His motorcycle is "Made like a gun, goes like a bullet"
In 1891 RW Smith and Albert Eadie took over the Townsend Cycle Company in Redditch, UK. The two subsequently began supplying precision machine parts to the "Royal Enfield Small Arms Factory Enfield Lock", Middlesex; the company changed its name to Enfield Manufacturing Company Limited and, subsequently – in 1893 – to Royal Enfield, where the wording “Royal” was borrowed from the name Royal Small Arms Company. The relationship with this institution of the time decreed its motto: "Made like a gun, goes like a bullet", translatable into "robust as a firearm, fast as a bullet".
The first motorized vehicle was a quadricycle powered by a 1,5 HP De Dion engine; in 1900, with a similar vehicle, Enfield entered motor sports by taking part in a 1000 Miglia Trail with the aim of convincing the British people about the sustainability of motorized transport. It was 1901 when the first motorcycle designed by RW Smith and Frenchman Jules Gotiet was produced: it had a Minerva engine of 170 cc and 1,5 hp mounted in front of the steering and the final transmission reached the rear wheel via a long leather belt. In 1911 the "Royal" qualification was granted without constraints and already in 1912 the 180 model arrived equipped with a sidecar and powered by a 750 cc twin-cylinder. In 1914 the first 2-stroke Royal Enfield motorcycle went into production but, due to the outbreak of the first Great War, the whole line was discontinued, except for the 770 cc and 6 hp V-twin. The company supplied motorcycles and weapons of various kinds to the British armed forces and also won an order for the Russian Empire. The 1921s were spent in the field of research and innovation: the development of a new 976 cc twin-cylinder dates back to 1924, but the engine destined to make the history of the brand dates back to 350, namely the single-cylinder 1928 cc. In XNUMX Royal Enfield adopts the tanks under the saddle and converts the Druid forks used until then, to more modern systems equipped with central springs. The thirties saw the disappearance of both founding partners but, in spite of this, production continued focusing on single and twin cylinders which were marketed in Europe: the offer included 11 different models ranging from the 2 cc Model A 225-stroke up to the 976 cc V-twin Model K. At the same time, new 350 and 500 cc engines were also produced with side valves and overhead valves with dry sump lubrication system.
1932 marks the birth of the legendary "Bullet", shown for the first time in November at the Earls Court motorcycle show in London: it was available in 250, 350 and 500 cc displacements with forward-inclined engines, pedal gearbox and high compression pistons. The outbreak of the Second World War again forced the conversion of production from civilian to military: the representative model of the period is the "Airborne" or "Flying Flea", a 125 cc vehicle designed to be inserted in a compartment that it allowed it to be dropped by paratroopers behind enemy lines. In 1948 the prototype of the new Bullet with a 350 cc engine and suspension rear swing arm, is shown on the occasion of the Colmore Cup Trial; two Bullets form part of the winning British team at the 48 International Six Days Trial held in Italy, getting two golds.
The fifties represent the maximum splendor of the English company with the marketing of historic models powered by the 700 cc engine such as the Meteor, Super Meteor and the unforgettable Constellation Twin. In 1955 the Indian government decided to adopt the Bullet 350 for the Border Police Forces, which was ordered in 800 units. Given the success, in 1956 Royal Enfield partnered with the Indian Madras Motors to give life to Enfield India which began to assemble the Bullet 350 under license from the English house. In 1957 the production line of this model was definitively transferred to India and, from 1962 in Chennai (formerly Madras), the Bullets were built entirely: this initiative proved to be decisive for the future fate of the Royal Enfield brand. After the production of the Interceptor with a 750 cc engine in 1962 for the US market - thanks to the competition from the Japanese giants - the decline was felt and, in 1967, the historic Redditch plant closed its doors, leaving only the Bradford-on-Avon underground. The Bullet production line in India remained active and was manufacturing and exporting to the UK and Europe. In 1989 the Bullet was produced with a 500 cc and 24 valve engine available in the Classic, Deluxe and Superstar variants.
In 1994 Enfield India was bought by the Eicher group which invested massively by opening - in 2000 - a factory near New Delhi with the relaunch of the Bullets in 350 and 500 cc engines. The investments aim at replacing engines unchanged for more than 50 years with more modern ones: the Bullet Machismo 350 model was the first to adopt the first updated engine made with the Austrian AVL. In 2008, production of the 500 cc UCE (EFI in Europe) engine began, adopting injection for the first time electronics, allowing Royal Enfield to export its models all over the world thanks to compliance with the Euro3 standard. The expansion of the brand has led to the acquisition of various satellite companies and the opening of other plants: in 2015, the first subsidiary responsible for distribution in the USA also opens, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
In 1931 the first model of Bullet was produced, followed in 1948 by its evolution with new swing arm rear suspension. In 1949 the Bullet 350 cc and the 500 cc twin cylinder were launched in the UK sharing suspension, telescopic forks and the same gearbox. In 1950 the Mateor, the Supermeteor and the Constellation Twin were marketed, defined by many as the first Superbike never built. In 1964 the famous Continental GT Cafè Racer was launched, featuring a specific tank for competitions, handlebars, rear seat, a humped saddle, rev counter and rear side exhaust. The most recent era saw the launch of the Thunderbird 2012 in 500 followed, in 2013, by the "Continental GT", a modern re-edition of the historic 60s Café Racer. This model represents the first original project not related to the historic Bullet line. In 2016, the Himalayan arrives with the new LS410 engine and all-terrain proven suspension, promising buyers “the greatest journey of a lifetime”. At EICMA, in 2017, Royal Enfield unveils THE TWINS, which the following year will become the heart of the two new Continental GT 650 and Interceptor 650 models. The current range includes a line purely focused on the instant-classic look with strong references to the past combined to a modern technology but always characterized by that "English" touch that never goes out of style.