If you’re a Indian motorcycle enthusiast interested in a retro motorcycle, your options are quite limited. At one end of the spectrum, you have Royal Enfield building a range of delectable retro motorcycles with a dollop of modernity while the other end of the pool has American lifestyle motorcycling giant Harley Davidson peddling its expensive cruiser range. Given that India is still a country where affordability is a key factor for motorcycle purchases, most retro motorcycle enthusiasts prefer Royal Enfields over the much more expensive Harley Davidsons. Also, given the lower maintenance and service costs associated with Royal Enfields, when compared to Harleys, most retro motorcycle buyers tend to gravitate towards the Indian brand.
As Royal Enfield’s motorcycles are relatively more affordable, the demand for the unit construction engined Royal Enfields has peaked. High demand and a low production capacity at the pre-independence era Royal Enfield factory at Tiruvottiyur, off Chennai, has meant that the Indian motorcycle maker is struggling to service the high demand. This has led to yawn inducing waiting periods of up to 9 months on certain Royal Enfield models. The high demand has resulted in another casualty, of that of poor quality and assembly of Royal Enfield motorcycles.
These are two major bugbears that a prospective buyer of the Royal Enfield motorcycle has had to contend with over the past couple of years, a period when sales of the UCE engined Royal Enfields really took off in a big way. Both these bugbears could become things of the past come April 2013, as Royal Enfield expected to kick start production from its spanking new factory at Oragadam, an automaking hub off Chennai. Royal Enfield will be capable of building no less than 150,000 motorcycles each year from Oragadam, with a further capacity boost of an additional 150,000 units possible.
Currently, the stretched-t0-the-seams Royal Enfield factory at Tiruvottiyur manages to produce 100,000 units a year. Once the new factory at Oragadam begins to operate at full clip, the idea is to eventually shift all production to Oragadam with the Tiruvottiyur plant focusing on building engines that’ll be used by Royal Enfield motorcycles built at Oragadam. So, quality levels of Royal Enfield motorcycles are expected to get a shot in the arm once the new factory at Oragadam becomes operational given the fact that the new factory will house state of the art manufacturing equipment and processes, a big step above the current factory’s standards.