Royal Enfield motorcycles

The history of the brand Royal Enfield.

The roots of the company go back to 1855, when George Townsend organized the manufacture of needles. Since then it has changed hands several times, the location and the subject of production. In 1892, the brand started to produce bicycles «Enfield».

The first engine crews under this name - tricycles and quad bikes with engines "De Dion" behind the rear axle - appeared in 1899. By design, they did not differ from the machines most of the French company. In 1901 he was presented the first two-wheeled motorcycle with a 211 cc engine, "Minerva", suspended from the front of the tube bicycle frame, and a belt drive to the rear wheel. But in the series at the end of that year, went more artsy design: single-cylinder four-stroke engine of their own making 1.5 hp was mounted in front of the steering column. The transfer was carried out on the rear wheel strap that criss-crossed the sector to increase the coverage of the pulleys. In 1902, this model was replaced by a more traditional type of bike with a motor in the bottom corner of the frame and chain drive to the rear wheel. Two-wheeled vehicles are sold under the brand name «Royal Enfield».

In 1904, the company left the motorcycle production for automobile. But this change was not successful, and in 1910 resumed production of motorcycles. This time as a twin-cylinder power unit used V-shaped head engines "Motosakosh" (296 cm 3, 2.25 hp). Soon, the upgraded version with a more powerful engine "Motosakosh" (344 cm 3, 3 hp) and a chain drive to the rear wheel. From the motor to the countershaft were two sets of chains and sprockets, allowing the two to get the gear ratio of the transmission. In 1911, this machine took 5 th place in the race "Tourist Trophy".

Model range in 1912 has added a heavy machine for use with a sidecar, equipped with 770-cc two-cylinder V-engine Japa and two-speed chain drive. And next year to replace the model with the engine "Motosakosh" came the motorcycle with an engine of its own production, made on a "valve above the valve." This unit is much like a product of the same company, "Motosakosh", but had a working volume of 425 cm3, and most importantly - a mechanical automatic lubrication system (instead of the conventional while priming the pump). To the driver can check the oil level, the oil tank mounted on the saddle tube of the frame is made of glass. Another model was debuted in 1914 with a two-stroke lightweight motorcycle 225 cc engine of its own production and for the traditional Royal Enfield motorcycles of a two-speed chain drive.

During the First World War, the company has put troops in a huge number of bikes and thousands of motorcycles with large two-cylinder engines Japa. They are usually equipped with sidecar with machine guns, a considerable number of these vehicles received and Russian army. After the war was resumed production of the push-pull model, and - just for a few months - making machine with a 425-cc two-cylinder engine. The company in 1919 produced a prototype motorcycle with a longitudinally-mounted four-cylinder engine (846 cm3). In 1921, he was replaced by a large Japa engine of his own design, V-shaped "deuce" working volume of 976 cm3.

The gap in the model range, which was formed after the phasing out of the "little two", was completed in 1924. The company introduced a motorcycle with a single-cylinder OHV 346 cc engine Japa. A year later it was replaced by a model with the same engine, developed by specialists of their own.

It was built as bottom-valve version of this engine. Simultaneously, the company Royal Enfield abandoned in favor of a two-speed transmission gearboxes usual type: four-stroke models to the three-stage and two-stage two-stroke. At the end of 1926 at the Royal Enfield appeared and bottom-valve OHV single cylinder engine variants with increased to 488 cm3 cylinder capacity, and a year range of products complement the unified models with two-stroke machine with a 225-cc engine. In 1928, a flat gas tank mounted under the top tube frame was replaced by a saddle, worn on the top tube.

By the early 30's Royal Enfield company possessed a fairly broad model range, which still lacked a "flavor". The drop in demand in the ongoing economic crisis has forced more quickly update and motorcycles do not shun unusual design solutions. Since 1930, the company began to apply the lettering for their models. In fact, the car debuted with the updated single-cylinder four-stroke engines: bottom-valve «F» (346 cm3) and "H" (488 cm3, 14 hp), as well as the overhead «G» (346 cm3, 16 hp) and «J» (488 cm3, 20 hp). These motorcycles were different forward inclined cylinders and a dry sump lubrication and two oil pumps, the oil tank was arranged at the front, heavily ribbed part of the crankcase.

