Monduke Moto builds an Enfield Enduro…
Introduced in 2018, the 411cc Royal Enfield Himalayan struck a resonant chord among motorcycle enthusiasts, who found the size, design, and low price hard to resist. No less than the legendary Peter Egan of Cycle World praised his 3500-mile “Himalayan Summer” aboard the midsize ADV bike, comparing it to his old Honda XL350:
“If somebody had told me 10 years ago, when I was doing trackdays on a Ducati 996 and tearing around the backcountry on a KTM 525, that I’d end up spending almost an entire riding season seated quite happily behind the handlebars of a 24 hp, 411cc, $4,700 adventure-touring bike made in India—leaving the other bikes in my small stable almost unridden—I might have been quite puzzled.” -Peter Egan
While the Himalayan has scored high marks for its value, it’s far from a hardcore off-roader, with relatively low power, high weight, limited suspension travel, and several other shortcomings.
Enter Dani Rodriguez of Monduke Moto, a lifelong motorcyclist whose discovered his love of desert riding 20 years ago, when he and six friends rode 1200+ miles across Africa’s Atlas and Sahara Deserts:
“On that trip I fell in love with the desert, the Atlas mountain tracks, the silence and light of the desert, and how agile and versatile those huge and heavy BMWs could be.”
He went on to participate in seven straight editions of Scram Africa on his trusty 1986 BMW R80GS, learning what it took for bikes to survive the desert, and in 2019, he was commissioned to design and build five bikes for a 3000-km (1800-mile) trip across Morocco — a route even more demanding than the Scram Africa.
When 2020 threw a monkey into their African travel plans, Dani and his crew pivoted quickly and organized the Ruta Iberica, a 3000-km trip across the Iberian Peninsula, using the same logistics trucks, medical vehicles, etc., which they had lined up for Morocco.
The Himalayan you see here was built for a client who was a fan of the Monduke’s previous builds, including their first Himalayan, but wanted even more off-road performance from the platform.
“We put a lot of effort into improving the off-road abilities of the Himalayan by improving the parts that we felt were weaker to make it a true enduro bike…”
The modifications were quite extensive, including Marzocchi Shiver forks with 280mm of travel (+70mm from stock), a custom TNT rear shock with 300mm travel (+120mm), 320mm Nissin dual-piston front brakes, a raising link, PowerTRONIC piggyback ECU, ABS disconnect, Termignoni exhaust, upgraded clutch, custom paint and carbon fiber finishes, and more.
The bike makes about 30% more power, is ~30 lbs lighter, and most importantly, the bike handles much better off-road — the biggest point of pride for Dani:
“The suspension has amazing poise and a behaviour, which gives you a lot of security on very rough terrain, even with big rocks.”
Himalayan Enduro: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Dani Rodriguez, born in Barcelona 48 years ago, father of two children, advertising producer and great lover of motorbikes and adventure trips.
My relationship with the world of motorbikes started when I was 7 years old, when my father let me try a motorbike for the first time. It was a white ’76 Vespino GL. I remember I felt like I was flying!
Shortly after that first experience on a motorbike, my father bought me a 50cc LEM mini trike made in Barcelona with a Franco Morini engine. From then on I always wanted to ride a motorbike.
Motorcycling was always more of a passion than a hobby. But what really changed my way of living the world of motorcycling was when I combined my passion for motorcycling with my other great passion, travelling. Then I discovered Africa. My first big motorbike trip to Africa was in 2003. A group of seven friends from Barcelona went down there with our BMW R1150GS’s and we covered about 2000 km between roads and tracks of Atlas and Sahara Desert.
On that trip I fell in love with the desert, the Atlas mountain tracks, the silence and light of the desert, and how agile and versatile those huge and heavy BMWs could be.
Then came the seven editions in a row of the Scram Africa, from 2013 to my last one, 2019, but those were done with my old 1986 BMW R80 G/S. An indestructible bike built and designed to make great routes on and off-road and that, moreover, had been the basis of those Dakar champion BMWs ridden by Auriol and Rahier.
During those Scram Africa years, I had a great friendship with Karles Vives from Fuel Motorcycles and was able to see first hand the design and build process of most of his bikes, as well as helping him with Scram Africa design and event production.
At the end of 2019 I was presented with the opportunity to create from scratch a project that was going to be a clothing, bike customisation, and adventure travel brand.
I started by organising a Sahara adventure trip that would cover 3000km in 12 days through the most beautiful areas of Morocco, but upping the physical and technical demands of the Scram Africa to a higher level.
