1960 Meteor Minor Royal Enfield
Rare on the roads in the sixties when it was
new and rarer still now, the Royal Enfield Meteor
Minor twin was always underrated by enthusiasts.
The name did it no favours suggesting it was
the little brother of the 692cc Super Meteor
twin. With a power race on and USA customers
demanding bigger and more powerful engines the
little brother Meteor Minor was soon pushed
out of the windows into the back of the showrooms
and gathered dust.
Royal Enfield, a family firm, were among the
earliest makers of motorcycles, had a long reputation
of making sound, sensible motorcycles for sensible
mototcyclists and found it difficult to adjust
to the sixties market of young riders who wanted
bikes that looked fast, sounded fast and were
fast, as proved by the racing success, even
if that success was won on specially built motorcycles.
It was as quick as any of its 500cc rivals
with flashy names and faster than most. Its
two way mean a maximum of 89 mph with a best
one way of 97 mph tested at MIRA proving ground
was way ahead of the much vaunted Triumph Tiger
100A which only managed a mean of 77 mph and
a one way best of 86 mph. Moone associated Enfields
with high speed so no-one, or hardly anyone,
bothered to check these test figures. Even if
they had, the Tiger had more image. Minor might
have been the right name for a small family
car but it was the wrong name for a sports motorcycle.
The Meteor Minor scored over its rivals by
being over square in its bore of 70mm and stroke
of 64.5. This reduced vibration, the limiting
factor with parallel twins and made for an efficient
combustion chamber. It was unusual in having
separate cylinder barrels and cylinder heads
which made DIY work on the engine easy. Like
most Enfields, oil was carried in a separate
compartment in the crankcase eliminating external
pipes though operating on the dry sump principle.
Steering, braking and comfort was better than
average because Enfields always had practical
motorcyclists in the firm.