Japan Princess Mako’s Boyfriend Kei Komuro Bids To Clear Path For Royal Wedding


The marriage of Kei Komuro and Mako was dramatically called off last February (AFP)

Tokyo: 

The boyfriend of Japan’s Princess Mako insisted Tuesday his family had no financial difficulties hanging over them, after reports of a unpaid loan apparently forced a postponement to a fairytale wedding between the two college sweethearts.

Kei Komuro and Mako, the eldest granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, had been scheduled to become formally engaged in a traditional Japanese court ceremony last year before a royal wedding planned in late 2018.

But the marriage was dramatically called off last February amid reports Komuro’s family had run into financial difficulties, with his mother failing to repay a four-million-yen ($36,000) loan from a former fiance of hers.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Komuro said: “My mother and I both understand that the (financial) support from the ex-fiance of my mother has been settled.”

Komuro said that when his mother and her fiance split up in 2012, the man had said the money he had offered them during the engagement did not need to be repaid.

But he changed his tune the year after, according to Komuro, demanding the money back in a letter in August 2013.

Komuro’s mother met her former partner and told him she could not repay the money and there was no further request.

Komuro said he and his mother were then “bewildered” when reports surfaced in December 2017 that the ex-fiance still wanted his cash back, just two months after the royal engagement was announced.

“My mother and I both appreciate the support we received from the former fiance, and we will make efforts to gain understanding from him,” Komuro’s statement concluded.

‘Clear The Problem’

In February 2018 the pair postponed the wedding until 2020, saying they needed more time to prepare, but rumours swirled in Japanese gossip magazines that there was more to the delay than simple money problems.

“We have come to realise that we do not have enough time to prepare for the ceremonies and our new life before the wedding planned in autumn,” Mako said in a statement released through the imperial household agency at the time.

She said the announcement of their planned engagement was made “too hastily” after the news leaked out.

“We should have thought carefully whether the pace was actually right for us … Now, we’d like to have the marriage, a major life event, in a better way.”

She apologised to those planning the royal wedding, blaming the couple’s “immaturity”. They are both 27.

Mako’s father Prince Akishino told reporters in November the pair “should take proper measures” if they still hope to get married.

Unless they “clear the problem”, we cannot hold the ritual for a formal engagement, he said.

The Japanese royal family has a packed schedule this year, as the 85-year-old Emperor Akihito abdicates on April 30 — the first time for more than two centuries that a Japanese emperor has stepped down.

His eldest son Naruhito is set to ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne a day later.

Mako is the eldest daughter of Prince Akishino, Naruhito’s brother, and Princess Kiko.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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Britain’s Prince Philip, 97, Escapes Unhurt After Road Crash Near Royal Estate


The Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a road traffic accident with another vehicle this afternoon. (File)

LONDON: 

Queen Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, 97, was involved in a traffic accident on Thursday near the Sandringham estate in eastern England, Buckingham Palace said. He was not hurt.

“The Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a road traffic accident with another vehicle this afternoon,” it said in a statement. “The Duke was not injured. The accident took place close to the Sandringham Estate.”

Local police attended the scene, it added.

The BBC reported that Philip was driving a Range Rover and that the vehicle landed on its side after a collision. It quoted a witness as saying the Duke was very shaken.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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BMW G 310 GS Vs Royal Enfield Himalayan ABS Comparison Review


An adventure on two wheels is what many riders dream about – heading out on a long ride, up to the nearest mountains, crossing fast flowing streams, over rocky and broken terrain. And the right and capable bike will certainly go a long way in making such a ride memorable and enjoyable. That is where adventure touring bikes come in, offering the comfort of long hours in the saddle, but at the same time offering some off-road capability to sail over gravel trails, broken roads and the like, when the tarmac disappears. The baby GS, the BMW G 310 GS, offers the entry into the coveted world of the BMW GS family, but there’s already a capable dual-purpose bike available – the Royal Enfield Himalayan. Both bikes offer similar touring capability, but there’s a lot of difference in how they are designed, how they perform, and how they are priced. So, let the games begin then.

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Both the BMW G 310 GS and Royal Enfield Himalayan are dual-purpose adventure bikes

Design and Features

The BMW G 310 GS has the typical adventure-style front beak, dual-tone signature GS colours, and a tall, upright riding position. It may be the baby GS, but it looks like a big bike. And with a seat height of 835 mm, it’s got a tall perch, perfect for a commanding view of the road ahead, but riders of shorter height may find it a little daunting to tip toe on. The 41 mm gold-coloured upside down fork adds a touch of quality to the already superb build quality. The body panels are solid, and if quality is what one is looking for, there’s no doubt that BMW has it got covered. Fit and finish is superb, and the baby GS feels like it will age well, without any rattles or panels getting loose. And it gets dual-channel ABS, and ABS on the rear wheel can be disengaged by the simple push of a button.

