2016 Royal Enfield Himalayan (13)

Adventure touring is a much glamourised sport in the motorcycle world, with all the major manufacturers putting out a version of a large dual-purpose, go-anywhere bike. To that end, Indian firm Royal Enfield, purveyor of a distinctly retro style based on bikes designed way back in 1949, have launched the Himalayan, designed specifically for the rugged touring conditions in India.

Siddhartha Lal, chief executive officer of Royal Enfield, said, “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 2016 Himalayan uses an all-new 411 cc overhead cam, single-cylinder engine, which Royal Enfield says will form the basis of its new long-stroke LS410 engine series. This is coupled with a 15 litre fuel tank which gives approximately 450 km range. This might not sound like much as far as dual-purpose bikes go, until you realise a 411 cc engine doesn’t really guzzle gas the way a GS1200 might.

Of note is the frame, designed by English motorcycle engineering firm Harris Performance. Royal Enfield bought over Harris last year, and have tapped into the firm’s 30-year history of making performance and racing frames for motorcycles. The Himalayan’s frame features luggage mounting points for hard panniers, soft luggage and jerry cans.

According to Royal Enfield, the 2016 Himalayan has an ergonomical sync between footpegs, handlebar and seat height to provide the rider with a comfortable perch for long-distance riding on rough roads. The seat height is a rider-friendly 800 mm, allowing for most to get both their feet flat on the ground for stability at stops.

The rest of the bike is kept as simple as possible, recognising the fact that in India, qualified technical help might be few and far between. The design philosophy of a simple rugged adventure tourer extends to the instrument cluster, that keeps track of speed, direction, ambient temperature, travel time, service intervals and multiple trip distances.

Throughout 2015, Royal Enfield has been testing the Himalayan both in the UK and in India, subjecting the bike to a variety of riding styles and conditions. The 2016 Royal Enfield Himalayan is currently an Indian-market only bike, and no official word on pricing has been released.