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Author Topic: A historical report about Royal Enfield  (Read 545 times)

Mr.Mazza

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A historical report about Royal Enfield
« on: October 08, 2013, 10:42:34 AM »
Hey guys, recently wrote this up for my Automotive studies, didn't know exactly where to put it, so it goes here! Hope you like it, and I don't claim it to be 100% accurate, but 99.999999% ;)


'Thumper'
The history, models and famous revival of
Royal Enfield
By Bryce Mazz******

Royal Enfield is one of the oldest and longest living motorcycle makes in the world, starting in 1912 with their Model 180, which sported a factory fitted sidecar, and was powered by a 770cc V-twin, this proved a fast machine for it's day with the sidecar removed, so much so that these models were raced with succession in the Isle of Man TT races. The latest development of Royal Enfield motorcyles can be seen rolling out from the successor of the English company, the Indian based 'Eicher Motors,' who have bought and kept the name 'Royal Enfield' for their motorcycles, along with the patents and tooling. The latest developments only really include Unit Construction Engines, powered by Electronic Fuel Injection and factory electrics starters. This is because the company wanted to keep the ties with the famous Royal Enfield name from the 1950s.

At the beginning of the 20th century, like most motorcycle companies, Royal Enfield was really just experimenting with engines attached to bicycle frames, with engine sizes ranging from 150cc up to a massive 800cc, the larger of these engines were of the highly advanced 'V-twin' configuration, who Harley Davidson developed for their own motorcycles.
                        
Just prior to the outbreak of the First World War, the company actually added the word, 'Royal' to their name, it simply being 'Enfield' before that, this is due to the fact they secured contracts to supply the Crown's (British Government) War Department  to supply large numbers of motorcycles and also won a contract for the Imperial Russian Government. Notably they produced a sidecar fitted 8hp bike designed for a Vickers Machine gun to be attached for use against low flying aircraft, this was one of the first 'Anti-Aircraft' vehicles ever made.

After the war, Royal Enfield continued to refine and develop their motorcycles, which were growing in popularity. In 1924 they launched their first 4 stroke motorcycle, this was a small 350cc engine, this sized engine would be featured in many Enfields and is still used to this day.
A major revolutionary design feature that Royal Enfield pioneered was the break away from thin long fuel tanks, to a more futuristic saddle tank, or as we know them, a tear drop tank, which are still used on some motorbikes today, they also introduced center-spring girder forks.
These two developments help change the look of early motorbikes from simple bicycles with engine mounted onto them, to the modern look bike we're familiar with today.

Despite the fact the company was trading at a loss during the depression in the 1930s, they were able to push on, relying on reserves they had accumulated due to the popularity of their bikes. In 1931, Albert Eddie, one of the founders of the company died, and his business partner R.W Smith died shortly afterward in 1933.

With the outbreak of World War II, the company again was called upon to develop and manufacture military motorcycles and they produced several models, these included the WD(War Department)/C, a 350cc side valve, the WD/CO, nearly the same but with over head valves. The WD/D 250cc Side Valve, the WD/G 350cc OHV and the bigger WD/L 570cc side valve. More notably, was their WD/RE, also known as the Flying Flea, a lightweight 125cc bike designed to dropped via parachute for use by airborne troops.

Following the war, Enfield kept production of single cylinder OHV 350cc model G, and a 500cc Model J, both with a rigid frame and telescopic front forks, these were made and marketed as a ride-to-work basic bike, as following the war, these was a big gap in basic transportation. They also reconditioned a large number of their now ex-military bikes, and re-sold these off into the public as surplus

In 1948, a massive groundbreaking development in the form of rear suspension springing came into the picture, initially designed for off-road motorcycle racing. Royal Enfield were quick to take advantage of this, introducing the start of the longest production bike in the world, the Bullet stepped into the world spotlight, first sporting a 350cc single cylinder OHV engine, a 500cc model was quickly designed as well. Both of these bikes proved extremely popular, providing comfortable, cheap and powerful transport for the masses. This model proved so reliable in all conditions that the Indian Army placed such a large order, that Royal Enfield opened a factory in Indian to service this new demand, where the model, albeit modernised, is still made for worldwide export, but still retaining it's English heritage.

During the 1960s, when Japanese motorbikes entered the worldwide scene, Enfield could simply not keep up with these mass manufactured, better engineered and cheaper bikes, they made one last ditch effort to again regain the hearts of the masses, with the 'Interceptor.' This was a bike mainly marketed for the US, it sported lot's of chrome and classic British styling.
                           
Coupled with a powerful 700cc Parallel Twin engine. Stock, this bike ran the quarter mile in less than 13 seconds, at speeds well above 100mph. These proved very popular with the US, but in a classic turn of irony, the factory could not keep up with demand and Royal Enfield soon died in 1970.

