Skip to main content

A History Royal Enfield

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

My Very Own Bullet


The Royal Enfield

Royal Enfield was the brand of the Enfield Cycle Company. In 1955 they started assembling Bullet motorcycles at Enfield India under the UK license, and by 1962 they started manufacturing complete bikes.

The original Redditch, Worcestershire-based company dissolved in 1970, but Enfield of India, based in Chennai, continued and bought the rights to the Royal Enfield name in 1995.

The first automotive vehicles with the Royal Enfield name were produced in 1898: a quadricycle with a De Dion-Bouton 2.75 hp engine. In 1901 came the Motor Bicycle with a 150 cc 1.5 hp (1 kW) engine above the front wheel.

Older Models

In 1910 came the first of the famous Enfield V-twins, first with Motosacoche 344 cc 2.75 hp (2 kW) engines, later with Enfield's own engine. Before World War I, came the big twins with 770 cc six hp J.A.P. engines, and after the war 976 cc eight hp Vickers-Wolseley engines. In 1915 came the first of the small two-stroke 225 cc engines, starting with model 200.

During World War II, the Enfield Cycle Company was called upon by the British authorities to develop and manufacture military motorcycles. The models produced for the military were the WD/C 350 cc side valve, WD/CO 350 cc OHV, WD/D 250 cc SV, WD/G 350 cc OHV and WD/L 570 cc SV. The most well-known offering beyond doubt was the Flying Flea, aka the Airborne. This lightweight 125cc bike could be dropped by parachute along with airborne troops. The factory also manufactured a variety of special instruments and apparatuses to use against enemy forces during the war.

In 1931, a four-valve, single-cylinder was introduced and christened "Bullet" in 1932. It had an inclined engine and an exposed valve gear. It was the very first use of the now famous Bullet name.

The 1939 Bullet 350 kick-started the post-war models. They used two rocker boxes for the first time. This enabled better gas flow and consequently higher volumetric efficiency. Royal Enfield's own designed and manufactured telescopic front fork placed the Redditch marque at the very forefront of motorcycle design. The biggest advancement introduced by the new Bullet was its swinging-arm rear suspension system and hydraulic damper units themselves. In 1949 Enfield made a J2-the first model with a telescopic front end followed in 1948 by a 500 cc twin.

The 500 cc Bullet engine produced 25 bhp (19 kW) at 5,250 rpm while torque peaked at 29 lb·ft (39 N·m) @ 3,600 rpm, From 2,000 rpm onwards torque did not fall below 25 lb·ft (34 N·m) till beyond 5,300 rpm. Later models like the 250 cc Crusader (1957) and 700 cc Meteor (1955), were followed by the 250 cc Continental GT (1965), the 700 Constellation (1959), available with Royal Enfield's "Airflow" full fairing, and the 736 cc Interceptor (1963).

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Royal Enfield produced a number of 250cc machines. The biggest selling of these was the Royal Enfield Crusader, a 248 cc pushrod OHV single producing 18 bhp. In 1965 a 21 bhp variant called the GT Continental, with GRP tank, 5-speed gearbox, clip-on handlebars, and rear set footrests was launched. It sold well. Other variants were the 250 "Turbo Twin" fitted with the Villiers 247 twin two-stroke engine. An oddity was the 250 Clipper, mainly notable for its use of trailing-link front suspension (all the other 250s had conventional telescopic forks).

An Old Bullet Ad From India

The Present Age

In 1955 the Redditch company partnered Madras Motors in India to form 'Enfield India,' which assembled, under license, the 350 cc Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle in Chennai. The first machines were assembled entirely from components shipped from England, but by 1962 all components were made in India. The Indian Enfield uses the 1960 engine (with metric bearing sizes) in the pre-56 design frame.

An independent manufacturer since the demise of Royal Enfield in England, Enfield India still makes an essentially similar bike in 350 cc and 500 cc forms today, along with several different models for different market segments.

In 1994 Eicher Group bought into Enfield India. In late 1995, the Enfield India firm acquired the rights to the name Royal Enfield. Royal Enfield of India now sells motorcycles in over twenty countries.

