Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Confusion over Enfield models is nothing new

Until recently, to order almost any part, it was enough to know what size Royal Enfield Bullet you owned (350 or 500) and whether it was produced before or after late 1999.

That is changing.

After establishing itself in the export market with the Bullet, "the world's oldest motorcycle," Enfield is creating a wide of variety of new models. The factory in India is producing separate motorcycles that combine such aspects as cruiser styling, aluminum motors, unit construction (motor and transmission combined in the same casings), fuel injection, electronic ignition and dual spark plugs.

Not all will make it to the United States or probably any other single market, but the lovely simplicity of having only the Bullet available will disappear. There is a precedent.

In his book Royal Enfield, The Postwar Models, Roy Bacon explains that buying a Royal Enfield was rarely a matter of just picking the color you liked. He lists 43 separate models produced in England from 1945 to 1972, and that does not count versions exported to be sold under the (American) Indian name.

"One of the factors that enabled Enfield to produce a good range of machines at very competitive prices was their ability to combine a small number of major assemblies in a variety of ways to suit differing needs," he writes. Such creativity amounted in some cases to an ability to cobble together something to meet almost any specification.

This is not the case today, as Enfield India enjoys the investment necessary to modernize and expand its product lines. Keeping them all straight will be a challenge. Thankfully, this "good confusion" will contrast with the floundering that took place as the English company struggled.

For instance, Bacon shows, there already has been a Royal Enfield Bullet with a Unit Construction Engine — in 1963. His illustration of it is shown at top.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2/02/2013

    want to know about royal enfield bullet 350 1979 model....


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