A Royal Enfield With Guts

Royal Enfield’s Twin Cylinder To Become a Reality

The Indian owned British retro classic Royal Enfield brand  has long been rumored to be working out the details to produce  (within the next couple of years) a twin cylinder model in their lineup which could displace between 600 to 1,000cc.

In keeping with the traditions of the marque, Royal Enfield is said to be leaning toward a traditional layout for this new powerplant which would have a pushrod design with an overhead valve configuration rather than the more modern over head cam design.

Why the pushrods? According to a spokesperson for Royal Enfield, the motivation for retaining the pushrod design is aimed at preserving the classic appearance of the motorcycle and the makers characteristic low revving, high torque output of the previous models.

And it won’t be the first time a twin cylinder Royal Enfield tore up the asphalt.

Royal Enfield once made parallel twin motorcycles – in the 1950s and 60s – called the Interceptor. That machine featured a 700cc, air cooled, parallel twin cylinder engine, and Royal Enfield also made 500cc parallel twin motorcycles before the 700cc versions. While the brand also built V-Twins in the early part of its history, it chose to go the parallel twin way during most part of its existence in England.

When Japanese motorcycle manufacturers were in their ascendency in the late sixties and early seventies, the English Enfield factories made a final attempt to keep pace with the 1962 – 1968 series I and Series II Interceptor models. Aimed at the US market, it was engine performance (less than 14 seconds to the quarter mile at speeds exceeding 105 mph) which made them relatively popular stateside, but the company had no hope of keeping up with demand. The Redditch factory ceased production in 1967 and the Bradford-on-Avon factory closed in 1970.

It was the end of the British Royal Enfield.

So what happened to the 200 Series II Interceptor engines left over in 1970? They were meant for delivery to US motorcycle icon Floyd Clymer but his untimely death left them in the hands of his export agents, Mitchell’s of Birmingham. Mitchell’s contacted the Rickman brothers to provide them with suitable frames, and the Rickman brothers, seeing an opportunity, put out a  limited run of Rickman Interceptors. These machines are highly prized to this day on the auction market.

Before the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Royal Enfield supplied large numbers of motorcycles to the British War Department. To fulfill those contracts,  Enfield used  225 cc two-stroke single and 425 cc V-twin engines to power their military models.

The Royal Enfield Bullet 500cc, at least the US  versions, have had a hard time getting a foothold in the market as they just don’t produce the kind of power riders on this side of the pond demand from their machines. A 1000cc Royal Enfield Musket might just be the ticket in that regard. The V-Twin engine will become more powerful with the crankcase design modified and a production kit planned for later this year. This means anyone will be able to use any performance parts available.

According to The Kneeslider, Aniket Vardhan has designed a Royal Enfield he dubbed the Musket which could serve as the prototype for the official production model. The plan is to offer the Crankcases as a “complete it as you like” kit, with ONLY the custom castings, machined and ready to accept stock parts. Experienced folk can do it themselves with full step by step instructions or have it done at a shop/by a friend. This will keep it as affordable as possible. They can add stock or performance parts for the kind of output/costs they are comfortable with.

Aniket originally built his “Musket” based on a 700cc V-Twin Bullet, using two 350cc top ends, and you can check out Aniket’s remarkable story at The Kneeslider.

 

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