In April 1931 came the all-new two-stroke model "A". She retained dimension and displacement (225 cm3) of the former motor, but was tilted forward cylinder and cylinder head made of aluminum alloy.

In order to save the crisis motorcycle industry, the British government introduced in the early 30's reduced taxes for motorcycles with an engine capacity of less than 150 cm3. In March 1932, under the brand name Royal Enfield appeared satisfies these requirements model «Z», or «Cycar». It featured a very unusual appearance. The basis of the design of the frame is stamped as an inverted «U», running diagonally from the steering column to the rear wheel. The steel cladding covered almost all the units machine, and closed up the front with shields. Were stamped and feathers parallelogram front forks. The power unit served 148 cc two-stroke engine with a cylinder tilted forward and permanent head, coupled with a three-step chain of transmission. Later (in 1933), the company released the «X», in which the power plant «Cycar» was set in a traditional tubular frame.

Quite another category of buyers attracted debutant in 1931 - Motorcycle «JF» single-cylinder engine with a working volume of 488 cm3. He received a four-valve heads cylinder with a V-shaped valves installed. In 1932, this engine became the top of a new family of sport bikes «Bullet» (bullet). Three members of his models were equipped with overhead valve engine with different cubic capacity (248, 346 cm3, four-valve - 488 cm3), four-speed gearbox with foot shift mechanism and the upper outlet pipes. Curiously, to reduce the cost of production in 1935, the company introduced a three-valve version of the 488-cubic engine with valves arranged in parallel, but the scheme did not provide the proper growth of power and was soon abandoned.

In January 1933 the company began producing Royal Enfield export version of the model "K" (a large V-shaped "two") with increased to 1,140 cm3 displacement. Capacity of the new engine was 30 hp Motorcycle for the English market remained a working volume 976 cm3, and only for a season in 1937 received a 1140 cc engine.

The popular 150-cc class company Royal Enfield for a season in 1934 produced a new model of the "T", this time with a four-stroke overhead valve engine (148 cm3). The motorcycle had tilted forward cylinder, four-speed transmission and accelerates to a speed of 85 km/h Soon a technically similar model «S» (248 cm3, 95 km/h).
Single-cylinder motorcycles average cubic capacity has been seriously upgraded in 1936. They got the engines - the overhead and bottom, 248, 346 and 499 cm3 - with a vertical cylinder (keep the system dry sump oil tank and in front of the crankcase), fully enclosed valve gear, a split at the bottom of the frame. Forced variations of the new family kept the name "Bulit" and 500-cubes version staffed with four-valve heads cylinder. In addition, the company began production of choices for off-road events, which immediately proved to be excellent for sport routes, especially in a trial.

The origin of RE model debuted in 1939, is directly linked to European events of those years. Dutch importer of Royal Enfield sold is also very popular in the Netherlands DKV light motorcycles. But he was Jewish and German companies in 1938 was banned for having business relations with the people of this country.
He therefore appealed to the British to develop a something like "DKV RT3». Thus was born the model «RE». Single-cylinder two-stroke engine (123 cm3, 3.5 hp), locked with a three-stage gearbox was mounted in a tubular frame, the parallelogram front forks had a rubber spring elements. Soon after the war broke out, and the company Royal Enfield has put thousands of these lightweight (55 kg) of machines to equip the airborne units, the troops model was nicknamed «flying flea» (flying flea). Under the symbol «WD / CO» company has supplied to the armed forces as motorcycles with 346 cc single-cylinder engine as the Lower and the overhead.

The post-war program of Royal Enfield at first a little different from the assortment of the war years: two-stroke «RE», model «G» (346 cm3, 15 hp), which differed little from the overhead «WD / CO», and its 499-cc fellow «J2 . " Four-car in 1946 got a telescopic front fork. But in 1948, the company introduced two new models really. Under the old name «Bullet» debuted motorcycle with overhead valve single-cylinder engine (346 cm3, 19 hp), the so-called design: four-speed transmission was severely docked against the crankcase. Standing in front telescopic fork, rear - floating axle of the original design, with a set at a large angle dampers. The newest "500 Twin» has the same chassis and two-cylinder overhead valve engine (496 cm3, 27HP) separately cast-iron cylinders and heads made of aluminum alloy, one-piece cast-iron crankshaft on which the aluminum rods without sliding bearings, two camshafts Chain drive - one in front of the cylinders, a second behind.

