The Bullet first shot out of Royal Enfield’s barrel back in 1931, and has been the longest running production among bikes, in India, since 1948. Colloquially synonymous with the Royal Enfield itself, the Bullet’s hold over the Indian market and sentiment, seemingly, cannot be unclasped. The class, the stature, the demeanour; could we love it any more?
One of Britain’s babies that came as a side project by the company that made the rifles of the same name, Royal Enfield made its way to India in 1955 being bought off by Enfield Cycle Company and Madras Motors, and is now as Indian as Chole Bhature.
The Brits can keep the Kohinoor and the Chicken Tikka Masala, we go the better deal!
With a 10-month waiting period to hail one of these beauties at the price of one of those small electric cars, the junta is willing to go any length to feel the nearly 200 kilos of raw power between their legs. Let us try and speculate, why.
Oh, the nostalgia!
Considering the pride with which the Bullet first rode down streets in India, it quickly identified itself with both class and ruggedness. Among the first to be launched, few other models of any other motorcycle brand have been able to or attempted a similar manner of style.
With its induction to the Indian market in the latter half of the 20th century, the Bullet soon became a rage. It might have found its origins in Britain but the Royal Enfield was destined for India, up to today when owning your own Bullet is a matter of rich historical tribute.
Harley ain’t got nothing on Bullet.
With the introduction of Harley Davidson, the supposed epitome of die-hard bikers, it really couldn’t shake the now-affirmed status of the Enfield among motorcycle lovers. The Harleys stand quietly – ignored for the most part – to be picked off the shelf while Enfielders wait out several months to get their hands on the true ‘bike of their dreams’. In fact, the Royal Enfield hit a record sale of 300,000 units worldwide as opposed to Harley’s 267,999 units back in 2014.
The veteran officer’s choice.
The British Army first inducted the Bullet during the Second World War, and The Indian Army selected the Royal Enfield Bullet’s 800 cc and 350 cc as the first motorcycles deemed fit to serve for the Indian police and army, back in 1945. The forces haven’t looked back ever since and Bullet’s relation to authority is now nailed in.
What you gonna do when they come for you?
Because we’re loud and we’re proud about it.
You know a Royal Enfield is on its way from quite some distance, what with the signature roar the Bullet thumps out. I presume most of us would agree that part of the reason we own a bullet was to be the loudest dude on the roads, literally. Now, if that doesn’t fit in with our image, I don’t know what will.
The Bullet fanatics are too fanatical and far too many in number for the Royal Enfield to bite the Bullet and shut down. Not like they need to. With the Royal Enfield facing near extinction towards the early 2000s, the demand for the motorcycles feted the production of the Bullet along with the inclusion of sisters: Continental GT and the Thunderbird.
Fads, trends and fashion come and go, but few sail through the test of time. The Bullet is no less than a twin-wheeled talisman to the average motorcycle lover.