Royal Enfield’s Indian motorbikes are going global

DESPITE THE autumn chill, a group has gathered in front of the Iron Horse Royal Enfield dealership, a small stone building set in the Connecticut hills. A woman sits on a motorcycle, its single-cylinder engine thumping with a distinctive sound. In the window a striking chrome-and-black model looks much like what would have rolled out of Enfield’s original factory in Redditch in the British Midlands in the company’s heyday in the 1950s.

Enfield, dating back to 1901, boasts of the longest lifespan of any motorcycle manufacturer. But Iron Horse only began selling its bikes in 2018 and the name remains relatively unknown in America and other markets outside India. The company’s original British operations closed in 1970; the surviving Indian remnant was heading the same way before a stunning revival that saw annual sales grow from 31,000 units in 2006 to more than 800,000 in 2019, transforming the value of Enfield’s parent company, Eicher Motors, a tractor-maker, from just a few hundred million dollars to $8.5bn. Now the company is accelerating into the wider world.

Enfields are a throwback, devoid of modern frills and with the looks of a classic bike. Engines ranging from 350cc to 650cc are large for India but small compared with machines from firms such as of Triumph and BMW. Enfield declined to enter the largest part of...



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