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The BMW G 310 GS is the better built, and better looking bike, but the RE Himalayan is rugged, and utilitarian

Comparatively, the Royal Enfield Himalayan’s design is rudimentary. It’s simple, utilitarian and looks rugged – built to take on the rough and the occasional tumble. And it’s got enough space to hook up panniers, and soft luggage and other essentials for a two-wheeled adventure. With a seat height of 800 mm, the Himalayan is also the more accessible bike; you can easily place both feet on both sides of the bike, and riders of different build and height will find it comfortable and easily accessible. The Himalayan now also gets dual-channel ABS, but ABS isn’t switchable, so experienced off-road riders may miss that feature of being able to lock the rear wheel, or get rid of the intrusive ABS, at least when riding off-road.

Also Read: BMW G 310 GS First Ride Review

On-Road Performance

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On tarmac, it’s the BMW which offers more spirited performance – better acceleration, better cruising speed and a more comfortable ride

On the move, it’s immediately apparent that it’s the BMW G 310 GS which offers more spirited performance. The 313 cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine is free revving, and as long as you keep it spinning above 4,500 revs, the GS feels entertaining to ride. The ride quality is plush and the seat offers a comfortable ride, although the front does tend to dive under hard braking. The brakes are quite good, and out on the highway, the G 310 GS will cruise comfortably at 120 kmph, going up to a top speed of over 140 kmph. But it’s the vibrations which begin to be apparent at high revs, and there’s a perceptible buzz on the footpegs, handlebar and fuel tank. And the fuel tank has only 11 litres capacity, so on a long ride, be prepared for refills before you cover 300 km on a tankful. The engine has a strong mid-range, but on the flip side, within the city, in bumper to bumper traffic, you have to constantly work the six-speed gearbox to be in the meat of the powerband. And that’s not a happy place to be in with the GS.

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The Himalayan’s sweet spot is between 90-100 kmph; anything more than that, the vibrations begin to get bothersome

The Royal Enfield Himalayan now gets fuel-injected, and throttle response is crisper than before. So, compared to the earlier carburetted model, the new Himalayan feels eager to build up speed, but acceleration is not comparable to the GS. It makes less power, only around 24.5 bhp of it, and the engine’s character is typical of Royal Enfield singles. As long as you’re not in a tearing hurry to get anywhere, the Himalayan will chug along nonchalantly, and it can hit 130 kmph with the throttle pinned wide open and a long enough road, but it’s not happy at high revs. Between 90 to 100 kmph is where the Himalayan’s sweet spot is, and it will happily maintain those speeds over a day’s ride.

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The Royal Enfield Himalayan is a relaxed performer; as long as you’re not in a tearing hurry to get anywhere, it’s got decent cruising ability

But where it excels is in the way the 411 cc air/oil-cooled engine delivers its torque of 32 Nm. So, without working the five-speed gearbox too much, the Himalayan will be happy to pull cleanly, and it’s a boon in city traffic. And that low-rev pulling power is also what is required when you’re traversing difficult terrain. The Himalayan also has a bigger 15-litre fuel tank, and that translates to more kilometres on a tankful of fuel. And while you’re at it, the Himalayan also has a comfortable ride, and the upright riding position and small windscreen helps a fair bit while riding for long hours on an open highway.

Off-Road Capability

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The GS has decent off-road capability, and will quite easily do the occasional trail, but it’s happier on tarmac

Both the BMW G 310 GS and the Royal Enfield Himalayan are adventure touring bikes. These are dual-purpose bikes meant for long distance touring and taking on the rough when the tarmac ends. Neither of these bikes have hard-core off-road ability, but they are both made for trail riding and the occasional gravel road. Both bikes have 220 mm of ground clearance, and the GS gets a standard engine bash plate, although it’s made of plastic. The 41 mm upside down front fork dives under hard braking, but ride quality is surprisingly good, even over dirt trails and gravel roads. With an 18-inch front, 17-inch rear alloy wheel combination, together with 180 mm of suspension travel, the GS is equipped for mild off-road duties, but you will need to be careful over broken and rocky terrain.

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It’s not a performance oriented ADV bike, but the Himalayan does most things expected of it quite satisfactorily

The Royal Enfield Himalayan, on the other hand, gets spoked wheels, and although no tubeless tyres, the front suspension offers 200 mm of travel. While a fistful of throttle may make the GS go sideways in the dirt, the Himalayan’s lack of power ensures the rear is reluctant to step out, even with the throttle pinned open. In a way, that’s the personality of the Himalayan; easy ride ability and relaxed cruising, and not meant for off-road shenanigans. But even less experienced riders new to dirt riding will appreciate how stable and composed the bike feels, and that low-end torque means it will thump over almost all kinds of surfaces. So, practically speaking, the Himalayan is the more rugged bike here and can take some fair amount of beating off-road. And it’s also got a more rugged engine bash plate than the BMW.

