RADICAL CHANGES AT ROYAL ENFIELD
WHAT'S GOING ON
A week or so ago the webosphere was awash with the news that the renowned motorcycle designer Pierre Terblanche has fetched up in India with Royal Enfield.
The 'excitement' at this news is based on Terblanche's past achievements at Cagiva, Ducati, Moto Guzzi and Norton, and more recently with Confederate Motorcycles in the US. But his most noteable design and build achievements are with the Ducati models: the Supermono, Multistrada, the Supersport series, and the 749 and 999 among others.
As is fairly obvious Royal Enfield's with their unchanged clunky push rod engine, and dubious cycle parts, is a long way from the sleek Italiana that Mr T is associated with. So is the Indian owned company on course for introducing a whole new model range? And if so will this lead to ditching of the current design that's been around since the 1940's?
India is rapidly becoming the motorcycle manufacturing and innovation centre that many eyes are turning to. The Indian Hero company is said to be the world's largest manufacturer. In MotoGP Moto3 the Mahindra bike consistently performed at the front of the field in this year's races; their riders finished 10th and 11th respectively in the season end standings.
Enfield is owned by the giant Eicher Group since their acquisition in the mid 1990's, and their CEO Siddartha Lal has been effusive in welcoming Terblanche to the Enfield division of the company. Keen followers of Enfield's marketing strategy in the UK will have seen them trying to project a younger urban cool image. Especially with the relaunch of the Continental GT with a 535cc engine. The home page of their website is a collage of 'trendy' looking leather bedecked boys and girls. But the bike itself only produces 30bhp; hardly likely to trouble the big four who have the middleweight bike market by the scruff of the neck as far as decent performance is concerned.
If Enfield intend to break out of the 'old geezer' memories market and capture a decent slice of the market in Europe and the US; it could just be that rumoured new engines coupled with Terblanche design expertise and experience will lead the way.
Any thoughts? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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