Indian manufacturer Royal Enfield revealed its much-awaited adventure bike, the Himalayan. Powered by a new 411cc Single, the Himalayan was designed to be a lightweight, uncomplicated motorcycle that can go anywhere, including the rugged terrain of its namesake.
In fact, the company’s chief executive Siddhartha Lal proved it for himself, taking some friends and colleagues on some prototypes for a week of riding in the Himalayas last summer. Last month, Lal took a production-ready model on another long trip, riding 500 miles from Goa to Bangalore, mostly on back roads and off-road trails. How’s that for a hands-on CEO?
“Himalayan is the culmination of Royal Enfield’s 60 years of enduring history in its spiritual home – the Himalayas,” says Lal. “Our single biggest insight in all these years of riding has been that the best motorcycle for the Himalayas is not one that tries to dominate its landscape, but one that is able to go with its flow. Large adventure tourers that currently define this category do not fare well in the Himalayas as they are very heavy, extremely complicated, intimidating and not really designed for this environment. With its purpose-built ground-up design, the Himalayan is a simple and capable go-anywhere motorcycle that will redefine adventure touring in India.”
The Himalayan is a complete departure from the rest of Royal Enfield’s retro-styled standards and cruisers. Every part of the Himalayan is new, including the air- and oil-cooled LS410 engine which boasts an overhead-cam design and a counterbalancer – both firsts for Royal Enfield. With a long 86mm stroke to its 78mm bore, the engine is designed to offer strong torque and usable power at low revs. Royal Enfield claims a maximum output of 23.6 lb-ft. at 4000 rpm while power peaks at 24.2 hp at 6500 rpm.
The engine is mounted to a duplex split cradle frame developed by Harris Performance, a British firm acquired by Royal Enfield last May. The 21-inch wire-spoke front wheel is suspended by a 41mm telescopic fork offering 7.9 in. of travel. At the rear, the Himalayan uses a monoshock suspension – a first for a Royal Enfield – offering 7.1 in. of travel. Braking duties are handled by a two-piston caliper with a 300mm disc up front and a single-piston caliper with 240mm disc at the rear.
Visually, the Himalayan is rather spartan, with a focus on function over form. Rear luggage mounts can hold either hard or soft panniers while mounting points up front are designed to carry jerry cans, in case you’d like to extend Himalayan’s claimed 280-mile range. The flat seat is 31.5 inches from the ground – fairly low, for adventure bike standards – and the positioning of the footpegs and handlebars allow for an upright riding posture that can easily transition to a standing position for off-road riding.
The 2016 Royal Enfield Himalayan will be offered in two colors, Granite and Snow. At the moment, Royal Enfield has only confirmed it will be sold in India, but we’re hoping to see it come stateside.
|2016 Royal Enfield Himalayan Specifications|
|Engine Type||Air-cooled, SOHC Single|
|Bore/Stroke||78 x 86 mm|
|Maximum Power (claimed)||24.2 @ 6500 rpm|
|Maximum Torque||23.6 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm|
|Fuel system||Carburettor with throttle position sensor|
|Final drive||O ring chain|
|Gearbox||5-speed constant mesh|
|Frame||Half-duplex split cradle frame|
|Front Wheel||21-inch wire-spoke|
|Rear Wheel||17-inch wire spoke|
|Front Suspension||Telescopic 41mm fork; 200mm travel|
|Rear Suspension||Monoshock with linkage; 180mm travel|
|Front Brake||Single 300mm disc; two-piston floating caliper|
|Rear Brake||Single 240mm disc, single-piston floating caliper|
|Height Without Mirrors||1360 mm|
|Seat Height||800 mm|
|Kerb Weight||401 lbs|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||4.0 gallons|