Royal Enfield is a motorcycle manufacture based out of Chennai, India, with roots that date back all the way back to 1901, when the Royal Enfield was born in England – the result of the merging of the Royal Small Arms Factory and the Enfield Cycle Company. Today, Royal Enfield is one of the most exciting manufacturers on the scene, producing a number of new models whilst staying true to its vintage roots, and selling its ever-popular range of classic motorcycles to a new generation of Royal Enfield fans. From the Bullet 350 – which is the oldest motorcycle to remain in continuous production since it was first unveiled – to the more modern, and rough and ready, Himalayan, Royal Enfield is moving from strength to strength, growing from an obscure Anglo-Indian marque into a pioneering global company. Built on top of such a long and illustrious history, it’s no wonder that the company “Made Like A Gun – Since 1901.”
The History Of Royal Enfield
Royal Enfield’s Humble Beginnings
The history of Royal Enfield dates back to 1851 when an English entrepreneur by the name of George Townsend started a business that produced sewing needles in the town of Redditch. When George’s son (also called George) took over in 1882, he began producing bicycle components, such as saddles and fork arrangements, and by 1886 the younger George Townsend was selling complete bicycles under the Townsend and Ecossais trade name. Unfortunately, the business collapsed in 1891 and business was passed to Albert Eadie and Robert Walker Smith, a salesman and engineer who would go on to form the Eadie Manufacturing Company Limited.
The Eadie Manufacturing Company supplied parts for the Royal Small Arms Factory in Enfield, and the new enterprise took on the name Royal Enfield. While manufacturing small arms was the company’s priority, the company also incorporated a new subsidiary called the New Enfield Cycle Company Limited, taking over the bicycle manufacturing division from the Eadie Motorcycle Company Limited in 1897. In 1901, Enfield diversified into manufacturing motorcycles, and in 1902 the company tried their hand at producing motorcars too.
Royal Enfield’s first motorcycle was manufactured in 1901, but it wasn’t until 1909 that the firm started making waves in the motorcycling world when they released a small, practical motorcycles powered by a v-twin, 2.25 horsepower engine produced by Motosacoche from Switzerland. By 1911, Royal Enfield added a 2-speed model with a 2.75 horsepower, but it was the 1912 JAP 770cc v-twin model that produced a heady 6 horsepower that really made Royal Enfield famous. By 1914, Royal Enfield were producing their own engines, with standardized parts and settings, with a uniform paint “Royal Enfield” paint scheme.
Royal Enfield During The World Wars
During the First World War, Royal Enfield assisted the war effort by supplying a large number of motorcycles to the army. Royal Enfield’s 6 horsepower side-car rig was ideal for transporting casualties with a stretcher attachment, and it was also easily adapted to accommodate a machine gun, making it effective an anti-aircraft weapon. The Imperial Russian government also saw the appeal of Royal Enfield’s war machines and offered the marque a contract too.
In the inter-war years, Royal Enfield expanded and by 1924 the brand offered a wide range of models that included four small two-strokes, two 350cc models with JAP engines, and two 8 horsepower Vickers side car units. Unfortunately, the post-war boom was followed by the Great Depression in the 1930s, and the demand for motorcycles dropped considerably. Royal Enfield survived the economic crisis, and just as the economy began to recover, another World War came along – and once again, Royal Enfield showed their support for the war effort.
During World War II, Royal Enfield developed and manufacturer a number of innovative motorcycles for the armed forces. The most notable of these included the WD/C 350 cc SV, WD/CO 350 cc OHV, WD/D 250 cc SV, WD/G 350 cc OHV and WD/L 570 cc SV. Of these war-time models, the Royal Enfield WD/RE – known as the Flying Flea – is one of the best remembered. The Flying Flea was a specially developed, lightweight 125cc motorcycle that could be parachuted behind enemy lines. After the end of the war Royal Enfield released the J 2 model, an updated Bullet, which has been in continuous production ever since – in one form or another.
