First Motorbikes 1900 to 1930



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

 

First days of motorbike production

Buoyed by success, Smith and Eadie extended the company's product range to include motorcars. The first Royal Enfield car was built in 1901 with an 8 hp engine. But the company quickly turned their focus back to motorcycles, and in 1909, Royal Enfield took the biking world by surprise. 

At the motorcycle show that year, they displayed a newly powered motorbike, with a      2 1/4 hp V-Twin engine, built using Swiss technology. It ran very smoothly compared to the other motorbikes of the day. A larger 2 3/4 hp model came later in 1911.  


Royal Enfield also built one of the first dry sump systems, which appeared with the introduction of the 1913 Enfield V-Twin.  The oil was contained in a glass tank attached to a frame tube running from the seat to the rear of the engine. 


During the first world war, Royal Enfield was called on to supply motorcycles to the British War Department and even awarded a contract to build bikes for the Imperial Russian Government during the same period. Also around the same time, the officers of the Women’s Police Force were seen riding the Enfield's 2 1/4 hp two-stroke.

 

In 1928, Royal Enfield adopted saddle tanks and center-spring girder front forks – one of the first companies to do so. A modern appearance and comprehensive range meant continuous Enfield sales, even during the dark days of the Depression in Great Britain towards the end of 1930.  Their product line up consisted of 13 models, ranging from a tiny two-stroke 146cc Cycar to an 1140cc V-twin.  

Motorbike features of this period included:
-600cc
-inlet-over-exhaust
-closed valve gears
-hand-operated oil pump
-two-speed countershaft gearbox
 -four-stroke single