Royal Enfield is one of the most popular bike makers in India due to their brilliant way of bringing the retro charm into their new models. This has ensured them a massive cult following, but it is limited only to the country where their bikes are made. Now, after dominating the Indian cruiser bike market, RE wants to expand overseas and give direct competition to brands like Harley-Davidson and Triumph in USA and Europe.
The change that RE has undergone in the last couple of years is plainly evident for everyone to see; They have released the Continental GT and the Himalayan, both of which feature brand new engines designed specifically to suit the purpose of each individual bike. This new direction was a welcome change for all RE fans as the 350cc and 500cc engines used in the other models were getting a bit old. Following the success of these two models, Enfield now wants to revamp their Classic and Thunderbird models by making their engines more powerful.
(Also read: The 5 best custom Royal Enfields)
It was a big step for RE when the UCE (Unit Construction Engine) replaced their famed cast iron powerhouses in 2007. But the engine has remained untouched since then even as new iterations of the Classic and Thunderbird have continued to roll out of their garages. But history has a way of repeating itself and this time RE are aiming for an even bigger change. Royal Enfield has set up a new R&D centre in the country of its origin, England, where the development of a 600 – 650 cc twin-cylinder engine is under way. With this new engine, RE wants its latest generation bikes to be one thing they were never popular for – speed. Slow bikes in India are tolerated because there really aren’t too many places were you can exceed 150 kmph anyway. But that is just too slow for our American and European counterparts who are blessed with superb roads and high-capacity cruisers that can breeze past that speed mark without any effort. With the new Classic (codenamed D41) and Thunderbird (Codename D61) models which will still retain their unique old-school charm, Royal Enfield intends not just to enter the foreign cruiser market, but dominate it entirely. Compared to brands like Triumph and H-D, there’s no doubt that a RE would be way more affordable and refreshingly different from what everyone used to seeing on roads or the past couple of decades. Apart from a technical centre in the UK, RE also has a marketing and distribution subsidiary in the US to achieve its goal.
I for one cannot wait to see Royal Enfield become a global presence and show the world that Indians are good not just for buying bikes, but for making brilliant ones as well. Do you think RE’s new plan is going to work out? Let us know in the comments below.