The Legend is Forged 1951 to 1970



1851 - 1900
Early days
  1900 - 1930
  First motorbikes
1931 - 1950
Bullet & Madras Motors
1951 - 1970
The legend is forged
1971 - 2010
The Bullet comes home

 

The legend is forged


The 1950s invited all new engines, all new configurations, new paint schemes, and new capacity classes; motorcyclists had never had such a wide range of choices. The market opened up for smaller capacity, light and maneuverable machines, and for larger capacity, high powered and reliable motorcycles. The Royal Enfield showrooms in the UK saw everything from 125cc two stroke to the mighty 700cc Meteor.

In 1953 the Indian Army asked Madras Motors in India to supply 800 350cc Bullets for field service. The Army believed the Bulletís reputation for reliability on rough terrain made them the perfect vehicle for patrolling the mountainous borders. The mass production of the Bullet for the Army opened up the option of producing the bikes in India.

In 1955 KR Sundaram started Enfield India Limited to manufacture Royal Enfield bikes under licence. By 1960 there were 145 Madras Motors dealerships across India.

 In 1961, Eddie Mulder won the Big Bear Enduro on an Enfield, giving the name a foothold in the U.S. Models available in the U.S. that year included a 700cc twin and six street scramblers, ranging from the 250cc Hornet to the 500cc Fury (essentially the single-cylinder Bullet) to the 700cc Interceptor. 

 

Elliot Shulz also dominated the half-mile dirt track in Los Angeles on an Enfield that year. Enfields won 31 out of 39 races in 1961 and had several spectacular victories in 1964. Royal Enfield had made an impression in North America. 



By 1970, Enfield India was a company established in its own right, with a production line going full steam. Several features were added to the Bullet so the bike could endure the Indian climate. Mudgaurd design took on different forms, taking into account the wet, slushy road conditions during Indian monsoons. Front and rear hubs were also designed to provide more efficient cooling for greater braking performance.