Royal Enfield: The Symbol of Destination
Royal Enfield Rises
Enfield Cycle Company which is in founded 1893 manufactured motorcycles, bicycles, lawnmowers and stationary engines, is the godfather of modern day Royal Enfield. The first Royal Enfield was built in 1901. The Enfield Cycle Company is behind the design and original manufacturing of the Royal Enfield Bullet, the most iconic and longest-lived design in automotive history.
The Enfield Cycle Company also began business as a weapons manufacturer like other motorcycle manufacturers of that time, most famous for the Enfield rifle. The company’s logo also reflects this legacy which represents a cannon, and their dynamic motto, "Made Like A Gun".
In 1955, Enfield Cycle Company make way to India and associates with Madras Motors which gives rise to Chennai based Enfield of India, and started assembling the 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle in Madras.
The first machines were assembled from components imported from England. Starting in 1957, Enfield of India acquired the machines necessary to build components in India, and by 1962 all components were made in India. Unfortunately, the production was ceased at the original Redditch, Worcestershire-based Company which was dissolved in 1971. But Enfield of India continued its 'Bullet' production, and began branding its motorcycles under the brand name 'Royal Enfield' in 1999. Enfield cycle company do give some full page commercials here is the calling it almost a Rolls Royce.
A Sneak Peek
Let's take a look at some of the current production units from the Royal Enfield.
Royal Enfield Bullet 350
The Bullet 350 is the entry-level royalty from the Royal Enfield headquarters and also one of the oldest cruisers in India. Over the years it has evolved and still stays rock solid to its spirit of being a retro cruiser.
The Bullet 350 features old school dials with an analog speedometer, ammeter, and a key slot on the console. The Bullet 350 is only available in black with the traditional hand painted gold pin stripes on the tank and the Royal Enfield motif faithful to period-specific looks. A single round headlight with the 'classic' pilot lights in the same casing, triangular side panels with toolkit storage and a traditional rear fender with sub frame complete the period look of the Bullet.
It is mated to a five-speed gearbox with the gearlever now on the left side of the motorcycle. But The Bullet 350 twin spark loses out on essentials like self-start, disc brakes and runs on cross ply tyres but it is the cheapest Bullet money can buy. As claimed by the OEM it can hit a top speed of 95kmph. Well it’s not a hi-performance bike, and the engine doesn't like being revved, but if you don't mind cruising at 80kmph or thereabouts, the Bullet 350 will make you happy.
346cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled, four-stroke engine
Royal Enfield Bullet 500
As the name suggests, the Bullet 500 gets a bounce in capacity - powered by a Unit Construction Engine which displaces 499cc and is fed by a carburetor with throttle position sensor and twin spark ignition but offers the same iconic design of the legendary Bullet and offers three different shades –
With a bigger heart Bullet 500 offers better take off from low revs, due to more torque the engine produces and better cruising speed as well. The 500 will cruise happily around 90kmph and will go up to a top speed of over 120kmph, but the engine doesn't like being revved and the vibrations creep in and make it a bit unpleasant experience.
The rest of the build is similar to the Bullet 350, but the 500 gets a 280mm front disc brake and better illumination, a powerful 55w halogen bulb headlight. Unlike the Bullet 350, the Bullet 500 gets a slightly smaller 18-inch rear wheel and some minor upgrades like the ribbed seat, different tyre tread pattern.
499cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled four-stroke engine
Royal Enfield Bullet Electra
The Bullet Electra Twin spark looks like an old-school rugged cruiser with some cosmetic tweaks like added chrome in the front and rear fenders and the embossed Royal Enfield on the fuel tank and minor upgrades to Bullet 350. The slightly raised handlebar, comfortable seating to facilitate long distance cruising, the analogue instrument panel and the thump of the exhaust note together give this motorcycle a distinctive appeal.
The Bullet Electra Twin spark is powered by a four-stroke single-cylinder 346cc engine. This modern UCE or Unit Construction Engine is more power, more durable, has lesser maintenance and returns better fuel economy than the previous Cast Iron (CI) engines. The taillight is different as well, and the Bullet Electra is available in four different shades - silver, black, blue and red with both wheels being 19-inch spoke wheels with front disc brakes.
The Bullet Electra offers good ride quality and a top speed of 120kmph, but it's happiest cruising at around 80kmph. The Electra is for the chrome lovers who want to ride long.
Old Electra Commercial - “Everybody makes way for the Bullet”
Royal Enfield doesn’t advertize their product from a very long time and really speaking they doesn’t need too, owing an Enfield is everyone’s dream here. However their biking ads do hit the You Tube and a lot of short films by their fans but it’s a long time seeing a bullet on T.V.
Here’s a way old commercial of Bullet Electra with the tagline of “Everybody makes way for the Bullet”.
