The new Royal Enfield Himalayan looks set to be an extremely popular model in India and will no doubt fit a niche in the western world too. And if it were priced according to what it costs in India, it’d be a smash hit. Pricing has just been announced for India, with the Himalayan priced from 1,55,545 Indian Rupees which at today’s exchange rates is equivalent to just over $2,230 US.
If only it would make it across the world at that price. Firstly, the Royal Enfield Himalayan will need to be specifically tailored to western markets as far as emissions and safety goes (for example, it will require ABS in Europe) and then local distributors will rightly take their cut. Add on top of that dealerships having to pay wages for their salespeople and mechanics and it’s likely that the price in the US will hit around north of $5,000.
By way of comparison, the Royal Enfield Continental GT goes for around 2,07,539 IDR in India, but hits America at $5,999 while in Australia it retails for a shade under $10,000 – so expect the Himalayan to be a little bit shy of those prices – which still makes it a competitively priced bike – just not as much as if you could by it for the equivalent Indian price.
The Royal Enfield Himalayan will start hitting Indian showrooms in the next fw weeks, but no dates have been announced for other markets yet.
Newer and clearer pictures have emerged of the Royal Enfield Himalayan, an ‘adventure’ styled motorcycle that is likely to be released late this year or early in 2016. Knowledge of a new Royal Enfield motorcycle came to life after it was discovered that the company registered the name “Himalayan” as a trademark. The first images of the bike surfaced in late April.
The main difference with the latest spy shots is the redesigned exhaust – no longer a direct carry over from the RE Continental GT, it now has at least some ground clearance in keeping with the ‘adventure’ theme this bike is aiming for.
For the most part, the bike appears to use a lot of carry over parts from the Continental GT cafe racer, including wheels, brakes and the dash. Different however is the use of a monoshock at the rear (believe it or not, an actual first for Royal Enfield) and what to us looks like a slightly larger tank. The other main points of difference are the handlebars, longer front forks and more upright ergonomics.
What is still up for debate is the engine that this latest motorcycle will use. Royal Enfield is working on two brand new engines – one around 400cc in capacity and another in the 750cc range. Given Royal Enfield’s ambitious international aspirations, it wouldn’t surprise us to see both engines being offered in western markets.
Sophisticated, refined, fast – these are not adjectives to describe Royal Enfield’s Continental GT Cafe Racer. But despite this, the Continental GT is one of the most enjoyable motorcycles we’ve recently ridden and if the main reason you ride is to bring a smile to your face, then this motorcycle deserves you to take a good look at it.
No other motorcycle company in the world has as long a history building motorcycles as Royal Enfield – even Harley-Davidson and Triumph came to the motorcycle manufacturing party after Enfield. The Continental GT itself is steeped in history with the first bike bearing its name released in 1965. And despite the current iteration Continental GT featuring modern features such as fuel injection and Brembo brakes, this bike pays homage to its past in more ways than one.
The present day Continental GT was first released in India in 2013 and is an evolution of the original design of so many decades ago. It looks authentically retro, much more like a Triumph Bonneville than a Ducati Scrambler in taking design cues from yesteryear. The red or yellow tank looks brilliant and there’s just enough chrome without being overwhelming.
The gold plated shock absorber reservoir and silver painted clip-ons detract from that slightly, but that’s made up with the simple and elegant gauges and traditional rounded headlight.
The trip down memory lane continues with its performance. The Royal Enfield Continental GT is powered by a 535cc air-cooled single cylinder engine. Yet, despite a decent amount of capacity it manages to only produce 29 horsepower and 44 Nm of torque while pulling 184 kilograms (plus rider) along.
Then there’s the vibrations. Those with fillings may need to take a detour to the dentist after a ride from the shaking this bike produces. Anything above 3,500 rpm (redline is 5,500) and depending on the speed, you may find yourself adapting your riding style just to calm the bike down.
Normally, such slow performance and lack of refinement would be enough to write this bike off without hesitation. And yet in an ironic way, its idiosyncrasies become a positive. With more and more motorcycles becoming so increasingly complex and refined (dare we say characterless?), the Continental GT is a breath of fresh air. It’s the complete opposite of what most expect from a modern day bike and it’s all the better for it.
The engine note is glorious. A single cylinder engine has no right to sound this good. Even with such a small amount of horsepower on tap, I blipped the throttle on every downshift just to hear the exhaust note and the potential backfire. The 18 inch front and rear wheels are shod with Pirelli Sport Demon tires which provide predictable levels of grip.