The 2006 Royal Enfield Bullet 500


Current Models

  • Classic (350 & 500 cc)
  • Bullet 500 ES
  • Bullet 65
  • Thunderbird (350 cc)
  • Bullet Electra-X (500 cc)
  • Thunderbird Twinspark (350 cc)

The Carberry-Enfield 1000cc V-Twin Engine


A Bullet With a Twist: The Carberry Enfield

The concept of the Carberry-Enfield was conceived by Paul Carberry and brought to fruition by Paul and Ian Drysdale (Of the Drysdale 750-V8 and 1000-V8 fame). The basic premise was to create a “classic” style 1000cc British V-Twin utilising as many standard Royal Enfield parts as possible. All this to attain a well mannered torquey cruiser with the look, feel and sound expected from a bike with traditional British bloodlines but with enough technology to make it a practical everyday workhorse - at a reasonable price. The design premise included keeping production and maintenance costs down with a worldwide availability of spare parts. The 55-degree vee angle was chosen for the combination of style, balance, and mechanical simplicity. One consideration was to allow the hydraulic lifters to be accommodated above the standard Royal Enfield cams without modification to the barrels. Any vee angle tighter than 55 deg also requires heavy modification of the Royal Enfield heads for carburetor clearance. The standard Enfield primary drive cover has also been retained. The Enfield clutch is “beefed up,” and a bigger engine sprocket is fitted to utilise the extra performance of the V-twin.

The Carberry Enfield


Specifications of the Carberry Enfield

  • 1000cc - 55 degree air cooled V twin.
  • Bore and stroke: 84 x 90mm
  • Electronic Ignition
  • Hydraulic lifters
  • Roller big-end crank
  • Electric start
  • High-pressure/high flow oil system
  • Spin-on oil filter
  • Power: 50 hp
  • Gearbox: 4 or 5 speed.
Scroll to Continue

Everyone Makes Way for the Bullet

Yet Another Rocking Bullet Ad

The Diesel Bullet


The Diesel Variant of the Giant

Two different power options are available based on the Greaves diesel motor, the kind of engine more likely to be seen powering a cement mixer on a third world building site. The first option is the 325cc, 6.5hp at 3600rpm unit which is kickstart and not too happily married to the standard four-speed gearbox. This has the benefit of being easier to kickstart but has a very low cruising speed of 40mph.

Then there is the 'deluxe' model fitted with the larger whopping 436cc engine with a 5-speed gearbox that puts out a heady 7.5hp and which has a maximum speed of just 55mph.

Engine: 436cc or 325 cc Greaves

Transmission: Manual, 5-speed or 4 speed.

Fuel Tank Capacity: 14.25 litres.

Fuel Efficiency: 40 kmpl.

Here are some pictures of EGLI Super Bullets customized by the famous Swiss motorcycle tuner Fritz W. Egli.

A Turn to the Green Side

In 2006 Royal Enfield released a 'lean burn' engine incorporating a new cylinder head and piston, alloy barrel, gear oil pump and roller big end bearing. Lean burn refers to the use of lean mixtures in an internal combustion engine. The air-fuel ratios can be as high as 65:1, so the mixture has considerably less fuel in comparison to the stoichiometric combustion ratio.

After five years of research and development, Royal Enfield unveiled a new engine platform called the Unit Construction Engine (UCE). To be available in 350cc and 500cc models, the new platform will replace the Lean Burn Engine. The new engine makes its debut in the Thunderbird Twinspark 350cc. The engine includes an Integrated gearbox too.

The 500cc variant, which is Euro III compliant and has Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) technology, has been fitted in the Bullet Electra and is to be exported to the US, Japan, UK, and Europe. It will not be available in India for the time being.

The New Fuel Injection Engine


The Fuel Injection UCE Engine

Royal Enfield unveiled the first product with its next-generation engine: the 500cc UCE (Unit Constructed Engine) or integrated gearbox engine, equipped with Fuel Injection technology. This engine will appear first in the Royal Enfield Electra. The 500cc UCE still features pushrod operation of the two valves per cylinder but is otherwise very modern, with roller hydraulic lifters, crossover gearbox, and a gerotor oil pump. With the introduction of this new Bullet engine, Royal Enfield signalled its decision to phase out older iron cast engines. In England, France and other European countries, the classic iron-blocked, four-speed Bullet will be on sale until the end of 2008. From 2009 onwards, all Bullets will be powered by unit-construction electronic fuel injection (Euro III compliant) engines.

