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    Royal Enfield Bullet-The Indian Cult ?

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    Royal Enfield probably is the world's oldest "surviving" motorcycle brand.

    I have been hearing about this for sometime now. So I decided to find it out the truth. Is Royal Enfield really the world's oldest motorcycle brand?

    Imagine if Royal Enfield models gets the tag of "Manufactured by the World's Oldest Motorcycle Brand..!!"
     
    who wouldn't want to own a piece of history like that?

    After some "Googling" on the net, the following facts came into light:

    • Triumph started to produce motorcycles in 1902
    • Harley-Davidson started making motorcycles in 1903

    Now there are some guys who say that Royal Enfield made its first motorcycle in 1901..!! The photo posted below is claimed as that of the first Royal Enfield motorcycle manufactured in 1901.

    If it is true then that would definitely make Royal Enfield the world's oldest surviving motorcycle brand..!!




     More about that later.. but first,

    A brief history of Royal Enfield:

     1893: The Origins

    Royal Enfield was founded in 1893 in Redditch, Worcestershire, England; as "Royal Enfield Manufacturing Co. Ltd." with the trademark "Made Like a Gun".
     Prior to that it was started by a gentleman called George Townsend as "George Townsend & Co." in 1851. It manufactured objects as diverse as sewing needles and fish hooks, bicycles.

    It was sold off in 1891 to Albert Eadie and R.W. Smith, and renamed as "The Eadie Manufacturing Company Limited", the firm made bicycles and also started supplying precision rifle parts to the "Royal Small Arms Factory" in Enfield, Middlesex. Soon a new company called "The Enfield Manufacturing Company Limited" was created to market these new design "Enfield" bicycles.
     The following year the word Royal (after the Royal Small Arms Company) was added and thus "Royal Enfield" came into being in 1893.

    1899-1971: The beginning and end in the UK

    Royal Enfield made motorized tricycles, quadricycles and even cars during the initial years. Later it started to make motorcyces of all types. 2 strokes, v-twins even triple cylinder models. The single cylinder, 4 stroke "Bullet" was first launched in 1933.
     In the mid and late 1960's, the once mighty British motorcycle industry could not withstand the invasion of the Japanese brands. Royal Enfiled also had to wrap up its business in England in 1971.

    1949-2000: Royal Enfield Bullet arrives and thrives in India

    Royal Enfield motorcycles had been sold in India since 1949. In 1955, the Indian government ordered a batch of 800 350cc Bullets its police and army

     In 1955, the Redditch company partnered Madras Motors in India and formed "Enfield India"presently Chennai).

    In 1994, Eicher group acquires "Enfield India Company". The company name is changed to "Royal Enfield Motors Limited".

    2010: Alive and kicking in India.. exported worldwide..!!
    to assemble, under licence, the 350 cc Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle in Madras

    Coming back to the earlier question:

    Did Royal Enfield make a motorcycle in 1901? If the answer is "Yes" then Royal Enfield, India has a potential goldmine which it should definitely utilize.

    Imagine if Royal Enfield models like the Classic 500/350 gets the tag of "Manufactured by the World's Oldest Motorcycle Brand..!!", wouldn't that make the Royal Enfield models even more desirable and possibly increase its sales 3 to 4 times (at least worldwide if not in India)? After all who wouldn't want to own a piece of history like that?

    But the Royal Enfield (India) website doesn't mention anything about the 1901 motorcycle model in its History page. In fact in the official website, the first mention about a motorcycle is made in 1909. So is Royal Enfield India not sure of the existance of the 1901 model?


    On the other hand, Royal Enfield UK Site mentions that Royal Enfield had produced its first motorcycle in 1901 and that it is the world's longest running motorcycle brand.

    There are also some die hard Royal Enfield fans like Mr. Jorge Pullin from LA, USA (he has been keeping a blog dedicated to covering anything about Royal Enfield..!!) who also mentions that Royal Enfield had made its first motorcycle in 1901.

    Royal Enfield Bullet, the world's longest running production model..??

    According to what I have come across on a couple of sites (click here), the Bullet is the world's longest running production model.
    Now if that is true as well, somebody should wake up the marketing dept. of Royal Enfield India! Shouldn't such powerful and potent brand associations and rich heritage be marketed as well?



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    4 comments
    1. Yes Royal Enfield is the world's oldest motorcycle brand. its origin might be British but now its INDIAN......

      Posted on 7:50:00 AM

       
    2. aakash Said,

      The Royal Enfield brand was created in 1893 and applied to bicycles. Then in 1898 it was applied to motorized tricycles and quadricycles. And in 1901 to a motorcycle (some places say 1902, I think we will never know for sure).

      Posted on 7:51:00 AM

       
    3. jeevan lal Said,

      I wouldn't be surprised if that happens to be true!!

      Posted on 7:53:00 AM

       
    4. branson Said,

      The bike is worth the cost and having it. It is really something that keeps the owner Loyal to Royal enfield.

      Best in class. Others appear to be toys in front of it. I have taken my Iron-Horse to 12000kms. Nothing else will ever do.

      Read any bike magazine, bikes’ alternatives are listed out. I have always read, “No other alternative bike available in class”. And to the 3rd or 4th bike of Royal Enfield it is clearly stated “Do you really want us to write the above statement again.”

      long live bullet !!!!

      Posted on 2:32:00 PM

       

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