Bullet the Thumping Machine


If I would rewind back into your childhood, and I thought of the bike which first comes to my mind, what could it be other then the glorious thumping machine. If a “motorcycle” was my first word on my 3 year old mouth, in terms of bikes, the second was surely the “Bullet”. Dive into any biker’s heart, if not much of them there will surely be sum space for the Royal Enfield Bullet. Turn up the pages to hunt the history or wake yourself in the present, there is no way you will miss these thumping machines. If you ask me, Bullet is not just a machine, it is more then a bike.


While you unfold the Bullet history in the country, it would be just too much, but too little. The major movements in the country began somewhere in 1955, before which the Enfield was imported from U.K.

It was in the year 1955 when Enfield India Limited was incorporated as a public limited company. Assembly line still worked on the import basis but now through the CKD route. Parts were imported from Enfield Cycle Company Limited, U.K. This year was also the major benchmark for the company as it became India’s first manufacturer to produce 4-stroke bikes.

The Thiruvottiyur factory was set up in the next year 1956. With the factory set up on the area of 2.96 acres, it produced 163 units of the Bullet 350cc in the very first year. Strange, and amazingly Thiruvottiyur Plant also began to produce the 150cc Fantabulous scooter.

It was here in the year 1983 commercial production of the 50cc moped “Silver Plus” and 50cc mini motorcycle “Explorer” commenced. It dint take India too long to start exporting the machines in 1984. Bikes were exported to the U.K. and Europe.

Then in 1986 Enfield MOFA Limited was set up to manufacture the 22cc “MOFA” vehicles. Four years later in 1990 the company proudly launched the big pride, India’s first 500cc bike, the “Bullet 500”.

Then in another 3 years time, the company once again gave birth to a Diesel Legend in 1993 with two engine variants.

In 1994 the Eicher Group saw the potentials of the firm acquiring it terming it as Royal Enfield Motors Limited. A year later the sweet little “Bullet Cub” rolled out first in Bengaluru. In the year 1997 the country saw a new trend, a biker brotherhood.

40 Royal Enfields traveled from New Delhi to Kardung-La, the world’s highest memorable pass. Forty men and two women take 6 days with a distance of 1200 km to attain a record of 18.350 ft. and with this celebration of the brotherhood the company launched the 535cc “Lightening”.

In 1998 the engines got cleaner and turned to became better performers with the Lean Burn Engines. In 2001 The Dare Devils, motorcycle the display team of Corps of signals, Jabalpur formed a Human Pyramid of 201 men on 10, 350cc bullets and rode for a distance of more then 200 meters.

Back in 2002 was when the Bullet “Machismo” rolled out as a commercial production vehicle.  In the very same year the company launched India’s first cruiser the “Thunderbird”, and also begged the BBC Wheels award for the “Best Cruiser 2002”.

Year 2003 saw another gathering of bikers and in a larger number this time. Rider Mania, the get together was held in Goa. With bike groups like the REDS from Pune and many others made their presence.

Bullet also entered the “Hall of Pride” at the ICICI Overdrive Awards. This year the company was also ranked amongst the top 10 brands in U.K. in the 125cc – 500cc category. Achievements and surprise kept rolling in the year 2004.

Bullet launched the “Electra” in 2004 and the retro styled “Machismo” was rated the “No.1 Cruiser” in the TNS Autocar survey. The Electra international with a lean-burn engine was launched in the U.K. 34 men simultaneously rode on a Bullet to set another world record.

Year 2005 is when we saw the Bullet with the left-hand side gearshift. Though the system wasn’t being appreciated as much as the unconventional Bullet’s with right-hand side gearshift. However some do give their choice to the new way of riding their steeds.

Year 2006-07 was a good one too as major plans like the “Café Racer” and many other projects kept the international market talking about the thumpers. The LB 350cc, and the LB 500cc rolled out to the show rooms in 2008. And here today we have the firecracker, the Thunderbird “Twin Spark”. And now the ultimate drooling bullet ever to hit the Indian roads, the all new Bullet “Classic”. Just the thing the retro bullet fan was missing all his life.

Though not much major marks have been made by the company since this achievement, but the pride it has gained can never be stolen by any machine. Even the invasion of the multi cylinder screamers won’t take its crown away.


If u ask me about the bullet in the Indian continent, I can surely say that India is one of the major markets for the brand. India is not just like the biking countries for the Bulleter’s here in India. Massive number of riders representing their groups, flaunting about their stock n dressed up steeds too. Long weekend ride’s, along with some of the countries most festinating and even the world’s great rides happen here in India.

Thousands of travelers around the world come down to the scenic valleys of J.K. just to feels how it is to ride to the highest motorable pass in the world, Kardung-La, at 18350 ft. above mean sea level.

Bullet is not just the bullets in here; it is more of the statement the attitude the relation with, a religion, and a lot more. And to make your dreams come true for the extra metal in your blood, we have a number of bullet customizers. Move up to Delhi, Chandigarh or even move close to the Mumbai, Pune. “Verdenchi” , “MNC”, are sum to talk about their extraordinary ways of Bullet customization. U ask it and you will have it. And no wonder there is a great work done even in the south. If u don’t want to travel too much to do your bike up, you can find a good local modjob gurus around Goa as well.

But the best I admit is Mr. Paul Smith. A “dyed in the Bullet” man from U.K. Who moved down to Goa about 7 years back, n who loves to turn your Bullet into your dream. But sadly he has left the Goan soil Due to personal reasons. So till we find a new man to tame your Bullet we can always help with minor issues with the help of the well establish bullet specialist.

Article by Vibhu Sawant

Image source:

Royal Enfield