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Old 8th March 2014, 11:23   #16
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Default Re: Royal Enfield developing single-cylinder, 400cc engine

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I would rather see Royal Enfield produce a vertical 650cc or 750cc air cooled twin, reminiscent of the old Meteor, Constellation or small Interceptor II.
The new twin engine should also have a rotating counterbalancer shaft in the design to reduce the engine vibration inherent in vertical twins.

While they are at it, they should mount the new twin in the new double downtube GT Continental frame. This would result in a machine very similar to a improved Norton with its Featherbed frame. One of the most famous and classic motorcycles ever made.
Jim as an old timer of the hardcore Bullet community scene here in India, I can tell you that we have been hearing noises from deep inside about Royal Enfield "threatening" to do this for years now. And in our eternally optimistic naivete we actually believed we would get a twin.

And most of us are now completely disillusioned, tired of waiting, and have moved on to other bikes.

There is a limit to brand loyalty. Especially when the brand does not reciprocate and keeps churning out the same stuff in new and constantly increasingly more expensive bottles. With zero difference in quality, reliability, performance, or cost and availability of spares.

You as an American with access to all the lovely bikes a biker could dream of, at good prices, and having seen it all and done it all, are at a stage in your life where you can appreciate a Bullet for what it is and what it is not, and enjoy the ownership experience therefore.

The scene is very different for us here in India. For us the Bullet isn't an exotic piece of machinery and/or a modern classic/vintage. We have grown up seeing and hearing Bullets on our roads. They have always been a part of the scenery here. For us the Bullet is a bike that till recently was big and powerful and the only thing available for guys who were on the big side, and wanted to go fast.

Now the game has moved on. And Bullet is getting left behind for this demographic.

Yes they would still sell on their persona and brand and mystique to the newcomers. And I am happy for them for that. They deserve it after keeping the brand and the bike alive when the whole Brit biking world went extinct more than half a century ago. That commitment and staying power should be rewarded.

Quite simply, Royal Enfield is for us Indians what Harley Davidson is for any red blooded American. Its our bike, our brand, warts and tantrums and all.

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Old 9th March 2014, 04:43   #17
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Default Re: Royal Enfield developing single-cylinder, 400cc engine

I do appreciate the place Royal Enfield has had with the people of India.

My earlier comment about the proposed 400cc single that Royal Enfield is apparently spending development money on was intended to suggest that the money would be better spent developing a motorcycle which would directly compete with and beat the newcomers to the Indian market.

A new 400cc single with horsepower in the mid 20's would do little to attract new buyers to RE unless the price of the machine was substantially less.

A twin which would directly compete with the Harley Davidson and Triumph on the other hand, would open a new market area that does exist in the Indian market as is evidenced by the number of those motorcycles that have been recently sold there.

Yes, the HoG members have a certain attraction but I believe the new Royal Enfield UCE powered motorcycle owners are also a large and growing group who are proud of their motorcycles and their vastly improved reliability.

I suspect that these owners and many others would be proud to own a 650-750cc vertical twin replacement which could be a recreation of the glory's of the days when the British Twins (BSA, Triumph, Matchless, Norton, etc) were Kings.
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Old 9th March 2014, 12:12   #18
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Question Re: Royal Enfield developing single-cylinder, 400cc engine

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Quite simply, Royal Enfield is for us Indians what Harley Davidson is for any red blooded American. Its our bike, our brand, warts and tantrums and all.
Not to sound disrespectful, but that last sentence was pure humbug.
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Old 10th March 2014, 13:03   #19
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Default Re: Royal Enfield developing single-cylinder, 400cc engine

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Especially when the brand does not reciprocate and keeps churning out the same stuff in new and constantly increasingly more expensive bottles. With zero difference in quality, reliability, performance, or cost and availability of spares.
CI -> LB -> UCE. What are you talking about when you say "keeps churning out the same stuff in new and constantly increasingly more expensive bottles"? Are you saying that the CI, LBs and UCE are the same? From my experience of all three machines, the UCEs are the most reliable and fuel efficient. UCEs have the best performance of the three in stock condition.

