One of the oldest production motorcycle engines to be axed

The Royal Enfield 500 single cylinder engine will be discontinued due to Euro5 emissions regulations

Royal Enfield Bullet 500

THE single-cylinder, overhead valve engine that helped millions of people onto two wheels is to be axed as it can no longer meet emissions targets.

The 499cc overhead valve engine has been slotting into Royal Enfield built machines since the 1930s, helping to mobilise generations of motorcyclists in the UK, Europe and India. The move has been brought about due to ever more stringent EU emissions regulations finally getting the better of the nearly 100-year-old design.

The RE 500 single has been on borrowed time for a while now, going through a series of recent overhauls to try and keep it up to speed with the everchanging environmental landscape of the motorcycle industry. But when a design is as old as this, there are only so many tweaks and updates that you can make, before the engine’s architecture becomes the limiting factor. As that is now the case, Royal Enfield has opted to axe the unit altogether.

The 350cc single-cylinder engine will still remain in the lineup, as with the newly developed twin-cylinder 650cc units. The Himalayan also should be safe from any worry, having been developed recently and hopefully with some continuity to the regulations in mind.

With the 500cc single now gone, we only have a few months to snap up the reaming Bullets and Thunderbirds that still use the unit.

Royal Enfield aren’t going to let the bike go out without a bang though, as reports suggest they will be building one final batch of special editions 500s to mark the engines passing.

More on that as we have it.