Ready To Rumble
Australian Road Rider|July/August 2018

Cheap and cheerful, the Royal Enfield Rumbler 350 is the latest model out of Chennai. Jacinta donned the open face to bring us her thoughts…

Jacinta donned

Here’s a question for the pub. Who is considered to be the world’s longest-standing motorcycle manufacturer? Harley-Davidson? Triumph?

Nup. Free schooners for those who went with Royal Enfield. At least this much is true — Royal Enfield is the oldest motorcycle brand in continuous production, with the first motorcycle being released in the UK in 1901.

Some history. During WWII, Royal Enfield, alongside other manufacturers, was called upon to produce military motorcycles. In fact, it was in 1943 that the company built the world’s first flying motorcycle known as the “flying Flea” — a lightweight 125cc engine bike that was dropped by parachute along with airborne troops.

Today’s production is based in India, but the brand was established in the UK in 1893. It was in 1955, after the Indian government placed an order for 800 350 Bullets, that the Red ditch company partnered with Madras Motors India to form Enfield India to fulfill the order. The Bullet continued to be built out of India long after Royal Enfield UK was sold to Norton-Villiers-Triumph in 1968, with UK production ceasing in 1970. Got all that? Good, you’ll be the smartest person in the pub.

Fast forward to the present. The company’s claims its modern direction is to bring a lifestyle brand of motorcycle with “greater quality and lower cost to developed markets”. And it’s nothing if it isn’t fair dinkum. With a new facility and design team now established in the UK, the growth of the brand has seen volume poised to reach production numbers of 825,000 units by the end of 2018. Let that soak in. Yeah. That’s a shipload of bikes right there.

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