The next batch of new products the company "Royal Enfield" issued in November 1952: the new push-pull model «Ensign» (badge, 148 cm3), which replaced the «RE», 499 cc 25-hp version of «Bullet» and powerful twin-cylinder «Meteor» (692 cm3, 36 hp). Added in the range of 1954 «Clipper» (248 cm3, 11 hp), it is technically identical to the «Bullet».

Four-stroke model in 1956 got a new frame and a pendulum rear suspension of the traditional type. Autumn was the star of the show «crusader» (Crusader), a middle class model with a completely overhauled powertrain: engine (248 cm3, 13 hp) in the block with a four-speed gearbox, molded crankshaft main bearings of sliding. In the same year, Royal Enfield with the British magazine «The Motor Cycle» has developed a futuristic streamlined shell «Dreamliner». For mass production of such a design was too expensive, but still, in 1958, offered customers a fiberglass fairing more "mundane" look.

The flagship series was in 1958 «Constellation» (constellation), version «Meteor» with uprated to 50 hp engine. «Constellation» can be considered one of the first superbike - it accelerates to 180 km / h! In 1962, he was replaced by an even more powerful «Interceptor» (Interceptor, 736 cm3, 53 hp).

Fateful for the fate of the event happened in April 1962: died Frank Smith, owner of the company and its CEO. The company has since the beginning of the XX century was in the hands of the family Smith, but in late 1962, the shareholders voted in favor of the occurrence of the large engineering concern. The new owner of the brand let fate take its course, and finally, in March 1967 sold its concern «Norton-Villiers». He turned motorcycle production at the company Royal Enfield and at its own plant in 1970 led to only small-batch assembly model «Interceptor».

Indian Royal Enfield motorcycles.

In the mid-50's, the Government of India has decided to equip the police and military motorcycles. The choice fell on the British «Royal Enfield Bullet» - hardy and durable machine with a single-cylinder overhead valve engine (346 cm3, 19 hp). In 1955, the company delivered 800 of these machines, but since the contract was for the production of many more motorcycles, the British offered to organize their assembly in place in the suburb of Madras. Already in 1957, India has mastered the complete cycle of production. So neither cease production of «Bullet» in England in 1962, nor the disappearance of most brands of Royal Enfield in 1970 did not affect the fate of the Indian «Royal Enfield» (they were sold abroad under this name until 1995, when the Indian company bought the rights to the use of the brand «Royal Enfield»).

The first timid attempts to penetrate the European market are in 1977, but only in the late 80's, when the fashion included "retro" style, has begun a major expansion. Now the Indian «Royal Enfield» find buyers even in England, Germany, USA and Japan. The company has paid even a publicity stunt by the fact that motorcycles since 1955 constructively virtually unchanged. In the 80s there were attempts to master the production of lightweight motorcycles with two-stroke engines under license from the German firm «Zündapp», but to no avail. Continued popularity enjoyed only by old-fashioned four-stroke machines, which today have become as much a symbol of India, the elephants and the Taj Mahal.

Small semi-handicraft enterprises in India have long been put into the chassis «Bullet» small diesel engines, and in the middle of the 90s, this model appeared in the program of the company. Single-cylinder unit displacement of 325 cm3 has an output of 6.5 hp, but it provides a motorcycle fuel consumption 1.5 liters per 100 kilometers. In addition, since 1991, produced 499-cc 22-hp version of «Bullet». Austrian engineering company "AVL" modernized the traditional 350-cubic engine: cylinder of aluminum alloy, the combustion chamber, allowing one run on a lean mixture, electronic ignition system. The car with the engine produced in parallel with the old «Bullet» since 1998 under the name «Machismo A350». Interestingly, the Indian "retro" often serves as a basis for the European aftermarket companies that create the basis for its modification in the style of «custom», «scrembler» and «cafe-racer».

Royal Enfield motorcycles