Royal Enfield Classic 350
The Classic 350 brags the rich legacy of Royal Enfield and continues to renders the old school styling. The most popular and highest selling Royal Enfield is the Classic 350. However, this motorcycle gets a dosage of new-age technology while keeping the feel of practical freedom of riding intact.
The power house remains the same - the 350cc UCE which powers all its 350 variants, but the Classic 350 gets a front disc brake - the same 280mm disc which is available on the Bullet Electra. This beast is carbureted and misses out on the electronic fuel injection (EFI) which the Classic 500 is equipped with; Performance is more or less similar to the other 350cc segments.
But what differentiates the Classic 350 is a more vibrant design with redesigned fenders, new taillight section, optional upside down exhaust and with a sprung rider's seat - Modern, yet retaining the retro lines and available in six different shades. The rear wheel size is an 18-incher while the front retains the 19-inch rim of the Bullet.
This motorcycle has all the qualities of a typical Royal Enfield and a relaxed and comfortable cruiser is what the company still intends to provide. This is for the retro lovers - with split seats, with the option of removing the rear seat and flashy colours, yet retaining the simple design of the original.
Royal Enfield Classic 500
The Classic range is one of the highest selling motorcycles in Royal Enfield’s range. Don’t be surprised if a dealer asks you to wait for six months before you get your bike.
The Classic 500 motorcycle is a part of Royal Enfield’s Retro Street series. The bike sports vintage and retro styling that distinguishes itself from the rest of the motorcycles on the road today. However The Royal Enfield Classic 500 has near identical looks of the Classic 350, but there are some cosmetic changes. The Classic 500 is available in various paint schemes, like the Classic Desert Storm, Classic Squadron Blue and Classic Chrome with seating option of a single as well as double seats are given for the individuality of rider.
As the name suggests, the change is in the powerhouse - the Classic 500 is acquired with a more powerful fuel-injected 500cc engine, which offers a lot of torque from very low revs due to which it offers more take off power, especially in climbing with extra weight. In terms of power, the Classic 500 is capable of hitting a top speed of around 130kmph, but is happiest cruising around the 90kmph mark. The extra power and extra torque make it a very good touring motorcycle. For those looking for extra roar, whether in low plains or in the high mountains, the Classic 500 offers more performance and more riding pleasure.
Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350
The Thunderbird 350 is the first which is truly marked as a real cruiser by the company. Although Thunderbird is in India since the year 2000 but got its real recognition In October 2012, Royal Enfield launched a renovated version of the Thunderbird 350 featuring with some major cosmetic tweaks.
The Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 offers classic cruiser styling and is really for long drive cruiser lovers. The engine is still the same as the Classic 350, but the features are extended like a teardrop styled fuel tank with extended fuel capacity of 20-litres, a digital meter console, projector headlamp, split seats with removable rear seat which can be used as a luggage carrier and LED taillight.
The powerhouse is same 350cc UCE fed through a carburetor. But the biggest strength of thunderbird is the ride quality is its biggest strength, this is due to more comfortable seating position as a result there is no back pain even after long miles. Being a cruiser Thunderbird 350 also rides through all kinds of bumps, road undulations and uneven terrain conditions.
The bike cruises steadily at around 90kmph with a top speed of 120kmpl and offers a comfortable riding posture for those long hours in the highway. But being a cruiser it does misses out some extra torque and the fuel injection required for those high terrain laps. Well if you want some cruiser looks with some extra features then the Thunderbird 350 is best in class, go for it, but for some more rage, let’s take a look at the Thunderbird 500.
Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500
The Royal Enfield Thunderbird is the Chennai-based bike maker’s specialty cruiser motorcycle with a bigger and more powerful heart then its sibling with a 500cc powerhouse with electronic fuel injection. The RE Thunderbird 500 is available in four major shades Lightning, Stone, Marine and a shade called Flicker Black.
In terms of features, the Thunderbird 500 gets an electric start, full instrument panel with digital trip meter and a host of other sensors like side stand and low oil. The bike is underpinned by a single down tube chassis which uses the engine as a stressed member. In the front RE has fitted the Thunderbird 500 with 41mm telescopic forks and a 280mm disc brake while the rear gets five-step adjustable gas charged units and a 240mm drum brake unit.
If you are looking to ride out for the long stretches often, the 500 makes more sense, the extra torque helps climb slopes, even with a pillion on board, and the 500cc engine offers a marginally higher cruising speed as well. The EFI helps in high altitude terrain and overall the Thunderbird 500 offers more pull. But the power is in vain if you are using this beast only for city riding if it is the primary usage than opt for the 350 segment.
