Monday, March 5, 2018

Royal Enfield's tough looking Himalayan debuts in U.S.

Royal Enfield Himalayan, coming to the U.S.A.
Disclosure: Royal Enfield provided transportation, accommodation, food, entertainment and keepsakes to me at this product launch. The following opinions are my own.

The headline is that Royal Enfield's Himalayan adventure motorcycle is available in the United States starting in April, at a suggested retail price of $4,499.

Yes, it's a rough-and-tumble looking dude's motorcycle at a surprisingly friendly price, with a seat height comfortable for women.

"Accessible" is the word the press heard Monday evening at the Blaine Stone Lodge in Midlothian, Texas. A fire blazed in the fireplace as a video depicted the new motorcycle as designed to conquer the world's tallest mountains, yet still a handy companion on roads.

This is no simple thing. It meant designing a motorcycle that would have the greatest possible ground clearance, with the lowest possible seat height. Fully capable in the wilderness, it still had to be "nimble" in India's intense city traffic.

The Himalayan was designed for India, said Rod Copes, president of Royal Enfield North America. In fact, when he saw it under development in India he was told, no, it was not meant for North America.

He saw it as emblematic of the middle weight, affordable, unintimidating motorcycles he wanted for the U.S.

Motorcycles in the U.S. had become "extreme" Copes, a former Harley-Davidson executive, told the writers gathered in Midlothian. Too big, too heavy, too fast even, and certainly too expensive.

Royal Enfield North America built a business case for bringing the Himalayan to the U.S. It would bring back the utility and the fun, "what motorcycling used to be, back in the day," Copes said.

With its new overhead camshaft motor, modern chassis, mono-shock rear suspension, disk brakes, and head-for-the-mountains looks, the Himalayan might seem a departure from Royal Enfield's classically stylish motorcycles.

But Pradeep Mathew, Royal Enfield project leader for the Himalayan, noted that the Himalayan is actually a worthy successor to the Royal Enfields that triumphed in the Scottish and International Trials events of the 1940s and '50s.

Rugged, and equipped with advanced suspension and muscular motors, they established the brand as competitive off-road. The single-cylinder Himalayan motor retains the long-stroke, high-torque punch Royal Enfields personify. Maximum torque comes in at only 4,000-4,500 rpm.

According to the press release, this punch pushes the machine over mountains, or smooths a morning commute.

Writers present looked forward to testing that for themselves, Tuesday morning. Stay tuned.

Watch the video:


  1. The US got its first look at the Himalayan in 2016 when RE opened its Milwaukee HQ. The bike was in the parking lot with an "importer" license plate. I was impressed with all the "stuff" jammed into it but later learned of nasty problems India owners had such as gearbox and frame joint failure. RE wisely stopped production and did major revisions. While I'm not in the market for such a bike, people who are would do well to take a serious look at it, especially for the price. I only wish it was offered in more "creative" color schemes.

  2. Anonymous3/06/2018

    "Great" story John Donlon


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