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  • January 21, 2016
  • Dirck Edge
  • Courtesy of Royal Enfield
  • 78 Comments

Royal Enfield Himalayan Breaks Cover

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On the heels of our article yesterday about low-tech motorcycles, today we have photos and videos of the Himalayan prototype released by Royal Enfield. The new bike will undoubtedly debut in India, and eventually find its way to European and American markets.

We have no technical details, but understand it should be powered by a 410cc single. This is an entirely new motor from Royal Enfield featuring overhead cams, rather than push rods. Still air-cooled, but now featuring a counter-balancer to smooth out the vibes. The chassis is also new, and as you will see in the videos it is quite dirt worthy.

Harris Performance, a subsidiary of Royal Enfield, designed the Himalayan chassis. Harris also developed the current Royal Enfield model known as the Continental GT. Indian press reports there will be two versions of the Himalayan, including a dirt-oriented model with knobbies, and a more street-oriented version.

Royal  Enfield has not only produced the videos below, but created a web site for the new Himalayan, which you can visit here.

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78 Comments

  1. jonnyblaze says:

    No saree guard..?! unacceptable.

  2. Kai says:

    There is however one big problem: if the bike hasn’t received european homologation yet (=before 1.jan2016) -üwe will never see the bike in europe. All new models over 125ccm are required to have abs breaks now. Sad, looks like an interesting low-budget alternative, if quality and reliability are ok!

  3. Mick says:

    Thirty years ago, who would have ever thought that all this time later street bikes haven’t gotten any lighter and a retro styled XR400 kind of thing would be making any buzz at all.

    Heck, many many street bikes have gotten considerably heavier. How many 500+ pound adventure bikes are there now?

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Not picking on you, but I kind of find it humorous how people seem to think that there should have been some quantum leap in technology that would have solved the issue with weight, as if the mass of aluminum or steel will suddenly become less than what it is or the Earth’s gravitational field around the motorcycle can somehow be altered.

      That isn’t to say that that technology hasn’t addressed the weight of motorcycles over the years, though. How heavy do you think a bike made with a chassis and engine capable of harnessing and producing 200hp would have been if produced in the mid-eighties? Way more than the average 450 pound sport bike. Then slap emissions equipment on it, and the 1980s mainframes needed to handle the computing power necessary to process the data being used by the bikes computers to meter fuel, manage traction, stability, etc., and it gets really heavy!

      We do of course have the knowledge and material to make bikes significantly lighter still. But what we really need is a technological advancement to make motorcyclists much richer. Because if we want MotoGP-light, it is going to cost us.

      • Mick says:

        That’s just the problem that I have with the current mindset in the street bike industry. I may not know what a 200hp bike would have weighed in the mid eighties. But I do know what 100hp bike weighed in the nineties.

        Has any light bike between eighty and one hundred horsepower gotten significantly lighter in the last couple of decades?

        • todd says:

          Or any better? They’ve certainly gotten more expensive… and ugly.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          How much is “significantly lighter?” A 100-ish horsepower CBR900RR weighed 454 lbs in 1995. A new ZX-6R (which makes as much power) weighs 422 lbs, and that is with a catalytic converter and over-sized muffler. For a more pedestrian example, an FZ-09 weighs around 420 lbs and I guess would be comparable to a 500-lbs+ Suzuki Bandit 1100? An FZ-07 or KTM 690 Duke weigh substantially less than 75 hp bikes did not long ago.

          There are still some heavy bikes out there, no doubt. But for models that manufacturers feel that weight reduction is an important selling feature, they seem to have made some significant progress in my opinion.

          Someone may figure out how to mass produce carbon fiber parts cheaply pne day which we may find replacing a lot of the fixtures on a bike, but even that isn’t going to provide some massive leap forward in weight savings from where we are today.

