A 70+ hp Himalayan Twin from SurfSide Motorcycle Garage…
Royal Enfield introduced the Himalayan in 2018, a lightweight adventure / dual-sport bike that featured an air-cooled 411cc single-cylinder engine. In a market where machines seem to get more expensive and complex every year, the Himalayan was a breath of fresh air, with a $4999 price tag and respectable performance for its size:
“The India-built Royal Enfield Himalayan has been a hugely popular lightweight dual sport/adventure machine worthy of competing with Japanese rivals. Unintimidating, yet delightful performance makes it attractive for all levels of riding enthusiasts.” —Cycle World
However, some riders found themselves in want of more power, and Royal Enfield heeded their call. They’ve olled out the Himalayan 650 Twin, featuring the company’s 47-hp 650 twin — the engine that powers the INT650 and Continental GT. (Though, as you’ll read, this one’s power has been significantly boosted.)
Royal Enfield encourages owners, riders, and builders to customize their machines, and to promote the potential of their 650 Twins, they launched the 2022 Busted Knuckles Bike Build-off. Bike EXIF recently covered the contest:
“Five Royal Enfield dealers in Australia and New Zealand were each tasked with customizing the 650 twin of their choice, in a no-holds barred custom build contest. “
Today, we’re thrilled to showcase one of our favorite bikes from the build-off, SurfSide Motorcycle Garage‘s “No. 40” Himalayan 650 Twin. Based out of Sydney, SurfSide is home to two world-class builders: builder and sidecar racer Trevor Love and German “custom-meister” and Sultans of Sprint winner Tommy “Schlachtwerk” Thöring. You may remember Tom Thöring of Schlachtwerk (“Slaughterhouse”) from his “Fahrenheit 411” Himalayan we featured last year.
Trevor had his own vision for this the build, but he had too many projects burning:
“Initially I was going to build something radical and ‘50s-inspired, but I ran out of time because I just have too many things to do.”
So Trevor handed the reins to Tommy, and told him to go big. Really big. Tommy, who had plenty of experience with the original 24-hp Himalayan, decided to focus first and foremost on horsepower:
“The Himalayan itself is a great bike for going pretty much anywhere. But for someone with plenty of off road experience, it might be a little too gentle. So what if you were to triple the power?”
This Himalayan is now sporting an S&S Cycles 856cc big-bore kit, and Melbourne’s Hallam Engineering worked the head, adding larger valves, performance springs, a Hallam camshaft, and oversized throttle bodies.
A custom 2-into-1 exhaust and beefy Verex silencer let the big-bore engine breathe. The SurfSide boys reckon the bike now makes 70+ horsepower.
“The engine designers were really clever bastards. That engine is absolutely beautiful. A bunch of people have already said it; it’s over engineered and there’s a heap of horsepower yet to be found in the design.”
Next up for this “Himalayan 856” was suspension work:
“The main focus was to build some suspension which can handle the offroad part as that’s really where the bike was intended to be used. So we needed wheel travel, ground clearance and less weight.”
Tommy extended the swingarm, did a monoshock conversion, and added YSS shocks. Then he took the knife to the machine, shaving off as much weight as he could. He reckons he shed more than 65 pounds from the original machine, which now weighs a tick over 400 pounds:
“I stripped off maybe 30-something kilos and we ended up with a bike that weighs 182 kilos on a full tank and a bit over 70 hp.”
His aluminum bodywork keeps things light, while the Mitas off-road tires ensure grip in the loosest conditions. In the cockpit, a Garmin Montana 700i dash with SOS button keeps the rider oriented and safe in the bush. All in all, this is the baddest Himalayan we’ve seen. As Tommy says:
“It’ll be a weapon in the dirt!”