Motorcycles

Royal Enfield launches a new engine platform with the Himalayan adventure bike

The Himalayan is Royal Enfield's first-ever purpose-built adventure bike
The Himalayan is Royal Enfield's first-ever purpose-built adventure bike
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The Himalayan is Royal Enfield's first-ever purpose-built adventure bike
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The Himalayan is Royal Enfield's first-ever purpose-built adventure bike
For the Royal Enfield Himalayan, simplicity means an air-cooled engine with the assistance of a small oil cooler
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For the Royal Enfield Himalayan, simplicity means an air-cooled engine with the assistance of a small oil cooler
The rugged looks of the Royal Enfield Himalayan match its intentions
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The rugged looks of the Royal Enfield Himalayan match its intentions
Hopefully the front number plate will not be needed on the export Royal Enfield Himalayan
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Hopefully the front number plate will not be needed on the export Royal Enfield Himalayan
Slim silhouette, nice looks and LED rear light for the Royal Enfield Himalayan
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Slim silhouette, nice looks and LED rear light for the Royal Enfield Himalayan
In standard trim the Himalayan looks at lot more modern than any other Royal Enfield motorcycle
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In standard trim the Himalayan looks at lot more modern than any other Royal Enfield motorcycle
At 800 mm (31.5 in), the Himalayan’s seat height has been designed for people of all sizes
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At 800 mm (31.5 in), the Himalayan’s seat height has been designed for people of all sizes
This Royal Enfield Himalayan will be available in two color variants; this is the Granite color
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This Royal Enfield Himalayan will be available in two color variants; this is the Granite color
The recesses at the rear part of the fuel tank of the Royal Enfield Himalayan have been designed for better grip with the inner knee when riding off-road
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The recesses at the rear part of the fuel tank of the Royal Enfield Himalayan have been designed for better grip with the inner knee when riding off-road
Elegant and rich automotive-styled instruments for the Royal Enfield Himalayan
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Elegant and rich automotive-styled instruments for the Royal Enfield Himalayan
The LS410 engine of the Royal Enfield Himalayan is a 411 cc single-cylinder, SOHC, 2-valve unit, with a balance shaft to smooth out vibrations
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The LS410 engine of the Royal Enfield Himalayan is a 411 cc single-cylinder, SOHC, 2-valve unit, with a balance shaft to smooth out vibrations
The Royal Enfield Himalayan will also be available in this Show color
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The Royal Enfield Himalayan will also be available in this Show color

For almost 60 years, Royal Enfield relied on a single-cylinder engine that draws its roots from the heyday of the British motorcycle industry. Now the Indian company has just revealed a brand-new engine designed in-house specifically for its first dual-purpose motorcycle, suitably named the Himalayan.

Taking on the Himalayas (or perhaps the vast emptiness of Mongolia) aboard a Royal Enfield Bullet is probably a prominent feature in most motorcyclists' bucket list. The iconic roadster was introduced in India in 1955, when the company extended its operations in the country that was then part of the British Empire. At the time, these motorcycles would be used to conduct army operations in remote areas, a feat that contributed significantly in building the adventurous myth of Royal Enfield.

Since then, the venerable single has gone through an extensive process of modernization, as the Chennai-based company manufactured it in 350, 500 and 535 cc versions – the latter introduced in 2014 with the Continental GT. Despite gradually benefiting from modern metallurgy and equipment like fuel injection and disk brakes though, the typical motor of Royal Enfield was still based on the very same design principles of the first batch of 350 cc singles that India had commissioned from England.

Enjoying unprecedented success in the last few years, Royal Enfield has seen its sales figures steadily gain almost 50 percent each year since 2010. Apparently the time was ripe for the next move, the introduction of a brand-new engine platform.

For the Royal Enfield Himalayan, simplicity means an air-cooled engine with the assistance of a small oil cooler
For the Royal Enfield Himalayan, simplicity means an air-cooled engine with the assistance of a small oil cooler

Officially called LS410, the new engine is once again a single-cylinder four stroke, named after the initials of Long Stroke and its cubic capacity. It is the first motor designed in-house by Royal Enfield, and its main concept is simplicity. The 411 cc cylinder with undersquare dimensions (78 x 86 mm) relies on a simple layout with a single overhead camshaft and two valves, is fed via a carburetor with throttle position sensor, and produces some 24.5 hp that are driven towards the rear wheel through a five-speed gearbox.

As Siddhartha Lal, CEO of Royal Enfield, explained during the launch of the new model on February 2, this engine has been specifically designed for a dual-purpose motorcycle, focusing on friendly handling, easy maintenance, simple repairs when venturing off the grid, and low consumption.

The LS410 makes its world debut in Royal Enfield's first adventure motorcycle, the Himalayan. Configured in the same logic as with the motor, it features the typical specs we'd expect to see in a typical 1990's Japanese dual-purpose bike. The frame is a steel semi-double cradle, while suspension tasks are taken care of by a pair of 41 mm conventional forks and a single rear shock (first ever for a Royal Enfield). Both suspensions enjoy relatively long travel, 200 mm (7.9 in) at the front, 180 mm (7.1 in) at the rear. The choice of wheels is also typical for off-road motorcycles, with a 90/90-21 front and a 120/90-17 rear.

