Royal Enfield – arguably the world’s largest mid-capacity motorcycle manufacturer in terms of retail sales – recently shared a teaser image of a motorcycle under covers set to be unveiled at the 2018 EICMA motorcycle show in Italy. The company didn’t divulge any details regarding this mystery motorcycle. However our sister publication, Autocar Professional, has acquired details about the new motorcycle – its first-ever 830cc cruiser.
The Eicher Motors-owned Royal Enfield, which had unveiled its twin-cylinder, 650cc motorcycles – Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650 – at EICMA 2017 in Milan, is now geared up for yet another world premiere at EICMA 2018 next week. According to sources, the company will unveil a liquid-cooled, twin-cylinder, 830cc prototype of a cruiser when the motorcycle show opens on November 8, 2018.
“The company will take the covers off an all-new motorcycle powered by the biggest engine any Royal Enfield had in the past couple of decades. It will be a prototype cruiser powered by a liquid-cooled, twin-cylinder engine with a precise displacement of close to 834cc. The engine is understood to be BS VI-compliant already. The long-wheelbase cruiser is going to be Royal Enfield’s flagship offering for the global as well as home markets in the foreseeable future,” disclosed a source aware of the development who prefers to stay anonymous, at this point.
Meanwhile, Royal Enfield is yet to revert to Autocar Professional, who had written to the company for more details on this development.
The new 834cc powertrain
The all-new liquid-cooled, twin-cylinder (V-twin, DOHC), 834cc engine – which is learnt to have been born out of Eicher Motors’ erstwhile alliance with US-based Polaris Industries – has been developed to produce a peak power output in the range of 81-91hp.
Notably, Polaris Industries is known for manufacturing mid-capacity heavyweight motorcycles in the US. It is globally well-known for its Indian Motorcycle brand and the now-defunct Victory motorcycle brand.
It is already known that in March 2018, the board of Eicher Polaris (a 50:50 joint venture between the two companies) had passed a resolution to close down the operations owing to the failed customer response to the Multix personal utility vehicle purpose-built for small businessmen. Eicher Motors had invested about Rs 290 crore in this JV, which was incorporated in 2012.
“The JV company will design, develop, manufacture and sell a full new range of personal vehicles suitable for India and other emerging markets,” quoted the official communication that was notified by Eicher Motors to the Bombay Stock Exchange in July 2012.
“There was also an agreement between Eicher Motors and Polaris Industries in the past on the front of special cooperation for Royal Enfield motorcycles within their alliance. This special arrangement between the two companies was tightly guarded and was not made public. The powertrain engineers at Polaris and at Royal Enfield had together developed this liquid-cooled, twin-cylinder, engine platform for Royal Enfield during the time their alliance was alive. This project was carried out in the UK between the technical centres of Polaris and Royal Enfield. The 834cc powertrain has spawned out of that arrangement,” revealed another source, aware of the matter.
According to the sources, the yet-to-be-unveiled Royal Enfield prototype cruiser is easily a year (or more) away from its potential production version. While the company is working to launch its 650cc motorcycles in India – soon thereby scheduling its production and backend processes accordingly – the top management at Royal Enfield appears to be carefully evaluating the potential of this new engine platform in the foreseeable future.
Remembering the past
Coming back to the styling of the bike – both teaser images shared by Royal Enfield hint at a Bobber-style motorcycle. In the second teaser, RE mentioned “the spirits of our past slips into our dreams” which hints at a possibility that the styling cues of the upcoming concept bike might be inspired from a bike from an older model from its illustrious past. This bike could be the Royal Enfield KX (the replacement of the Royal Enfield K introduced in 1931) which, upon its launch in 1938, was marketed by the company as ‘the last word in luxury motorcycling.’ The bike was powered by a 1,140cc V-Twin motor and had a claimed top speed of 129kph. On November 6, we shall find out if the Royal Enfield Bobber concept pays a tribute to a renowned classic or adopts a modern approach.