Monday, January 24, 2011

Royal Enfield is working on parallel twin that
will remind you of the Meteor, CEO says

Royal Enfield is working on a parallel twin motorcycle and a multi-fuel adventure touring bike. The new Bullet 500 model will have a new, low price. And a kick start lever is coming for Royal Enfield C5 motorcycles imported to the United States.

Royal Enfield's new CEO, Dr. Venki Padmanabhan made these revelations public at the New York International Motorcycle Show this weekend.

Dr. Padmanabhan unveiled two new models there, the Classic Chrome and the Bullet 500. Both are based on the C5 with its unit-constructed engine, but the Chrome looks like the popular Deluxe model of old and the Bullet 500 looks like a throwback to the beloved 350cc Bullet in production in India for 50 years.

Dr. Padmanabhan was very enthusiastic about Royal Enfield's future and its new, thoroughly modern but retro-looking motorcycle.

"The only piece missing is that it is 500cc and I don't want to be getting on the expressway at 500cc. We are addressing that with a well thought out program. At the India Auto Show we announced the cafe racer, with 600cc, just enough larger. Now you're in the mainstream. We are working on a parallel twin that will bring back the idea of the Meteor and the Interceptor."

A parallel twin rather than a V-twin, I asked?

"If you come to the factory you will see unbelievably heated debate. Right now it's leaning to a parallel twin."

A parallel twin would indeed bring back fond memories of Royal Enfield's powerful and legendary Meteor, Constellation and Interceptor motorcycles.

"People will say this is exactly the Meteor, except it doesn't leak, it doesn't seize — all the old problems of British motorcycles — and you have modern fuel injection and so on," he said.

The cell phone connection was poor, but Royal Enfield USA President Kevin Mahoney managed to tell me Dr. Padmanabhan said Royal Enfield is developing "a multi-fuel (diesel, gasoline, kerosene, etc.) adventure touring bike. The Himalaya touring bike."

Meanwhile, C5s in the U.S., currently available only with electric start, will get the old-fashioned kick start as well. C5s sold in India have had it all along.

"Already (this change has been made). From this year forward," Dr. Padmanabhan said. "Kevin and the other guys said to us, 'Hey, what about us?"' and we said sure, it makes it easier on us: the same bike for everyone.

"The kick start has a simple mechanical charm. It's just like the bike: a simple, simple, simple basic mechanical device. I think it may be the last motorcycle in production that you can kick start," he said.

Mahoney said that the Classic Chrome and Bullet 500 bikes unveiled in New York will be here in late Spring. The cafe racer is due in 2012. The kick start C5s will come when the model year changes.

As for the multi-fuel adventure bike, Mahoney said "Everybody sells a touring bike, but that would be pretty nice to have, one that could run on any kind of fuel."

The new Bullet 500 unveiled in New York will start at $5,495, he said. It will be an entry level bike, available in black only, and there will be limited numbers of them, he added.


  1. Anonymous1/24/2011

    If you go to the Royal Enfield Website (the non-american one), there is a photo of the Cafe Racer up! It looks great!

  2. have a link? I've been cruising the site, looking for a picture, but cant find one. Cant wait to see it!

  3. well, i like the idea of the parallel twin more than the V twin for sure. big fan of the Xs650 engines and an engine with similar clean looks would be awesome. also it will be more like history repeating itself and will be good to see them meteors reborn. no point in aping harleys. but that's just my view.

  4. The factory site has a link to Indian Cars and Bikes blog that has an entire photo gallery on the cafe racer.

  5. "a multi-fuel (diesel, gasoline, kerosene, etc.) adventure touring bike. The Himalaya touring bike."

    now that is something alright, the world has really been waiting for this, well, at least some of us. really good news and I hope to hear more about it soon!

  6. Bob Slovey1/26/2011

    I love the idea of a RE meteor re-do. If I could have three wishes, they would be:
    1. Make it a parallel twin, like the original. The world doesn't need another HD clone.
    2. Make it a 650cc. This is the classic displacement that seems to be overlooked by most of the other OEM's. I think it will put the new twin in a class of it's own.
    3. Make it look like the original meteor. Or maybe I should say... Make it look like the Bullet's bigger brother.

    Overall, this is great news. I can't wait to buy one.

  7. GeorgeE1/27/2011

    Well it can't be a "reminder" of a Meteor UNLESS it's a parallel twin. Otherwise it'll just be another generic cruiser. I think 750 might be a better displacement. A new Interceptor perhaps.

  8. Anonymous3/02/2011

    Ditto what cross,Bob & GeorgeE said about parallel twin. Sorry but I couldn't wait for a parallel bullet so I modified mine. I like it specifically because it's NOT another V-twin and all the hoopla that goes with em. Just my 2 cents for your demographics. Hi Kevin!
    Cheers, 500KsGerry

    wanna see it here's the link:;sa=view;id=3043

  9. Anonymous4/16/2011


  10. Anonymous5/29/2011

    I would buy a new parallel twin tomorow if they make one would be good.

    Paul M H

  11. Anonymous5/04/2013

    Well I got tired of waiting for Enfield to start making a new Meteor so I made my own using a Triumph Bonneville 865 engine , just Google Trifield 865 & you can see it & how I did it !
    Cheers , John .

    1. Check out John's 865cc "Trifield" here:

  12. Anonymous5/30/2013

    I'm impressed with John's effort, great job

  13. Anonymous10/01/2015

    Why make a parallel twin? Triumph has that market cornered. Make a 90 degree V twin like a guzzi.


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