Motorcycles with much heritage and evocative designs is one way to describe Royal Enfield.
The company is gearing up for the launch of the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and the Continental GT 650 in India before the end of this year. While these are the most modern bikes from the Chennai-based manufacturer, not many know that they rolled-out some sought-after vintage motorcycles during the pre- and post-war era. Here is a list of 10 Royal Enfield bikes that were on sale until the 1950s.
Royal Enfield Model 180 (1913)
The Royal Enfield Model 180 is one of the oldest twin-cylinder RE motorcycles, that featured a JAP-sourced 770 cc, V-twin engine, that came mated to a 2-speed manual gearbox. The motor produced 6 bhp of maximum power, while it came with a Bosch magneto and AMAC carburettor.
The motorcycle was presented with a choice of a coach-built or a cane body sidecar. Accessories on the Royal Enfield Model 180 included a Veigel speedometer, P&H acetylene lamp and horn.
Royal Enfield 2o1 (1914)
The Royal Enfield 201 was first presented to the public in 1914. However, as a result of the first world war, only a few machines were manufactured before 1919. The Royal Enfield 201 used a 225 cc, single-cylinder, two-stroke engine that produced a maximum power of 2.25 bhp.
The engine came mated to a 2-speed gearbox with twin primary chains. The motorcycle received a “tram handle” gear change lever. The Royal Enfield 201 was available as a standard variant or with a sidecar model.
Royal Enfield Model 140 (1913)
The Royal Enfield Model 140 was introduced to the public in 1913. The Model 140 sourced power from a Royal Enfield-developed 425 cc, V-twin cylinder, two-stroke engine that produced 3 bhp of maximum power. The motor paired with a 2-speed gearbox with twin primary chains and a “tram handle” gear change lever.
Royal Enfield WD/RE ‘Flying Flea’ (1939)
The Royal Enfield WD/RE was popularly known as the "Flying Flea" for its ability to be para-dropped or carried in gliders. The motorcycle was used for quickly transmitting messages and signals between airborne and assault troops, where radio communications could not be established.
The Royal Enfield WD/RE was based on German DKW RT100 but used a bored-out 125 cc, single-cylinder, two-stroke engine that produced 3.5 bhp of maximum power at 4,500 rpm, and came mated to a 4-speed gearbox with a final chain drive. The Royal Enfield WD/RE ‘Flying Flea’ had a top speed of 45 mph (72.5 km/h).
Royal Enfield Model K (1933)
During the ‘Golden Age’, the company introduced the Royal Enfield Model K, which came to the market in 1933. It was the flagship Royal Enfield model until the Royal Enfield Model KX 1140 was launched in 1936.
The Royal Enfield Model K sourced power from a 976 cc, single side-valve, two-stroke, V-twin engine, that was mated to a hand-operated 4-speed manual transmission. The Model K came equipped with Lucas electrics.
Royal Enfield Model KX 1,140 cc (1937)
The 1930s was considered as the ‘Golden Age’ for Royal Enfield. The company introduced various bikes with engine displacement capacities in the range of 225-976 cc. One such motorcycle was the Royal Enfield Model KX. The Model KX received a 1,140 cc, two-stroke, single side-valve, V-twin engine, that was paired to a 4-speed hand-operated manual gearbox.
The Royal Enfield Model KX 1140 boasted of a top speed of 130 km/h, while it had a high fuel economy of 27 km/l. The motorcycle came in two versions – Standard and Sidecar. The Royal Enfield Model KX debuted in 1936, while production had to be stopped in 1939 after the start of World War II.
Royal Enfield WD/CO (1939)
The Royal Enfield WD/CO is a lightweight 346 cc motorcycle that was introduced during the World War II era. During wartime, it was produced in the military-spec but post 1945, the WD/CO was manufactured as a civilian-spec motorcycle. The WD/CO was supplied in large quantities to various military services around the world.
The Royal Enfield WD/CO employed a 346 cc, single-cylinder, two-stroke, side-valve engine that was mated to a four-speed gearbox. The motorcycle weighed 134 kg, with a top speed of 113 km/h (70 mph), while the fuel consumption figure stood at 100 mpg.
Royal Enfield Model J 499 cc (1946)
The Royal Enfield Model J is another motorcycle from the ‘Golden Age.’ The bike used a 499 cc, side-valve, single-cylinder engine with a four-speed gearbox with foot-shift. The motor used dry sump lubrication, while the ignition is handled a Lucas battery-coil system.
Royal Enfield 500 Twin (1948-1958)
The Royal Enfield 500 Twin was the first post-war twin cylinder motorcycle to be manufactured by Royal Enfield. The bike featured telescopic front forks, twin shock absorbers at the back and a swingarm.
The Royal Enfield 500 Twin used a 496 cc, parallel twin-cylinder engine with an overhead valve design. The motor worked in tandem with a 4-speed gearbox. The motorcycle had a top speed of 86 mph (138 km/h).
The 500 Twin is often mistaken for the Royal Enfield Bullet, which shared most of its cosmetic parts with the 500 Twin.
[Image Source: Yesterdays.nl]