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Quite simply, Royal Enfield is for us Indians what Harley Davidson is for any red blooded American. Its our bike, our brand, warts and tantrums and all.
Please do not speak on behalf of all Indians, especially on behalf of those who love their REs and the company.

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Old 10th March 2014, 13:19   #20
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Default Re: Royal Enfield developing single-cylinder, 400cc engine

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Dear All,

I have been a royal enfield motorcycle user for the past 36 odd years and the same bike too and I am in love with my bike a humble 350cc standard version. She has always delivered on demand and without even a murmur, she has yet to let me down .She has been a half kick start and very easy to maintain, the only major cost being that of fuel and the odd consumables. Though I am loyal to the Enfield brand, I must confess that it has taken more than half my life in the hope of seeing some betterment of the power plant and am sorry to say that for the last odd 60 years there hasn't been much done in that area.

Some time back there was a rumour that they were going to come out with a 625cc bike and all that turned out to be a hogwash and now this about an insignificant 400cc, come on who are they to trying to bullshit around. It is very evident that they are trying to realign their prices by this new entrant to increase their basic models.

If they could only go for either a new design and by that i mean a v twin maybe or a parallel twin like in the old 700+cc Enfields, then probably they could get their act together. But, if they persist to follow this ad hoc method of progression, I think they are going to left far behind by all the new comers in the field.

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Old 10th March 2014, 21:38   #21
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Thumbs up Re: Royal Enfield developing single-cylinder, 400cc engine

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Mod team note: Post EDITED. Please take time to type in with proper punctuation. Will help with readability. Thanks.

Dear All,

I have been a royal enfield motorcycle user for the past 36 odd years and the same bike too and I am in love with my bike a humble 350cc standard version. She has always delivered on demand and without even a murmur, she has yet to let me down .She has been a half kick start and very easy to maintain, the only major cost being that of fuel and the odd consumables. Though I am loyal to the Enfield brand, I must confess that it has taken more than half my life in the hope of seeing some betterment of the power plant and am sorry to say that for the last odd 60 years there hasn't been much done in that area.

Some time back there was a rumour that they were going to come out with a 625cc bike and all that turned out to be a hogwash and now this about an insignificant 400cc, come on who are they to trying to bullshit around. It is very evident that they are trying to realign their prices by this new entrant to increase their basic models.

If they could only go for either a new design and by that i mean a v twin maybe or a parallel twin like in the old 700+cc Enfields, then probably they could get their act together. But, if they persist to follow this ad hoc method of progression, I think they are going to left far behind by all the new comers in the field.
+1 to that!
And work on their overall reliability too along the way.
Word was that they were getting Victory Motorcycles here! What I don't understand is why launch those bulky Indians here instead of launching some of their great Victory's here.
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Old 12th March 2014, 11:57   #22
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Default Re: Royal Enfield developing single-cylinder, 400cc engine

It would be great if Royal Enfield builds this model more on the lines of the yesteryear collaboration they had with Zundapp which launched the model named Royal Enfield err. Zundapp Fury here in India. What I mean to say is Royal Enfield can build this model similar to the retro classic legendary bikes like the Yamaha SR400, Honda CB400, Kawasaki KZ400, etc. (albeit all the three bikes mentioned here are parallel twins)

The design of the above mentioned three bikes with similar CC engines is a timeless classic design that RE can tap into with their similar size engine. BUT RE has to change or tweak the engine characteristics. I mean it's perfectly fine to have a 400cc single cylinder engine considering RE may or may not be looking at developing a Parallel twin in the near future. The single cylinder 400 cc motorcycle can be light in weight and produce power upwards of say 26 odd BHP to have a better power to weight ratio, good acceleration and handling which can do upwards of 130KMPH all day. Else RE can also develop a 400cc parallel twin test mule to test the local market for their parallel twin offering and based on the demand and sales they can further invest in developing a 500 or 650 or 750cc parallel twin based on the iconic Royal Enfield Meteor, Constellation and Interceptor.

