The Enfield Cycle Company started out making bicycles, lawnmowers, stationary engines and motorcycles at Redditch in Worcestershire, England. Its legacy in manufacturing weapons is reflected in its logo of a cannon with the motto “Made like a gun.” The use of the name Royal Enfield was granted in 1890.
The Royal Enfield Bullet appeared in Britain in 1949. It had a capacity of 350cc and featured swing arm suspension which was an innovation at that time. The other important element of the bike was its extremely strong single cylinder engine. A 500cc model was introduced in Britain during the 1950's.
The Indian government placed an order for 800 Bullets in 1954 for "immediate service" on the Pakistani border. The Redditch factory struggled to produce these numbers of bikes but succeeded. The Bullet proved very successful in India, and the Indian government placed orders for 1955 and 1956 of a similar magnitude. This caused the home factory to make the decision to set up a factory in India.
In 1955 an Indian partner was found and trainees were sent to Redditch to learn the production methods. At first, knock down units were shipped to Madras where they were assembled. By 1956 a full factory had been established in India where Enfield India Ltd began producing the Enfield Bullet.
Meanwhile, the Royal Enfield Company in England was sold to the Norton-Triumph-Villiers (NVT) consortium in 1968. However, production of Royal Enfield motorbikes at the Redditch factory ceased in 1968 and the company was dissolved in 1971.
However, the factory in India still produces the machine they had been trained to make, the 1955 Bullet. The demand for this great old motorcycle has never stopped. Every year they have produced over 30,000 motorcycles, all of them looking like the 1955 Royal Enfield Bullet.
The Bullet is made today in the same manner it was in 1955. However over the years improved metallurgy, modern machining methods and the passage of time has produced stronger, more durable parts, making the Bullet superior, in some ways to the same bike made in 1955. In fact, “Royal Enfield is now the oldest motorcycle brand in the world with the Bullet model enjoying the longest production run of all time” (Wikipedia).
In 1990, Enfield India had an alliance with the Eicher Group and merged with it in 1994. The name of the company was then changed to Royal Enfield. In May 2013, a new manufacturing plant was started at Oragadam in Chennai to produce Royal Enfield motorbikes.
The Royal Enfield Classic was launched in October 2008 and was an immediate success. It was inspired by the 1950 Bullet J2. Our motorcycle fleet consists entirely of Royal Enfield Classic motorbikes.