Verdict

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The handlebar of the G 310 GS is a tad too low for the rider to stand up and ride comfortably

The BMW G 310 GS is the better built bike in this comparison. It looks good, has superb fit and finish, and offers an entry ticket into the world of BMW GS. The GS also has better cruising ability and of course you get bragging rights of being the owner of a BMW GS. Picking a clear winner in this comparison isn’t so simple, primarily because of the huge price difference. But if pricing isn’t a consideration, it will also depend on the kind of riding you do. If you’re looking mostly at tarmac riding, and even long distance riding, the BMW G 310 GS is better suited for that. It’s more comfortable, has better cruising speed and of course it’s a BMW.

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The BMW G 310 GS is the better built, and better looking bike, but it’s more expensive; the RE Himalayan is versatile, affordable and easily accessible

But if you’re looking at mostly trail riding, over broken roads and rocky riverbeds, the Himalayan can take that kind of beating. At ₹ 1.79 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), it’s more affordable, cheaper to maintain and will be cheaper to repair as well. Getting into the world of BMW GS may be tempting for some, but at ₹ 3.49 lakh (ex-showroom), the BMW G 310 GS costs nearly twice the Himalayan, and in this comparison, it’s the Himalayan which is the easier, more accessible, more affordable and more versatile adventure motorcycle, and that is why the Royal Enfield Himalayan is our pick in this comparison.

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Photography: Azam Siddiqui & Rakesh Singh
















Specifications BMW G 310 GS Royal Enfield Himalayan
Engine Type Single-Cylinder (water-cooled) DOHC Single-Cylinder (air-cooled) SOHC
Displacement 313 cc 411 cc
Max Power 34 bhp @ 9,500 rpm 24.5 bhp @ 6,500 rpm
Max Torque 28 Nm @ 7,500 rpm 32 Nm @ 4,250 rpm
Gearbox 6-speed 5-speed
Kerb weight 169.5 kg 191 kg
Ground Clearance 220 mm 220 mm
Starting Price (Ex-Delhi) ₹ 3.49 lakh ₹ 1.79 lakh
ABS Yes (Can be turned off) ABS
Traction Control NA NA
Seat height 835 mm 800 mm
F/R Suspension 41 mm USD/monoshock 41 mm telescopic/monoshock
F/R Brakes 300 mm/ 240 mm 300 mm(2 piston)/240 mm(single)
Fuel Tank Capacity 11 litres 15 litres

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Royal Enfield Bullet 500 ABS Launched In India, Priced At Rs. 1.86 Lakh


The Bullet 500 is the first Royal Enfield bike to get ABS in 2019, and according to some of the dealers we spoke to, the next in line is the Bullet 350.




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After the rear disc brake version of the Royal Enfield Bullet 500, now we get the ABS model too

The Royal Enfield Bullet 500 has recently joined the list of RE bikes that have been introduced with ABS (Antilock Braking System). Priced at ₹ 1.86 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Bullet 500 is the first Royal Enfield bike to get ABS in 2019, and according to some of the dealers we spoke to, the next in line is the Bullet 350. Interestingly enough, it was just last month that the company introduced rear disc brakes in both the 350 cc and 500 cc Bullets, and the former is expected to get ABS by March 2019.

Earlier, towards the end of December 2018, Royal Enfield had also introduced the ABS version of the Classic 350 Redditch edition. This means that save for the Bullet 350, the company’s entire fleet now comes with dual channel ABS as standard and that too before the new stringent safety norm, which requires all bike above 125 cc to come with ABS, kicks in, starting April 1, 2019.

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Mechanically, the Royal Enfield Bullet 500 remains unchanged

There are no additional features introduced at this point, and the bike comes with the standard offerings like the Tiger-eye lamps, classic round headlamps, single-piece seat, pinstripes on the tank and side panels, and more. The bike, in its classic fashion, continues to come with spoked wheels, a 19-inch wheel up front and an 18-inch wheel at the back, shod in 90/90 and 120/80 section tyres respectively. Now, of course, both wheels come with disc brakes with dual channel ABS. The bike continues to use telescopic forks up front and twin shock absorbers at the rear.

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Powering the Royal Enfield Bullet 500 ABS is the same 499 cc single-cylinder, air-cooled engine with fuel-injection that produces 27 bhp and 41 Nm of peak torque. Transmission duties are handled by a 5-speed constant mesh gearbox.