Last edited by navin_v8 : 12th March 2014 at 12:01. Reason: Adding more information and grammatical error
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Old 12th March 2014, 18:44   #23
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Default Re: Royal Enfield developing single-cylinder, 400cc engine

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Originally Posted by navin_v8 View Post
The single cylinder 400 cc motorcycle can be light in weight and produce power upwards of say 26 odd BHP to have a better power to weight ratio, good acceleration and handling which can do upwards of 130KMPH all day.
The most modern radically new chassis offering of Royal Enfield, a stripped down Cafe racer no less, weighs "only" 184 kilos (with 90% fuel) and is the "lightest" offering in their stable.

And it already produces a claimed 29 horses. And tops out at 140 kmph and thereabouts.

The Standard 500 with 22 bhp topped out at 120-125 kmph.

The Lightning 535 with 26 bhp topped out at 125-130 kmph.

The LB 500 with 25 bhp topped out at 125-130 kmph.

The UCE 500 with 26 bhp tops out at 130 kmph.

The Continental GT with 29 bhp tops out at 135-140 kmph.

That's FIVE engines/states of tune to increase the top speed of the bike by 20 kmph after approximately 25 years.

This is counting the start point from the early 90s for the Indian 500s.

Considering the Indian 500s of the 90s were hardly different from the Redditch 500s from the 50s, you could add another 40 years to the above matrix.

And then newly minted fanboys wonder why the old guys crib and whinge. With good reason. With a lot more kms of ownership under their belt to back up what they say as well. If it matters to the new entrants to the hero worship game.

Bottom line - a 400 cc RE single producing 26 bhp is not going to do 130 all day. It will just about do 130 - on the very optimistic speedo. And if you hold it there, the piston will eventually melt into the sleeve or come out through the tank.

Cheers!

P.S. As for the other part of the equation of this much touted RE R&D and incremental improvement over the years and new engines - any RE 500, ridden like a 500 should be ridden, will still not give you any more than 25 kmpl in the city and 27-30 kmpl with a very light wrist on the highway.

Reliability? Visit dealerships, go to the workshops, and check their manifestos for warranty replacements and breakdowns (major ones - requiring splitting open of new engines). 99.9 % will be UCEs. The standards and the LBs have long since stopped going to dealerships.

The only thing that has really improved significantly (statistical significance) at RE, across their offerings, is the price.

Last edited by ebonho : 12th March 2014 at 18:55.
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Old 13th March 2014, 11:41   #24
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Default Re: Royal Enfield developing single-cylinder, 400cc engine

Very nice analysis Doc I was aware someone would bring up this point. One correction with regards to the three Japanese retro classics, I mentioned Yamaha SR400 as a twin cylinder whereas it is a single cylinder I meant to say the Yamaha XS400 parallel twin.

The top speed and BHP does not really matter what matters is the power to weight ratio. It would be difficult but not impossible for Royal Enfield to reduce the weight of its various models, the reason being most of the parts are made of metal in short it has a metal body plus an engine in the range of 350-535cc does have some weight aint it? Now what the engineers at Royal Enfield can do is, if they can't reduce the overall weight of the bike then bump up the power and tune the engine in such a way that even 26-30 odd horses feel powerful. I know if would be challenging for them to pull up the legendary Yamaha RD350 technology although it's a two stroke and again a parallel twin but they can still try. But based on Doc's analysis it seems that Royal Enfield does make an attempt to play with their engines but have not carried out any radical changes with respect to BHP, power and speed although marginal changes have been done. They really have to pull up their socks and start developing powerful engines that complements the power to weight ratio figures. Although we don't have that kind of roads to handle these powerful machines but that is not a reason to not develop performance oriented bikes. Moreover I think but not sure if RE has any access to their own err. erstwhile British owned Royal Enfield yesteryears parallel twin models that I already mentioned in my earlier post. If they do then they should seriously consider working on them. The beauty of these bikes is not how fast you go but how much you enjoy the ride.

