Shut up and take our money, Royal Enfield!
Back in the late 1930s, Royal Enfield made a bike called the KX. Touted as the biggest, fastest, classiest, most luxurious bike on the market at the time (a claim most bikemakers made, to be fair), it was powered by a big 1,140cc sidevalve V-twin and holds the record for largest bike produced by Royal Enfield. Fast forward a few decades, through company shakeups and countless 500cc singles, to today when the company unveiled the Concept KX at EICMA 2018 and, whew lad, it's something else.
BUILT LIKE A GUN
Enfield teased the KX last week with a mysterious picture of the bike draped in a black cover. Gearheads and Royal Enfield enthusiasts across the internet were all atwitter wondering what it could be. Was it a bobber? Was it related to the 650 twins? Was it the long-rumored V-twin? Was it something else entirely? Spoiler alert: It was the V-twin and now we have evidence.
The Concept KX is an extremely handsome bike with its long, low silhouette and sweeping lines that harken back to the company's 30s-era design language. Details are pretty scant, but the engine—apparently an 838cc, water-cooled mill with a clean sheet design—looks great nestled under that old-school fuel tank. A small, cantilevered solo saddle perches over a tire-hugging rear fender giving the bike its bobber bona-fides, and the twin exhaust looks like something straight out of Brough Superior's catalog. I assume a monoshock is tucked in the back somewhere, (looks like it may be under the saddle connected to a single-sided swingarm?) and the front end is a curious faux-girder affair, the engineering of which I'm dying to know about. Lights look like LED units, and Enfield did a great job of hiding the electrics to drive home the KX's retro roots.
Royal Enfield told the EICMA crowd that work on the KX started way back in March of 2017 and that it was largely built as a design exercise to see if the company could do it. As such, there aren't any plans to bring the KX to market. That said, response to the unveiling was pretty positive, so I'd be surprised if we didn't see something like it on showroom floors in the next year or two.
Personally, I'm glad to see Royal Enfield reaching outside its comfort zone and, in doing so, getting in touch with a different part of its history. Hopefully, something good will come out of the Concept KX. If we hear anything, you'll be the first to know.