Motorcycle Types Cruiser Royal Enfield India | Motorcycle History

Royal Enfield India | Motorcycle History

Royal Enfield History

Royal Enfield was incorporated as Enfield India Limited on the 21st of November in 1955 with the first bikes being assembled from CKD kits. It was the first 4-stroke motorcycle manufacturer in the India. In 1956, the plant in Thiruvottiyur was set up and by the end of the year, 163 Enfield Bullets had been assembled and rolled off the new assembly line.

Enfield India launched the 173cc Villiers-powered Crusader in India in 1973 to follow the successful Sherpa, a small motorcycle developed indigenously using many Bullet parts for those diffident about handling a Bullet which was followed by the Mini Bullet a 200 cc two stroke sporting `contemporary’ design to provide a zippy, reliable and economical two-stroke bike.

Enfield India tied up with Zundapp of Germany, and put up a plant in Ranipet, near Chennai in the 1980’s to manufacture small, light weight two stroke two wheelers. The competition was hotting up and like the adage that goes, "when the going get tough, that’s when the tough gets going". Enfield India launched a slew of light weight machines.

The 50cc Silver Plus step-through and Explorer motorcycle and the Fury 175 and these bikes redefined the entry-level segment. The Fury with a five-speed gearbox came fitted with a hydraulic disc brake a first in the country. The 1980’s also saw the Bullet in many different avatars the Deluxe models, in resplendent chrome and metallic colours.

The 1990’s saw many revolutionary models from the Company. The Taurus Diesel was the first production diesel motorcycle in the world. The Enfield Bullet 500 was launched in June 1993 and went on to become the most coveted model of the brand. In 1994 the Eicher Group acquired the Company and changed the name to Royal Enfield Motors Limited.

With the community of motorcycle enthusiasts increasing, the year 1995 saw the launch of the formal first Bullet club in Bangalore. Since then several clubs have come up in different parts of India with more than thousands of bikers as Members. In 1998, Royal Enfield developed and introduced a new platform of products with a lean burn engine. This engine not only meets the stringent emission norms, but also offers more power and fuel economy. Bullet Machismo, a true classic motorcycle, was launched with this engine.

To address the needs of all the urban customers, Royal Enfield launched the first Cruiser bike "Thunderbird". It was an instant success. It bagged the BBC Wheels Award for the best Cruiser in India in 2002. More awards followed and the Bullet entered the Indian Automotive "Hall of Pride" award for defining the motorcycles in the Indian perspective.

In the last 5 years, Royal Enfield has made significant strides in the global market. From North America to Europe in the West and Japan to Australia in the East today Royal Enfield has a pride of place across the globe. In fact Royal Enfield was ranked among the top 10 selling brands in UK in the 125 – 500 cc category.

As a reflection of commitment to its customers TNS Auto has rated Royal Enfield as the best in Total Customer Satisfaction (TCS) in the last two consecutive years, in Cruiser segment.

In its 50th year Royal Enfield re-dedicates itself to the cause of true motorcycling in India with relevant products and services.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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