THE existence of the Royal Enfield Himalayan is one of the worst-kept secrets of 2015 with seemingly endless spy shots emerging from India as the bike's development continues. And here’s another.
The Himalayan might not be the surprise Enfield might have hoped for but it’s still likely to be the most interesting new model from the firm in living memory. No, a 410cc single won’t be powerful, and Enfield’s decision to turn its back on pure retro styling comes just as every other manufacturer seems to be intent on reliving past glories. But Enfield hasn’t often been in step with the rest of the market, and doing its own thing has worked out reasonably well so far.
The latest picture doesn’t reveal much that hasn’t been seen before, but there’s clearly a bold ‘Royal Enfield’ badge on the crash-bar-cum-fairing-bracket piece that wraps around the outside of the fuel tank and helps give the bike a distinctively rugged look. It might not be fast, with an expected 27bhp, but provided it’s reliable and easy to fix the Himalayan holds a lot of promise when it comes to being an ‘adventure’ bike in the truest sense of the term. It looks like something that will be improved with every scratch and dent it can pick up.
The current thinking is that the bike will be launched in India early next year, probably at the Dehli Auto Expo, which opens on February 5. It's also thought that the bike is being developed as an international model, including ABS brakes and Euro4 emissions equipment for Europe-bound versions, even though the base Indian-market machines will have minimal equipment to keep prices down.
The Himalayan is one of at least three new Royal Enfield models expected in 2016 using two new engine platforms including a parallel-twin of around 750cc.