Tag Archives: Bullet 500

Is Royal Enfield axing the 500cc models?

Tougher emissions rules in India are putting an end to the Royal Enfield 500cc engine which could eventually spell the end for the longest-running model around the world.

The 350cc models make up about 80% of RE sales with the new 650cc twins and the Himalayan now even overtaking sales fo 500cc models.

Now, with the 500cc engine failing tougher BS-6 emissions regulations in India, RE has decided it is not worth the investment to upgrade the single-cylinder engine.

So they will cease domestic sales of the Bullet 500, the world’s longest-running model, and the Thunderbird 500 at the end of March with the Classic 500 to follow.

There is no word from RE about whether production for the rest of the world will also cease.

Australian importers UMI says the “500 is continuing for export markets”.

However, it stands to reason that tougher Euro and California emissions rules could also see their eventual demise. It’s likely a matter of when, not if.

Classic 500cc Tribute BlackRoyal Enfield Classic 500 Tribute Black

Meanwhile, the company is saying goodbye in India with a limited-edition Tribute Black Classic 500 limited to local customers.

As the name suggests, it will be all-black, including the engine.

There will also be some gold touches, comfy quilted-leather touring seats and a commemorative “end of build” plate. Royal Enfield Classic 500 Tribute Black

The company has not said how many will be built, but they will be made to order so we presume they will see how many orders they get.

Indian customers will have to register online on the dedicated Royal Enfield website which only takes Indian addresses, excluding overseas buyers unless you have a friend or relative in India who can buy for you!

Customers will receive a unique code which they can use in an online flash sale on Monday  (10 February, 2020).Royal Enfield Classic 500 Tribute Black

Sliding sales

The booming Indian motorcycle market is the world’s largest but it started to decline last year as the wealthy middle class moved from bikes to cars.

While sales were down by nearly 3 million, they still sold 19.1 million motorcycles which is their third all-time highest level.

The decline in local sales has impacted heavily on Royal Enfield which was down 20% in the first nine months of the year. Full-year totals are not yet available.

It’s not all bad news for RE as their exports were up by about the same percentage although a lot fewer units.

Meanwhile, Royal Enfield has applied for the trademarks of Sherpa and Hunter which we expect could be applied to the upcoming smaller and bigger Himalayan adventure models.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Royal Enfield faces new Trials ahead

Royal Enfield is facing trialling times with a new CEO, plans to build an assembly factory in Thailand and the launch of Trials versions of its 350cc and 500cc Bullet.

Bullet Trials

While the new Trials bikes could hardly be used for trials riding, they do show a slightly more off-road emphasis, although they have avoided the usual trendy scrambler styling.

Instead, they get a single pipe that rises at a 45-degree angle, headlight grille, slightly knobby rubber, solo seat, rear rack, bash plate and a side plate.

They come with chrome tanks in a day-glo red and an olive green.

The Trials versions look pretty cool and should be able to tackle some dirtier roads.

Not that gnarly tracks have ever stumped the RE thumpers.Royal Enfield Trials

Many tours are conducted up the Himalayan mountains on these bikes and I did a trip around Sri Lanka last year that included some rough dirt tracks with ease on a Classic 500.

There is no word yet on when or whether they will be available in Australia, but they shouldn’t cost any more than the current crop.


Royal Enfield CEO Siddhartha Lal trials
Siddhartha Lal

Parent company Eicher Motors has announced the appointment of Vinod K. Dasari as the Chief Executive Officer of Royal Enfield to take over from Siddhartha Lal who will continue as the Managing Director of Eicher Motors Ltd.

Siddhartha says the new CEO will lead the company “into its next phase of evolution to a global brand”.

Vinod has been CEO and Managing Director of Ashok Leyland since 2011 and also served as President of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers and President of Automotive Research Association of India.

“Vinod is a proven leader who combines business vision and people skills. He has been a catalyst in reviving the fortunes of his previous company and re-shaping the dynamics of a hitherto slow-moving industry,” Siddhartha says.

Thai plant

Thailand Triumph factory trials
Thailand Triumph factory

Royal Enfield also recently announced it would build an assembly plant in Thailand to cater for rising demand in the domestic market.

There is no confirmation that the bikes will be exported to other countries, but it has also not been ruled out.

Thailand has become the new automotive powerhouse.

It is now the largest automotive manufacturer in South East Asia and the 12th in the world, thanks to protective tariffs, corporate tax breaks and a central location wth several ports for export.

In 2015, Thailand made 1.8 motorcycles, with domestic sales of 1.6 million and exports of 350,000 units.

Australia gets 80% of the Triumph range, Ducati Scramblers and some small- and medium-capacity Japanese bikes and scooters from Thailand.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com