Monday, August 2, 2010

I'll take five!

Royal Enfield was always a pioneer in innovation. We have covered it many times in this blog. Be it the cush drive, dry sump lubrication, rear suspensions. Another Enfield first was to introduce the first five speed gearbox in the UK in the 250cc Crusader. Alas, the innovation failed to catch on with the public. As you can see in the article below, at least the motorcycling press was expecting a fifth gear in a big roadster, not a 250cc. It was a start. But then teething problems with the boxes appeared. They were too small to accommodate the pinions, which had to be slimmed down beyond practical levels. At the end the factory was giving out a free four speed gearbox gear cluster with each bike due to the poor reputation the five speeders had developed. Finally, the five speed boxes were dropped altogether. It was another welcome innovation that could not pull Enfield from the economic whirlpool the company was sailing into. The thing was so innovative that the FIM was caught off-guard. At least Thruxton welcomed them!

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