ROYAL ENFIELD MOTORCYCLES GOING FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH
In February Royal Enfield announced they would be investing around £50 million in research and development for new models and products world wide, and some of this would find its way to the UK in the form of a new design centre somewhere in Leicestershire. A favoured location being a site at Bruntingthorpe near Lutterworth; an ex airfield with testing facilities.
It was an indication of how quickly and decisively Enfield are advancing their range of motorcycles and products - they already have a dedicated showroom in the trendy part of London's east end. Now comes the news that they have bought Harris Performance the British motorcycle design and chassis company beloved of special builders and racers for their innovative approach and improvements to Japanese bikes down the years.
They have been integrally involved in racing at Grand Prix, World Superbike (WSB) and British Superbike (BSB) level, including team management and bringing Ohlins suspension technical support to the BSB paddock; as well as developing and marketing a large range of their own performance products. If you're not familiar check out their current website www.harris-performance.com
Royal Enfield under their new CEO Siddharta Lal is making waves in the bike manufacturing world with ambitious plans in terms of production numbers world wide and proposed new models which are understood to include an 'adventure' bike (the Himalaya) incorporating a 410cc single cylinder four stroke engine, and a 750cc paralell twin. They are sure to be a radical departure from the old design single cylinder machines we have become used to seeing around.
To emphasise this intent they have engaged Simon Warburton an ex Triumph Project Manager as Head of Product Planning and Strategy, and the two designers from Xenophya, the company that has worked on Triumph Tiger and Daytona models and on the styling of Enfield's Continental and Bullet Classic models.
It shouldn't be a surprise that Enfield have made a return to the country where the bikes originated. Although having forfeited a role in manufacturing decades ago, the UK has more than made up for this by playing a leading role in specialist design and improvements to road and race bikes through a network of smaller companies, building on the historic motorcycling experience and engineering practice that still exists here.
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