Thus, we come to the birth of Royal Enfield, India!
Following the order by the Indian Army, Enfield set up a factory in Chennai Indian, along with tooling and other machinery to set up production. But, when Royal Enfield died in England, the Indians kept making the Bullet model under an independent name. These proved extremely popular with the Indian people, providing them with a cheap, reliable bike, capable of handling all jobs given to it, from remote mail men, to milk delivery! 

Production was nearly unchanged until 1986, where a man named Raja Narayan set up an export arm for the bikes, and soon the Royal Enfield Bullet appeared in England the very same year, various improvements were made to the local and export models, based on feedback from the British.

In 1994, the Eicher group bought Enfield India, and the next year bought the rights to the Royal Enfield name, thus creating the setting of the scene for a worldwide rebirth of a timeless classic. The new company tried to update the look and use of the Enfield, by introducing varied models, such as the Electra, modernised with big chassis and looks updates. But, with heavier and heavier emissions laws coming into place around Europe, the company was forced back to the drawing board.

In 2009, the company announced a massive new line up of Bullets, including a classic model, which was heavily based around the 1955 Bullet. But all these new bikes sported a massive improvement over the old Iron Barreled Enfields, an all new Unit Construction Engine, made of lightweight alloys, and powered by Electronic Fuel Injection, these new engines gave more power, reliability and less maintenance while still retaining the classic big pot single cylinder thump and look that Royal Enfield has been remembered for since the 1950s. These new and improved bikes gained instant popularity within England, Europe, America and other parts of the world. This pushed Royal Enfield to come up with more variants of the base models, with at least 13 different models on offer currently.
And so, the Royal Enfield name and brand was reborn into the 21st century, with the future looking bright for the company, we can expect to see at least 40 years of Royal Enfield on our roads and in our hearts.
 
Lizzy - 07 500 Deluxe ES - Red and chrome

D the D

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Re: A historical report about Royal Enfield
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2013, 02:17:03 PM »
Nice, but the first RE production motorcycle rolled out of the factory in 1901 and the first RE V-twin was a 2.7hp, 344cc in 1910.
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barenekd

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Re: A historical report about Royal Enfield
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2013, 05:07:40 PM »
There are a lot of inaccuracies in that piece. For one, the Intercepter is a 750. They kind of intimate that the Indians didn't build Bullets until after Enfield England went under. There are many other misleading or wrong statements in the whole thing. Close, but no cigar.
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High On Octane

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Re: A historical report about Royal Enfield
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2013, 06:14:56 PM »
700cc 1/4 mile times were closer to 16 seconds and had a top speed of about 110mph.

Scottie
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fxrskrsa

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Re: A historical report about Royal Enfield
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2013, 08:27:51 PM »
Thank you for sharing your work with us Mazza, an enjoyable read, I hope the report manages to get you a good grade in your studies :)
Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history.

boggy

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Re: A historical report about Royal Enfield
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2013, 09:22:51 PM »
Cool write up Mazza.

Yeah these guys here are a great source of RE knowledge and wisdom so if you have any questions or facts to check, this is the place to ask.

Thanks for posting.
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AussieDave

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Re: A historical report about Royal Enfield
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2013, 07:36:57 AM »
Nice one Mazza. I always enjoy reading about Enfields since I developed my obsession with them.i think you should get extra points for your choice of topic and anyone who writes about cars should be marked down. Vintage aircraft would also be acceptable.
"Glorious,stirring sight! The poetry of motion! The real way to travel! The only way to travel! ... O bliss ! O poop poop ! Oh my! Oh my!" - Toad of Toad Hall.

single

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Re: A historical report about Royal Enfield
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2013, 04:02:05 PM »
Yeah,I enjoyed this also.
I may still have a bike mag from the late 60s that tested several of the then new "Performance" bike engines.The only one of them that reached the claimed output was the Interceptor.

Mr.Mazza

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Re: A historical report about Royal Enfield
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2013, 09:51:53 AM »
Thanks for the input guys, I know I wasn't spot on with some things, I did write it all the night before it was due.
Get results back tomorrow, I'll be disappointed if I don't get good marks haha
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barenekd

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Re: A historical report about Royal Enfield
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2013, 08:02:04 PM »
I'm sure the guy grading it won't have a clue to its veracity! Good luck!
Bare
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High On Octane

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Re: A historical report about Royal Enfield
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2013, 08:45:26 PM »
It was well written, I'm sure you'll do fine.  :)

Scottie
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FULL RACE motor with ACE Performance

D the D

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Re: A historical report about Royal Enfield
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2013, 12:26:02 AM »
I'm sure the guy grading it won't have a clue to its veracity! Good luck!
Bare

Even if he did, any references would jibe with what he wrote.

Let us know how you did!
'07 Iron Barrel Military (Deceased 14 September, 2013)
2014 Yamaha Bolt R Spec V-Twin
1975 XLCH