Sumanth Chaganti’s 350cc single-cylinder 1936 Enfield fills a vital slot in the Bullet timeline
Why do some men obsess about a bike that is as good as pre-historic? Why do some men, otherwise fussy about the creases of their meticulously ironed chinos, not hesitate to get down and gather the gritty, grease-smeared parts of a disintegrated bike into a gunny bag? And why do they let these rusty pieces of metal take over their marbled verandas? Ask Sumanth Chaganti. An inveterate bike collector with a special fascination for anything old.
Two years ago, when a 350cc ohv 1936 Royal Enfield fell into his lap, he simply had to restore it. He first saw this ravaged Enfield at a construction site, lying amidst dumped building material. True to form, Sumanth had gunny bags with him.
Stuffed full with the reddish-brown parts, the bags were handed over to Vernon Miller of Hi-Rev. Considering the paucity of information about this 1936 model and the absence of any comparable model in town, Vernon has done a great job.
This bike belongs to a series of Enfield civilian singles, introduced in 1936, and is part of the Bullet family (1931 to present). The features that distinguished the new line were the straight or vertical engine and location of the oil sump in the crankcase.
Comparable Enfieldsingles made from 1931 to 1935 were with an inclined engine.
Sumanth says this bike, imported from England, shares many core features with the Bullets of the decades that followed.
Given the country’s huge population of Bullet fans who are keen on ferreting out all the information they can about their favourite machine, this old Bullet makes for great study material. It fills one of the gaps in the understanding of the Bullet’s evolution.