Sunday, 30 November 2014

Why Indian Army preferred Bullet over other motorcycles

Indian Army & it's close coupling with Royal Enfield

Every citizen is forever in debt of the soldiers who protect our borders from foreign threats. Because of them we can rest our eyes while confining ourselves to our beds and enjoy a peaceful night. Being an India, I would like to shed some light especially about Indian Army. Indian Army has achieved a number of astonishing feats. For example, Indian Army controls the highest battlefield in the world, the Siachen glacier, which is at 5000 meters above sea level. But do you know, of all the different motorcycles Indian Army could have adopted, why did they chose Royal Enfield as the chariot of their choice.

A 1946 BSA

Prior to 1947, India wasn't the manufacturing hub for motorcycles. During that era of British Raj, motorcycles were imported from Britain itself. Generally they used to be Triumphs or BSAs. But gradually these motorcycles due to their old age and wear & tear, were declared redundant & obsolete. Class V, this is what the army terminology is for such substances.

Royal Enfield introduced in Indian Army

To recuperate from the lack of decent motorcycles, the Government floated tenders for motorcycles. The only condition being, at a later stage the production of the bikes will occur in India. In this way, the Government would be able to supply motorcycles to the army while promoting industrialization in India. A great way of killing two birds with one stone.
And guess which bike manufacturer came front! Yes indeed. It was Royal Enfield. The Royal Enfield Company was the sole bike manufacturer to accept the terms & conditions and presented the 350cc, 4 stroke Royal Enfield Bullet.

After getting a green signal, the army rigorously tested the Royal Enfield Bullet on different terrains, and cleared it for use. The 350cc Bullets were immediately imported and 350 of them were put to patrol the Indo-Pak border in Punjab. This region was a cultivable area, hence comprised of a lot flat lands. Such topography made riding the Bullet pleasurable. Due to its inherent good looks and unbeatable performance and handling, the Royal Enfield Bullet became a huge success in no time. But within a year, Jeeps were introduced that replaced the existing Royal Enfields.

But till this very day, the Bullet is closely associated with the Indian Army and continues to portray it's faithfulness & gratitude to the Indian Army. Not much has changed since the introduction of the Bullet in 1947. Strictly adhering to the tender, Royal Enfield started manufacturing there bikes in India and had two manufacturing facilities at Tiruvottiyur and Oragadam. But recently on 23rd November 2014, they proposed a third unit at Vallam Vadagal, which would be set up on 50 acre land.

The Royal Enfield Bullet continues to be the preferred motorcycle used for dispatching riders, for military police patrol, to name a few. Almost all riding duties for the President or other mentionable dignitaries are carried out on a Royal Enfield. Even on the auspicious occasion of Republic Day, Indian soldiers pull some amazing stunts on their Royal Enfields.
The reputed Sweta Ashwa team of the Indian Army has the Guinness Record for balancing 48 people on a 500cc Royal Enfield, by shattering the record of Brazil's Army Corp.

Republic Day Parade

Apart from serving the Indian Army, the Royal Enfield has brought smiles and a steady rush of adrenalin to numerous motorcyclist. And how they did so, is to be told in the near future.

Jai Hind!

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