Royal Enfield is the world’s oldest motorcycle manufacturer that is still active. Over the years, the vintage styling and feel of the Royal Enfield bikes became their USP and a common opinion emerged that concluded that Royal Enfield bikes are still ancient! However, they truly have become modern and there are numerous signs of it. What are the ten such signs that show that the Royal Enfield motorcycles are finally becoming modern? Let’s find out.
An all-new parallel-twin engine
The all-new transmission and the clutch will be part of an all-new engine from the Royal Enfield brand. Soon, Royal Enfield will launch the Interceptor and the Continental GT 650 that will become the first two modern-age bikes powered by the all-new parallel-twin Royal Enfield engine. The air-cooled engine produces a maximum of 47 Bhp and 52 Nm. This would be the first parallel-twin engine powered bike from Royal Enfield India.
A new transmission and clutch
Over the years, Royal Enfield increased the number of speeds in the transmission but got stuck with the 5-speed for a long time while many other manufacturers started offering 6-speed transmissions. The all-new Royal Enfield 650cc will come with an all-new 6-speed gearbox.
That’s not all, Royal Enfield will also offer a slipper clutch, which is not as common in the affordable segment yet but there are quite a few. With these two new features on their upcoming motorcycles, the Royal Enfield brand will not be entirely linked to the vintage lineage.
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
ABS has become an integral part of the safety of motorcyclists. Royal Enfield has also started offering ABS in their line-up. Royal Enfield’s first ABS-equipped bikes in India would be the upcoming Interceptor and the Continental GT 650 but in many foreign markets, Royal Enfield offers dual-channel ABS across the range. The ABS feature will be mandatory in India on 125cc and above motorcycles next year onward.
Both the Royal Enfield 500cc and the 411cc engines are fuel injected in India and it is a strong sign of modernity. However, Royal Enfield does not offer an oxygen sensor in the Indian fuel injection system. These open loop fuel injection systems do not compensate for the oxygen level in the atmosphere and can suffer at high altitudes. All the export models do get the closed-loop FI systems that get the O2 sensor.
While disc brakes in the front wheel has become quite common, the rear disc brakes are only offered with performance bikes. Royal Enfield offers the rear disc brake with models like Classic, Himalayan and Thunderbird. Disc brakes are much more efficient and powerful than the drum brakes and are considered as a safer option too. Disc brakes drastically bring down the braking distance.
Royal Enfield has adopted modern technology on its assembly line, like Computer Numerical Control (CNC) milling among other things. These high-end machines use computer-aided graphics and inputs to produce identical parts for the bike that reduce malfunctions. The use of other sophisticated programs like Computer Aided Design (CAD) to design and then manufacture through Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) put them on par with the competitors.
Unlike the older Royal Enfield motorcycles that used to be hand-built, the modern ones go through a lot of automated processes. The modernity has also helped Royal Enfield to bring down the waiting period of motorcycles to a few months now.
And paint shops
Robots have become an integral part of the modern assembly line. Most modern automobiles are painted by robotic arms that are much more uniform and efficient than humans. Royal Enfield’s plant also gets robotic arms in the paint shop that ensure quick and efficient painting of the parts. Quite modern, we would say.
Modern UCE engine
The new age Royal Enfield engine from the UCE (Unit Construction Engine) family has gained a lot of modern traits. To start with, the UCE comes with a rotary oil pump that ensures higher oil flow in the engine. The solid tappets were replaced with hydraulic tappets that mean less maintenance and more performance.
The unit construction of the engine gives it better connectivity with different components of the motorcycle, like gearbox and engine. It also gets an automatic decompressor, and automatic Cam Backlash prevention for easier start and consistent engine performance.
Finally, an overhead cam engine!
Royal Enfield has been known for their iconic styling and products like Bullet, Classic and Thunderbird. The brand is quite adaptive and has ventured into other untested segments like Cafe Racer and Adventure. While the Cafe Racer (Continental GT 535) did not gain much traction in the market, the Adventure bike (Himalayan) became quite popular.
The Himalayan marked a first of many, like the introduction of the OHC (Overhead Cam) engine. The LS410 engine, which features on the Royal Enfield Himalayan, becomes the first RE engine to get the overhead cam, even though all the other motorcycle manufacturers moved to the OHC systems ages ago. Royal Enfield is slow but is surely incorporating new technology in its engine.
The Royal Enfield’s President, Rudratej Pratap, said that the company is working on an all-new electric motorcycle platform. With the electric automobile set to be the future, Royal Enfield has already started working on it. It is a quite modern approach and Royal Enfield is expected to be ready with their product when the electric wave comes in. However, we all will miss the signature thump of the Royal Enfield bikes.