Last edited by navin_v8 : 13th March 2014 at 11:43. Reason: Additional information
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Old 13th March 2014, 18:23   #25
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Default Re: Royal Enfield developing single-cylinder, 400cc engine

Navin exotic materials come at a price. The Bullets are already seriously overpriced for what they offer. The standalone motor and gearbox of the standard 500 weighs around 65+ kilos. That of the Duke for comparison weighs around 39 kilos.

Also, all the tinwork of the Bullet put together when removed does not weigh more than 15 kilos. That's in a total weight of 185-190 kilos.

Last edited by ebonho : 13th March 2014 at 18:32.
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Old 13th March 2014, 18:51   #26
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Default Re: Royal Enfield developing single-cylinder, 400cc engine

Doc your views are appreciated and I deliberately left the KTM Duke brothers(200 and 390) out of this as RE and KTM offer two very different motorcycles one is a retro classic whereas other one is a bad ass street fighter. But that does not mean Royal Enfield can just milk the Retro Classic glory without bumping up the power and performance of their offerings. We have seen comeback of Retro Classics in recent times like the Triumph Bonneville, Honda CB1100, Kawasaki W800, etc. these bikes although have a higher displacement than the Royal Enfield motorcycles they have modern characteristics and power to match at the same time retaining their classic lines. Now a Royal Enfield motorcycle at the end of the day is a Thumper and Thumpers do have their own characteristic unlike say a parallel twin or an inline 3 or 4. The point is how much does RE want to experiment with a single cylinder thumper and for how long? As I said earlier if they are thinking of developing a parallel twin then now is the ripe time to do so, but currently they are flooded with overwhelming demand orders which keeps growing for which they have opened a new factory with a planned annual capacity of 250,000 motorcycles. The fact is they are making the most of it and also reaping the benefits but they should also realize that the competition is at hand like it was before when the Japanese bikes invaded the Indian market and they were hammered into the oblivion due to lack of innovation or should I day R&D. They bounced back with the Thunderbird and Electra offerings similarly they should now think of launching their meteor, constellation and interceptor models with parallel twin engines. But the question is will RE take the plunge or not?

Also I heard in an interview where Siddharth Lal said they wanted RE to be the market leader in the 500cc and sub 500cc category, this might be one of the reasons why RE is said to be developing a 400cc engine which will close the gaps between the 350cc and 500cc lineup. The strategy might be to pitch in the 400cc model between the 350 and 500 like they say the best of both.

Last edited by navin_v8 : 13th March 2014 at 18:57.
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Old 13th March 2014, 19:26   #27
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Default Re: Royal Enfield developing single-cylinder, 400cc engine

With no disrespect to anyone,Indian Manufacturers ,both car and bikes have always been slow moving to technological enhancements.

Its only in the last decade that car and bike manufacturers have started coming out with 'slightly' better models.Though am not a fan of Bajaj ,would appreciate the efforts they are putting in with their models and the constant up gradations.

I can't say the same about RE as it seems they are stuck in some kind of time zone and have lost track of the what the new age biker needs.The oldest bike manufacturer in the country has to still face issues of engine quality ,spare part availability ,timely delivery and quality service.

No point in taking about R&D at RE as they seem to have another meaning for that in their dictionary.Simply increasing the CC's doesnt increase the BHP to a level which is offered by the competition.350's and 500's are giving out puny power outputs which no bikes of similar capacity of the competition give.It only took HD two years to come out with an India specific product with all the bells and whistles required by todays riders.RE should have done that a long time ago and would have made quite progress being the first mover.Instead we are still stuck with 400 ccs and single cylinders.I think it would be too much to ask for better handling,trouble free engines,ABS,increased BHP from RE in my lifetime to really enjoy a Indian cruiser.

