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Rediff.com  » Getahead » PIX: The fascinating history of Royal Enfield!

PIX: The fascinating history of Royal Enfield!

Last updated on: June 10, 2011 18:52 IST

PIX: The fascinating history of Royal Enfield!

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Motorbeam.com

Royal Enfield has a long history behind it. The early days of the company date back to the 19th century. What started as a company making lawnmowers is now one of the most desired brands in the world.

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Image: A collage of the latest and the retired Bullet models from Royal Enfield
Photographs: Royal Enfield
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Originally owned by the British and now by the Eicher group of India, Royal Enfield has made some very exciting bikes in the past three decades. However Eicher only took over the company in 1995, after they bought Enfield and the rights to use the Royal Enfield name.

Royal Enfield is the oldest motorcycle brand in the world still in production, with no prizes for guessing the motorcycle having the longest production run of all time.

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Image: Royal Enfield Classic 500

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The Bullet

Yes the Bullet is the oldest motorcycle in the world, which is still in production since 1948. In its earlier days it was available with an overhead valve single cylinder 4-stroke engine in 350cc and 500cc configuration.

A 250cc motor joined in later as well. The Bullet was used by the RAF (Royal Air Force) in the second-world war with a new cosmetic update. In the 50s, the company gave the Bullet a major overhaul.

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Image: Royal Enfield Bullet

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A new vertical engine with alloy head and higher compression made its debut. Later on in 1960s, Enfield of India split up with Royal Enfield of UK, as the former could not continue with the changes being made to the Bullet.

Things went haywire in the 90s and with the original company defunct now Enfield of India had no technological support and had a tough time coping up with frugal Japanese rivals. Eicher stepped in and took over. The rest they say is history.

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Image: Royan Enfield Classic 350

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The cast iron engine in the Bullet dates back all the way to 1955 and is the reason for the stupendous thump of the machine. Unfortunately due to emission norms, the engine had to be ditched for a more sober sounding alloy unit.

Today Unit Construction Engines powers the Bullet, offering a significantly tamed down character to what the Bullet was known for.

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Image: Royal Enfield Thunderbird Twinspark

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PIX: The fascinating history of Royal Enfield!

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Royal Enfield has successfully been able to create a brand recall in India, which is similar to what Harley Davidson has done in the United States. The company's focus is beyond the product and that is apparent in the numerous adventure trips and expeditions it organises throughout the year.

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Image: Royal Enfield Bullet Electra

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With demand increasing significantly, the company is setting up new plants, hiring more people and expanding across global markets. More powerful variants are expected too, which would rival Harley Davidson. This will ensure the fan base keeps growing and more people join the bullet fraternity.

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Image: Royal Enfield Bullet Electra 5S

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Hopefully, the company is able to live up its tag line: Made like a gun, goes like a bullet.


Image: Royal Enfield Bullet 350

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