When you mention the words “Milwaukee Iron,” most people’s minds will immediately turn to Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. Times are changing, though. East Indian company Royal Enfield is out to steal H-D’s thunder in the U.S. electric motorcycle market.
American motorcycle market. Its longstanding leadership in market share, name recognition and customer loyalty easily attests to this fact.
In recent years, though, its leadership has been slowly eroding as older riders have retired from the road and younger generations have become more ecologically and performance-aware while being less enthralled with the mystique of riding a HOG.
Many believe this was the impetus, along with a dismal quarterly report, behind Harley’s announcement in January of this year that within 18 months it would be introducing a new all-electric motorcycle based on its LiveWire prototype.
H-D isn’t alone in its thinking that the time of the big beast bikes may be coming to an end. Polaris Industries Inc., the current owner of the venerable Indian brand of motorcycle, recently announced from its headquarters in Medina, Minn., that it intends to roll out an Electric Indian, albeit at a much slower rate of development. Steve Menneto, Polaris motorcycles division president, said last May that it could take four to five years before it reaches the market.
While Indian may be gearing up to challenge H-D for a run in the electric bike market, it is by no means the only company with an eye toward taking advantage of this quickly expanding segment of the United States motorcycle market. There are a number of small companies, such as California-based Zero, that are bringing some very interesting offerings to the public.
However, none of them, until now, has seen fit to challenge the big dog in his own backyard. Enter the India-based motorcycle manufacturer Royal Enfield, which has chosen to set up its North American headquarters in Milwaukee’s 3rd Ward.
Rudratej Singh, president of Royal Enfield, recently confirmed that it intends to enter the U.S. electric motorcycle market more forcibly than it has with its traditional bikes.
“Royal Enfield has several projects in the pipeline, and the electric platform is one of them,” Singh reportedly said. “We are in an investment phase in the project where we have a team that is working on different ideas and concepts with a long-term focus. We will disclose our plans at an appropriate time.”
The electric market could be the first time that Enfield is in direct competition with its across-town neighbor. Its normal fare is almost diametrically opposite to what Harley offers. The company specializes in smaller, cheaper bikes, with its current offerings topping out at 535ccs and with a price tag of less than $6,000 fully dressed, both numbers being laughable to aficionados of either the H-D or Indian brands.
We contacted Florida motorcycle attorney and guru of all things bike-related Brad Sinclair for his reaction to Royal Enfield’s invasion of the hallowed ground of H-D. “I’m really kind of stoked over the entire situation. Royal Enfield isn’t widely known in the United States, but they have a very good reputation throughout Asia and in many parts of Europe. Its bikes are ideal for young riders and those wanting to try riding without making a large investment.”
He continued, “As far as the electric bikes are concerned, I’m getting more excited about them every day. They’re cheaper to ride, require less maintenance, and we are starting to see some really amazing performance in them. The more companies get involved, the better it will be for riders and those of us associated with the industry.”
Name: Scot Small
Organization: Sinclair Law
Address: 5465 N US Highway 1 Melbourne FL 32940
Release ID: 350151