          • Hot Dog says:

            Best thing I could do to increase performance is loose 50 pound off my Lily White Arse…

          • Mick says:

            Significantly lighter, in my opinion, would be splitting the difference between a street bike and a dirt bike. With a wet weight under 350 pounds.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            “Significantly lighter, in my opinion, would be splitting the difference between a street bike and a dirt bike. With a wet weight under 350 pounds.”

            For a 100hp bike? That would be significant indeed. The 690 Duke is as close as it gets currently I suppose.

          • mickey says:

            a 100+ hp bike with a wet weight of under 350 pounds would be rather squirrely I would think.

          • Mick says:

            A hundred would be asking a bit. 80 would work. A premium Something Something – 07 for instance. The current bargain basement model darn near fits the bill. Make a pimpin’ one with less weight and a little hotter engine. I rode an MT-07 for a few days. How about a YZ-07 or a TT-07 or a SM-07. Heck, just throw a bunch or 07s onto a posh hotel with a turbo health club and racing facilities. Offer free booze at night for a few weeks and see what happens.

            Bumble bee livery natch.

        • mickey says:

          Also seems the same time frame that some people have been begging for all the electronic aids like tc/ modes etc standard so to make the high horsepower lightweight bikes rideable by the average person

          Meant to go below my earlier comment about weight

      • John says:

        And yet, we have liquid cooled 350cc dirt bikes that weigh 220-250lbs. How much does it cost REDUCE the amount of excess steel in a motorcycle? With more modern manufacturing techniques *and more time*, it is easier to produce motorcycle parts that is just as strong with lower weight.

        A Honda CB500X weighs more than my Honda VT Ascot which had shaft drive, dual rear shock. And more than a new Yamaha 900cc triple.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I think you have your answer right there. You are referring to a (the KTM 350 EXC-F I presume) $10,000, 45 hp motorcycle designed to carry just a rider – no luggage or passenger – in complete disregard for comfort powered by an engine that will probably require a complete rebuild after 25K typical street miles. There is no excess on that bike other than what is necessary to make it street legal.

          Or you can get a bike by that same manufacturer that makes comparable power and can carry soft luggage and a passenger in relative comfort at highway speeds all day long with a much more durable and long-lived engine and transmission with ABS to boot. But it will cost you 80 additional lbs and $5000 fewer dollars.

          • todd says:

            Why would the KTM only last 25k miles when ridden on the street? Street riding is much easier on a motor than mud-clogged, wfo dirt riding. I imagine the materials and tolerances are quite high-spec inside a $10k dirt bike, probably a bit higher in quality than the internals of a Ninja 300 I imagine. People put all sorts of miles on those. It is safe to assume part of the added cost is because of the extra level of care and detail poured on that engine.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Todd, I’ve plated a few competition dirt bikes. If the KTM is anything at all like the Japanese bikes, it is going to get spent pretty quickly. I’ve even worn out a couple of 5th gears. I wouldn’t have even thought that was possible. Everything component in those competition grade engines is built to be as light as possible, and durability suffers because of it. Piston ring sets are designed to cause as little friction as possible rather than maintain a good seal for thousands and thousands of miles. The cases hold just enough oil to wet the parts. There is a reason maintenance intervals call for piston, con-rod and head replacements in these kinds of bikes: they really do wear out. While someone using the bike on the street isn’t going to have to replace the head every 150 hours like a racer might, the engines just aren’t designed to go the long-haul. And they don’t in my experience.

            I don’t believe the streetable version of the KTM 350 is in any lesser state of tune than the competition version other than less-than-optimal fueling, which is even harder on the engine.

          • John says:

            Oh, I understand that passengers and luggage and other things increase the need for stronger frames and such, but that really doesn’t explain the obesity of many motorcycles today. It’s really just sheer laziness and saving a few bucks. I seriously suspect that they say “hey, if we spend $100, we can shave 25lbs. And they say “nope, that will cut into our profits. I say raise the price of the bike $200-$300. But…#beancounters. Still Yamaha shows it can be done (sometimes) and we’re at the point where a 500cc street bike and a 1000cc street bike weigh about the same.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I have no doubt that is the case, John. But $100 on something that might have a $900 margin is significant. If marketing says the price can’t be above a certain amount and accounting says margins need to be this percentage, something’s gotta give. So I completely understand not reducing weight where the market doesn’t demand it Buyers have always been more sensitive to price than pounds. It will be interesting to see how the needle moves now that Yamaha has started giving people their cake and a fork to eat it with.

