Royal Enfield has announced that the brand will be competing in the American Flat Track (AFT) starting August 2020. Royal Enfield will be fielding specially-prepared versions of their production bikes. For the Production Twins class, meant for motorcycles with twin cylinder engines, Royal Enfield will be entering a specially-made model called the FT Concept, based on the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650. The FT Concept has been built in collaboration with chassis specialists, Harris Performance, also owned by Royal Enfield's parent company, Eicher Motors Limited.
The new machine is going to be based on the bike built as a design exercise between Royal Enfield and Harris Performance. The bike's frame is a classy looking brazed steel tube, with an adjustable steering head angle to customise the bike's handling according to individual riders. The frame, 41 mm front forks featuring Ohlins internals, as well as the Ohlins TTX rear shock, as well as the 19-inch wheels machined from forged billet Aluminium, are all made specifically for the bike. Johnny Lewis, Royal Enfield Slide School Instructor in the US, and AFT racer, will be piloting the bike on August 28 and August 29.
"The Royal Enfield FT Concept has already shown promise so far. We're already seeing great results from the motorcycle. The team at Harris Performance and Royal Enfield have done a great job with the chassis, and we've already begun working through small adjustments based on my feedback. With the way the schedule is shaping out with small tracks, we could surprise many people," said Lewis.
Royal Enfield already has a FT411 based on the Royal Enfield Himalayan, to be used for Slide School flat track lessons, both in India and in the US. Later in 2020, four lady builders of the 'Build Train Race' program will also hit the track along with Lewis with their modified Interceptor 650 motorcycles alongside Lewis. The events for the all-women flat tracker are scheduled for October 2-3 at the Dixie Speedway event and at the Daytona Beach on October 15-16.
While Royal Enfield has made tremendous progress in product development and engineering, starting with the 650 Twin platform as well as the Royal Enfield Himalayan which has been increasingly gaining acceptance worldwide, the future will surely be focussed on more models, new engines and platforms. We have consistently maintained that Royal Enfield has already entered a new era in technology and product development, and the next few years will only show more evidence of shaking off an image, at least in the domestic market, of having motorcycles with technology which critics consider ancient. With the push to events like the American Flat Track series, Royal Enfield seems to have set its sights on cementing its position in the international market, and also following the old adage - "Race on Sunday, sell on Monday."