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    Enfield India (1949–present)

    Sunday, July 5, 2009

    Royal Enfields made in England were being sold in India from 1949. In 1955, the Indian government looked for a suitable motorcycle for its police and army, for patrolling the country's border. The Bullet was chosen as the most suitable bike for the job. The Indian government ordered 800 350 cc model Bullets.
    In 1955, the Redditch company partnered with Madras Motors in India to form 'Enfield India' to assemble, under licence, the 350 cc Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle in Madras (now called Chennai). The first machines were assembled entirely from components shipped from England. In 1957, the tooling was sold to Enfield India so that they could manufacture components. By 1962, all components were made in India. The Indian Enfield uses the 1960 engine (with metric bearing sizes), in the pre-1956 design frame.
    An independent manufacturer since the demise of Royal Enfield in England, Enfield India still makes an essentially similar bike in 350 cc and 500 cc forms today, along with several different models for different market segments. In 1986, UK civil servant Raja Narayan returned to India and organised an export arm for the company to market the Bullet in England. Starting with a Bullet 350 in 1986, he was soon giving feedback that led to improvements. By 1989, the Enfield Bullet appeared in UK motorcycle shows.
    In 1994, Eicher Group bought into Enfield India. In late 1995, the Enfield India firm acquired the rights to the name Royal Enfield. Royal Enfield of India now sells motorcycles in over twenty countries.
    They are being imported into the United States, United Kingdom, and other western countries in increasing numbers, though the newer versions (2001) with electric start are becoming more popular than the 'classic' version which is little changed from 1955. There are a few changes: indicators, a 28 mm Mikuni carb, 12 volt electrics, an improved seat and, since 1990, twin leading-shoe brakes.
    The 2006, the latest top level export version of the Bullet is the Electra-X, a 500 cc machine with a 'lean burn' engine incorporating a new cylinder head and piston, alloy barrel, gear oil pump and roller big end bearing. There are also some styling and frame changes as well as a front disk brake. The recently designed left foot change 5-speed gearbox and electric start are also part of the package. Other improvements are a more modern Micarb VM 28 (CV) carburettor, 280 mm front disk brake, 150 mm rear single leading shoe drum brake, electronic ignition, and new, gas filled rear damper units. This is an export-only model, and in India the top Electra is a 350 cc, though a basic right change four speed 500 cc version is available. The lean burn 350 cc engine produces 18 bhp (13.4 kW) @ 5000 rpm, and 32 N·m (24 ft·lbf) @ 3000 rpm. The 500 cc version produces 22 bhp (16.4 kW) @ 5500 rpm, and 35.9 nm @ 3000 rpm.
    The main thrust for its development has been meeting increasingly stringent emissions regulations. This lean burn engine should ensure the future of the Bullet for some years to come and will replace the older, original design engine. First designed around 1947, but still including elements from earlier machines such as the Model G, the Bullet claims to have the longest continuous production run of any motorcycle. It is also significant that the Indian factory has itself now celebrated its own 50th birthday.
    Lately, the Royal Enfield bikes have enjoyed a resurgence in India after the release of some new models of these bikes with a constant vacuum (CV) carburettor and an aluminium engine. These models are the Royal Enfield Thunderbird and Machismo. A model called Electra, which is a slicker version of the classic 350 cc bike with electric-start kit is also popular. This model is not normally exported outside of India, but is replaced by the 500 cc Electra-X.

    must read : Royal Enfield History

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