While the Royal Enfield brand has its history in England, it’s more famously associated with India. Royal Enfield began selling motorcycles in India in 1949, but the company’s big break occurred in 1955 when the Indian government began its search for a suitable patrol vehicle for its police and armed forces. The Royal Enfield Bullet 350 was selected as the most promising candidate, so in 1955 Royal Enfield partnered with Madras Motors to form “Enfield India” – a manufacturing plant that could build Royal Enfield Bullet 350 motorcycle under license in Madras, modern-day Chennai. Madras Motors enjoyed the majority share of the newly formed Enfield India company.
Two years later, Royal Enfield sold a wide range of manufacturing tools and machinery to Enfield India to allow their Indian partner to produce more components on the ground. By 1962, all of Enfield India’s motorcycles and their components were manufactured in India. These models were all based around Royal Enfield’s 1960 engine with metric bearing sizes, and several variations of that original engine are still in production today, in 350cc and 500cc configurations. The Enfield Bullet quickly became a popular motorcycle for Indian consumers, and has been a major player in the Indian motorcycle segment ever since.
Back In The UK…
Back in the United Kingdom, Royal Enfield’s fortunes weren’t performing so well. Throughout the 60s the company was able to produce some innovative and interesting models such as the Meteor, Constellation, and Interceptor 700, but the British motorcycle industry was in dire straits. The recent arrival of successful Japanese products irreparably damaged the industry, and many British marques were forced into bankruptcy or into forced sales. Royal Enfield was sold to Norton-Triumph-Villiers in 1968, with production of Royal Enfield motorcycles coming to a halt in 1970, with the marque being dissolved a year later.
The Norton-Triumph-Villiers group sold what assets remained of Royal Enfield, closing down the Redditch works and auction and remaining tooling to the highest bidder. Royal Enfield’s precision engineering and bicycle divisions still continued to operate, but the motorcycle arm was finished. It was disastrous for Royal Enfield and the British motorcycling industry – but while the marque failed at home in the United Kingdom, it was still booming back in India. The Indian factory continued producing the Bullet 350, and by the 1980s the Indian outfit was even exporting models to Europe. The 80s were a good time for Enfield India, but the 1990s were going to be even better.
The Eicher Group
After a decade of success, Enfield India entered into a partnership with India’s Eicher Group. The Eicher Group is the parent company of a number brands and one of India’s leading automotive groups, with its very own Eicher Motors being at the forefront of the group. Eicher Motors is a commercial vehicle manufacturer that was formed in India in 1948. The 1990 partnership with Enfield India proved to be incredibly fruitful, and by 1994 Enfield India merged with the Eicher Group entirely, renaming itself to the now vacant “Royal Enfield” trade name at the same time.
Since the Eicher Group takeover, the new and improved Royal Enfield has gone from strength to strength. With the backing of the Eicher Group, the company has been able to invest in modernizing and improving its production models, and innovating new models with modern technology and systems, even against all odds. For example, in the mid-90s Royal Enfield was easily able to comply with new emissions regulations that previously would’ve harmed the company; not only did Royal Enfield comply, they were also the first manufacturer to do so. It wouldn’t be long until Royal Enfield would return to the global stage as one of the most promising manufacturers to emerge outside of the usual Japanese, European, and American markets.
Modern Royal Enfield
The newly formed Royal Enfield company started the 21st century off by re-structuring their production line, closing down their Jaipur factory and spending the next decade building a new primary factory in Oragadam, just outside of Chennai, to help meet the new increased demand for Royal Enfield motorcycles. Royal Enfield’s original Tiruvottiyur factory remains the company’s secondary factory and still produces engines, and few select complete models, to this day.
To keep up with the increased interest in the brand, Royal Enfield recruited veteran motorcycle designer, Pierre Terblanche, to help take Royal Enfield in a new direction. Terblanche had previously worked for Ducati, Piaggio, Moto Guzzi, Norton, and Confederate. Other new appointments included the addition Ruratej “Rudy” Singh as company president – previously, Mr.Singh was the vice-president of Unilever’s Singapore division. Not content with their rapid expansion, Royal Enfield also purchased UK motorcycle design and manufacturing firm Harris Performance Products, in 2015.
