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Royal Enfield
Type Subsidiary
Founded 1955 as Enfield India
Headquarters Chennai, India
Industry Motorcycle
Products Motorcycles
Parent Eicher Motors

Royal Enfield is a motorcycle manufacturing company based in Chennai, India.


Royal Enfield motorcycles made in England were being sold in India from 1949. In 1955, the Indian government looked for a suitable motorcycle for its police and army, for patrolling the country's border. The Bullet was chosen as the most suitable bike for the job. The Indian government ordered 800 350 cc model Bullets. In 1955, the Redditch company partnered with Madras Motors in India to form 'Enfield India' to assemble, under licence, the 350 cc Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle in Madras (now called Chennai). The first machines were assembled entirely from components shipped from England. In 1957, the tooling was sold to Enfield India so that they could manufacture components. By 1962, all components were made in India. The Indian Enfield uses the 1960 engine (with metric bearing sizes), in the pre-1956 design frame. An independent manufacturer since the demise of Royal Enfield in England, Enfield India still makes an essentially similar bike in 350 cc and 500 cc forms today, along with several different models for different market segments.[1] In 1986, a British civil servant, Raja Narayan, returned to India and organised an export arm for the company to market the Bullet in England. Starting with a Bullet 350 in 1986, he was soon giving feedback that led to improvements. By 1989, the Enfield Bullet appeared in UK motorcycle shows. In 1994, Eicher Group bought into Enfield India.[2] In late 1995, the Enfield India firm acquired the rights to the name Royal Enfield. Royal Enfield of India now sells motorcycles in over twenty countries. They are being imported

Recent models

Over the last few years there have been a number of models on sale across the World:

  • Bullet 350 UCE (350 cc) – The new variant of the evergreen Bullet with the revolutionary UCE engine.
  • Bullet Electra Twinspark (350 cc) – close to the Classic 350/Electra 5s specification with some basic modifications.
  • Classic (350 & 500 cc) – close to the original 1955 specification with some basic modifications.
  • Bullet 500 ES – Classic with electric start.
  • Bullet 65 – Bullet 500 ES with new 5 speed gearbox and left foot gear change.
  • Thunderbird (350 cc) – New 5 speed gearbox, left foot gear change, stylish look with dual colour/shade body, curved handle bars and electric start. It is compliant with UK/EU emission standards.
  • Bullet Electra-X (500 cc) – Much modified and re-designed lean burn, alloy barrelled engine with the new gearbox and many chassis modifications. The Electra-X looks like a modified and improved Bullet.

All of these basic models have trials, cafe racer, and other derivative models. For noise and emission reasons, the old engine will cease to be imported into the UK/EU starting in 2008, and the 'lean burn' engine will then become the standard.

Even this lean-burn engine may be short-lived in the EU as further emissions restrictions are to be introduced in the form of Euro 3. A new engine will be introduced in the Fall of 2007 called the "Unit Construction Engine" or UCE. It will be fuel injected and the engine casing and transmission will share a single casting. The Royal Enfield has been imported into the USA since 1995. The models which are available in the USA are:

  • Classic 500 cc- In the Classic, Deluxe and Military models.
  • Bullet Electra - X
  • Bullet Electra - Classic

The 350 cc bikes were sold for a few years in the USA, but the US market heavily favors the larger 500 cc model. The 350 cc models are no longer imported into the US. No kick start only models are sold in the US as there was no market demand for them once the Electric Start models were developed.

Royal Enfield models

Bullet 500 cc

Main article: Royal Enfield Bullet

The Royal Enfield Bullet is a 500 cc standard motorcycle.

List of vehicles manufactured by Royal Enfield, India

  • Classic (350 & 500 cc) - close to the original 1955 specification with some basic modifications, 5 speed gear box and left foot gear shift.
  • Bullet 500 ES - Classic with electric start and 4-speed gearbox
  • Bullet Continental - US model 350 or 500 with 4 speed gearbox with left foot gear change.
  • Bullet Sixty-5 - Bullet 500 ES with new 5 speed gearbox and left foot gear change.
  • Lightning 500cc - 4 speed cast iron engine. Cruiser model on which the Thunderbird is based.
  • Lightning 535cc - 4 speed cast-iron engine, cruiser looks, but heating issues over 100 km. A subject of much controversy on the Enfield forums when introduced, with divided opinion possibly tracing origins to quality control issues. Ultimately discontinued in 2005.
  • Thunderbird (350 cc)- New 5 speed gearbox, left foot gear change, stylish look with dual colour/shade body, curved handle bars and electric start. It is also compliant with UK/EU emission standards.
  • Bullet Electra-X (500 cc) - Much modified/re-designed lean burn, alloy barreled engine with the new gearbox and many chassis modifications. The Electra-X looks like a modified and improved Bullet.
  • Bullet Machismo 350/500
  • Mini-Bullet 200
  • * Mofa a 22 cc shock-absorber-less mobike.
  • Standard Bullet 350cc

