When the opportunity arises to road-test a motorbike designed to tackle the harshest terrain on earth, the immediate impulse might be to hop aboard a plane headed straight for the most unforgiving Asian or South American climes and mountain paths.
Here at Gentleman’s Journal, we opted instead to take advantage of that sacred land in the South of England, declared and reserved by William the Conqueror in 1079 to be his ‘new hunting ground’, and recognised by us today as the greatest backyard in which to play with the ultimate two-wheeled toy: the New Forest.
We sent two of Britain’s leading off-road motocross trail riders to put Royal Enfield’s new Himalayan through its paces — backed up by the British might of a new Land Rover graciously provided by luxury car hire service Vroomerz — across the tracts of unenclosed heathland and forests of this exquisite national park, and were sure to offer them the signature
GJ hospitality to oil the wheels.
With their latest creation taking its name and inspiration from the motorcyclists’ Mecca, the Himalayan motorcycle has been built for all roads and for no roads.
Permission then, for Jacob Young and Jevan Williams to truly put the bike through its paces along off-road forest tracks.
“It was easy to forget that we were not riding across a European landscape”, recalls Williams. Easy to believe, when one considers a day spent riding amongst some of England’s finest natural beauty — in the full August heat of one of the warmest summers in memory.
The weather and the landscape allowed our riders to enjoy the bike’s terrain-tested suspension, agile handling and Royal Enfield’s trademark long stroke efficiency engine.
“The off-road features were used to our advantage — we were able to ride in a way that is not possible on a road bike, so that added another dimension to the trip”, says Williams.
This was a journey enjoyed in excellent company and on excellent machines. After all, as Jevan Williams observed: “Being on the bike with your best friend. There can be no better feeling in the world.”
If you’re in the market for a slice of motoring history, take a look at the bikes up for auction at Bonhams…