Royal Enfield

Royal Enfield was originally an English manufacturer of guns and motorcycles.

Royal Enfield (founded in 1893, first motorcycle built in 1901) is the oldest still nowadays producing motorcycle brand of the world, preceding Triumph (founded in 1886, first motorcycle built in 1902), Harley Davidson (founded in 1907, first motorbike built in 1903) and Husqvarna (founded in 1889, first motorcycle built in 1903).

  • 1896 production of bicycle and weapon parts – the motto “built like a gun” has its origin at that time and is meant to be a symbol of quality
  • 1901 production of the first motorcycle 
  • 1902 introduction of a 2 valves with 300 ccm, later 350 ccm
  • 1912 770 ccm V-twin 
  • 1914 225 ccm-2-stroke engin – after the first world war they produced 2-stroke engines until 1921 when the 976 ccm V-twin replaced them
  • 1924 350 one stroke engines were introduced
  • 1928 500 ccm OHV one stroke engine
  • 1930 500 ccm four stroke engine
  • 1933 exportation of the K-model with 1.140 ccm
  • 1933 year of birth of the legendary “Bullet” with 250 and 350 ccm
  • 1939 a 125 ccm 2 stroke engine became famous during the 2nd world war under the designation “Flying Flea” with paratrooper missions. At the end of the war the production of the 2 stroke engines and the two Bullet-models continued.
  • 1953 – 1960 different models were put on the US-market as “Indian”
  • 1955 development of the “Bullet”-production in Madras, India. In England the firm carried on producing parallel twins, e.g. the 500 ccm Twin from 1949 to 1963, then the 700 Meteor from 1952 to 1962. The Crusader was a single of 250 ccm produced from 1956 to 1966. The coronation was the Interceptor with 750 ccm, a parallel twin with 52 HP. 
  • 1970 the Enfield-production in England ceased with the Interceptor. In India the Bullet 350 enjoys an increasing popularity. The 500 ccm-models are dedicated to  export.
  • 1994 The firm Eicher Goodearth Ltd., originally a joint venture of the since then defunct German company Gebr. Eicher, takes over Enfield India and rename it Royal Enfield Motors Limited.
  • 1999 the rights to the name “Royal Enfield” return to India, so that the classics must no longer be called by the official name “Enfield India”, but  are now authorized to the name of “Royal Enfield” like their legendary ancestors. Every year approx. 35,000 units of the Bullet are coming out of the production.
  • 2000 a new plant open its doors, the manufacturing quality improves and a new version of the 350 ccm is presented to the public.
  • 2005 the new Bullet Elektra 500 with a left sided gear change is introduced on the  UK market.
  • 2006 the adoption of new waste gas regulation (Euro 3) for new registered motorcycles put for the time being a foreseeable stop to the Bullet –story in Europe. Of course, there is a grace period for the petrol engines from India as well as for most of the small modified series with a diesel engine. As less than 5,000 units a year are imported to Europe, the Enfield can be registered problem-free until 31/12/2007  on the basis of a producer’s certificate. Also, the manufacturer of small diesel engine series (Sommer) is still on the market, but for  registration reasons  they are no longer allowed to commercialize under the label Royal Enfield. 
  • 2007 Even hereafter Royal Enfield will not disappear; already for 2007 new classic models are announced which will comply with the European standard 3 thanks to a new developed engine. 

The Bullet 500, a classic long stroke engine with 22 to 25 HP,  is still nowadays produced in India and is one of the best sold motorcycles in the world. The conservation of separated engine and gear boxes – a worldwide used technique in the 60ies’ motorbike engineering – made the Bullet an ideal basis for these constructions, which so could easily combine the original gear with later on installed Diesel engines. We cite as an example the Taurus 325, a since then stopped diesel-model. From the technical point of view, the motorcycles produced by the firms Beckedorf and Sommer, are considered as the highest developed models. The Beckedorf-bike equipped with a Lombardini-Diesel has been produced about 50 times, the Hatz-Sommer-Diesel more or less 150 times. Both engines develop approx. 11 HP and allow a maximum speed of 110 km/h.