Between then and now, Royal Enfield has continued to expand, opening dealerships and supply networks in previously unexplored markets, and innovating new products that have left critics and industry insiders unbelievably impressed. In 2015, Royal Enfield officially surpassed Harley-Davidson in terms of global sales, and now the company operates in more than 50 countries worldwide, we’re left wondering: “who will they surpass next?”
Royal Enfield And Reliability
Potential Royal Enfield customers are always asking one thing: are Royal Enfield motorcycles reliable? The motorcycles themselves are an attractive prospect for motorcyclists because they often a rare mixture that has exotic elements like you would find with a European manufacturer, but with the price point of a Japanese motorcycle. It’s a nice combination, but the only stumbling block is the reliability-side of things. So, are Royal Enfield motorcycles reliable? Unfortunately, Royal Enfield doesn’t feature on any recent manufacturer rankings, such as the latest Consumer Reports reliability study, so an independent review of the company’s reliability is out of the question.
Royal Enfield does boast very modern manufacturing methods with stringent quality assurance and product testing procedures. The new Chennai plant comes complete with state-of-the-art manufacturing infrastructure, an in-house research and development wing, an advanced product design division, and all the tooling required to manufacture quality motorcycles that are built for reliability and toughness. Using CAD and CAM workstations, modelling software, and advanced engineering processes, modern Royal Enfield motorcycles should be very reliable. Modern models such as the Himalayan are reported to be bulletproof, and they should be – but what about the older models whose appeal lies in their old-school nature and vintage feel?
Many loyal Royal Enfield fans who extol the virtues of riding a Royal Enfield agree on one thing: a Royal Enfield motorcycle is as reliable a motorcycle as you want it to be. If you take care of it, it will take care of you. Generally, it’s advised that you know how to maintain and service a motorcycle yourself, and with little maintenance you can enjoy trouble free riding. Don’t forget that most Royal Enfield models are based around an engine design from the 1960s – and that’s part of the charm, but charm comes at a cost, and if you want to get involved in the full Royal Enfield experience, you’d best familiarize yourself with the basics of motorcycle mechanics.
Royal Enfield Technology
Innovation isn’t a major part of Royal Enfield’s business plan. Unlike other manufacturers who spend millions of dollars researching and designing new technologies, Royal Enfield keeps innovation to the bare necessities. In this case, it’s not a bad thing. Of course, Royal Enfield has had to modernize to remain competitive, and has had to update their technologies to deal with strict emissions and import laws but the major appeal of most of Royal Enfield’s models is the fact that they are old and full of character. The bulk of Royal Enfield’s sales rely on buyers looking for characterful vintage rides. Unlike Triumph, Norton, or Harley-Davidson models, Royal Enfield’s motorcycles are not retro – they’re vintage, in a way: they’re modern in build, but old in nature.
If Royal Enfield were to innovate new models or overhaul their older ones, it would be detrimental to the company. Royal Enfield relies on lower manufacturing costs, their old school nature, and cheap technology – without those three things, the company would quickly lose its loyal fan base. That being said, Royal Enfield has modernized it production methods, using automated processes, modern machinery, with internationally recognized certifications for their plants and staff, so innovation is happening – just in different areas.
While Royal Enfield’s most popular machines will be their enduring old classics, the rise in the company’s success has allowed for a couple of new models to emerge from Chennai. The one that’s grabbed the most attention in recent years is the Royal Enfield Himalayan, a tough mid-sized adventure bike for on and off-road exploration. The Himalayan holds true to Royal Enfield’s classic appeal, boasting a small 411cc single cylinder engine, but it comes with enough innovation to make it a real modern-day contender.
The Himalayan’s engine is called the LS410: it’s a single-cylinder 411cc unit with a long-stroke configuration that offers wide useable power, such as strong low-end torque for city riding in the low rpms that can also deliver the pulling power needed when riding off-road. One of the engine’s most important developments is the cooling system which controls the engine temperature and keeps everything working regardless of the situation, improving overall performance and prolonging the time between service intervals.
