This is the 21st Century, I am sure you are aware and there are not too many Companies that have managed to survive through two World Wars, recessions and the general ravages of time!
Royal Enfield is on of those iconic rarities that has managed to do so and under whatever organizational setup has managed to continue to design, manufacture and successfully prove the old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!!" Royal Enfield has however managed to do just that and also make "it" better!
Royal Enfield was the name under which the Enfield Cycle Company made motorcycles, bicycles, lawnmowers and stationary engines. The legacy of weapons manufacture is reflected in the logo, a cannon, and their motto "Made like a gun, goes like a bullet". Use of the brand name Royal Enfield was licensed by The United Kingdom Crown in 1890. The original manufacturing site was based in Redditch, Worcestershire, United Kingdom.
In 1893, the Enfield Manufacturing Company Ltd was registered to manufacture bicycles. By 1899, Enfield were producing quadricycles with De Dion engines and experimenting with a heavy bicycle frame fitted with a Minerva engine. In 1912, the Royal Enfield Model 180 sidecar combination was introduced with a 770 cc V-twin JAP engine which was raced successfully in the Isle of Man TT and at Brooklands.
In 1921, Enfield developed a new 976 cc twin, and in 1924 launched the first Enfield four-stroke 350 cc single using a Prestwich Industries engine. In 1928, Royal Enfield began using the bulbous 'saddle' tanks and centre-spring girder front forks, one of the first companies to do so. Even though it was trading at a loss in the depression years of the 1930s, the company was able to rely on reserves to keep going.
During World War II, The Enfield Cycle Company was called upon by the British Government to develop and manufacture military motorcycles. One of the models produced for the military was the WD/C 350 cc devalve. One of the most well-known Enfields was the Royal Enfield WD/RE, known as the Flying Flea, a lightweight 125 cc motorcycle designed to be dropped by parachute with airborne troops.
In order to establish a facility safe from wartime bombing of the Midlands, an underground factory was set up, starting in 1942, in a disused "Bath Stone" quarry at Westwood, near Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire. Many staff were transferred from Redditch and an estate of prefab make-shift homes was built in Westwood to house the workers.
As well as motorcycle manufacturing, Royal Enfield built other equipment for the war effort such as mechanical predictors for anti-aircraft gunnery. After the war the factory continued, concentrating on engine manufacture and high precision machining. Production of Royal Enfield motorcycles ended after the Second World war, the precision engineering activities continued until the final demise of the company.
Since 1956 Royal Enfield motorcycles have been manufactured in India under licence with UK components and since 1995, Enfield of India bought the rights to use the Royal Enfield name.
Royal Enfield production, based in Tiruvottiyur, Chennai, continues and Royal Enfield is now the oldest motorcycle brand in the world still in production with the black porn Bullet model enjoying the longest motorcycle production run of all time.
So, whatever your passion, if you are a biker and you love to ride then you should, like me be rejoicing in the staying power of Royal Enfield. No other manufacturer on the planet has the history or the future that Royal Enfield has and I am sure will enjoy for many years to come.