Royal Enfield Himalayan Adventure Bike Coming to the U.S. Next Summer

Like most Royal Enfield bikes, the Himalayan is small, relatively inexpensive, and has tons of character.

byEric Brandt|
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The little adventure bike that we’ve been hoping Royal Enfield would bring the the U.S. is, indeed, coming to our shores starting in summer of 2018. We’re talking about the charming Royal Enfield Himalayan which was originally only available in India when it came out in 2016.

We spoke with Rod Copes, President of Royal Enfield North America, who shared with us how he managed to convince management in India to bring the bike to our shores. 

“They started the project many years ago. [The Himalayan] was designed, developed, and built in India for India. When I joined the company and I saw it in the styling room I said, ‘This is a great motorcycle and we could sell this in the U.S.’,” said Copes. 

“I convinced them to give us two. We took them around the country and let customers, dealers, media, and other people ride them and we did a survey," Copes explained. "We got some incredible data, and with that, we were able to build a good business case to the leadership in India that this is a motorcycle that should come to the U.S. It will not only sell volumes, but it will also help expand the brand and create brand awareness. Fortunately, about six months ago, they agreed to it.”

The Himalayan is a bit of a misfit in the adventure bike market. It’s much smaller than most “ADV” bikes, but it isn’t a dirt bike. It has beefy suspension which was co-developed with Polaris and it’s the first Royal Enfield with monoshock rear suspension. It’s powered by a carbureted, air-cooled, SOHC 410cc single-cylinder, four-stroke engine. It makes 24.5 horsepower and 23.6 pound-feet of torque that peaks at 4,000 to 4,500 rpm. That means you get more accessible grunt nice and low in the rev range making it suitable for both street use and moderate off-roading.

Don’t let its little size fool you. The Royal Enfield Himalayan is no scooter. It has a 21-inch front wheel with 7.9 inches of travel and a 17-inch rear wheel with 7.1 inches of travel. There are nine inches of ground clearance, a skid plate, a fairly tall adjustable windshield, and an aesthetic to back up its off-road performance.

We asked Copes just how far off-road you can take the Himalayan. “It’s pretty durable. You probably aren’t going to be taking 20-foot jumps with it,” said Copes admitting it's not the most extreme off-roader out there. “With the low center of gravity and low-end torque, it can essentially get through anything. It was built and designed for the Himalayan mountains which are extreme in their own right."

The real beauty of the Himalayan is in its size. A lot of adventure bikes are heavyweights that are doomed if they ever fall over in an off-road adventure. The Royal Enfield Himalayan only weighs 421 pounds, so it’s light enough to not only be chuckable but to pick up when it falls over. Also, the bike is simple enough for you to do repairs on the fly.

Adventure bikes are among the most customized motorcycles by their owners. After they’re sold, it’s hard to find two adventure bikes that look exactly alike. Since customization is so popular with the ADV crowd, I asked Copes what accessories and factory options will be available for the Himalayan at launch. He said there will be aluminum panniers on the back, extra gas containers that sit on the frame, a comfort seat, another storage compartment for the back, engine guards, different mirrors, different grips, and “probably a dozen to two dozen different accessories that will be available for sale when we bring it to the U.S.”

When the Royal Enfield Himalayan arrives at American dealers starting next summer, it will have a starting price of $4,499. That’s less than similar 250cc off-roaders from Honda and Kawasaki. If you’ve been looking for something a little different in an off-road motorcycle, keep an eye out for the Himalayan.