The Royal Enfield Continental GT
Aside from the recent Himalayan, Royal Enfield also developed a model called the Royal Enfield Continental GT. The Continental GT came to life after Royal Enfield acquired Harris Performance, and they used Harris Performance’s expert engineers to help inject some performance into their existing Royal Enfield models. The result was a beautiful and innovative café racer that managed to balance heritage with invention, without any unnecessary modernization or over-the-top sophistication that you’d find on most modern retro themed motorcycles. Unfortunately, the amazing Royal Enfield Continental GT is not currently available to US customers.
The Royal Enfield US Line-Up
The Continental GT isn’t the only Royal Enfield model that hasn’t arrived in the US: all of Royal Enfield’s 350cc models don’t appear in the US catalog such as the Bullet 350, the Classic 350s, and the Rumbler, and Royal Enfield’s 650cc twins too. While the US might not benefit from the widest selection of Royal Enfield motorcycles, there are plenty to choose from. Of the nine models available, seven of them belong to the “Classic” family, there’s one “Bullet,” and one “Himalayan” model.
Royal Enfield Classic Range
For those looking for an authentic, old-school ride experience, Royal Enfield’s Classic range is “Classic” in every sense of the word. There are a total of seven Royal Enfield Classic models to choose from, each offering a unique look and feel. They all come complete with a fuel-injected 500cc single-cylinder Royal Enfield engine that’s capable of producing a relaxed 27.2 horsepower at 5,250 rpm and 31 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. The performance specification might seem a little lackluster, but customers don’t buy Royal Enfield Classic models for their outstanding performance – they buy them for their simplistic, rough and ready nature, and appealing classic styling. The Royal Enfield Classic comes in seven different themes: the Classic 500, Squadron Blue, Desert Storm, Battle Green, Gunmetal Grey, Stealth Black, and Chrome.
The Royal Enfield Bullet
Royal Enfield’s Bullet range only consists of one model for the North American market: the Bullet 500 EFI. The Bullet is argued to be the longest motorcycle in continuous production in the industry, with roots that can be traced back to 1932. With over 80 years of experience engineered into the motorcycle, it’s Royal Enfield’s most popular model. Luckily, it has had a fair degree of modernization since 1932, and the current Bullet 500 EFI boasts the perfect balance of classic Royal Enfield styling with new technology. Electronic Fuel Injection, modern brakes, and a useful electric-starter have turned the Bullet into a real pleasure to ride. The engine specification is the same as you’d find on the above mentioned Classic line, which makes the Bullet a worthy addition to any garage.
The Royal Enfield Himalayan
The Royal Enfield Himalayan is the latest and most modern addition to the Royal Enfield range. Built as a tribute to Royal Enfield’s history, when Royal Enfield’s motorcycles would patrol the northern borders of India, the Himalayan is a tough and versatile dual purpose motorcycle that can comfortably adventure both on and off-road. Equipped with an entirely new 411cc single cylinder, air-cooled, 4 stroke, engine that provides enough power for urban riding and more than enough grunt to plough through tough terrain. With long travel suspension, an upright riding stance, dual purpose tires, and plenty of uncomplicated extras, the Royal Enfield Himalayan is a bare-bones but bulletproof adventure motorcycle that promises to redefine the future of adventure motorcycling.
The Royal Enfield Company
Royal Enfield is one of the greatest success stories from the motorcycle industry in recent years. The company has grown and expanded in an unprecedented way, continually posting sales figures of up to 50% increases on the previous year, year after year. In fact, by 2015 it was reported that Royal Enfield had overtaken Harley-Davidson in terms of global sales, which is no mean feat. The success of Royal Enfield is widely attributed to their parent company, Eicher Motors, and the marketing success of the company’s enterprising director, Siddhartha Lal.
Under Lal’s leadership, Royal Enfield has managed to emerge as one of the most competitive motorcycle manufacturers, selling quality products at low prices, and offering a unique ride experience to their customers. With demand on the rise, Royal Enfield now operates a total of three production plants, with factories in Thiruvottiyur, Oragadam, and the Sipcot Industrial Park, all in Chennai, India. In total, the company operates 17 company-owned dealerships in India, and oversees a further 705 authorizes sellers, and over 200 service centers, in India alone. On top of that, Royal Enfield exports motorcycles to over 50 countries all over the world, including the UK, Japan, UAE, South Korea, Bahrain, France, Germany, Argentina, and the USA, supporting more than 300 dealerships outside of India.
