When Royal Enfield invited MotoExotica to ‘build the ultimate version of the already capable Himalayan,’ the latter company’s founder and owner, Arjun Raina, was thrilled. The collab result is a custom motorcycle build that weighs less and gains ergonomics and performance. Not to mention that sexy blacked-out look.
Arjun Raina’s custom shop is based in the foothills of the Himalayas in Dehradun, India. His mission, he says, was to make Royal Enfield’s Himalayan subtle and strong, while keeping the overall identity of the bike. He wanted to push the stock Himalayan to the next level so it felt more like an extension of the rider’s body combined with the aesthetics of the world’s most imposing peaks.
“It’s a challenge to take something that’s already pretty good at something and make it better,” says Arjun. “It was an opportunity that we grabbed with both hands. And the best part was that Royal Enfield gave us an open hand to develop the bike based on our experience and knowledge.”
Elevating the Royal Enfield Himalayan
To save weight, MotoExotica rebuilt the bike using carbon fiber and outfitted it with more aggressive suspension, sharper brakes, and ergonomics able to handle aggressive riding. They also added a bigger gas tank finished with the topographical contours of Mount Everest. Long travel, re-valve USD suspension from WP gives the bike enduro chops and smooths out the ride.
Four-piston calipers stop the bike confidently along with a 12.5-inch floating rotor. Fully-adjustable rear suspension gives the rider control of the bike’s feel as does the custom swingarm with direct mount.
This Himalayan has plenty of power and personality from its custom Big Bore 500cc with a high lift camshaft and standalone programmable ECU to its eye-catching custom megaphone exhaust with carbon fiber end.
Rally rubber and a 21/18 wheel combo provide confident traction in rugged terrain.
“I am from the mountains,” says Arjun. “I am a mountain goat. And this bike is an extension of me.” Hence the word “Goat” in the graphics.
Himalayan Design Considerations
Arjun and his team kept the general shape of the headlight and didn’t stray far from the stock bike’s gas tank shape. They added an enduro-styled rear fairing, readjusting the ergonomics to put the rider in a more upright stance. They also outfitted the bike with wider bars and a curvy front fairing.
“Today if you imagine a lightweight dual sport,” says Arjun, “the first thought that would come to mind would be made of intersecting acute angle shapes. While this strategy was tempting it would be far off from the humble Himalayan. What we wanted was a shape that would unmistakably be a Royal Enfield.”
The MotoExotica team spent hundreds of hours sketching and tweaking the bike in CAD modeling software before using a CNC machine to mill 50 custom parts at its state-of-the-art prototyping center in Dehradun. To keep weight in check, they draped the subframe in carbon fiber, a labor-intensive process done in-house.
To create synergy between the Ultimate Himalayan and the rocky countryside of the Himalayan foothills, MotoExotica finished all of the machined bits parts in matte aluminum. It then powder-coated the frame and bash plate military green. Finally, it added the contours of Mount Everest on the gas tank in Nardo grey to blend in with the bike’s satin carbon fiber finish.
This was no easy feat considering that vinyl wrap doesn’t stick to carbon fiber very well. The team masked everything, then used paint and lacquer.
MotoExotica Brand History
MotoExotica got its start in the 2000s making expansion chambers for the Yamaha RD350. They built cafe racers and scramblers and swapped in high-travel suspension on a 230cc street bike at a time when dual-sport bikes weren’t sold in India. A few years later. MotoExotica built a rally motor based on the KTM Duke 390 that podiumed at the Raid De Himalaya Rally.
Royal Enfield’s RE Custom World connects customers with custom builders worldwide to take their Royal Enfields to the ultimate expression of their own tastes and performance desires, while also showcasing the most impressive and creative Royal Enfield rebuilds. MotoExotica is now part of this Royal Enfield program and history.
MotoExotica/Royal Enfield Custom Himalayan
“You know it’s a Himalayan,” says Arjun. “It doesn’t lose the personality of a stock Himalayan. But it’s the ultimate Himalayan. Motorcycles are eternal. They will live forever. They may change hands, they may change owners. We built this bike so that whoever is going to be riding it, whoever owns it, they’ll feel the connection with the bike and with the mountains immediately.”
Check out more of MotoExotica’s projects on their website.
Royal Enfield’s Adventure Touring motorcycles can be found here.