Royal Enfield, the world’s oldest motorcycle brand in continuous production, have launched three Redditch Edition variants of their Classic 350 model: Redditch Red, Redditch Green and Redditch Blue.
The new Classic 350 variants put a new spin on things with a unique combination of black and old-school shades of motorcycling making a comeback, inspired by the paint schemes on Royal Enfield motorcycles from the 1950s that were produced in Redditch in the UK – the birthplace of Royal Enfield motorcycles.
In the ’50s, Royal Enfield motorcycles were manufactured in the company’s pre-world war era factories in Redditch, a needle-making town located some 20 kilometres south of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. The Royal Enfield Classic, introduced back in 2008, is designed along the lines of the J2, a fitting tribute to the retro style British motorcycles of the era post the Second World War.
Though the Redditch plant stopped production in 1967, the Classic lives on, retaining the quintessential British classic motorcycle styling of the 1950s: simple, harmonious, proportioned and finished. The engine is the same 346-cc unit-construction unit with its air-cooled, carb-fuelled single delivering 20 PS and 28 Nm.
At the launch, Rudratej ‘Rudy’ Singh, President, Royal Enfield, said, “Royal Enfield launched the Classic in 2008 based on its popular ‘J2’ model, as our brand has always taken inspiration from its rich heritage to come up with evocative motorcycles in the modern era. The Classic then became one of the most loved motorcycles from Royal Enfield. Looking back into our decades old legacy, we have given Classic a makeover taking cues from the motorcycles produced at Redditch, Royal Enfield’s birthplace UK. In 2017, we are bringing the Classic 350 in – Redditch Red, Redditch Green and Redditch Blue that re-imagine shades on our 1950’s motorcycles that first came out of Royal Enfield plant in Redditch, a town steeped in British motorcycle build tradition. The introduction of the Redditch series on Classic 350 is a reinforcement of the Classic franchise and its huge success across all our markets. The Royal Enfield Redditch series will be available at Rs 1,46,093 (on-road Delhi).
“Apart from the new colours from the 1950s, the 2017 Redditch series will feature the Royal Enfield Redditch monogram, first used in 1939 on the prototype of 125cc ‘Royal Baby’, a two-stroke motorcycle. The use of the original Redditch monogram makes the Redditch series more special as it revives our association with the motorcycles produced out of Redditch in that era.”
The outbreak of WWII put an end to the production plans of the Royal Baby – the 125cc motorcycles for the larger public. The Royal Baby was soon adopted by the British armed forces, in particular, the paratroops. Nestled inside custom-made Royal Enfield parachute cages, these motorcycles – officially known as the model WD/RE – were dropped into enemy territory to support airborne troops. They soon earned the moniker, ‘Flying Flea’, painted olive green and proudly wearing their Royal Enfield tank badge. Subsequent versions of the Redditch monogram were encompassed by the now legendary Royal Enfield wing design. Series such as the Ensign, Clipper, and Crusader, as well as the 2008 Royal Enfield Classic, sported this version of the Redditch monogram either on the engine or fuel tank.
The new Redditch Edition Classic 350 will be priced at Rs 1.48 lakh in Chennai, Rs 1,49 lakh in Hyderabad, Rs 1.55 lakh in Bengaluru and Rs 1.57 lakh in Mumbai, all prices on-road.
If we’re honest, they’re all essentially the same bike, mechanically identical not just to each other but also to the Classic 350. What that does mean is, with just the tank needing a different paint colour and a monogram, the waiting period could go down somewhat. And that’s a good thing!
Story: Jim Gorde