There’s just something about Royal Enfield’s that people love. Still ubiquitous in many parts of the world and the subject of enthusiast clubs, Royal Enfield’s are one of the world’s most popular classic motorcycles. To celebrate this popularity, we thought we would take a closer look into the history and see just what it is that makes it so special.
Founded by George Townsend, Royal Enfield produced their first motorised vehicle in 1898 - known as a ‘Quad’. Their famous motto ‘Made like a gun, Goes like a bullet’ referred to their military involvement and like most automotive companies of those days, they manufactured other products such as lawnmowers, bicycles and rifle parts.
In 1914, during WW1, Royal Enfield was asked by the government to produce machine gun-carrying combinations and stretcher bearing motorcycles. Then in 1917, when there was a female dominated police service, the women were provided with 600cc Royal Enfield motorcycles. In WW2, Royal Enfield developed a bike called the ‘Flying Flea’, also known as ‘Airborne’ as it came with its own parachute and packing cage, and it could be dropped from an aircraft along with the troops.
The most engaging Royal Enfield product is the versatile ‘Bullet’, with a single cylinder and four stroke engine. The 1933 Bullet sported a dramatic front making it a truly classic bike, with a very long production run. It has a smooth engine with four gears and an instrument cluster fixed to the front handle bar including a speedometer, odometer, fuel gauge and battery meter. Royal Enfield bike manufacturing is now completely carried out in India, and has been so for the past 50 years.
The Bullet is a popular bike in India; a large number of being used to patrol the border with Pakistan. It’s the only Indian bike that can hold its ground in the mountainous Himalayas and the desert trails of Rajasthan, whilst being strong enough to hit a pothole at 70km an hour with minimal trouble for rider or bike. The only downside to the Bullet is that it is not very economical in regards to mileage, especially in comparison to Japanese bikes like Honda and Suzuki, but it makes up for this with its stability and endurance.
Royal Enfield needed bikes that could match the speed and performance of Asian bikes, so they came up with the Interceptor line, their fastest motorcycles with a top speed of over 105 miles per hour. This was the last Enfield line to be produced in England.
Royal Enfield motorbikes are still loved worldwide for their smooth ride, endurance and part in the war effort. Many Enfield enthusiasts show their passion for the brand by becoming members of the Royal Enfield Owners Club, where members can share ideas and information on the maintenance, restoration and use of Royal Enfield motorcycles and machines. Still in use all around the world today, Royal Enfield’s are a true classic in every sense of the word.