Royal Enfield also established a new Research and Design facility in Leicestershire, in the United Kingdom. The UK Technology Center is the innovation hub and product development headquarters for Royal Enfield. Stretching over 3,000 square meters and over two-levels, the UKTC proudly boasts a state-of-the-art engineering workshop, an advanced industrial studio, specialist engine, electrical, chassis, spray shop, model shop, parts store, and metal studios, all overseen by a talented workforce.
Royal Enfield In The USA
Royal Enfield established an official North American headquarters in August of 2015, when it founded its first dealership in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. From the new Milwaukee headquarters, Royal Enfield began its assault on the American market, first offering three models to tap into an under-served market. To help get Royal Enfield on track, the company appointed Rod Copes as the president of Royal Enfield North America, who announced ambitious plans to establish around 100 dealerships across the USA. Are any Royal Enfield motorcycles built in the USA? The answer is “no” – all Royal Enfield motorcycles are built and assembled in Chennai, India.
North American Royal Enfield Dealerships
At present, there are 31 official Royal Enfield dealerships, with 70 authorized sellers, in the USA. The number of dealerships is low, but there are plans for the company to expand that figure to around 100 dealerships in the next few years. Royal Enfield’s existing North American dealerships oversee the sale and service of Royal Enfield motorcycles, accessories, parts, and branded apparel. From knowledgeable sales staff to highly quality service technicians, Royal Enfield employs a skilled and dedicated workforce that will help grow the company on the strength of their service. To make customer service the brand’s number one priority, Royal Enfield has established a comprehensive Customer Support line, which puts you through to Royal Enfield experts that can answer any question you might have, between the hours of 9.00 am and 6.00 pm (CST), seven days a week. For all enquiries, call Royal Enfield on 1-866-600-1122.
The vast majority of the world’s major motorcycle manufacturers with a US presence have been assessed and ranked by the Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index survey from industry evaluators and mystery shopping specialists Pied Piper. Due to being a relative late-comer to the US market, Royal Enfield hasn’t been included in any of the surveys to date. However, it should be noted that in the last two surveys, Harley-Davidson has scored very well, in first place in 2015, and second in 2017. This is important because Royal Enfield’s appointment of Rod Copes their North American boss suggests that Royal Enfield is dedicated in emulating their fellow Milwaukee based competitor. Copes had previously worked for Harley-Davidson as the head of global sales and customer service, and with him at the helm, Royal Enfield’s customer service is likely to be destined for great things. At present, anecdotal evidence and independent consumer reviews suggest that Royal Enfield North America provide quality customer service and take care of their clients, with excellent sales and service teams across the country.
Since Royal Enfield is only new in the American market, the company hasn’t managed to establish any long term of regular financing options. As a far smaller company than the big four Japanese manufacturers which offer their own in-house financing services, Royal Enfield is testing out partnerships with consumer finance companies to try and work out which service is best for the average Royal Enfield customer. Last year, for example, Royal Enfield partnered with Dealer Direct, and together the two companies managed to establish an excellent financing option for consumers that was based around $99 monthly payments, with no down-payment required, in a deal that covered 49 States, excluding Alaska. That deal is no longer on offer, but it was a success and it seems to be the template for future financing options.
At the same time, Royal Enfield has also investigated a partnership with ThunderRoad Financial in a bid to best serve the company’s growing North American customer-base. Rod Copes explained to Powersports Finance in a 2017 interview: “We were obviously looking for someone that could provide some national retail finance options, and we were very keen on hitting on one of our key elements, which is going back to what motorcycling used to be when it was fun, simple, and affordable […] The affordable piece we think it really hits home with our target demographic, the younger population, and it’s about a monthly payment. We think under $100 a month is a very affordable option, so we came up with the $99 per month promotion for the last couple of months. We think that was a good way to get the name out there as well as that affordability piece. That’s kind of why we sought [Dealer Direct] out and they sought us out, and it seems to be a good partnership so far.”
For up-to-the-minute news about the latest Royal Enfield deals and finance options, check in with your local dealership, and keep an eye on the Royal Enfield North America website.