          • mickey says:

            Its only in the last few years it seems, that some people have been screaming for ultra light motorcycles. To those of us who came of age during the ” golden age” of motorcycles, 500 pounds plus a bit is about right for a liter bike. Riding a 350 pound bike like my nephews 620 KTM Duke, the bike feels spindly and twitchy. It seems like there is nothing substantial under you. Feels like an English bicycle with those spaghetti thin tires Some people may like that feeling, others not so much. Lighter is almost always a beneficial thing, up to the point that it doesn’t inspire confidence to the rider.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Mickey, weight has always been a talking point in the world of sport bikes since I’ve been into motorcycles at least. But you are correct. People have gotten really lit up about weight recently no matter what kind of bike it is.

          • mickey says:

            Jeremy I don’t think people started talking weight until the early to mid 90s. No one ever said the Yamaha XS1100 weighed too much, no one ever said the Suzuzki GS1100E weighed too much, no one ever said the Kawasaki KZ1000 weighed too much, and no one ever said the Honda CB1100F of 1983 weighed too much. It was all hp and quarter mile times back then and the bikes all weighed more than 550 lbs.

            Now its all hp, weight and lap times

          • mickey says:

            Jeremy.. Only when sport bikes started cpmpeting in thier own class as sportbikes. No one ever said an XS 1100 Yamaha was too heavy, no one ever said a GS1100E was too heavy, no one ever said a Kawasaki KZ 1000 was too heavy, no one ever said a Honda CB900F was too heavy and they all weighed over 550 pounds. They only worried about peak horsepower and quarter mile times which were published with every test report.

            No one worried about the weight of a Goldwing, or a Concours or a Venture Royal or a Harley Glide.

            Once sport bikes started becoming class specific did people start worrying about weight, and hp and LAP times.

            Lately people worry about the weight on everything whether is is particularly relevant of not.. even scooters for petes sake.

            Under 350 pounds for a 100 hp liter street bike? C’mon

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Like I said, by the time I was into motorcycles… I was more into He-Man and Star Wars than motorcycles when those bikes you mentioned were on the stage. 🙂

            But we definitely agree. I think people get a little too fired up about weight. In the industries I’ve been involved with, weight mitigation is the most expensive part of building anything. The materials we currently use to save weight cost significantly more and are much more difficult to work with.

          • John says:

            I’m not that much concerned about weight on a street only bike. As long as it isn’t just heavy out of laziness. It almost doesn’t matter and can actually give you a bit more stability.

            I do think it matters a whole helluva lot if that bike is expected to go off pavement and I would FAR rather have less weight than more power. Who needs 180HP to go down a dirt road, let alone over rocks? Much better a 50HP 500lb 150HP anything, IMO. Especially given the ridiculous price tags which will end up screwing you when you crash it on a rock.

            If the Himalayan has 30HP and weighs 450lbs and costs >$6000, then it’s going to be a very hard sale.

          • John says:

            “Much better an under 400lb 50HP twin than an over 500lbs anything.”

            Stupid text markup symbols….

    • John says:

      I think for a lot of people, it makes sense to get an older enduro, but for a lower seat and more baggage capability and more comfort, this should be a better product.

      It’s a shame that Honda dropped some of its bikes, like the NX series, which probably are more competent and less expensive.