On the flipside, the rear brakes lock without much effort, the seat is firm and the rear shock, while compliant doesn’t have enough travel. It’s also going to be a tight squeeze if you want to carry a passenger with you, too.
And I love it all the more for that. The Continental GT has a certain X factor that’s hard to explain. If this was designed and sold as a sportsbike you wouldn’t give it a second look but it’s not – it’s a cafe racer through and through. It’s the type of motorcycle that really fits the cliche of inviting you to take the long way home just because you can. And while it’s not made for all day riding, it fulfills the role of commuter and weekend pleasure cruiser with aplomb.
The Royal Enfield Continental GT retails for $9,995 in Australia,£5,199 in the UK and $5,999 in the United States.
Royal Enfield is continuing its growth into western markets with the announcement today that they have purchased Harris Performance, a well known and respected UK based motorcycle engineering and design firm. The purchase of Harris Performance was for an undisclosed amount.
There has already been a longstanding relationship between Royal Enfield and Harris Performance, with the British firm responsible for the chassis development of the Royal Enfield Continental GT. Established over forty years ago by brothers Steve and Lester Harris and Stephen Bayford, Harris Performance is one of the leading experts in designing and manufacturing of specialized high performance motorcycle chassis and components
The company is well known in racing circles, having in the past been commissioned by Yamaha and Suzuki to design, develop and manufacture race bikes for both MotoGP and WSBK series. The current staff at Harris Performance will become employees of Royal Enfield. They will be responsible for the performance and development engineering for Enfield’s new range of motorcycles and will become part of Royal Enfield’s upcoming UK tech center.
Siddhartha Lal, CEO Royal Enfield said: “Royal Enfield is working on its new generation of products and platforms; to have the Harris Performance team working with us will clearly enhance our engineering and product design capabilities. Their proven expertise, deep insight and understanding of motorcycling and Royal Enfield will be invaluable for us in our journey towards achieving leadership in the global mid-sized motorcycling segment.
A report in the Times of India has shone light on Royal Enfield’s medium term aspirations which is to become the top middleweight manufacturer of motorcycles in the world (in other words, to dominate the 250cc to 750cc segment). That’s a lofty goal but when you have India as your base of operations, not an impossible one.
To do this Royal Enfield has announced that it is well underway on two new engine platforms, one being 750cc in displacement and the other though not specified is rumored to be around 400cc and will first be seen in the upcoming Royal Enfield Himalayan. Current models such as the Royal Enfield Continental GT use a 535cc single cylinder and the Bullet a 500cc single – so there’s definitely a need for some variation if the company wants to conquer the western markets.
Managing Director and CEO of Eicher Motors (RE’s parent company) Siddhartha Lal stated that the new products would not include bikes which are “extreme and very sporty”. “We would stick to our core proposition. The bikes would be for international markets and they would be higher performance bikes but not extreme performance bikes,” Lal said. The two engine platforms would form the basis of a number of models over the next 5-10 years.
It’s only been in the last few years that Royal Enfield has set its sights outside of India, returning to markets such as the United States and Australia and Europe. It also announced that it would open a factory in England – returning to its country of origin so to speak.
Royal Enfield has somewhat of a cult status around the world and are hugely successful in India. In fact the company outside Harley-Davidson globally last year – no small achievement. Despite that, Royal Enfield has set a goal of an increase in production by a huge 50 per cent for this year alone.
The first spy shots of what are purported to be the new Royal Enfield Himalayan have surfaced on Indian website Motor.Vikatan. Knowledge of a new Royal Enfield motorcycle came to life after it was discovered that the company registered the name “Himalayan” as a trademark. Rumors of an adventure-tourer motorcycle from the Indian company have circulated for some time.
While the photo captured doesn’t show anything capable of going off-road at this stage, it should be noted that this appears to be a very early prototype. Quite a bit of the bike has been carried over from the Continental GT, including the front and rear lights and front fork. No doubt there will be some part sharing between the models however we’d expect to see some further differentiation in the final release.
What is new is a rear monoshock – the first time ever for a Royal Enfield, along with what appears to be a larger fuel tank, redesigned exhaust can (let’s hope that goes up in height before final release or this thing will struggle with speedbumps let alone rocks) and a brand new single-piece handlebar.
But the biggest change is the all new engine which is expected to be a 410cc single cylinder unit. It is being speculated that the first official glimpse of the Royal Enfield Himalayan will happen in the next few months during the popular Himalayan Odyssey which is organised by Royal Enfield each year.