Nestling by the river which gives the town its name, Bradford-on-Avon is perhaps not the kind of place you would expect to find a motorcycle factory, but it was here in the 1960s one of the UK’s best but now largely forgotten twins, the Royal Enfield Interceptor, was manufactured. Our test bike is a Mark II Interceptor and one of the last to leave the West Country factory before its closure in 1970. After spending most of its life in the USA, it has recently been brought back to the country of its birth where its current – and fourth – owner is Kevin Charles, a man well known for his impressive collection of Difazio hub steerers.
In its 47 years, the 736cc twin has only covered 13,000 miles and wears that wonderful patina of faded paintwork and the odd dent or two from its life in the USA. As you can imagine, I needed little in the way of persuasion when Kevin offered me the opportunity to take the big Interceptor for a spin, and what better place to do it than one which included the long Wingfield straight formerly used by Enfield to test their bikes before being packed up and shipped off Stateside.
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