RE seriously needs to get its act together or else would have to watch the show from the sidelines .There is a special bond RE has with the Indian public which cannot be denied as the sales of the company will show.But that won't last for long.I have had many friends who have migrated to better built bigger capacity bikes after waiting for long for some kind of better product from RE.

BTW i do own a standard and belong to the 'duug duug generation'.Have been waiting for a twin badly from RE with all the works a la Interceptor/Bonneville type.My patience is wearing and with the way things are with RE they will be having one less fan in the days to come.
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Old 14th March 2014, 10:53   #28
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Default Re: Royal Enfield developing single-cylinder, 400cc engine

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Doc your views are appreciated and I deliberately left the KTM Duke brothers(200 and 390) out of this as RE and KTM offer two very different motorcycles one is a retro classic whereas other one is a bad ass street fighter.
Navin, your hopes and aspirations from RE reflect and overlap with those of most of us who have been waiting for a serious performance upgrade from the company for years now.

Its not happening. Ask yourself what are the motivations? They are selling their stuff a lot more than before. Building new factories to cater to the demand. Huge backlogs and waiting periods. Its a seller's market as far as they are concerned.

So look elsewhere if you want all of what you have stated.

The reason I brought the KTM Duke's engine weight into the discussion was to compare proportion of engine weight to the entire bike.

In the case of the Duke its 30%. In the case of the Bullet its 35% of the weight of the whole bike. So the lightweight Duke's engine is by no means light - in proportion to its overall weight. But in absolute terms its 35 kilos less than the engine of the Bullet.

In fact the entire bike seems concentrated around the engine when you see it side on. Whereas in absoloute terms in the Bullet the rest of the bike (rolling chassis and tinwork) weighs another 120+ kilos, and in the Duke the rest of the bike (rolling chassis + plastics) weighs an extra 90 kilos.

Now to actually make the Bullet lose serious weight, you would have to tackle the heavy stuff. The chassis (including swingarm). The wheels. The fork. The engine. None of this (except maybe the wheels) is easily (or cheaply) done.

But neither is getting more power from the same cubic capacity easy or cheap (beyond a limited point of then decreasing returns).

So what does RE do? Put is a bigger piston.

They did that with the Con GT and charged you 50K extra for it.

They'll now do the same with the 350 cc engines.

And you will line up around the block to pay for it.

Happy days all around.
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Old 14th March 2014, 13:51   #29
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Default Re: Royal Enfield developing single-cylinder, 400cc engine

Point taken, but the fact is RE is on a roll since they introduced the UCE engines and various models sporting it. We have to first understand the buyers who are buying these new motorcycles from RE's stable. I think most of them are first time buyers and also people who have already ridden a RE sometime back in their lives and want to relive the glory. Now each buyer has a different expectation from the motorcycle for someone it is the oomph factor, for some it is the aura with the timeless design, for some it is the THUMP, for some it is the overall character of the bike, for some it is the torque, the list can go on and on. For the other category of riders/bikers like you and me who know inside out of a RE Bullet, we expect more as we are now on the next stage(not age wise) where we are looking at more power and performance, mind you I am not saying just us there are also first time buyers who would want this power and performance. Looking at RE's trend it doesn't look like they are looking at making some radical changes, so till then let's just dream on.

Last edited by navin_v8 : 14th March 2014 at 13:52.
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Old 16th May 2014, 07:41   #30
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Default Re: Royal Enfield developing single-cylinder, 400cc engine

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Not sure how much of the 50cc increment would add to the power figures? Will be interested if they had worked on the twin cylinder setup instead of single cylinder :(

High time they started to work/get on par with Triumph
High time RE comes forward with a global standard, V or parallel twin. It's very boring to see their 'doing you a favour' kind of attitude by offering the same, revamped, single cylinder layout with a UCE, FI & other minor cosmetic changes
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