Royal Enfield is understood to be currently developing a near-400cc engine, using its existing air-cooled, single-cylinder, 346cc engine, which powers its hot-selling 350cc models, the Classic 350 and the Bullet 350.
Speaking exclusively to our sister magazine Autocar Professional
, an industry expert associated with the development said, “Royal Enfield is working to develop a new engine with a slightly bigger displacement (measuring nearly 400cc) than its current 346cc, single-cylinder powertrain. It essentially is a substantial modification; using enhanced dimensions, which also requires a lot of hard work.
New connecting rods, crankshafts and other crucial changes need to be made to the existing 346cc platform.” While the 346cc engine delivers a peak power output of nearly 20bhp, the 499cc generates peak power of around 27-28bhp."
The single-cylinder, 535cc engine, which powers the popular Continental GT café racer, develops 29bhp. It is clear that the company is looking at a new engine, which can promise slightly higher power delivery over its basic variant, in the range of 22bhp to 24bhp. On the pricing front, it's worth noting that while a basic 350cc model costs a little over Rs 1 lakh (on-road), the most affordable 499cc model (Bullet 500) costs over Rs 1.5 lakh (on-road).
“With the new upcoming engine, the Chennai-based motorcycle maker is looking at positioning its new models in the price bracket of Rs 1.1-1.5 lakh (on-road) and will eventually be able to conveniently populate the segment with four commercially usable engine options – a 346cc, near-400cc, 499cc and a 535cc (all air-cooled, single-cylinders) in the near future,” added another source, speaking on the condition of anonymity. According to SIAM data,
Royal Enfield sold a total of 1,59,740 units between April 2013-January 2014 as against 97,955 units sold a year ago, recording 63.07 percent growth. While the bike maker has sold 443 units of the Continental GT café racer so far (April 2013-January 2014) in the domestic market, it has exported 737 units of this model during the same period.