Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Riding to the heart of an Indian icon; Royal Enfield


‘Indian Icon: A cult called Royal Enfield’ is an interesting read for RE aficionados as well as business readers narrating the brand’s journey to become a cult.

Finding a Hindustan Ambassador amidst hundreds of cars is not a tough task. Thanks to the iconic car’s signature exhaust note. When it comes to motorcycles, finding a Royal Enfield among hundreds of other motorcycles is just the same as finding an HM Ambassador.

How? Well, again the iconic thumping dug-dug exhaust note that can be identified from a substantial distance.

It is said that each and every Royal Enfield motorcycle is unique in its own way, with the touch of being handmade. Each of them tells a tale.

So far, the iconic motorcycle manufacturer, the parts suppliers, the dealers, numerous admirers, customers, mechanics, customizers – all of them are parts of a larger family that are strung together with those 12 letters ‘ROYAL ENFIELD’. Besides the emotion from the countless aficionados, the REs bear the flag of ‘Made in India’, important for India’s manufacturing business aspiration.

Amrit Raj, a communications professional with years of experience in business journalism, has weaved the stories of various aspects of Royal Enfield’s journey from the starting point to the company’s present-day, from scratch to becoming a global motorcycle giant from the world’s largest two-wheeler market, from the good old REs to the current premium 650 twins, the book titled ‘Indian Icon: A cult called Royal Enfield’, covers the journey that has not been smooth so far.

The photo section is well equipped with rich photographs, covering from 1952 Indian Army 350 Bullet to modern-day Interceptor.

The prologue tells the tales of some unique Royal Enfield enthusiasts, customizers, from India and abroad who have loved the brand whole-heartedly. The book describes the rise, fall, and resurrection of the brand in a very subjective manner. How Siddhartha Lal, an avid rider and son of Vikram Lal has been instrumental in pulling the motorcycle manufacturer to its present-day glory. How instead of just rolling out motorcycles, the Royal Enfield became a cult – the book describes.

The ‘Indian Icon’ also narrates how the motorcycle company came out successful after its struggling period decades back, how it made efforts to replicate the original sound even while meeting the new emission norms back in the ’90s, its marketing strategy changes, revamping of the product portfolio by phasing out the old models and introducing new and modern motorcycles – everything is covered in the 301-page hardcover that appears pretty well researched, uncovering behind-the-curtain takeover dramas and how the homegrown brand became a global cult.

The ‘Indian Icon’ doesn’t cover the Royal Enfield dealers’ story.

The photo section of the book is well equipped to make RE enthusiasts from the old era nostalgic. From the 1952 Indian Army 350 Bullet to modern-day Interceptor 650 – all are present there, in both Black-and-White and coloured images.

However, published by Westland Books, the ‘Indian Icon: A cult called Royal Enfield’ leaves a few segments untouched that could have been covered to make it more interesting. Dealers play a major part in every automobile company’s growth story not just by adding the sales numbers but with their supports also. For RE as well, its dealers have stood by the company through thick and thin. But, disappointingly, the book has no mentions about them.

To conclude, the ‘Indian Icon: A cult called Royal Enfield’ is an extensively researched book that offers a charming ride not just to the Royal Enfield aficionados, but hardcore business readers as well, with its insights and interesting pieces of information as well.

Also Read: Royal Enfield Meteor 350: All you need to know

Mainak Das
Mainak Das
Working as a journalist since 2011. Started as a sports journalist and later begun writing as an auto journalist. Worked with The Economic Times, Discovery India etc. Also working as an independent PR consultant and car concierge.


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