Thunderbird Twinspark With the New Uce Engine and Integrated Gearbox


Thunderbird Updated

The new Thunderbird Twinspark comes with a modified UCE engine with an integrated gearbox, which puts out 10% more power and torque than the earlier engine. It is the same Thunderbird in design and styling; just two twinspark badges on the side flanks and a twinspark decal on the rear side were added. The new integrated engine in the Thunderbird Twinspark employs six clutch plates for reduced clutch lever effort, and hence strain-free riding. This new setup results in fewer parts and hence less friction. The main architecture of this engine was developed in-house by Royal Enfield while NVH and internal combustion of the engine were tested by European design consultants.

With the UCE, Royal Enfield wishes to improve reliability and reduce the manual intervention needed for smooth functioning of the engine. The valve clearance of this UCE adjusts automatically through the use of id hydraulic pushrods, thus maintaining optimal valve timing in all situations. Another notable feature in the new Thunderbird Twinspark is the auto decompressor, which activates at 250rpm and helps the rider to start the engine with ease; the slide switch is gone. The electric motor is placed on the inner side of the UCE engine to reduce the problems usually associated with the sprag clutch. The twin-pod instrument cluster is intact with odometer, speedometer, RPM meter, fuel gauge, resettable trip meter, and tell-tale lights for neutral, high beam, and turn signal indicators. The blue-backed instrument panel is readable even in bright sunlight. The new Thunderbird twinspark is available in three colours: silver, red and black, and is priced at Rs. 103000.00 (ex-showroom) in Chennai.

Main Features of New Thunderbird Twinspark:

  • A halogen lamp replaces conventional lamp for increased life.
  • Foldable footrest for the rider.
  • The rear brake cable is on the right side of the bike.
  • The chain sprocket is moved to the right side.

Machismo 500


The Machismo 500 is a foxy combination of robust technology, higher torque, full-bodied look and comfort styling.

The motorcycle features 40.85 Nm of torque at 3000 rpm, unique 19 -inch wheels, 280 mm front disc brake and the same engine chassis configuration being exported to Europe, USA & Australia.

Only 500 motorcycles will be made available country-wide. Hence, the charm of genuine custom accessories, twin spring split seats, leather saddlebags and the Lexan anti-scratch windscreen will wow only a 'fortunate 500'.

Royal Enfield...a Bright Future !!!!

Royal Enfield said it would roll out four new motorcycle models by 2010-11 targeting both the domestic and international markets. Out of the four models that it plans to launch by 2010-11, two will be for the international market while two will be for the domestic market.

Keeping in mind its market expansion, the company is also hiking production capacity of its Thiruvottiyur plant in Tamil Nadu to 60,000 units.

In the last two years alone, the company's volume has increased 25 percent and this year it was expected to grow 15 percent.

The Electra: a Slight Change From Tradition


The release of Electra was considered to be a revolutionary change even if it shocked the traditional bullet fans a bit. The Electra is fitted with a host of user-friendly features including the revolutionary left side 5-speed gearshift.

A pushbutton start and a digital transistor coil ignition ensure quick take-offs. Gas-filled shocks enable the Electra to glide deftly over potholes and speed-bumps, while the glass-wool silencer absorbs high-frequency noises.

The only Electra model available in India is the Electra 5S (a 350 cc model).

In the UK, Royal Enfield fanatics are provided with the revolutionary electronic fuel injection model (EFI) with a 500cc engine.

Customers in the United States can enjoy the Electra X, another 500cc monster, but without the EFI.

The All-New Bullet G5 EFI


One of the greatest traditions in motorcycling history presented in a whole new way, the Bullet G5 Classic is a completely modern, fuel-injected, low-maintenance motorcycle built in the image of the world-famous 1955 Bullet Classic.

Its striking one-color style and hand-painted pinstripes pop with vintage authenticity, but this is not your father's Bullet. The fully-integrated unit construction engine offers unprecedented fuel economy, higher cruising speeds, and the latest emissions standards. Plus it's styled after the famous 1955 model.


