In 2016, Royal Enfield launched the Himalayan, a 411cc adventure-touring machine designed by none other than Pierre Terblanche, the legendary motorcycle designer best known for his work with Ducati. The engine is an air-cooled, fuel-injected SOHC single that makes around 25 horsepower and 24 pound-feet of torque, and the bike offers ~8.6 inches of ground clearance and 7-8 inches of suspension travel — about the same as the original BMW R80GS and Yamaha XT500.
“This slick-styled, built-in-India machine packs a punch of capability that is worthy of attention, and will get you anywhere that you need to go.” —Motorcyclist
While the specs might not compare to the latest high-dollar ADV machines from BMW and KTM, the Himalayan has carved out its own niche as a budget-conscious (less than $5000 MSRP) midsize adventure bike, which scores high marks in both functionality and fun:
“What it lacks in power, it makes up for in a tractor-like rideability and an overall comfortable ride…” —Motorcyclist
Enter our new friend Tom Thöring of Schlachtwerk (“Slaughterhouse”), who started building custom bikes more than two decades ago in his home country of Germany.
“In the last 10 years, my focus has been on classic bikes with increased performance and massive weight savings.”
Tom is perhaps best known for the drag bikes he’s hand-built to race in the European Sultans of Sprint series, including his nitrous-injected Yamaha TR1 (324 lbs / 180 hp) and Kawasaki W900 (293 lbs / 14o hp) — rocket ships!
About a year and a half ago, Tom relocated from Germany to Sydney, Australia, where he’s kept turning the wrenches. This 2020 Royal Enfield Himalayan is his 38th build, and his second since the move — a cooperation project with Royal Enfield Australia and New Zealand.
Given Tom’s affinity for lightweight sprint machines, it should come as no surprise that “adding lightness” was a primary focus for this Enfield:
“The bike was built out of curiosity — how far could I go on the weight watchers path without losing the Himalayan DNA?”
Inspired by the BMW R80GS and other enduro machines of the ’70s and ’80s, he outfitted the Himalayan with a set of custom-built wheels, handmade aluminum mudguards, handmade exhaust, a new Brembo rear brake, motogadget speedo, a set of Metzeler 6 Days Extreme enduro tires, and more.
Tom says the Himalayan now weighs about 160 kilograms with a full tank, or 353 pounds — that’s nearly 70 pounds less than the stock machine, which has a claimed wet weight of 421 pounds! That makes this vinduro-style Himalayan incredibly nimble and agile for his daily commute through the city, and even better performer in the country:
“On the weekends, I go out on it on gravel roads and fire-trails in the bush. Out there it’s easy to handle, enough torque to handle every obstacle, and if you drop it, it’s light enough to pick it up again — 160kg with full tank is ok for an adventure bike.”
Below, we get the full details on lightweight Himalayan from Tom himself, as well as more stunning shots from Andrew Jones of Machines That Dream.
RE Himalayan Scrambler / Enduro: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I started building custom bikes 20 years ago in Germany, and later I started my brand, Schlachtwerk. In the last 10 years, my focus has been on classic bikes with increased performance and massive weight savings. Back in Europe, I raced classic drag bikes: a nitrous-charged TR1 with 147kg / 180hp and later a fully hand-built W900 with nitrous oxide, 133kg /140 hp.
Eighteen months ago, I relocated to Sydney, Australia. The Himalayan is my second build in Australia, and my second Enfield build.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
The bike started life as a stock standard 2020 Royal Enfield Himalayan.
• Why was this bike built?
The bike was built out of curiosity — how far could I go on the weight watchers path without losing the Himalayan DNA? I wanted to keep some part of its look, because it’s a cooperation project with Royal Enfield Australia and New Zealand.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The main influences were the enduros of the ’70s and ’80s — old BMW G/S 80 and similar.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Custom-built wheels, handmade aluminium front and rear guards, handmade exhaust, new Brembo rear brake, motogadget speedo, etc….
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Nah, I am not creative enough for this, just #38.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
I mostly use the bike for my daily commute to work, so in town it’s an agile and nimble bike, cheap on fuel. On the weekends, I go out on it on gravel roads and fire-trails in the bush. Out there it’s easy to handle, enough torque to handle every obstacle, and if you drop it, it’s light enough to pick it up again — 160kg with full tank is ok for an adventure bike.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I am always proud if a finished bike looks like I imagined it before and handles noticeably better than stock. I am proud of all my handmade parts: the guards, the exhaust, and the taillight.