Royal Enfield has plans to introduce far lighter bikes, offering lower and more comfortable seating positions, to draw youngsters and women.
Royal Enfield is reportedly working on a range of more accessible and lightweight bikes, targeted at increasing its customer base to include first-time riders and women, according to a latest media report. The new bikes will weigh significantly less than the current Royal Enfield Bullet, Thunderbird, and Himalayan models, and is slated to be launched in the first quarter of 2020. According to the report, the new bikes have been internally codenamed J1C, and will be marketed under the Royal Enfield Explorer brand.
While there has been no word from Royal Enfield on the brand’s future product strategy, the understanding is that Royal Enfield was losing a significant chunk of volumes to competitors, as other competitive motorcycle brands launched several sport bikes, knocking at the segment Royal Enfield dominates – the 250-350 cc motorcycle segment. According to the report, the launch of the J1C is part of a new product onslaught, and Royal Enfield intends to launch at least one new product every quarter from 2020. After J1C, the new BS6 version of the Royal Enfield Thunderbird, with significant visual and mechanical updates, is likely to be launched, under the new name Meteor.
While there has been no word on what the J1C will be like, the more accessible approach is evident from spy shots of a test mule of the upcoming Royal Enfield Thunderbird, which sports a 19-inch front/17-inch rear wheel combination, making it more accessible for younger and less experienced riders as well as include more women riders in the Royal Enfield family. Earlier this year, Royal Enfield trademarked the Meteor name in Europe, and like the Interceptor, the Meteor name has also been taken from Royal Enfield’s history, from the 1940s and 1950s, to be precise. It’s not difficult to imagine that there will be a new Royal Enfield Meteor, and it could well be a new and improved version of the Thunderbird.
The Explorer name also has been taken from the past, but from a modest 50 cc motorcycle, based on a Zundapp two-stroke engine, with a 3-speed gearbox. One thing we can be reasonably certain of is the fact that hopefully there will not be any new 50 cc Royal Enfield motorcycle. But what the Explorer name can possibly introduce is a range of smaller Royal Enfield motorcycles, possibly something with a 200-250 cc powerplant. And if you look back in history, look up names like the Royal Enfield Crusader and the Mini-Bullet, there is enough evidence that Royal Enfield has dabbled in smaller, more accessible models. And from the looks of it, Royal Enfield is set to expand its product footprint to include more models which can be lapped up by young riders with less experience, and even beginners. The question that now remains is – will the Royal Enfield Fury also be revived?