  • Engine: Single Cylinder, 4-Stroke, Spark Ignition, Air Cooled, OHV
  • Cubic Capacity: 499 cc
  • Engine Output/TorqueL 27.5 BHP, 41.3 Nm @ 4000 rpm
  • Fuel System: Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI)
  • Electrical: 12V System; Headlamp 60/55W; Tail lamp 21/5W
  • Ignition: Electronic
  • Transmission: 5-Speed gearbox with left side gear shift
  • Suspension: Gas-filled shock absorbers
  • Brakes: Front 280mm Disc brake Brakes- Rear 152mm Drum brake
  • Tires: Front 3.25 x 19in Tires - Rear 3.50 x 19in
  • Dimensions: L x W x B 50in x 32in x 42in
  • Wheel Base: 54 inches
  • Ground Clearance: 5.5 inches
  • Weight (Wet): 412 lbs

There is an upgrade to the model too, the Bullet G5 Deluxe which features rubber knee pads, combination chrome and painted tank, plus chrome fenders, chrome brake lever, and chrome airbox...a whole lotta chrome!

The Bullet Classic: Straight From da 1950's


The bullet has been in production since 1932. Now after 76 years, the classic form has returned. It consists of a single-cylinder air-cooled pushrod engine, 1950s style nacelle and toolboxes, traditional paint schemes and buffed engine components. This styling sets it apart from other motorcycles in the market (Those guys are way behind!!! :P). The UCE design is inspired by the Clipper 250, a popular Royal Enfield engine from the past.


  • Displacement: 499cccc
  • Engine: Single Cylinder, 4 Stroke, OHV, SI Engine, Air Cooled
  • Maximum Power: 27.2Bhp@5250rpm
  • Maximum Torque: 41.3Nm@4000rpm
  • Gears: 5 Speed
  • Clutch: Wet Multi-Plate
  • Bore: 84
  • Stroke: 90
  • Chassis Type: Tubular Steel
  • Cooling Type: Air Cooling
  • Motor Power: 12V


  • Length: 2160.00 mm
  • Width: 800.00 mm
  • Height: 1050.00 mm

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2008 sumeshuk

Please Leave Your Comments and Suggestions

Shiv charan on December 14, 2019:

I have a tremendous 1969 model made in England original bullet with rear wheel speedometer. Whent it starts my

Syed on October 29, 2012:

It's great to own a bullet, but it's painfully to sell it, as I got a vintage bull make 1954, 350 cc for sale clear tittle. Mail me on for further queries.

Karanveer Singh on May 18, 2012:

vry nice bike .But the gears on right side are very exellent and standard is best model as compared to other models

unnikrishnan on May 07, 2012:

Bullet is wild and trouble makers for kids,but a trusty lion for men who know how to enjoy the beat and thump.An uncomparable legend the britishers left in India.



DHEERAJ MAWAR on January 28, 2012:


Tousif Iqbal on December 19, 2011:

Very Nice Article but I still liked ur own Bullet. Even I own Three such Beasts including a 500.

kapil sabharwal on February 12, 2011:

i and my elder brother buy royal enfield standard in 2003 its realy very powerful uniqe and heavy duty bike.

abi on January 05, 2011:

thanks man i also have & love that bike

usedmotor on November 30, 2010:

Hi i see your hub this is nice.If you want a best

Cip Casabianca on November 11, 2010:

I find the AVL lean burn engine much nicer to look at than the new unit construction engine, integrated gearbox... Big mistake. Is it possible to modify the beautiful lean burn engine to pass Euro 3 emission standards?

ashish gilbert on September 30, 2010:

I love Enfield as i never stops on any type of Track and in any conditiosn it will reach till destination i use a 325 diesel and a 65 model 350cc petrol

JATT ROCKS on March 27, 2010:


varun on March 16, 2010:

rocking man,i think i have started loving this bike thanks

Sports bikes on October 21, 2009:

nICE bIKES Royal Enfield

Anandhu84 on October 15, 2009:

Sexy.... KET 1401

aniyathikutty on April 16, 2009:

w8 till i get a license :P :P :P

Lachuzzzzz on April 11, 2009:

u shuld teka luk at ket1401 :D :D :D...itz a classic :D

Giftson on April 11, 2009:

I'm weighting for the


to lounch in India to by.

bartyb on April 07, 2009:

I used to have a cruisader sport!! built in 1959 and when Iowned it in 1979 it could keep upwith the japbikes my friends had.... and Blair if you know me mailme

lakshmi on April 06, 2009:

im goin 2 buy a bullet m goin 2 buy a bullet..hez goin 2 get me a bullet...4 freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!! :D :D :D

Blair Guinea on March 06, 2009:

Cheers for the detailed info on this grand old 'thumper'


Related Articles