I was then commissioned to design and build five bikes specifically for this trip. They were to be able to cover 3000 km in extreme conditions and to last to the end:
- 1 Ducati Scrambler Desert Seld
- 1 Dab
- 1 Royal Enfield Himalayan
- 2 BMW NineT Urban GS
That was the birth of Monduke Moto.
Then came the pandemic and Morocco closed its borders. The trip that I had already designed and organized could not be done. But we decided to go ahead and change Africa for the Iberian Peninsula. And so the Ruta Iberica was born. A 3000km trip through forest tracks and firebreaks organised in just 10 days, with part of the infrastructure we already had to go down to Morocco: logistics trucks, medical vehicles, new tracks, and the Monduke production team to follow the trip and get some fantastic photo and video images.
Then came the next two BMW R nineTs and the Himalayan that we are talking about now. So, we could say that the process has been slow but necessary to learn everything I know about this world.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
Royal Enfield Himalayan 411 from 2018.
• Why was this bike built?
This Himalayan was a commission from a client who became a fan of the bikes we had previously made.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The customer wanted to make a Himalayan with a more radical look than the previous one we had made and to improve the off-road performance a lot more. So we put a lot of effort into improving the off-road abilities of the Himalayan by improving the parts that we felt were weaker to make it a true enduro bike:
- Low power
- Very poor front brake
- Too short suspension
- Ergonomics not adapted to people of a certain height
- Somewhat high weight
So the concept of this bike was to create an enduro bike with the base of a Himalayan, which is a fantastic trail bike, with a 411cc engine and only 24 hp, but it has a formidable frame, which reminds me of my old R80 G/S.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The setup features:
- Marzocchi Shiver 45 fork with 280mm of travel
- 320mm Nissin dual piston front brake discs
- Custom fabricated TNT rear shock with 300mm travel
- Hitchcock’s short drop link to raise the bike’s height
- Renthal Fatbar enduro handlebars
- Two pairs of risers
- Husqvarna front mudguard
- Full LED front mask from a KTM
- Modified, raised seat with viscoelastic and gel interior and Alcantara upholstery
- Rear mudguard from a 1980’s Kawasaki enduro bike
- Custom fibre finishes
- Rear light from a Honda CR450 Rallye.
- Powertronic control unit that gives the bike a more aggressive power delivery, gaining about 3 hp.
- Termignoni exhaust that gives about 5 more hp
- Hitchcock’s clutch plate upgrade
- Lower and wider Beartrap Rally-style footpegs from SWT
- ABS disconnect switch
- Powertronic control switch with two modes: smooth and radical
- Koso tachometer
- Carbon paint finish with metalflakes, gold, orange and red lines
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Yes! “Horny Andrea.”
The reason is, after delivering the bike to its owner, we did a great weekend off-road over in Monegros, Spain. That’s a very nice area for doing off-road with sand trails — the place where the Baja Aragon Race happens.
If you’ve ever ridden a bike over sand, you know that you never cut the gas (throttle) to avoid going down very quick. When we arrived on the sand trails, one of the days, the owner was full gas and the bike began a kind of sensual dance over the sand, but always going straight on the track! Then the owner decide to call her “Horny Andrea.”
• Any idea of horsepower, weight, and/or performance numbers?
With the Powertronic ECU and Termignoni exhaust, it should be between 30 and 32 hp. After removing some parts from the original bike it should be close to 170 kg.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
The bike has incredible off-road behaviour:
- The suspension has amazing poise and a behaviour, which gives you a lot of security on very rough terrain, even with big rocks.
- The front braking feels very consistent
- The engine works much better and delivers more power at low revs. Much more torque than the original.
- Slightly changed riding position, higher and wider handlebars than the original, higher seat height and lower and more comfortable footpegs, gives a much more comfortable riding position, even standing up.
- The lighter weight and short wheelbase make the bike perfect for narrow mountain trails and trials.
- In addition, the chassis works very well and it is really easy to control direction changes quickly and nobly.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
What I’m most proud of is the final behaviour of the bike. It’s a bike that gives you a lot of fun.
• Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
I would like to thank the whole team of great professionals who have collaborated on this project:
- Vector Garage for the renderings (@vector_garage)
- TNT Suspensions (@tntsuspensions)
- Max Boxer (@maxboxer_javier)
- MamPaint, who always does wonders with the paint of our bikes
- Jordi Sanz, my right hand at Monduke Moto
- And to Valeria, my wife, for her unconditional love and support.