Dirt Weapon: 856cc Royal Enfield Himalayan

Himalayan 650 Scrambler

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

Himalayan 650 Scrambler

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.)

Himalayan 650 Scrambler

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. “

Himalayan 650 Scrambler

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. 

Himalayan 650 Scrambler

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.”

Himalayan 650 Scrambler

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?”

Himalayan 650 Scrambler

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. 

Himalayan 650 Scrambler

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.”

Himalayan 650 Scrambler

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.”

Himalayan 650 Scrambler

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.”

Himalayan 650 Scrambler

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!”

Himalayan 650 Scrambler

More Photos

Himalayan 650 Scrambler Himalayan 650 Scrambler

Follow the Builder

Web: www.surfside.net.au
Instagram: @surfsidemotorcyclegarage
Photos by Andrew Jones: @machines_that_dream


  1. michael h streuly

    Royal Enfields are junk. I would not waste my time or money on one. A friend of mine bought one even after i told him not to buy it and he has regretted it ever since. Bike is a piece of SHIT.

  2. Looks really Good !!

  3. ausome bike

  4. Anthony Dawson

    They are too expensive for what you’re buying. The twin-cylinder engine reportedly seems decent. But for the price, you can get an equivalent lightly used Honda or BMW that will simply outclass it in terms of technology & build quality. I have only viewed five examples, though. I have been stupid in the past and bought bikes like the Enfield. A new Gilera springs to mind. I convinced myself that it would be almost as good as the equivalent Yamaha. Within the first few days, the centre-stand simply bent under the bike’s own mass. I welded reinforcement. Then the clocks, indicator, footpegs, wiring, sidepanels, battery all followed suit by failing within the first month’s ownership. I carried on. Finally, the engine seized at 50mph. Only luck saved me. I would so like a bike like the Enfield to be what it purports to be: simple, low-tech reliability. I don’t think they will live up to this, You will regret shelling out so much on a bike that’ll be worth 20% of what you paid even before the payments (if you’re daft enough to buy via this way) are even half way through. Buy used. Buy quality. Buy mainstream and Honda or similar quality if you can. At least it will be still a viable machine to resell. Sorry, just passing on experience from my own costly mistakes. Having said that, the MZ Supa Five was the only cheapo that excelled the relative cheapness. Ace bike if you can work on it yourself.

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