Royal Enfield KX in pictures: 1140cc V-Twin, gear shifts by hand and classic looks from pre-war era


  • Royal Enfield has been one of the oldest players in the two-wheeler industry and RE motorcycles have, in fact, served during the big wars the human race has fought. Founded in 1901, Royal Enfield is still going strong and has a stupendously large fan following around the globe. And here in India, it's loved just as much. But 1930s are considered the 'golden age' for Royal Enfield, and hence today we're featuring a bike from that era - 1938 Royal Enfield KX.

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  • By 1938, Royal Enfield had 18 models in its lineup and heavy twin-cylinders were a league of their own. To India, a twin-cylinder Royal Enfield is something very new and it has been widely believed that the company only built single-cylinders. Now though, the brand is set to launch the Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650, which are both powered by a new twin-pot engine.

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  • Royal Enfield KX was the company's flagship motorcycle back then and was powered by a V-Twin, L-head 1,140 cc engine paired with a four-speed manual.

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  • The engine came paired with a manual gearbox which had a suicide shifter. The term 'suicide' was coined for clutch that had to be operated by foot, so a rider could never have both his feet down without disengaging the transmission. And the gear shift was by hand.

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  • The advert for the KX in 1938 read "The last word in luxury motorcycles!” And might just have been, as it was considered comfortable to ride with or without a sidecar.

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  • The KX model was rolled out by Royal Enfield as an improved version of the Royal Enfield K, which was mounted with a smaller engine of 996 cc. Royal Enfield KX boasted of 130 km/h of top speed and 27 kmpl of fuel consumption, despite the fact that it had one of the largest displacement engines in its time.

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  • Royal Enfield K went on sale in 1933, and the KX model made an appearance in 1936. It was only exported in the beginning but then the company started sales in its home country, England.

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  • In October 1938, Motor Cycling magazine organised race tests for the Royal Enfield KX with a sidecar in which a 90-kg passenger was seated. The bike's performance was impressive with a average speed of 93 km/h, however, the fuel consumption understandably went down - 18.7 kmpl.

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  • Production of Royal Enfield KX stopped at the start of World War II, when the company switched to military contracts only manufacturing 350 cc models. However, one last KX was built which was presented to a military personnel.

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  • The last Royal Enfield KX was modified though - the styling was more suited for the military and the sidecar's wheels were installed with a drive. This was, however, the time when the military's focus was shifting to then new Jeep off-roading cars. The era of cross-country motorcycles eventually came to an end.

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