Royal Enfield – A Royal Heritage P1
History of Royal Enfield. (Part 1)
British-Indian or Indian-British. The thing is, it was originally a British company but kept alive by Indians, or one of the most loved Indian brands that was originally a British company. This is a discussion that can go on and on and on. Let’s get into a time machine and go through the years.
Back in the day when the British still ruled India.
Yep those days. It’s hard to believe it was a century ago, A company was started in Redditch, Worcestershire. The company was The Enfield Cycle Company Limited.
But they had another brand name under which they sold Motorcycles, Bicycles, Lawnmowers, and Stationary Engines. That name was Royal Enfield.
They have also used the Enfield brand name without the Royal at times. The first Royal Enfield Motorcycle was build in 1901. That is ………………….
Wow these guys go way back. The Enfield Cycle company was responsible for the design of the Royal Enfield Bullet. This is the longest-lived motorcycle design in History. Royal Enfield’s spare parts operation was sold to Velocette in 1967, which benefited from the arrangement for three years until their closure in early 1971. Enfield’s remaining motorcycle business became part of Norton Villiers in 1967 with the business eventually closing in 1978. A decent relationship. Yes, Norton, you read it right. But remember While Norton Villiers acquired 33 percent of Enfield India the assets of Enfield’s diesel engine division and pedal cycle and spares divisions were not picked up
But how did all this start off?
George Townsend set up a business in 1851 in Redditch making sewing needles. In 1882 his son, also named George, started making components for cycle manufacturers including saddles and forks. By 1886 complete bicycles were being sold under the names Townsend and Ecossais. This business suffered a financial collapse in 1891. Albert Eadie, sales manager of Birmingham’s Perry & Co Ltd, this guy was a pen maker who had begun to supply components for cycles, and Robert Walker Smith, an engineer from D. Rudge & Co, were one to be chosen by Townsend’s bankers to run the business. Then, in 1892, the firm was re-incorporated and named Eadie Manufacturing Company Limited; it was based in Snow Hill, Birmingham. Later, in 1907, after serious losses from their newly floated Enfield Autocar business, Eadie Manufacturing and its pedal-cycle component business was absorbed by Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA).
Years later, the BSA chairman was to tell shareholders that the acquisition had “done wonders for the cycle department”. Eadie still retained a separate identity when Raleigh bought BSA’s cycle interests in 1957.
Did you know Royal Enfield also diversified into Cars in 1902.
But this business lasted just 19 months as they suffered heavy losses. The Company division was called Enfield Autocar Company Limited. Post World War 2 was a tough time and to save the company, Enfield Cycle company partnered with Madras Motors in India, in forming Enfield of India……… And the rest is History .
Or is it?
The start was with assembling a 350 cc Royal Enfield Bullet in madras. The first machines were assembled from components imported from England. Starting in 1957, Enfield of India acquired the machines necessary to build components in India, and by 1962 all components were made in India.
Now that is a site for sore eyes. Something about automobile manufacturing plants that also gets to me. The cycle manufacturing division was closed in 1967. Production of motorcycles ceased in 1970 and the original Redditch, Worcestershire-based company was dissolved in 1971. And that was the end of most of the British connections with Royal Enfield. Enfield of India continued producing the ‘Bullet’, and began branding its motorcycles ‘Royal Enfield’ in 1999. A lawsuit over the use of ‘Royal’, brought by trademark owner David Holder, was judged in favour of Enfield of India, who now produce motorcycles under the Royal Enfield name. The models produced and marketed in India include Café Racers, Cruisers, Retros and Adventure Tourers. And that is till today.
That Concludes Part 1 of Royal Enfield – Do check out our range of RE Riding Gear & Accessories . This is a brand that has a lot of lineage and what ever said is less soooo we will say more but in the next one.
Hope you liked this and Ride Hard Ride Safe!!!