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Old 25th June 2010, 00:13   #1
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Question When did Royal Enfield become "Enfield"?


Royal Enfield motorcycles have been present in India for a long time. For instance one of them won the Indian TT in 1913. Towards the 1940s Madras Motors started importing them regularly and in the 1950's Enfield India was established, with complete bikes being produced in 1962. These initial machines were branded "Royal Enfield".

Sometime in the 1970's the bikes produced by Enfield India started being branded "Enfield" alone without "Royal" in front. Eventually Enfield India acquired the use of the term Royal Enfield in the UK through litigation in 1994 and bikes branded "Royal Enfield" started appearing for export in 2000 and in the Indian market in 2003.

My question is: when did the switchover from "Royal Enfield" to "Enfield" took place? And why? Was it related to the demise of Royal Enfield in the UK? When the company finished operations in 1970 its remaining assets were sold to Aerco Jig and Tool in Birmingham and this included the brand "Royal Enfield" (the litigation in 1994 was between representatives of Enfield India and Matt Holder of Aerco). Did Aerco ask Enfield India to stop using the brand "Royal Enfield"? Don't brands in the UK and India operate separately anyway?

I'd appreciate any information.


Last edited by Rehaan : 25th June 2010 at 13:35. Reason: Sorry, but no linking to your own website in your posts / signature. Do use the homepage field in your profile for this. Thnx
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Old 25th June 2010, 13:34   #2
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Here's another thread with some related information : Revisiting India on 2 wheels (Revisiting the glorious chapters of India on 2 wheels)

An excerpt :
Originally Posted by sidindica View Post
Royal Thumpers

As time progressed and India gained independence, many of these companies either shut shop or stopped selling bikes or went back to their home turf. But one company had decided to transfer its technology to its Indian arm and assemble motorcycles here, initially by CKD and then integrate fully manufacturing processes into one unit.

In 1949, Royal Enfield Motors was established and it set up an assembly plant in Chennai. Catering to the demand of Indian army and police initially, it used to assemble its iconic motorcycle-the BULLET 350 4 speed with kits imported from UK's Enfield cycles, which itself was almost dissolved despite being sold to Norton a while back.

In 1955 Enfield of India started assembling Bullet motorcycles under licence from UK components, and by 1962 were manufacturing complete bikes. Enfield of India bought the rights to use the Royal Enfield name in 1995.
So in the subsequent years, Enfield cycles UK fully transfered its technology and gave licence to manyfacture motorcycles under the Royal Enfield brand name with Bullet moniker, the latter derived because of its now famous thumping engine sound that resembles a bullet being fired from a shotgun.
The legacy of weapons manufacture is reflected in the logo, a cannon, and their motto "Made like a gun, goes like a bullet."

The Bullet nameplate and its line of motorcycles remains the oldest nameplate still in production on earth, even after 60 plus years with constant refinements and upgrades. More on that later.

The motorcycle enjoyed good demand both from Indian public and army and police personal alike, who liked its robust, sturdy construction and torquey motor which had mile munching capabilities. Heavy body and comfortable saddle also made the Bullet a favourite amongst the long distance touring community, even though the bike lacked refinement and often had problems with oil consumption, cold starting, early wear and tear etc.

1974 was a landmark year for my dad, who purchased his first bike, a Royal Enfield 350 from meerut for about 7,000 rupees. A die hard Bullet fan, his was the first enfield 350 in our entire family and was admired by his friends and family alike. Two years later, in 1976, there were not one, but 2 owners, one added from November 11 1976 onwards. yes, you guessed it right, it is my mom.
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