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Royal Enfield: The Legend Rides On
There are two types of brands. Brands which come and go, they are common place. They can be found everywhere. And there are brands which are built to last. Brands which evolve with time, stand tall. Such brands are Icons, they are brands with character.
Royal Enfield is one such icon, which has stood the test of time, it has over the years moved base from Europe to India, built an identity for itself(and its owners, fans, and enthusiasts), and has reached cult status. Royal Enfield began its journey in the year 1893, in the town of Redditch, England as a bicycle manufacturing company. The original company made Royal Enfield motorcycles. The company was sold to NVT (Norton-Triumph-Villiers) in the year 1968, and the company closed production in the year 1970.
Enfield motorcycles were sold in India since the year 1949, and in the year 1955, Enfield India was formed to assemble under license from Enfield England, 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet in Chennai. Initially the motorcycles were assembled in India, by 1962 however, all components were made in India. Enfield started exports of the motorcycle to England in the year 1986, and by 1989 bullet appeared in European auto shows. In 1994, the company was acquired by Eicher motors. The rights to the name Royal Enfield was acquired by the company by the end of 1995.
Royal Enfield has always been looked at as a product which commands respect. Mainly because of the macho build of the machines, and the fact, that they were used extensively by the Army and Police for patrolling. Royal Enfield motorcycles did not have the best engineering, the machines created a lot of problems, especially due to the engines. The bike was definitely not made for the lean man primarily because of the reason that they were bulky, and had notorious gear/brake positions.
Enfield realised this, and did a major overhaul. The production lines underwent a major re-tooling, especially in the engine department, and the new twin spark engine was born. Enfield also corrected the gear and brake positions to match other bikes. Electric starters were introduced, and this was taken well by the riders. The company also went through a major re-branding exercise, the logo, and communication was corrected and the brand was re-launched.
Royal Enfield enjoys what Harley Davidson does in the USA. It is seen as a cult brand, and as a lifestyle bike. Royal Enfield bikers have numerous groups, similar to HOG (Harley Owners group), and they go on group rides. Royal Enfield also on its part acknowledges the existence of such groups, and has also provided a platform for like minded Enfield lovers to interact, on their website.
Royal Enfield celebrated 50 years in India with ‘The Legend Rides On’ Campaign. Here is the video
With the introduction of new models like the Thunderbird, Electra, Classic 350, and 500, Royal Enfield has successfully complemented its re-branding, the models are more classier, and aggressive than ever, and the brand has surged back to its icon status after a brief rough patch. The bike is also exported to UK, USA, Spain among other countries. The ‘Indian Harley’ is here to stay and in the years to come, we will see the brand scale new heights.
Click here for a comprehensive list of Royal Enfield motorcycles.