It’s official. Royal Enfield has confirmed it is indeed adding a small adventure-touring bike to its lineup called the Himalayan. Royal Enfield has launched a webpage with pictures and videos featuring the new adventure motorcycle, from test rides by Indian off-roader CS Santosh to commentary by Harris Performance Products who helped design and test the prototype chassis and suspension. The Himalayan is shown crossing riverbeds, rolling over rocky plains, and mobbing down a dirt road in the mountains. The Times of India also published an article written by Royal Enfield CEO Siddhartha Lal who talks about his personal experience riding the motorcycle. A full spec sheet won’t be released until the official launch of the Royal Enfield Himalayan on February 2, but we were still able to gather a little more insight about the motorcycle thanks to these resources.
Royal Enfield enlisted the services of India’s best-known off-roader and Dakar Rally veteran CS Santosh to test and develop its Himalayan adventure bike.
In The Times of India article, Lal said that “the idea of the Royal Enfield Himalayan has been 60 years in the making.” The motorcycle not only carries the name of the mythical mountain range, it has been “purpose-built” for riding in the Himalayas. Lal pointed out that many of the adventure-tourers currently on the market don’t fare well in the Himalayas because they are big, heavy, with complex electronics that can’t be worked on roadside. With this in mind, Royal Enfield opted for a smaller adventure bike that could be picked up by one person when it tips over, light enough to be push started, and “simple enough to mend a broken part by yourself.”
To withstand the rigors of riding in the rugged Himalayas, Lal says the Royal Enfield Himalayan has high ground clearance, stout suspension with long travel, and a torquey engine that provides plenty of pull at low rpm. In the “Terrain Test 1” video, Sanjay Tripathi, Former Head of Product Strategy for Royal Enfield, said the new LS400 engine is basically a water-cam engine, a single-cylinder, four-stroke engine that puts out 25 hp in a fairly flat torque curve. CEO Lal, who has logged plenty of miles on the motorcycle already, said its sweet spot is between 80 – 110 kilometers-per-hour (50- 68 mph). The RE Himalayan has a 15 liter (3.9 gallon) gas tank with knee cutouts. It also has jerry can mounts on the front so riders can bring along an extra splash of fuel or water. The rear sees pannier mounts as Royal Enfield is offering both hard and soft saddlebag options. An upright riding position has been established by the riding triangle while the seat extends over the rear fender and there’s short foot pegs for a passenger. A small windscreen sits above the headlight. The one point that stuck out most from off-roader Santosh’s comments about the Himalayan is how natural it felt off-road.
For more information, be sure to check out our article on the Royal Enfield Himalayan Adventure-Tourer posted back in September and be on the lookout for the official spec sheet on the motorcycle February 2. We hope to be able to ride and review the Royal Enfield Himalayan once it becomes available as well.