What is so special about Royal Enfield bikes?
As per recent news, Ifad Group is expected to begin commercial operation of Royal Enfield bikes in July 2024 for the streets of Bangladesh. This announcement has made a significant buzz in the biker communities. However, those not familiar with these vehicles might ask: what is so special about Royal Enfield bikes?
As one of the oldest motorcycle brands to remain in operation around the world, the first Royal Enfield motorcycle was produced in 1901. According to their official website, the first Royal Enfield bike was designed by Bob Walker Smith and Frenchman Jules Gobiet; and launched at the Stanley Cycle Show in London. While the brand holds its roots tracing back to the United Kingdom (UK), the ownership also has Indian stakeholders as Madras Motors began the production of these bikes in India in 1955.
In 1932, Royal Enfield introduced their signature bike model called 'Bullet' which is still a popular model among bike enthusiasts. However, being the oldest brand does not necessarily contribute to the success of Royal Enfield. Known for its vintage and aesthetic looks, Royal Enfield bikes provide a kind of nostalgic feeling to riders of a simpler time.
The Royal Enfield bikes are mostly cruiser bikes providing comfort to the riders over a long ride. The high cubic capacity (cc) of these bikes is also a point of interest to bikers. There are also significant cultural aspects of these bikes which also hold a global presence among bike enthusiasts.
What do Bangladeshi bikers think about Royal Enfield in Bangladesh?
Ismail Hossain, a rider based in Dhaka said, "The introduction of Royal Enfield in Bangladesh might not significantly impact the mass consumer market, as the pricing of lower cc bikes is unlikely to be influenced by its launch. It could emerge as a luxury product catering to bike enthusiasts, with limited affordability for the broader consumer base."
"To me, it's not about how much horsepower the bike possesses, it is the connection of oneself to his/her bike. Royal Enfield has less horsepower than racing bikes like Kawasaki, but it looks awesome and gives an aesthetic and classy look to the rider riding the bike," Nabil Sadeque, a biker, talked about his perspective regarding Royal Enfield bikes.
Regarding the cultural aspects, the experienced motorbike owner added that the Royal Enfield bikes are classy and used for so many years by popular figures mostly, Bollywood and Hollywood stars. "Admiration for Royal Enfield comes from there. It doesn't matter how much time it takes to reach 150 km/h, the thing that matters is whether the bike suits your character or not. And of course, it is a renowned company and delivers premium quality bikes," Nabil added.
Moshiur Rahman, a biker and bike enthusiast, expressed his excitement regarding the launch of Royal Enfield bikes in Bangladesh. However, he thinks that these bikes will not provide the ultimate value for money. "The Royal Enfield bikes have great looks, sound and durability, but the vibration of these bikes is way too much added with inadequate acceleration. They also have very low mileage compared to the other motorcycles in the segment," Moshiur added.
Although it may vary from rider to rider and their preferences regarding bikes, the price range of Royal Enfield bikes will contribute significantly to its popularity in Bangladesh. Still, the cultural popularity of Royal Enfield bikes is expected to make the launching ceremony a special occasion for the biker community in the country.
Bullet, Meteor, Hunter, and Classic - these four models of Royal Enfield bikes are expected to be launched in Bangladesh. This has become possible due to a policy change which allows only locally-manufactured motorbikes with up to 350cc engines on the streets as of September 2023 as importing completely-built bikes over 165cc is still banned in Bangladesh.