This page will consolidate what plans we have, what progress we make on our projects and new services of ours. Also special offers on certain occasions.
When enough has accumulated here this info will also be sent out to those who have subscribed to our newsletter.
India is on total lock-down since today which will last at least until 1st of April. As illogical as it is, even driving on the road is prohibited unless its a short trip to the market. We did plan to do the filming of the 450cc engine upgrade and also the extended long range testing of the 462cc engine but both plans cant reasonably be realized in this climate of panic with police checkpoints every 500m or so which will effectively prohibit us from even reaching the workshop.
We are only few people and some of us fall into the “age related risk group” of the Corona virus. For that reason we have all but halted operations until that pandemic is over. We still do administrative work, anything that can be done from the office but we do not ship goods at this time and consequently also do not take any orders.
Everything is in place but due to “see above” further testing is halted.
There is a good chance we will do the long endurace and high speed test in a few days as exposure to Corona should be minimal while riding.
Variable sidestand: Everything is ready and the actuator works as advertised.
Through a stupid oversight combined with bad communication from our Italian supplier we damaged the first piston we had in hand. It is not clear whether this piston can be safely used so we will ship it back for testing. The second piston has arrived recently but due to unforeseen absence of our chief technician for a family function who will not be back before mid-March the start of break-in and subsequent long range testing will be delayed probably until end of April.
After 1500km testing has reach the final phase. We are quite certain it will be concluded with a long range endurance and high speed run by the end of the month. If all goes well and Hitchcocks is willing to continue selling the piston separately we will offer this as a second choice for those who prefer a British product from the house of Hitchcocks.
Variable sidestand: The actuator from China has finally arrived and the prototype construction is underway. We do hope to be able to present a finalised product by the end of March.
Braking bad: Tests with a super expensive French made set of pads on the OEM caliper and disk have not given a much better result. It is guesstimated that these pads will improve the braking no more than 10-15%. Given the steep price difference of 200% over the OEM product usage economy remains questionable.
Because of our remarkably good albeit expected results with the Brembo setup on one of our bikes (which can only be applied to none-ABS versions) we have struggled to overcome that limitation and it seems finaly we may have succeeded. However the ultimate braking will not come cheap. The central hub of the 650cc is combined with a set of custom made spokes to fit the Himalayan rim. This has become necessary to fit the 320mm floating disc of the 650. Then the front fork’s lower part of the 650 is combined with the OEM fork of the Himalayan to accommodate the Brembo/Bybre caliper of the 650.
This combination is fully compatible with ABS and gives even better results than the Brembo which only uses a 300mm disc.
The original RE windshield for the 650 can now be fitted to the Himalayan directly. We provide the necessary fittings along with the package.
Occasionally we get used and slightly dented fuel tanks from our dealership.
Because in the process of cutting and re-assembling of the tank those small dents will be rectified automatically they do not diminish the final product at all. In these instances we hand the saving over to the customer who can get a bigger fuel tank at a steep 150 US$ discount. If you have the time to wait for such an event (approx once a month) let us know and we put you on a special waiting list.
We may offer EFI-to-carb conversion kits for do-it-yourselfers who prefer carbs over EFI. Because we can source the components at Indian retail such a kit will be relatively cheap. We still have to gauge the market before coming out with it.
The 462cc piston has done 600km and runs flawless and the added torque makes it a real pleasure to ride the upgraded bike. Long time and high speed test are still pending.
The 450cc piston has arrived and a cylinder was bored and honed. A brand new engine will be converted to 450cc tomorrow. However this same bike gets the front brake of the 650 interceptor and we still have trouble sourcing a fitting 32cm disk plate for the Himalayan with 6 holes to fix it to the wheel (the 650 plate only has 5 holes).
A glimpse of the future
There is the development of the LS410 into a 500cc engine with reworked head and body and the rest of it. Its in the early stages. I was told the only OEM part untouched would be the crankshaft. The resulting torque is a killer and hp should be in the 35-38 range. This is a one-off job for now, paid for by a single customer. It remains to be seen if we can transform this into a viable option for a broader customer base without charging more than a new bike would cost.
Our problems with a tank that developed blisters in the paint due to micro fissures in the welding was resolved and in the future all tanks will undergo a pressure test before getting painted. Fortunately this tank was used on one of our own bikes.
We did the cylinder to 462 specs and the wall is at 0.32mm. That is thin but not as thin as our earlier calculations predicted.
So there may be a future for the Hitchcock piston after all. Long term evaluation will start now with me braking it in carefully, then run it thru its paces. I will need to make at least 2000km with this piston before I feel comfortable to give a verdict. So end of March maybe, or some time in April more likely.