Royal Enfield designed its adventure bike with touring equipment in mind, so the frame includes anchor points for side cases and their supports. Also, a couple of unusual metal bars at the front double as headlight brackets and supports for jerry cans.

The Royal Enfield Himalayan will also be available in this Show color
The Royal Enfield Himalayan will also be available in this Show color

The test riders' testimonials report an easy-handling motorcycle, after they reportedly put it through an exhausting testing cycle that included long journeys over every kind of terrain. With an announced kerb weight of 182 kg (401 lb) the Himalayan is not exactly lightweight. In theory 25 hp powering this mass doesn't sound very competitive, so weight distribution will be a key element in the equation. One feature that will definitely favor the Himalayan's friendliness is the torquey nature of the long stroke motor. With 32 Nm maxing out at just 4,000 rpm, it should be quite nifty at getting out of rough spots.

In terms of running costs, Royal Enfield discloses a very low fuel consumption figure, suggesting a range of 450 km (280 miles) with one full 15-litre (4-gallon) tank. That'd be 3.3 l per 100 km, or 70 mpg. Service intervals are also expected to be ample, as the press release teases us with oil changes every 10,000 km (6,214 miles).

The first Himalayans will reportedly arrive at Indian showrooms around April, at a price that is not expected to exceed INR200,000 (approx. US$3,000). Royal Enfield is reportedly planning to support the Himalayan with a more city-oriented version, probably translating to a rendition with less adventure equipment – such as jerry can brackets and engine bash plate.

Elegant and rich automotive-styled instruments for the Royal Enfield Himalayan
Elegant and rich automotive-styled instruments for the Royal Enfield Himalayan

Apparently, Royal Enfield wants to make sure that from now on a more suitable purpose-built machine will substitute the Bullet in the Himalayan adventures of our bucket list. Even if it never rolls its wheels on an exotic mountain range though, its gritty low and mid-range, plush suspension and low consumption should make for a very efficient commuter.

Once again it will all come down to weight balance. Given that the motorcycle's frame has been designed by Harris Performance – an English company with vast experience in frame design, acquired by Royal Enfield last May – we should have some guarantee that it'll be nicely balanced. If anything, the frame that Harris designed for the Continental GT proved to be indeed excellent.

The model's website (link below) is jammed full with all kinds of videos relating to every aspect of the Himalayan, from the evolution process to the full launch event. The following video is a short version of the new model's story.

Source: Royal Enfield

The Himalayan Story

11 comments
mhpr262
I hope they haven't "modernized" themselves out of business with this bike. The attraction of Royal Enfield is less the name, but the fact that you could buy and ride a brand new, honest-to-god vintage motorcycle fresh from the factory. I doubt this new bike will have the same charm.
Mike Johnson
Hey Spiros: Really interesting article as I prefer stroke at a minimum of 86mm (3.5 inches) as this gives good low and mid speed characteristics for this type of operation especially off the pavement and such an engine running at 4,000 does not require a whole lot of breathing. Also appreciated was the added *bit* that RE bought Harris Performance! The weight is on the high side, true, but given the Harris input this may signal extreme durability and long life which is not actually a defect. Thanks!
le_crankster
I owned the 350cc made in India, it was qualitatively of much lower quality than the first run out of England. It was almost as if they were just learning how to make a motorcycle. While it was simple to maintain it was not a memorable motorcycle to ride. It had no acceleration and the ride was bone jarring. I really don't understand why people are nostalgic about this piece of ..... They saw the newer one are much better made but give me an European or a Japanese bike any day.
Kevin Burke
i do not think that India was part of the British empire in 1955.
uksnapper
Quite right Kevin Burke. India was partitioned in 1947.
Martin Hone
I think this model can be excused its 400 odd pounds of weight as 1. It is not using exotic materials (cheaper and easier to maintain) 2. It is designed to be rugged and carry more weight than most. I think this new version is a logical and somewhat overdue extension of the Bullet range, and providing they don't stop producing the Bullet, I see only good things for the company. I will be interested to see how the projected US$3000 price translates when it gets to Australia....
StevenTalbott
Enfields did not rely on single cylinder bikes for 60 years, I raced a 700 interceptor for a couple of years on the dirt track circuit {open class}, did ok, switched to a BSA Lightning, actually won a few after that.
mookins
The continental GT, (best looking bike ever?) with this engine, would find a niche market here I think, especially if they could hot it up to maybe 30 hp.
Alzie
Kudos to them. I hope they sell well. Ive been riding a suzuki LS650 (S40) thumper for 7 yrs now. Theres something to be said for the simplicity and economy of this type of machine. One trade off - you cant push start a big single in the event of a weak batt. What ever happened to kick starters?!
Road tar
A very rugged and utilitarian design for the masses. Motorcycling in America is much more of a hobbyist activity than elsewhere, so it obviously will not make a big sales splash. The design and specs make good sense for a non-freeway commuter bike here.
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