Indian manufacturer Royal Enfield has finally unveiled its new Himalayan, an all new lightweight adventure bike. Rumours of the bike have been circulating for some time, and the bike has been spotted undergoing extensive testing in recent months. Official photos and video of the bike were released a couple of weeks ago ahead of the unveiling this week. The design philosophy behind the bike was to keep it light and simple. Company CEO Siddhartha ‘Sid’ Lal has been riding in the Himalayas for over twenty years and said that “large adventure tourers that currently define this category, do not fare well in the Himalayas as they are very heavy, extremely complicated, and not really designed for this environment.” “With its purpose-built ground-up design, the Himalayan is a simple and capable go-anywhere motorcycle that will redefine adventure touring in India.” The Himalayan is powered by a completely new 411cc single cylinder overhead cam engine that is the base for the company’s new long stroke LS 410 engine platform. Power output is a meagre 18kW and torque is quoted as 32Nm. With a kerb weight of 182kg, the Himalayan is not going to be known for it’s outright performance. Royal Enfield claims that modern design and materials in the engine are giving increased efficiency and lowering maintenance, and that the engine can go 10,000 km between oil changes. The 15 litre fuel tank provides a range of approximately 450 km. The frame was designed and built by British company Harris Performance, which was purchased last year and is now wholly owned by Royal Enfield. Luggage mounting points for hard panniers, soft luggage and jerry cans are integral to the motorcycle’s design. The instrument cluster is simple and shows speed, direction, ambient temperature, travel time, service intervals and multiple trip distances. The seat height is 800mm and the seating position is more upright as you would expect on a motorcycle designed for long rides. Royal Enfield says it has been careful to design a bike that will appeal to the enthusiast as well as the regular commuter and that the bike is intended purely for the Indian market – for now! Even though we may not see the Royal Enfield Himalayan in Australia, what is important to us is that this bike probably gives an insight into the company’s future model strategy. We currently have three Royal Enfield model ranges available in Australia – the Continental GT Café Racer, the Bullet 500, and the retro styled Classic models. The Royal Enfield Himalayan will be released for sale to the Indian market in mid March.
Category: Motorcycle News
Suzuki’s 2016 GSX-R600 is now available in dealerships. The GSX-R600 has a reputation for its impressive performance and handling, both on the track and the road. It earned more track credibility last year by taking both first and second places in the 2015 ASBK Australian Supersport Championship. And it’s also one of the easiest of the 600cc supersports bikes to live with in the real world. For 2016 there’s nothing different in terms of technical specifications, but with the current GSX-R600 it’s really a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The 2016 GSX-R600 is powered by the same compact 599cc, four cylinder, liquid cooled engine that uses technology developed in MotoGP. The engine generates 93kW and 69Nm. The Suzuki Drive Mode Selector system gives the rider a choice of two selectable engine performance mappings. The two available maps were also developed using racing experience, and switching from one map to the other is instantaneous. A race-proven slipper clutch improves rear tyre grip and stability under hard deceleration by reducing the pressure through the clutch. The engine sits in a compact and lightweight twin-spar aluminum cradle frame. The front suspension uses fully adjustable 41mm Showa Big Piston Forks and the rear shock is a single Showa unit with externally adjustable rebound and compression damping, and adjustable ride height. An electronically controlled steering damper monitors the bike’s speed and adjusts itself for lighter steering at slower speeds, and delivers more damping force at racetrack and highway speeds. There are dual radial-mounted, four-piston Brembo monoblock calipers with 310mm dual floating disc brakes on the front, and a single piston rear brake caliper and 220mm disc on the rear. The obvious differences between the 2016 model and the previous year is the colours. The new model is available in two new colour schemes – Metallic Triton Blue with Red, and Pearl Red with Matte Black. The red belly pan is the definite clue to the 2016 model. The 2016 GSX-R600 is available now for a recommended retail ride away price of $16,490 and is backed by Suzuki’s two-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.
Harley-Davidson has announced its overall profit for the last three months of 2015 was significantly lower than for the same period of the previous year. The company’s quarterly profit was reported as $42.2 million, down by 43% from $74.5 million for the final quarter of 2014. The result, however, was better than most Wall St analysts expected. “Unprecedented challenges” of the global economy and competitive pressures are being blamed for the decline. Company President and CEO Matt Levatich said that “Without a doubt, it’s been one of the most competitive environments we have seen in years, particularly in the United States”. “Much of it is driven by currency differences, and some of it by new products from competitors all around the world.” Total worldwide sales of Harley-Davidsons dropped by less than 1% in the quarter, but sales in the United States fell by 3.4%. The US is the manufacturer’s largest and traditionally strongest market. The company says sales in the US have declined as the economy slowed in some states, and foreign competitors cut prices of their bikes to attract customers. In other markets, growth has been strong. Sales grew by 12.3% in Canada and 8.2% in the Asia Pacific region, and Harley-Davidson is currently the biggest seller of road bikes in Australia. The company is optimistic it can improve sales in the coming year. By looking to other markets and rationalising its product line it is hoping to attract a younger and more diverse customer base, including more women, to the brand. It expects to ship between 269,000 and 274,000 motorcycles worldwide in 2016, an increase of approximately 1-3% on its 2015 shipments. To help achieve that, Harley-Davidson also recently announced a 65% increase in its marketing budget for the year.
Swann Insurance and Insure My Ride have been named as Australia’s best value motorcycle insurers. Financial research and ratings organisation CANSTAR rated 11 providers in the first ever research of comprehensive motorcycle insurance in Australia. InsureMyRide and Swann Insurance were both awarded 5-star ratings on a National level for providing Outstanding Value Motorcycle Insurance. InsureMyRide achieved 5-star ratings in 23 categories and were found to have a very strong price offering for older riders. Through a strong offering of both price and extensive features, Swann Insurance managed to achieve 5-star ratings in 79 categories. Full results of the research are available on CANSTAR’s website, broken down by age, state and the engine capacity of the bike. “In collecting our insurance quotes we looked at the cost at four different ages,” said Canstar Research Manager, Mitchell Watson. Age was found to be the most significant factor affecting insurance premiums. “As an example, our research found an average annual premium for a 300cc bike of $1,869, that reduces to an average of $849 for a 24 year-old”, says Mitchell. “Comprehensive insurance for a 600cc bike is an average of $4,309 for a 20 year-old and $2,056 for a 24 year-old. A 30 year-old will pay just $1,209 on average for the same policy.” South Australia and Western Australia were also found to have lower premiums. “More traffic congestion increases the risk of minor accidents, for example. And a higher population also increases the risk of theft.” Consequently, New South Wales and the ACT have the highest premiums in the country. But Mr Watson was also quick to point out that price alone should not be the deciding factor for insurance. “There are standard insurance inclusions that all providers offer, but there are also some outstanding value-adds.” “Features such as covering the cost of a hire car, or a lifetime guarantee on repairs, or even just a really good online claims process can make a big difference to your claims experience.” Swann Insurance was also found to offer the best value on a state level in Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. NRMA was awarded State Winner in New South Wales, while in Western Australia top honours went to SGIO Insurance. In 2015 there were over 807,000 motorcycles registered in Australia but until now there was no reliable comparison of comprehensive insurance to help owners decide how to insure their bikes.
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