After a second order thru Amazon lead to the same result, namely refund and no delivery after waiting 3 weeks we have now ordered a third sample thru Banggood. If that also fails to materialize we will put that project on ice.
We have located a small but innovative maker of custom exhausts here in India. Being in business since the 90s but so far exclusively for bullets he has now made a nice looking new model for us that we will test on one of our bikes starting in a week or so. If it performs satisfactorily we might offer it for export in the shop.
Unbelievably the Italian 450cc piston is still in transit to us. At this point 3 weeks into the shipping there must be a severe problem with Indian customs. The reverse route is traveled in 10 days.
Finalized design of the tire hugger, ready to ship now.
Added a small windscreen (OEM Royal Enfield for the 650 models) to the shop with a uniquely designed bracket to fit to the Himalayan. Will be sending the design to the laser cutter shortly. ETA end of February.
Our second designer model Himalayan “India” is almost ready. Preliminary roll-out for a Republic Day drive it will go back into the shop for our brake enhancements namely the ByBre caliper, disk and front fork from the 650 models adapted to the Himalayan.
After much consideration and even more discussion with various engine refurbishing companies we decided to risk a simple bore and honing of the OEM cylinder with the 462 piston from Hitchcocks. Could be a close call with a calculated remaining wall strength of under 2mm. The engine then will be mounted on my bike because that is the most used and I ride hot and fast on highways a lot, so if it lasts on mine it is probably a solid solution. The Italian 450cc piston is still in transit to us.
Hitchcock piston and cylinder now at the boring/sleeving company. Finished product should be back in 2 weeks time.
The Italian piston is finally on its way to us. ETA 2 weeks.
Extensive research has been done regarding the lowering struts. The German made ones where checked against the OEM versions. They are perfectly worked in Aluminum vs. steel used in the OEM. The weight difference seems too small to justify the price difference. OEM struts were cut and welded with an extension.
The final design for a tire hugger has been done based on a KTM 390 hugger that was modified to fit the REH. This seems the most effective and visually pleasing design of all.
The second fully modified REH will be ready for delivery in a week or so. A new page to show off modified Himalayans was created.
Continued interference and delays with Indian customs keep the extendable side stand project stalled as well as our ability to do powder coating as the parts from Europe are stuck in customs as well. This can take a long time to settle.
Ongoing tests with the Brembo floating front brake disk. OEM caliper with OEM RE pads, thereafter with Brembo and 3rd party sintered pads. Results will be interesting. We are also aiming at modifying the ByBre caliper of the 650 so it fits the Himalayan fork because that and its pads are much cheaper than Brembo but just as effective as proven by the 650. Testing will take time. We are looking for a test stand where we can do objective measurements.
Hitchcock piston has been ordered. Italian piston still delayed.
New project: lowering struts. Aiming at 4cm lower seat position. Either with a high quality machined part or a cheap solution using the original OEM part , cut it and weld an extension. Even that would be more solid and stable than the cheapo Chinese ebay stuff.
The Toolbox for the Jerry can bracket is now available, powder coated mate black, two mate black powder coated Jerry cans are now available too.
Our powder coating guy has left us hanging high and dry for almost 4 weeks now. Finally he promises delivery for the 4th of Jan. This stalled many of our ongoing projects, basically everything where even one small part had to be coated by him.
For this reason we decided to get the necessary gear to do sandblasting and coating ourselves in the future. Orders for the tools are out, but it will take time, some stuff ordered from China, the USA and Europe.
Project 450cc: Hitchcock’s is now selling the piston for their 462cc combo solo. We are considering getting one and then offering our own sleeved cylinder with it.
Of course first we have to check how it runs without Powertronic and if other mods are necessary.
The Italian piston has not yet been sent to us, let alone arrived. Delays because apparently Italians take extended Christmas holidays we where told.
We are still hopeful to be able to stick to the deadline March/April 2020.
Extendable side stand started as new research project. It is envisioned to adapt a module from a medical OP table that can lift up to 140KG and is made of aluminum. A toggle switch on the handlebar will allow to extend the stand (which then will be 3 cm shorter than OEM) by additional 15cm.
The basic functionality remains the same, i.e. the stand needs to get swung down by the rider and up as well. The extender serves ONLY to alleviate ground clearance and unevenness.
Project “rear seat to toolbox” has been delayed until a decision can be made whether to use aluminum or stainless steel.
The basic design envisions a box in place and roughly of the size of the pillion seat. The box will be a bit higher and extended to the rear by a few centimeter. It will have a thin soft cover to be able to serve as “emergency seat”.