The killer bikes - Royal Enfield

Royal Enfield was the name under which the Enfield Cycle Company made motorcycles, bicycles, lawnmowers and stationary engines. This legacy of weapons manufacture is reflected in the logo, a cannon, and their motto "Made like a gun, goes like a bullet". Use of the brand name Royal Enfield was licensed by the Crown in 1890. The original Redditch, Worcestershire based company was sold to Norton-Triumph-Villiers (NVT) in 1968. Production ceased in 1970 and the company was dissolved in 1971.

In 1956 Enfield of India started assembling Bullet motorcycles under license from UK components, and by 1962 were manufacturing complete bikes. Enfield of India bought the rights to use the Royal Enfield name in 1995. Royal Enfield production, based in Chennai, continues and Royal Enfield is now the oldest motorcycle brand in the world still in production with the Bullet model enjoying the longest motorcycle production run of all time.

Styled in the image of its 1955 namesake, Royal Enfield's 500cc Bullet offers riders classic motorcycling from a brand with a pedigree stretching back to 1901. And with frugal fuel consumption of 80mpg running costs are modest too.

Valenced steel mudguards, hand-painted gold coach-lines on the petrol tank and side panels, and winged Royal Enfield badges mean that the latest incarnation of the Bullet, which has been in continuous production since 1949, could easily be mistaken for a restored machine from the 1950's. It even runs on Avon Speedmaster tyres. Like its predecessors, it is powered by a 499cc single cylinder engine with a bore and stroke of 84mm x 90mm. The engine is Royal Enfield's new unit construction design, introduced in 2009, with 5-speed gearbox and wet multiplate clutch, for fuss-free gear changes. The traditional chrome silencer contains a catalytic converter, so the Bullet 500 meets tough Euro 3 emissions regulations too.

Brakes, suspension and electrical system have all been updated; the 280mm front disc brake provides relaible stopping power, gas filled rear shock absorbers give a smoother ride and the 12-volt electrics power the halogen headlight, indicators and starter motor. In fact the Bullet 500 is one of the few modern motorcycles to give owners a choice of both kick and electric starting.


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