So far, the subject of a 650cc Royal Enfield Himalayan has stayed afloat over speculations that have cropped within moto journo teams across continents. Not to mention, fans must wait for it to happen as well. The story of success is a positive one for the Himalayan and even more so for the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650. The two have grown to immense popularity the world over with the Interceptor being titled the best-selling motorcycle in the naked streetfighter category in the UK last year. Why not bring them together in a package that would satisfy both types of riders?
The Himalayan is the pioneer of change in Royal Enfield’s product lineup that had only seen 350 and 500cc roadsters for decades. RE did not, however, get it right in the very first go. The BS-III model had its own string of problems relating to reliability but with the launch of the BS-IV model which was also fuel-injected, the Himalayan moved closer to being the best version of itself. And by model-year 2020, it is the best it has ever been.
While I can still actively recommend the Himalayan to anyone who is looking to do long-distance touring for the simple fact that it is superbly comfortable and a brilliant value-for-money, some aspects of the bike have echoed through its generations that are not so pleasant. The Himalayan has been rather low on power for a 400cc and it is quite heavy. And with the BS-VI upgrade, it is heavier than before at 199 kg (with 90% fuel). (For perspective, the 390 Adventure weighs in at about 160 kg – kerb)
If the Himalayan is fitted with the 648cc parallel-twin engine (it would splendidly have 47 bhp and 52 Nm but), the weight would climb even higher. For perspective, the Interceptor weighs in at 202 kg (without fuel). There may have to be a decision on whether the Himalayan 650 would use a half-duplex split cradle frame as the current model. The Interceptor, on the other hand, has a twin cradle tubular steel frame.
The current suspension setup of 41 mm forks with 200 mm travel may need tweaking. And then there’s the question of price. The 650 Himalayan would be significantly pricier than the 400 but it would still be way more competitive than its future rivals like Suzuki V-Strom 650 or BMW F750 GS. This where you bring the Interceptor 650 in the picture for understanding whether India has the market for such a motorcycle.
The 650 twin-engine has found more popularity in the international markets than RE’s home country. The 350cc single remains incredibly popular here and hence Enfield is likely to launch the Meteor 350 Fireball soon.
The 650cc engine has an untapped potential that we could see in the form of an adventure bike in the near future and to say the least, we would love to. I would second Moto Station’s opinion that it could look something like the Moto Guzzi V85TT instead of modern machines like the Triumph Tiger for it must retain its retro appeal. If not, then the Himalayan’s no-nonsense design would be rather fitting.
Or it could be something like the two motorcycles we featured on our page a fairly long time ago. Two Interceptor 650s modified by English company Malle demonstrated whether that bike could wear long suspension. Point is, it isn’t necessary for it to be the Himalayan 650, it could be the adventure version of the Interceptor. Perhaps a brand new name as well. We know that Royal Enfield has already taken Sherpa which would definitely suit a motorcycle bound to do trips in the Himalayas. Royal Enfield Sherpa 650 – it has a nice ring to it too.
Some say that the 650 ADV should be here by next year but we reckon it could take us longer to lay our eyes on the final product that RE prepares to introduce to the world – especially since it has stopped spinning owing to the coronavirus pandemic. But we expect good things from the brand when life resumes normal service. It would be surprising if Royal Enfield does not surf the current wave of middle-weight ADVs.
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