The sentinel

Royal Enfield's origin story in 10 vintage photos: From 1901 to 1952

Aug 5, 2022
After the first bike in 1901 with a 1.5 hp engine, Royal Enfield's first V-Twin, a 297cc Swiss-made Motosacoche engine, was launched at the Stanley Cycle Show
In 1914, Royal Enfield's first 2-stroke motorcycle went to production. During World War I, RE's biggest motorcycle, the 770cc 6 hp V-twin, was introduced and used extensively by armies of several nations.
By now, Royal Enfield was producing a range of eight models, including the Sports Model 351, the first Royal Enfield 350cc OHV 4-stroke motorcycle with foot-operated gear change. This was also when a 225cc 2-stroke step through 'Ladies Mode' was introduced
Royal Enfield adopted saddle tanks in place of outmoded flat tanks. The company was one of the first manufacturers to change its front fork system from a Druid design to centre-sprung girder forks
The very first 'Bullet' motorcycle was launched. It was displayed in November 1932 at the Olympia Motorcycle Show in London, following which three versions were produced: 250, 350 and 500cc - all with inclined 'sloper' engines, twin-ported cylinder heads, foot-operated gear change, and high compression pistons.
The ever popular 500cc Bullet was radically changed with the release of the Model JF. It featured an upright engine with a 4-valve cylinder head. A sports version, with a bronze cylinder head, was also made available to special order
Royal Enfield produced military motorcycles, bicycles, generators and anti-aircraft gun predictors during Second World War. The most iconic was 125cc Flying Flea with a 126cc 2 stroke engine. It could be loaded into specially fabricated parachute cradles and dropped with paratroops behind enemy lines
The 350cc Bullet and 500 Twin Models - were launched in the UK with the same frame, swinging arm suspension, telescopic front forks and gearbox. The year 1949 was also when K.R. Sundaram Iyer launched Madras Motors to import British motorcycles into India, including Royal Enfields
Madras Motors received an order from the Indian Army for 500 350cc Bullets. The Motorcycles arrived from Redditch in early 1953, the Redditch company partnered with Madras Motors in India to form 'Enfield India'/ Work commenced on the construction of a purpose-built factory at Tiruvottiyur, near Madras