THE IMPORTER/DISTRIBUTOR of Royal Enfield motorcycles in the United States plans to expand its operation in the coming year with bikes produced by India’s TVS Motor.
Kevin Mahoney, owner of Minnesota-based Classic Motorworks, says he intends to begin offering the TVS brand two-wheelers to dealers stateside by next spring. Among the first products: a 160cc commuter called the Apache RTR.
TVS launched the 160cc Apache RTR in India in July. Outfitted with a 159.7cc fuel-injected four-stroke producing 15.7hp and 9.6 lbs.-ft. of torque at 8,500rpm, the 299-lb. bike comes with a 5-speed gearbox, multi-plate wet clutch, 90x90-17 front and 100x80-18 rear tires, 270mm front and 200mm rear petal-type disc brakes, and telescopic hydraulic front fork and five-step adjustable rear suspension. Advertised top speed: 74 mph.
The Apache’s powerplant is undergoing EPA testing. Mahoney says he’s confident the bike will be approved for sale in the U.S. since it’s produced to meet strict Euro 3 guidelines.
In a joint venture with Suzuki Motor Corp. until 2000, TVS Motor is India's third largest motorcycle manufacturer behind number one Hero Honda Motors Ltd. and number two Bajaj Auto Ltd. In 2007, TVS Motor recorded sales of more than $1 billion. It expects two-wheeler sales to grow 10 to 12 percent this year.
Classic Motorworks’ 100 Royal Enfield dealers in the U.S. sell about 500 units per year. The bikes still are not California-legal, but Mahoney says that should change in 2009 once he begins importing the new Classic Bullet 500 with Keihin fuel-injection.
Mahoney says Royal Enfield demand in the U.S. warrants perhaps only up to 200 dealers, and says many of those likely will be found once the brand enters California. (Continued)