ROYAL ENFIELD’S SINGLE-CYLINDER Classic and Bullet 500cc engine, originally launched in 2009, is being retired from production.
The unit construction engine was at the centre of Royal Enfield’s success in Europe and North America but is now being eclipsed by the new 650 twin which has been winning plaudits across the world, as has the 410cc Himalayan adventure bike with its OHC engine.
In production terms the Asian-market only 350 Bullet vastly outperforms the 500, with RE reportedly building 60,000 350 Bullets a month against 4,000 500 and 650 models.
The Bullet was first built in Redditch in the 1930s and has been in continuous production ever since, with production in India starting in 1948.
To mark the end of 500cc engine production, Royal Enfield will release a special limited-edition Classic 500 Tribute Black, 1000 of which will be available to the European market from May 2020.
These motorcycles will be the last to carry the 500cc engine and each will have a hallmark commemorative ‘End of Build’ serial numbered plaque.
The Classic 500 Tribute Black motorcycles will have hand-painted pin-striped tank details and a unique dual-tone paint scheme, with mudguards and fuel tanks carrying both glossy and matt black finishes.
While Royal Enfield will discontinue further production of their present 500cc engine for the domestic Indian market, these Classic and Bullet 500 motorcycles will continue to be available for retail across European markets during 2020.
Service and spares parts will also remain available for current owners throughout Royal Enfield’s dealerships network.
At present, it is unclear whether Royal Enfield will start to export the 350 Bullet to the UK or rely on the Himalayan adventure bike to fly the single cylinder flag alongside their 650 twins.
We will have more on the 500 Bullet in next month’s edition.
Read more News and Features in the March 2020 issue of Classic Bike Guide – on sale now!