Britain’s great motor bike marques have included: HRD Vincent, Triumph, BSA and Norton, amongst the many manufactured in the UK over the years.
In India, an enthusiasm for them has long lived on with the Royal Enfield name still familiar on bikes manufactured by the associated company that was originally set up on the subcontinent, and the rights to which were bought by a new company based there.
Owned by India’s Eicher Group since 1994, the Royal Enfield has strong sales in its local Asia Pacific market. Some of the Indian Royal Enfields have made it to the UK, but they have not been available here recently.
Some exciting news for 2021 is that two of the other iconic bike marques are being revived by Indian-owned companies to be built in the UK once again!
Under the ownership of the Indian Manufacturer TVS Motor, who bought Norton out of administration in 2020, the company plans to hand-build over 200 new bikes per year. As the arch rival to Triumph, it has moved to a new facility at Solihull in the West Midlands, close to Jaguar Land Rover and will create over 50 jobs, starting production later in 2021!
Many of us remember the iconic Norton Commando, produced by the Norton Motorcycle company from 1967 until 1977. Well the good news is that Norton under TVS management, will be restarting manufacturing of 40 Commandos, followed by the new V4SS Motor bike.
And what about the iconic BSA, the British Small Arms company produced famous bikes from 1909 to 1972, including the famous ‘Bantam’ in the early 1960s’ to the ‘Lightning’ in the late 1960s’, before going defunct in 1971.
Now, another Indian manufacturer, the Mahindra Group, is restarting production under the BSA (Birmingham Small Arms name), with traditional and electric motorbikes planned. They will start production at a new research and design centre in Banbury, Oxfordshire costing £10m and creating 250 jobs. Manufacturing is due to start later in 2021. Mahindra bought the old BSA brand in 2016, with ambitious plans to launch the revived brand as an upscale retro bike.
The models are expected to pay homage to the much-loved original British-built bikes from these two famous manufacturers.