The Clipper model name was used postwar by Royal Enfield for cut price versions of existing models and parts bins specials. The earlier Clippers were essentially Bullets offered with Model G engines or a version of the pre-war 250cc Model S. Both of these bikes were distinguished by having their oil tanks in front of the engine rather than behind as for the newer models, this plus the motors being all iron instead of having alloy heads.
It seems rather like Royal Enfield were trying to use up overstocked parts in creating the first Clippers. They might have expanded their market in producing cheap bikes but did they do damage to their brand in the process?
The later 250cc Clipper, or 'Clipper II' as it is sometimes known was introduced in 1958 and to all intents and purposes is just a Crusader with an iron head instead of alloy, a smaller carb and a single saddle. I've heard that when they were in prototype stage the iron heads had the same carb as the more expensive alloy Crusaders. In this form the Clippers actually ran better than their more expensive brothers, to counter this Royal Enfield made the carb smaller to give the bike a performance deliberately under the Crusader and to make the higher price of the Crusader justified.
Alongside the 250cc Clipper II their was a 350cc Clipper which was the same concept applied to the Bullet, ie a Bullet with an iron head and smaller carb.
|Royal Enfield Clipper brochure front side.