Royal Enfield has been a legendary name in the biking world and has a history of more than half a century in India alone. With its presence around for so long, many facts have been missed out by most. Here are such 10 unknown facts about Royal Enfield.
Longest running production bike in the world
The most popular model – the Bullet 350 – was launched 87 years ago, back in 1931. The bike was first launched in the UK market in 1931. The Bullet reached India in 1951 embarking on a historical journey ever since. No other motorcycle has survived in the market this long, which shows a huge fan-following for the model even today.
Royal Enfield used to make lawn mowers
Before Royal Enfield started motorcycle production, they used to make lawn mowers. Apart from lawn mowers, they were also in the arms business, which inspired the tagline” Made like a Gun”. The company supplied rifles to the army and had sporting guns too.
Nope, they’re not ‘hand-made’
Even though they have a vintage, hand-built look, present day Royal Enfield motorcycles are made using modern robots on the assembly lines. Before 2014, some models were assembled by hand, but post-2014, after demand spiked, everything from painting to the assembly was done by machines. The pinstripe on the Bullet tanks is hand painted. Interestingly, the painting is being done by the same family of artists since the inception of Royal Enfield in India.
The Interceptor 650 is not their biggest bike
Internationally, Royal Enfield used to offer a 1,000cc V-Twin engine along with many other engine options. In India, the brand used to sell a 650cc V-Twin and 700cc V-Twin engine during the 1970s but due to lack of popularity, they were discontinued.
They had a bike more fuel efficient than a Splendor!
Royal Enfield once launched a diesel-powered bike called the Taurus. The 325cc, single-cylinder diesel engine produced 6.5 Bhp of power and 15 Nm torque. The low revving engine was on the market for 12 long years but we do not see many examples on the road. The bike returned a whopping fuel economy of 70 km/l.
Royal Enfield now exports to its country of origin
Royal Enfield was originally a UK-based company that went bankrupt and was shut down. In 1999, the Indian arm took over the Royal Enfield name and continued using it. After fighting many legal battles, the Royal Enfield got the naming rights. Now the brand has a global presence and exports its bikes all over the world, including the UK.
Still supplies to the Army!
Royal Enfield have supplied motorcycles to the armies of three different countries. Earlier the bikes were only supplied to the Russian army, later they also started to supply the bikes to the British Army. In 1950s, Royal Enfield started supplying motorcycles to the Indian army. Many of these motorcycles are still being used by many military and paramilitary forces of India.
Royal Enfield is the oldest motorcycle manufacturer in the world
Royal Enfield embarked on its motorcycle journey in 1901, while Harley-Davidson launched their first product in 1905. Royal Enfield sells more in India alone, than the total overall sales of Harley-Davidson in different countries. Looking at both the brands, it does not seem likely that any of them will ever die.
India’s first commissioned motorcycle
The Royal Enfield started supplying motorcycles to the Indian army in 1955. The first order was of 800 units of Royal Enfield bikes for which the British company set up an assembly plant in India in partnership with Madras Motors of India. Initially, they assembled Bullet 350 and later started with Bullet 500 under license from the Redditch company.
India’s first four-stroke bike
Royal Enfield was a leader of innovations in the past. In 1924, the company developed the four-stroke 350cc single-cylinder engine. India got its first four-stroke bike in the form of the Royal Enfield Bullet 350.