The Eicher Group
Royal Enfield’s parent company is the Eicher Group, the over-arching company in control of Eicher Motors Limited, which began life as a commercial vehicle manufacturer in India with roots dating back to 1948. Originally tractor specialists, the company was able to expand to manufacture a wide range of vehicles including agricultural machinery, trucks and buses, engineering components and powertrains. Today, the Eicher Group owns a number of smaller companies. Apart from Royal Enfield, the Eicher Group’s subsidiaries include:
VE Commercial Vehicles
VE Commercial Vehicles (or VECV) is the product of a joint venture between the Swedish Volvo Group and India’s Eicher Motors Limited. The new company was formed in 2008 and the venture began producing Eicher badged vehicles, such as trucks and buses, powertrains, and offered engineering design services, distribution logistics and sales points for Volvo Trucks and Volvo Buses on the Indian sub-continent.
One of the Eicher Group’s more interesting partnerships was a 2012 strategic joint venture agreement between Eicher Motors Limited and the USA’s Polaris Industries Inc, which saw the two company’s team up to design, develop and construct a range of vehicles geared towards the Indian market, as well as other emerging markets, particularly in South East Asia. These personal utility vehicles include the Multix AX+ and Multix MX, with them both described as the ideal “3-in-1” vehicle. The joint venture was called the Eicher Polaris Pvt. Ltd, and the new venture set up shop in Jaipur, Rajasthan in 2013. The first models appeared in 2015 and currently sell in over 30 dealerships in India.
Royal Enfield: Racing And Records
Unlike most motorcycle manufacturers of the era, Royal Enfield didn’t really have much of an interest in racing. Throughout the 20th century, racing and motorcycle sales usually went hand in hand, however, Royal Enfield bucked the trend. Having said that, the company did make a few official forays into the racing scene in the early and mid-1960s. With little experience, the company tried their hand at racing in the 250cc class in Britain’s national championships. With a potent 250cc two-stroke engine, a bespoke lightweight frame and an innovative cylinder design that featured four transfer ports rather than the standard two, Royal Enfield looked dangerous. Unfortunately, the company wasn’t too focused on racing, and their efforts fizzled out. Even with racing legend Geoff Duke appointed as Competition Manager for Royal Enfield, nothing noteworthy really happened.
Despite the lack of competitive racing success, a few daring riders have tried to race a Royal Enfield into the record books. The most notable pilot of the last 50 years is British rider Steve Linsdell, who has been expertly racing his Royal Enfield at the Isle of Man TT over a number of decades – and posting impressive times too. In 1981, Steve came second in the Newcomers Senior TT, posting a time of 188.8.131.52, carrying an average lap speed of 94.67 mph. More recently, Steve entered into the 2011 Classic 500cc TT at the Isle of Man, claiming fourth place with a time of 1:28:44.89 and an average lap speed of 102.032 mph.
The Royal Enfield Factory Tour
Dedicated Royal Enfield enthusiasts can embark on an incredible factory tour at the company’s Tiruvottiyur facility in Chennai, India. The tours take place on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month and begin at 10.30 am sharp, at a cost of Rs. 600 (approximately $8.70) per person. These tours must be booked in advance, and appointments can be made via the Royal Enfield website.
The tours involve a short introduction that takes visitors through the history of Royal Enfield, before visitors are taken on an amazing and in-depth tour of the factory. Visitors can enjoy unprecedented access to the company’s engine assembly, piston, torque and fuel testing facility, the body shop, parts assembly line, and more, witnessing the construction of an entire motorcycle from beginning to end, resulting in a road test. Despite the in-depth experience, photography is strictly prohibited, except for in two areas (the petrol tank painting shop and the final assembly point). The tour concludes with light refreshments. If you happen to be in India, it’s well worth the visit. It’s also possible to book an optional test drive for those who require the full Royal Enfield experience.
