Royal Enfield developing new 400cc Engine; But for which bike? Smaller Continental GT?

Royal Enfield is developing a 400cc single according to So, what’s this about, then?

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The 346cc single thumping away in the Thunderbird 350, the Bullet 350, the Electra 350 and the Classic 350 develops about 20 bhp and has been the staple of the company. The same engine is now being taken up, re-bored to measure “nearly 400cc” with new connecting rods, crankshafts and a tweak here and an adjustment there, and voilà!

But why?

Apparently, RE sees a gap in its product lineup between its 346cc and 499cc-engine equipped motorcycles and believes that it could be suitably filled up by a motorcycle with a displacement of about 400cc generating power in the range of 22 bhp to 24 bhp.

RE’s 499cc engine seen doing duties on the Classic 500 and its variants (Chrome/Desert Storm), Thunderbird 500 cruiser and the Bullet 500 whip up around 27 hp each. The latest from the stable; the eye-candy Continental GT, utilizes an upsized version of the same  engine with a displacement of 535cc developing about 29 bhp on full song. It appears RE intends to do a similar stunt with their smaller motor.

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There are economic reasons as well. The most basic of the 350cc model from RE will cost you a good round INR 100,000 lac with the cheapest bigger-bore (read 499cc) machine costing you somewhere in the neighbourhood of INR 1.50 lacs. RE thinks there is money to be gained by placing a 400cc, 22-24 bhp machine in between these two.

Well, so be it. And good luck!

Royal Enfield hasn’t been seen at the Expo 2014 because they weren’t participating for reasons best known to them . Apparently, they have been busy churning out bikes at their Chennai facility. It was heartening to learn that good old RE sold a total of 159,740 bikes (between April 2013 and January 2014) as against 97,955 bikes a year ago; that’s a good 63.07% growth! More interestingly, the new Continental GT is travelling the world with RE exporting 737 of these as against just 443 units sold locally.

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One does hope that whatever they are up to with this 400cc affair, is something worth the trouble. Can you, Royal Enfield, eclipse the success you have had with the evocative Continental GT? Since the GT the expectations from you have intensified manifold. BTW, what bike will this engine go to – 400cc Continental GT?