"I am larger, better than I thought, I did not know I held so much goodness."
Every religion has its written dogma and fluid folklore. The folklore about Fritz Egli first came out in one such Indian automotive magazine, with glossy pictures of what he had done to our desi-Bullet, with details of the bumped up power and torque etcetera, somewhere in 1990s. Other than being a super mechanic/designer he also held some motorcycle land speed record. It only added to the lore and aura. Since then, Fritz Egli’s name would crop up in one magazine or the other. The significant thing was that Bullets tuned by him were a totally different creature, performed admirably, sold for a packet and quite popular in distant Switzerland! So much so, he had a dealership for Royal Enfield Bullets in Switzerland!
Life sometimes plays strange tricks, and often restores the faith of the believer. Within a week, I find myself in Geneva at the invitation of UNCTAD. Sense of duty and propriety be hanged, on a dreary afternoon, when experts are grinding away eloquent at how to improve the competitiveness of Basutoland or some such, yours truly slinks away to the nearest train station under Geneva Airport.
An earlier phone call had confirmed that the deity was away in sunny Italy, but the next person Mr Lindeman had given me an open invitation to visit. Soon, I was shaking hands with the head priest of the shrine and a conducted tour ensued. One heady moment after another! A Brough Superior, made famous by Lawrence of Arabia. His was a Superior SS100, 1000cc v-twin, famous for its power and handling and demonstrated ability to ride hands-off at 100mph (160kmph)! This was the smaller sibling SS80- 800cc, impressive none the less. There was this handsome Enfield Interceptor, 735 cc, parallel twin and one of the hottest British twins competing with BSA, Triumph and Norton. It had been worked upon- aluminium tank, redesigned swing arms, dry clutch, disc brakes and other bells and whistles! There were the classic Norton Commando- last of the great British twins, with a great fan-following in the States, in avatars from 1970s till present resurrection! Mr Egli runs the dealership for both Enfield and Norton in Switzerland. There was a Norton Manx 500cc single, the most definitive of British racing singles. From early 1970s was a beauty, Honda CBX1000, all 6-cylinders gleaming, tuned by Egli. There were an oddity or two- A Chinese flat-twin, copy of the Russian Ural, which itself was a bad copy of the BMW! There was a Sunbeam, the daddy of shaft drive motorcycles.
There were four Moto Guzzi singles, with their sloping cylinder and fire-engine red livery and a rare BSA Rocket 3. Rare because it was one of the few transverse triple made in Britain and although Norton and Truimph have been resurrected in Britain, Royal Enfield in India, but not BSA. The new avatars of the old marques are still producing Triumph Bonnevilles and Norton Commandos. Mr Lindeman fired this one up and the triple has a distinct cadence, so very different from twins and tranverse-fours!