The Garage Café
For Royal Enfield fans who are visiting India but are on the other side of the country from Chennai, it’s recommended that you pay a visit to the Royal Enfield Garage Café in Goa. The café is located on the Baga River, and features a comprehensive collection of all things Royal Enfield, with a wide selection of motorcycles on display from the pre-war era to the present day, lots of Royal Enfield memorabilia, plenty of merchandise to peruse, and most importantly, it comes complete with a well-stocked bar and a much celebrated kitchen. Though it’s more restaurant and bar than motorcycle museum, it’s a must-visit place for Royal Enfield fans in India.
5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Royal Enfield
#01. Since the first Royal Enfield was produced in 1901, the company is the oldest motorcycle manufacturer in the world that has remained in constant production since its founding. To make things even more interesting, the Royal Enfield Bullet 350 is the world’s oldest motorcycle that is still in production. Since 1955, the Royal Enfield Bullet 350 has been a part of the company’s core line-up.
#02. The Bullet isn’t the only famous Royal Enfield motorcycle though. After the success of the Super Meteor and Constellation, Royal Enfield released the Interceptor: a sporty motorcycle with a 740cc parallel twin engine which was the fastest motorcycle of its day, completing the quarter mile in under 13 seconds. Despite its performance, it was destined to be the last of the “English” Royal Enfield motorcycles ever produced.
#03. Like most motorcycle manufacturers, Royal Enfield originally began life as an arms manufacturer. The original Royal Enfield logo was actually based around an image of a cannon, with a slogan that read “Made Like A Gun, Goes Like A Bullet.” Interestingly, other Royal Enfield products were also branded with this logo, including their more mundane items, like lawnmowers!
#04. Royal Enfield is one of the few motorcycle manufacturers that have taken the risk of building a diesel production motorcycle. In 1990, the firm pulled the covers off of the highly innovative “Taurus” model. It certainly was innovative, but it was an absolute commercial failure from the very start. Despite the sales flop, Royal Enfield continued producing the Taurus until 2002. However, against all odds the unusual Taurus has become a cult classic among Royal Enfield fans and they can sell for high prices to die-hard collectors.
#05. Royal Enfield was the first motorcycle manufacturing company in Indian to produce a four-stroke engine to the Indian market, and what’s more, Royal Enfield was the first company in India to provide rear disc brakes for their motorcycle products. While Royal Enfield isn’t known for innovation, bringing these two things to a massive market was pretty innovative, to say the least!
Royal Enfield FAQ
#01. Where Is Royal Enfield From? Royal Enfield was originally established in Redditch, Worcestershire in England. In the 50s, the company opened an Indian branch called Enfield India. When the Redditch company collapsed, the Indian arm continued manufacturing, and in the 1990s, it was rebranded as “Royal Enfield,” making it a fully Indian company today. In short, Royal Enfield is an Indian company with British roots.
#02. Which Royal Enfield Is Best? Deciding which model of Royal Enfield model is the best is a matter of taste. For the classic Royal Enfield experience, the Bullet is the obvious choice since it has been in continuous production for decades. However, if real world usability and reliability are your priorities then the brand new Royal Enfield Himalayan dual-purpose motorcycle is probably a wiser choice due to its new technology and toughness.
#03. Does Royal Enfield Have Tubeless Tires? The vast majority of Royal Enfield’s current line-up comes equipped with old-school tires that require tubes. Tubeless tire conversions are possible but they require you to buy new aftermarket rims. At present, only the new Thunderbird X models in Royal Enfield’s range are equipped with tubeless tires as standard – and those models aren’t available in the USA.
#04. Is Royal Enfield An Indian Company? Enfield India was first established in 1955 to manufacture licensed Royal Enfield motorcycles in India. After Royal Enfield collapsed in 1970, Enfield India continued producing Royal Enfield motorcycles and in the 1990s, it changed its name to become the only “Royal Enfield” company in existence. If you’re buying a Royal Enfield from after 1970, you can guarantee that it’s from the Indian Royal Enfield company.
#05. Are Royal Enfield Motorcycles Reliable? This is a tricky question. The reliability of a Royal Enfield motorcycle relies on a number of variables: it’s age, where it came from, and how committed you are as a Royal Enfield owner, to the maintenance required to keep one going forever. Generally, a Royal Enfield motorcycle is as reliable as its owner. If you’re good to it, it will be good to you.