Royal Enfield says it’s going to move plan ahead in North America

After a couple years of basically no activity in North America, Royal Enfield says it’s going to start pushing its bikes hard in our market.

Since Royal Enfield went with a directly-owned subsidiary in 2015, with ex-Harley-Davidson man Rod Copes at the helm, we haven’t seen much action from the made-in-India manufacturer. That hasn’t been the case anywhere else; Royal Enfield has gone from a company making novelty machines to a serious player in the global market. Now, Royal Enfield is selling hundreds of thousands of bikes a year, and is gearing up to sell more.

What does that mean for North America? It’s hard to imagine a quick impact here, as Royal Enfield’s bikes are desirable, but have a reputation for unreliability. It has very few dealers, and pricing isn’t bargain-basement; if you want a retro machine, the Japanese can sell you a cheaper one, with a better warranty. But Royal Enfield is undercutting Harley-Davidson, and is selling to many of those customers who want vintage style on the cheap (read: hipsters). As the MoCo muscles up for the future, with seemingly little interest in customers with lighter wallets, will Royal Enfield swoop in to pick up some of that business? We shall see.

As part of the expansion in North America starting next year, Royal Enfield is supposed to bring in the Himalayan adventure tourer, which could be a big part of a North American sales push, if pricing and quality is competitive with established machines like the KLR650 and its ilk. CMG readers have told us they’ve already seen some demo Himalayans over here, but we haven’t heard anything official from the company yet.

13 thoughts on “Royal Enfield says it’s going to move plan ahead in North America”

  1. Reliability may not be an issue, but fit and finish certainly is.
    Come on RE, I can do better paintwork in my garage with a rattle can.
    If you’re going to be a player, and charge a premium price, try a little harder.

  2. I worked at a well known RE dealership here in Ontario for three years and I’d like to refute the comments about unreliability. Of the roughly 50 machines that I PDI’d during that timeframe, very few came back for reliability issues and those that did were mostly due to minor issues that were quickly corrected. Several issues were caused by the owners themselves, usually through improper maintenance procedures and/or incorrect modifications.There was/is awesome support from the Canadian distributor and factory reps were no more than a phone call away for advice on any technical issues.

    I suggest that anyone considering an RE should check out the bikes for themselves – just keep in mind that a 500cc single cylinder is not intended for use on 400 series highways!

      1. “Maybe it’s time CMG did a long-term test. I don’t think we’ve done any sort of RE review for at least 7 years.”
        Maybe if they’d updated anything it would be worth your while ?
        Just rerun the last road test, its still valid.

        1. I think the last one we did was the Continental GT in 2014.

          Since then they’ve debuted one new platform, and a second is on the way soon.

            1. Continental GT had a new motor and (I think) a Harris frame.

              Himalayan is completely new motor and frame.

              750 twin will be an all-new motor and frame.

      1. When I left the dealership in mid 2015 there were many “Stage 1” RE’s motoring about with a K&N air filter, NGK Irridium spark plug and RE performance muffler, thanks to us. The stock Keihin EFI handled those mods without requiring a reflash, at most we had to lower the idle speed a smidgen to compensate on a few bikes. One could shell out more cash and fit their machine with a Power Commander and high tech ceramic coated exhaust (can’t recall the name of the US manufacturer, but the complete system retailed in the $900 range) but, really, it’s a retro 500cc thumper and seat of the pants feel won’t be noticeably different. The Continental, though, with its more aggressive EFI chip, altered cam profile and tuned exhaust might be a different story, but I think RE pretty much nailed the setup right out of the box.

  3. Royal Enfield’s bikes are desirable? In some some markets, yes. But over here in North America? Even if i am not considering the lack of reliability, a couple of bike’s manufacturers comes to mind. Roayl Enfield isn’t among them. But wait, i can’t close my eyes on unreliability.

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