Royal Enfield Project Origin unveiled at EICMA 2021
Royal Enfield has unveiled Project Origin — a replica of its first-ever motor-bicycle prototype showcased at the Stanley Cycle Show in London, in the year 1901. This comes under the brand’s 120th-anniversary celebration in which RE had launched 12 exclusive hand-painted helmets. Then they unveiled the 120th-anniversary special, limited edition Interceptor and Continental GT 650 twins followed by the SG650 concept and the Project Origin.
The idea of the Project Origin
The suggestion for the Project Origin came from Gordon May, the brand’s in-house historian. The first-ever prototype of Royal Enfield was from the time when the world was still searching for an optimum way of mobility, experimenting with ways to fit the engine on a rather slim frame of a cycle. The prototype had a small 1.7bhp engine mounted to the steering head over the front wheel, which, using a couple of rawhide belts, powered the rear wheel. It is very clear from the outset that the mechanicals, engineering and ergonomics of the motor-bicycles from a century ago were worlds apart from the motorcycles of today.
Knowing that there is no working model, design blueprints or drawings of this original motor-bicycle exists. The only cues left to design it were century-old photographs and leaflets.
Construction of the Project Origin
The Project Origin was built from scratch at in-house Royal Enfield facilities. What makes this project more notable is the fact that RE has used current time technologies to replicate the old age processes, which now are almost forgotten. The fuel tank for example is handcrafted from a single sheet of brass — folded, shaped, hammered and soldered using similar tools and techniques. Harris Performance developed the frame in CAD and built it using brass-braizing (a metal joining process similar to welding) along with brass levers and switches. Similarly, the carburettor was built from scratch. Other period-original parts were sourced such as the paraffin lamp, the horn, the Lycette La Grande leather saddle, and 26-inch rims. The sourced parts also needed attention as they were a century-old. They were all reconditioned and nickel-plated to add the shine which the first prototype would have had.
At the EICMA 2021, Royal Enfield also unveiled the concept SG650, which is a look into what RE is planning for the future. And with the revival of the first prototype, the brand is looking back to its heritage displaying to the world where they have come from.