Royal Enfield Continental GT
The Royal Enfield Continental GT café racer was first unveiled at the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo. It was launched in the global markets in the middle of 2013 and is now available in India. The Continental GT is the café racer inspired form ‘60s café racer design knocking back to an era when café racers were the symbol of fury. The retro looking Continental-GT has been built from ground-up and gets the double down tube chassis instead of Royal Enfield’s traditional single down tube chassis.
The Continental GT gets the UCE engine from the Classic 500 which has been re-bored for an increased capacity of 535cc. making it the largest displacing engine on any Royal Enfield right now. Well the bump in displacement with the slight increase in power and torque does make it slightly quicker than any other Royal Enfield 500, but the issue of the vibrations from the engine is ever-present and the engine also don’t like to be revved up giving the best riding at 100kmph. The 535cc motorcycle gets brembo disc brake in the front and bybre disc at the rear which gives it more than enough stopping power with a remapped ECU and Paioli suspension. The Continental GT is available in three shades GT Red, GT Black and GT Green.
535cc single-cylinder, air-cooled, four-stroke engine
Royal Enfield Himalayan
The Himalayan is the newest segment in the list and is an ‘all-rounder’ motorcycle built on a new platform from Royal Enfield. It is a 411cc adventure motorcycle which was partly developed in the United Kingdom and it breaks new ground - quite literally. The Himalayan is the first tourer from Royal Enfield unleashed for some adventure and its manufacturing is a result of something Royal Enfield owners have been experimenting with their bikes from some time. In terms of styling, it goes by a purposeful design language having minimalistic styling and no fancy curves and creases. The motorcycle comes in white or black with a neat Himalayan graphic running across the centre of the motorcycle.
The motorcycle brings a series of firsts for the brand. Almost every Royal Enfield owner desires to go on a long ride - whether it is from city to city, state to state, and some even wander on a pilgrimage of sorts to the highest roads in the world in the Himalayas. The Himalayan is powered by a 411cc single-cylinder air-cooled engine mated with a five-speed gearbox. In the braking department, the Himalayan gets a 300mm single Bybre disc with twin-piston caliper in front and a 220mm disc with single-piston caliper at the rear. The suspension duty of the bike is taken care of by 41mm telescopic forks at the front with 200mm travel and a monoshock in the rear. The bike rides on a 21-inch 90/90 CEAT tyre in the front and 17-inch 120/90 tyre at the rear.
The motorcycles come with a number of additional accessories, from Aluminium panniers to an after-market exhaust. The Himalayan currently faces no direct competition. It is available in white or black. The Himalayan is the ideal Enfield; it's got sensible efficiency and ride quality, and a comfortable seating posture for pinion but lost out on high-speed cruising potential. Well on the Indian roads, there is no other motorcycle which comes close to the Himalayan to take on all kinds of terrain when the road ends.
411cc single-cylinder, air-cooled, four-stroke engine
Royal Enfield Despatch Limited Edition
Royal Enfiled launched limited edition Despatch rider based on the Classic 500 but without any mechanical modification as a tribute to the Despatch Riders of the World War era which gets the styling details inspired from that era which includes three new camouflage paint shades which were first showcased at the unveiling of Royal Enfield’s flagship merchandise in New Delhi in May 2015. The three shades for the despatch are:-
Desert Storm Despatch
Squadron Blue Despatch
Each paint shade is limited in number to a production of just 200 the camouflage pattern will be unique to every single motorcycle thanks to new paint technique used by the manufacturer. There are some other styling details also which include a new shade leather upholstery for the seat, matching leather strap for the air filter and matte black finish for the engine and the silencer. One more shade is the Battle Green Despatch.
Royal Enfield Road Trips
The company does organize the road trips for the bullet lovers from time to time and a lot of bullet owners participate in that. You have to enroll for the trip by paying a fee which helps the group to take care of your journey and yes of course you need an Enfield to ride.
Here you can get in touch with the Royal Enfield Riding Events
- Royal Enfield USA – Official Website
We've been creating modern classics since 1901. Check out our range of motorcycles, get the latest news and get connected to the world of Royal Enfield USA.
Royal Enfield India Future Beasts
The manufacturer claims a really interesting news which is gaining a lot of attention among the automakers that the head quarter is working on diesel powered Enfields with larger engine capacities of 750cc and 1000cc on the Indian roads. But it is not their first attempt toward alternative fuel option, during late 1990s the bike maker came up with diesel engine Bullets which was an appealing concept but the manufacturer focused on petrol powered machines.
The fuel scenario is not quite good these days with petrol being the sole option and unpredicted pricing, the royal auto maker is planning to enter the diesel bike segment but the boom in the capacity of power house and betting big on something innovative is to compete with some big powered manufacturers like Harley Davidson, Ducati etc. making their way to the Indian market