It’s been months, but we finally have our official confirmation of the Royal Enfield Himalayan with a set of promo videos released by the manufacturer.
Will the bike be the next big seller on the dual sport scene? Watch the videos and judge for yourself. On one hand, there’s been nothing new in the 350-650 cc range since Husqvarna’s abortive attempts a few years back (which ended when BMW sold the brand), so unless the Big Four are working on something we haven’t seen yet, the Himalayan could actually be more technologically advanced than the Japanese machines in this line, believe it or not.
On the other hand, it’s hard to say for sure from this angle, but it looks like the right footpeg breaks off the test bike at the 1:52 mark in their promo video.
The test pilot, by the way, is CS Santosh, the first man from India to ride in the Dakar rally.
It might sound crazy to expect this bike to be a big global seller, but remember that Royal Enfield is now selling more bikes than Harley-Davidson, and is on a huge global push to increase their market presence. They’ve even gone so far as to establish a new subsidiary in North America to boost their brand, based in Milwaukee, home turf of Harley-Davidson. A new financing deal with GE Capital should make it easy to buy their bikes.
Now, they just have to build desirable motorcycles that people can afford, and make sure their dealer network is large enough to promote those bikes to a wide audience.
Is the Himalayan the right bike at the right time? It’s hard to say. One one hand, scrambler-styled motorcycles were huge at the EICMA show this year — everyone built some concept bike along these lines. On the other hand, the existing dual sport market is very big on reliability, and Royal Enfield will have to convince riders their bike is as tough as existing machines like the Kawasaki KLR650 or the Suzuki DR650. Those designs might be ancient, but they get the job done. You don’t need fuel injection to make it to Ushuaia, you need reliability.
You can see another promo video for the Himalayan below. We’re expected to get full details on the bike in the coming days.