  4. Jose Peter says:

    I live and ride in India and have owned and ridden several motorcycles across the country and abroad. My current steed is a Daytona 675R that followed several Harleys and Jap bikes. But the bike I’ve enjoyed most are Royal Enfields, the low-tech stuff that never breaks and is ideal for the roadscape here. I’ve ridden them across the most treacherous terrain including the Himalayas and will trust my life to an RE. A footpeg falling off a prototype in a promo video isn’t something that will put off a true buyer in India. I suspect if they will even care to see the video. REs have wait times of several months and have over flowing order books.

    But what RE should be wary of is that their typical customer cares only about the thump and character of the neo-vintage 350 and 500 pushrod singles that have high prestige here ( kinda like the potato potato of a Harley). Even the Continental GT is a tough sell here coz it tries to potray a sporty image. If and when they adapt to a trail bike with a totally new engine, only time will tell.

    • Provologna says:

      Well, that was a compelling testimony quite opposed to the fun some of us have made Re. the missing peg. To further your cause, I suppose readers could even view the missing peg as a refreshing change of pace from the antiseptic perfection of major OEM marketing campaign.

      On a different subject: does not the side view remind readers of Honda’s iconic SL350 dual sport twin?

      If nothing else, one must give homage to OEM’s for releasing such a wild new variety of bikes in recent years, a far cray from the boring repetition of race replicas and cruisers for a few decades prior.

      I wonder if something like the following could work: A killer big single ala KTM’s latest 2016 dual oounter-balanced 690cc, w/cosmetic air cooling fins; weigh cosmetic advantage of a smaller radiator vs. loss in peak power. High performance frame and components, but again, nods given to cosmetic effect, such as dual shocks. Cosmetic design similar to this RE, or the above-mentioned Honda SL350. Offer a wide array of dealer installed options (seat, suspension) to fit riders of different height, and a full array of adventure gear for any riding excursion.

  5. todd says:

    I like it quite a bit, a proper enduro/scrambler. I’d hate to see what would happen to the Ducati Scrambler or the BMW scrambler if you rode them like that.

  6. todd says:

    Remember, that was the prototype frame that was made in England. The Indian production frame will be of much higher quality and things won’t break off.

  7. TF says:

    What are the funky racks covering the front portion of the gas tank?

  8. red says:

    lmao @ the footpeg!

    I think it’s a cool bike, like the look. retro-dual-sport.

    be nice if they could get that footpeg thing ironed out though. 🙂

    • todder says:

      Ha, ha. Hopefully the poor editing may empahsize getting that looked at and fixed. Cannot wait…I want one.

  9. Provologna says:

    Foot pegs are overrated, especially those on the R side! Everyone knows that!

  10. Frank says:

    Another great looking bike from Royal Enfield. Here’s hoping is a solid and reliable performer.

  11. ABQ says:

    Another scrambler style bike. It looks light weight, and not tooo tall. The technology upgrades may be just enough to bring Royal Enfield into the twentyfirst century, without making it a computer on wheels. Yet I doubt that I will ever see them being sold and serviced in my town.

    • KenHoward says:

      There’s a multi-line dealer just a couple of miles from me. His brands: BMW, Moto-Guzzi, Indian, Ural, and Royal Enfield. How’s that for an eclectic mix?

  12. Jeremy in TX says:

    I think it is a pretty cool little bike. I’m curious to see what their price point will be here if they choose to import it.

    Good catch on the foot peg! I’m surprised they missed that during editing.

  13. relic says:

    The klr is still in production. The xt500 is not. Electric start and counter balancers are not optional.

  14. Johnny ro says:

    I like the bike. I think it looks OK. Not dumpster art. Don’t see where people get that idea.

    So somebody left a loose bolt on the peg and a part fell off while banging around on the dirt field out back. Its not a production bike on showroom floor. All of which have one sort of discrepancy or other anyway. And the guy recovered fine.

    India is not suburban USA. I bet their business plan is to sell in India and maybe one day ship a few to the USA where it would be 4th or 5th vehicle in a household, a toy for very occasional use like most bikes here.

    We have bigger things to worry about for our sport in the USA than this.

