Wednesday, August 8, 2012

V-twin or Vertical twin for Royal Enfield? What's best?

They couldn't wait for Royal Enfield to build a twin-cylinder motorcycle
so they built one themselves!
If Royal Enfield wants advice on how to build its new twin, they'd do well to watch the discussion taking place on the Ace Performance Bullets Yahoo Group. Should the new motorcycle be a V-twin? Vertical twin? What would be best and what best fits Royal Enfield's 100-year history of making motorcycles in Britain and India?

The discussion seems to have been sparked (sometimes it's hard to tell) by the appearance of two new YouTube videos showing a homemade V-twin pieced together by some clever mechanics in India.


The motor, in a beat-up looking old Bullet frame, runs and sounds great. It's fascinating looking at the solutions to such knotty problems as how to route exhaust pipes and where to place the carburetors. 

Builders Anand Bhalerao and Dean Fernandes of Mumbai spent four years creating this 45-degree V-twin from Royal Enfield AVL motors. It has wet sump oil circulation and rocker adjusted pushrods.

Mouth of front carb faces rear; rear carb faces forward!
The video is well worth watching and amusing. It ends with a audible "Whoo!" of triumph from one of the builders. But this was just the starting point for comments by Tom Lyons, head of Ace Engineering LLC, and members of his Yahoo discussion forum.

A V-twin would suit "Mike," who wrote: "If they introduce a vertical twin it will be just like everyone else's offerings except not as good and it will pay no attention to RE heritage which until WWII was V-twin. Look at the KX model at 1,140cc and tell me that isn't a really beautiful machine. Better than any Interceptor any day. I read somewhere that Siddharta Lal was after a tourer. A V-twin would make a great loping tourer as opposed to a large vertical twin in my biased opinion."

"Goldstarzb34" disagreed: "The biggest problem that I can see with the V-twin is that the market is saturated. Every company and their mother makes one! There are only a couple of parallel twins on the market. Then again, V-twins are popular; I own four, 1912 Indian, '30 and '34 Harley Vl, and an '02 Sportster, and I don't even like the Harley Life Style thing. Glad I don't have to make that corporate decision!"

Lyons made this comment:

"If I were Enfield India, I would try to fit this new twin right into the existing C5 platform, and use as many parts in common as possible. That is a key to cost containment. I'd use a vertical twin package with unit construction with the same length footprint that fits in the C5 frame, but just is a bit wider. Beef-up some of the key parts, which will need it, make some minor styling/paint changes to set the twin apart from the single in appearance, and get it out on the market for as low cost as possible.

"I'd make it a 1,000cc, and not a 750, because they already have the 500cc pistons, and it will have a better chance of having somewhat decent power then, considering the way Enfield always makes the lowest powered machine in any category. And it doesn't cost any more to bore the cylinders for bigger pistons than smaller ones."

Will all this end up influencing the factory decision? Unlikely. "Sometimes I have no understanding about why the factory does some things that it does," Lyons writes.

Here's the second video from the first start up of the  homemade India V-twin:



  1. If they would build a 1000cc V-Twin making about 50 hp I'd buy one in a heartbeat. At almost 200 lbs. less than a Sportster, we'd have a remake of the original Sportster concept. Actually, if HD would build that bike I'd buy it, too, but they're too busy making them lower and lower, heavier and heavier. Royal Enfield could take away some Harley sales in India and maybe even the U. S.

  2. Naveen Kapoor2/12/2013

    Kudos to Mr. Anand Bhalerao and Dean Fernandes. Even though, lack of resources in India, these two genius had proved that nothing is impossible. Now, a common man has to take such initiative becuase Indian motorcycle manufacturers are not at all interested in building any twin beast. We are unfortunate, none of Indian motorcycle manufacturer is taking that initiative rather inviting foreign manufacturer and launching expensive motorbikes. This is really excellent job as, in Indian motorbike history, two Indian engineers built a twin beast rather any wealthy motorcycle manufacturer.

  3. Anonymous4/28/2013

    Hi , l just put together a 'Trifield' 865 using a triumph speedmaster engine , just google 'Trifield 865' & you will see how l did it etc . Its a blast to ride & wieghs less than 200kg tanked up & ready to go ! So l say definetly a parrel twin with an offset crank is best, then you can draw on enfields history & keep the Vtwin guys happy too !! Cheers , john


Follow royalenfields on Twitter