The Fury, Explorer and Silver plus were obtained from Zündapp, a famous German motorcycle company which went bankrupt in 1984. Zündapp entry-level models of small, lightweight two-stroke two wheelers were built by Enfield India (as the company then was) in a plant at Ranipet, near Chennai. These were the 50 cc Silver Plus step-through moped, and the Explorer and Fury 175 motorcycles. The Fury had a five-speed gearbox, and a hydraulic disc brake - the first in the country.

EGLI Super Bullet

Swiss motorcycle tuner Fritz W. Egli, a distributor of Royal Enfield motorcycle, was approached by a customer to create the Egli Super Bullet. The basis for this bike is Egli’s use of a central tube frame constructed from nickel-plated chromium-molybdenum steel. The engine is equipped with an aluminium cylinder, US-sourced piston, larger valves in a redesigned cylinder head, longer stroke crankshaft, special main bearings, dry clutch, timing belt primary drive and 36 mm Keihin flat-slide carburettors. The output is 40 hp (30 kW) from a 624 cc engine fed via an electric pump from a classic-looking aluminium tank.[3]

Royal Enfield Super bike taures (Diesel)

Royal Enfield in India built a diesel motorcycle. A 6.5 hp (4.8 kW) industrial diesel was installed in the frame of the British-based Royal Enfield bullet 350cc. . Its fuel consumption was around 200 miles per imperial gallon (1.4 L/100 km/170 mpg-US). Initially street mechanics were mounting this engine in used Bullets, like retro Royal Enfield Bikes, with the 350 cc retrofit engine developing 18 hp (13 kW). On seeing the success of these bikes; Royal Enfield started manufacturing Bullets with the diesel engine and named it the Taurus. The Taurus was available with an electric starter. It was characterised as very noisy, slow and with excessive vibrations. The company subsequently stopped its production.

Enfield MOFA

The Enfield MOFA is certainly one of the odd machines coming out from the Enfield family. Enfield bikes are generally classified as rugged, powerful bikes. Although historically it has come out with the light weight 125 cc Royal Enfield WD/RE during world war II for the British troops, the launch of MOFA a 22 cc shock absorber less bike in the late 1980s was a significant deviation from its established practices. The MOFA was a very light weight, fuel efficient (almost up to 90 km a litre) bike. With a top speed of around 25 km/hr it was not really a vehicle useful for speeding across the town. A MOFA did not require registration from a Road transport Officer and for all practical purposes it could be called as a bicycle mounted with an engine. With the advent of other low powered two wheeler's, MOFA subsequently lost out and it is no longer produced. But today there is some interest in collectors about this bike because of its unique design which has rarely been found in the two wheeler market [4]

Promoting riding

As the only genuine touring motorcycle manufactured in India, Royal Enfield has more recently stayed away from regular mass media advertising and has concentrated more on building its brand around the values that the brand stands for - riding and eating up the miles. It has very much positioned itself as a cult brand and focuses on making Enfield owners interact with each other by means of various rides and events to further strengthen the cult status. Royal Enfield strongly promotes leisure motorcycling as a lifestyle and encourages Royal Enfield riders/owners to keep riding.[5] In this regard, the company organises annual events and rides such as the Himalayan Odyssey, the tour of the Rann of Kutch, the tour of NH 17 (Mumbai to Goa), the Tour of Rajasthan, the tour of the North East and the Southern Odyssey. It also organizes the Annual festival of biking, Rider Mania in Goa which attracts Royal Enfield riders from all over. In addition to organizing events, enfield owners can interact with other enfield owners on the company website for planning trips. The website allows users to enter their trip details on a calendar which everyone can view.[6] One can leave their contact details and other users can contact them and join them for the trips.

See also


  1. [1] Royal-Enfield History (Retrieved 22 October 2006)
  2. [2] Royal Enfield 1991 - 2000 Enfield becomes Royal Enfield (Retrieved 30 October 2006)
  3. Egli Super Bullet 624cc
  5. [3]
  6. [4]

External links

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