  15. upsetter says:

    Riding this in the UK would be the perfect antidote to the hordes of overpaid and overweight middle-aged execs riding round on pristine 1200GS!

    And did anyone need those subtitles? Which marketing exec thought “OMG! brown people!! better break out the subs…”?!?! Jesus!

  16. GuzziGuy says:

    Guess the test rider didn’t see that coming…

    I think the bike will sell like proverbial hot cakes – in it’s home market. Given the styling, low-tech look (where did I hear that recently) and apparent quality problems I just can’t see it doing well stateside.

    • MGNorge says:

      I agree, it may be right for the huge Indian market and other spots around the world but may be a tough sell here? Being a prototype it’s impossible to access the final product other than in overall conception but it does come across as quite rough.

      I wish them well, if only they can deliver a polished product.

      • mickey says:

        in a country where 50-350cc bikes are typical and roads aren’t necessarily up to US standards this should do well. Here it will be relegated to competing with Chinese Dual Sports for those that prefer something “out of the norm”.

        • mickey says:

          BTW Cycle World just tested a Chinese Made CSC RX3 Cyclone 250 ADV bike priced under $4K and came away impressed with it. Good looking bike for the money, but good luck finding a dealer.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            It would take more than luck to find a dealer. The CSC RX3 is a mail-order bride. It comes mostly assembled in a crate (you can receive it assembled for an additional charge) with a factory repair manual unless they’ve changed their strategy and started going with dealers.

          • KenHoward says:

            Their whole operation depends on one man, making phone calls to a Chinese factory, with no dealer network planned. Here today, gone tomorrow?

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            “Their whole operation depends on one man, making phone calls to a Chinese factory, with no dealer network planned.”

            Don’t knock it… free shipping on all remaining 2015s!

            CSC is actually the US based importer, and they’ve been around for a while. You get the shop manual, and there is a host of maintenance tutorials available online. I like the concept, personally. I wouldn’t mind buying all my bikes like that except I need to be able to test ride something before I buy it (which you can do if you live near CSC headquarters.)

  17. Duc Dynasty says:

    My stock 81′ Yamaha SR500 looks better and would handle the dirt just as well. An old XT500, even better.

    • Random says:

      I’d take a XT 660 R instead for any ride longer than a few blocks, even if the Yamaha had less cc. I’d rather ride the 250cc Tenere to go somewhere really remote.

  18. Butch says:

    Bailing wire comes standard with the tool kit . . . . . . . .

  19. John says:

    “Royal Enfield Himalayan Breaks”

    Fixed it for ya.

  20. John says:

    In the one video, going over the jump, the right peg breaks off completely and the rider has to put his foot the whole way down as the peg rolls through the dirt behind him.

    Who puts out a promotional video showing the bike falling apart over a tiny jump?

    • Ron H. says:

      End of the second video. Good catch. Funny how the rider then looks down on the right side of the bike like… what the?

      • John says:

        I can’t tell what is worse. That a peg broke off, or that they actually used the footage to promote the bike.

        Which sucks, because I REALLY want to like this bike, but I just know it’s going to be too heavy and/or too unreliable and/or too expensive. It is too good to be true.

      • Yoyodyne says:

        Let’s just score it as truth in advertising. Man, that certainly gives you a feel for much RE cares about getting the details right.

      • Duc Dynasty says:

        Fail.

  21. KenLee says:

    I would prefer honest DR 350, or XR 400 R instead of that hipster-designed bike. For vintage style, a real XT 500 could be an option.
    Brand new motorcycle looking like it’s been built in a barn plus sophisticated designer’s signature it’s not my favourite tendency, but someone will buy it- that’s for sure.

  22. Lynchenstein says:

    I want to want this bike. …but I sure hope the production version will look less like something a highschool shop class would put together if all they had to work with was junkyard parts and a couple of lunch hours.

  23. carl says:

    Me thinks that is a bit of a stretch.