The quintessentially British-named Royal Enfield, the maker of 500cc old-school thumpers, has announced that they’ve gottan CARB approval for their bikes, which means that they are now available in California. In general, the CA emissins cost about $300 more than the 49-state model.
I’m not entirely sure what the appeal of Royal Enfields are, but they certainly have a vocal community of afficionados. The bikes look like they did back in 1955, so the styling isn’t very modern–certainly part of the appeal–but all of the components and engine are, in fact, thoroughly modern, with the 500cc bullet sporting EFI.
The bikes are currently made in India, at Royal Enfield’s production facility in Chennai. The Indian company first began assembling the Bullet in 1956, and manufacturing it under license in 1962. The company purchased the rights to the Royal Enfield name in 1995, the original company having been dissolved in 1971.
A bill was wending its way through the California legislature that would mandate regular emissions testing for motorcycles in the state. Senate Bill 435 proposed to make emissions testing mandatory for motorcycles, on the same basis as cars.
But, the legislature has dropped hearings on it for the 2009 session. it’s a two-year bill, which means it’s still not dead, and can be resurrected in the 2010 session. But for now, motorcycle smog checks have been tabled in California.