround. (2018 January)

Thinking of powdercoating this one & I like the plain black. These originally came as a 3 speeds with 26″ wheels (see RE catalogue page from 1955ish below) but my preference is for Single Speed & 27″ (630mm) rims fit nicely, still leaving room for guards if you want: )

This one has a set of Weinmann Carrera brakes fitted & they do the job on the alloy front rim. Rear is a chrome steel Van Schothorst, a good strong wheel for this frame.

This has braze-ons for a pump, nothing else, save mudguard/rack eyes & a lamp bracket on the front fork, so it would make a very clean fixed wheel machine if that’s your inclination.  It weighs 11.7kg -25lbs? – as pictured, which seems a lot to me. It has a steel Williams chain-set, pedals, plus steel seat-post & rear wheel, so it could be lighter if that is important. Maybe a kilo or so.

Current aim is to get the gearing correct. Set up as seen with 27″ wheels, 170 cranks & 48 tooth front x 17 tooth rear gives a 76.2″ gear. Slightly high for me I now realise after testing, so I’ll change the chain-wheel to a 44 tooth, which will give a 70″ gear.  Better for me on a SS.

Keep in mind that this frame is 63+ years old, with a 531 frame tubing spec. Not the forks or stays, they were ‘normal’ steel. Weight difference?? Not much.

It was light for the mid 50s, but now relies on its simple, old fashioned charm to be admired & used. I just think they are great survivors & deserve to be used nowadays.

Has a very nice headbadge & some interesting Royal Enfield frame construction details. Check the lugless bottom bracket for example.

Below in its original flamboyant green, with linings & all. Butt welding. Only Dayton used this method apart from Royal Enfield, as far as I know.

They were still using machinery acquired during WW2 for assembling aircraft frames, etc. &  used it for bicycle frames for years later. RE Superlight frames are quite distinctive!



























RE 1960 catalogue