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Royal Enfield Himalayan ABS Review


The Royal Enfield Himalayan isn’t exactly an all-new bike. It has been around since 2016, when Royal Enfield introduced the company’s first adventure-touring motorcycle. The Himalayan also got the first counterbalanced engine on any Royal Enfield, but the first carburetted Himalayan has had its fair share of complaints from owners, particularly about reliability and mechanical issues. Last year, the Royal Enfield Himalayan got two significant updates. First, the Himalayan was introduced with fuel-injection, and late last year, Royal Enfield also introduced dual-channel ABS. And now, we got to spend some time with the new RE Himalayan ABS, to see how much has changed.

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The overall design of the RE Himalayan ABS hasn’t been changed; it’s a simple, purposeful design, not exactly beautiful, but looks utilitarian

What Has Changed, What Hasn’t?

The design and overall silhouette of the Royal Enfield Himalayan remains the same. It’s a love it, or hate it, sort of design. We like the functional, and almost industrial, bare-bones design, and it looks built to take on a lot of hard work. The overall design, body panels, cycle parts and even the engine remain the same. The engine also remains the same 411 cc, air-cooled engine, which puts out 24.5 bhp of power at 6,500 rpm and 32 Nm of peak torque at 4,250 rpm.

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The 41 mm front fork is non-adjustable, but offers 200 mm of travel. Brakes are now non-switchable dual-channel ABS

The chassis, suspension, wheels and tyres also remain the same, as do the instrument panel and lights. But what has changed as mentioned earlier, is that the Himalayan now gets fuel-injection and standard dual-channel ABS. Those are the only changes, but they have made the bike feel different; the throttle response has improved, and so has stopping power, but we’ll get to that in some more detail.

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The Himalayan’s instrument panel is packed with information, but is busy. The compass seems to have a mind of its own.

Also Read: 2016 Royal Enfield Himalayan Review

How Does It Perform?

The 411 cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled, single overhead cam engine has the same output as before, but what it now gets is electronic fuel injection, and the difference is apparent from the time you press the starter button. The engine idles steadily with reassurance, and what has definitely improved is the acceleration. The fuel-injected engine feels smoother and more responsive than the earlier carburetted engine, and shift quality on the five-speed gearbox also seems to have improved significantly. Although shift quality is precise, it’s not exactly slick by modern standards. The clutch though is heavy, and if you’re caught in a bumper to bumper situation, working the clutch over and over again won’t exactly be a pleasant experience.

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The Royal Enfield Himalayan is a relaxed performer; as long as you’re not in a tearing hurry to get anywhere, it’s got decent cruising ability

So long as the traffic is moving, the Himalayan is a relaxed performer on tarmac. The engine’s got a strong low and mid-range, and you don’t really need to keep working the gearbox to keep momentum going. But this is not a high revving engine, so the Himalayan still is happiest when you play with the torque and let it pull leisurely, rather than trying to get to triple digit speeds in a hurry. Out on the highway, you will get to around 125 kmph if you push it, but at those speeds, the engine isn’t the happiest.

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The Himalayan’s sweet spot is between 90-100 kmph; anything more than that, the vibrations begin to get bothersome

Despite being a counterbalanced engine, the 411 cc single has more or less the same characteristics as either the Royal Enfield 350 cc or 500 cc engines. The only minute difference is that it revs a little bit more, but that doesn’t translate to any real performance gains. Cruising at 90-100 kmph is where the Himalayan’s sweet spot is, but at higher speeds, the vibrations on the handlebar, footpegs, seat and fuel tank will begin to get bothersome after sometime.

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The Himalayan’s handling is predictable and neutral and it’s comfortable to ride for long hours

Handling and Braking

Handling on tarmac, for the most part, is predictable and neutral. This isn’t a bike to hustle around a set of corners, neither is it designed to be ridden that way. But the traditional double-cradle chassis keeps things taut and predictable, and even when taking on the occasional sweeping turn, the Himalayan feels planted and stable. But more than the motorcycle’s ability, it’s the lack of feel from the front end which will discourage you from pushing it hard around a corner. Of course, there’s the large 21-inch wheel, but the dual-sport Ceat tyres don’t offer the confidence to push the bike around a fast corner.

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The dual-channel ABS cannot be switched off, even on the rear wheel, so riding off-road, the intrusive ABS becomes disconcerting

One of our grouses with the first generation Himalayan was in the braking department. And now, Royal Enfield has introduced standard dual-channel ABS on the Himalayan. Yes, there’s a definite improvement in the braking department, but the two-piston caliper gripping the single 300 mm disc doesn’t quite offer the bite or confidence to shave off triple digit speeds in a hurry. And the ABS isn’t switchable as well. So when you’re riding off-road, over loose surfaces and the like, the intrusive ABS becomes disconcerting, and sometimes downright disturbing. But that small windscreen, upright riding position and easy ergonomics make it easy for a long day in the saddle, and couple that with a sorted ride quality, it’s quite the comfortable mile muncher, as long as you’re not in a tearing hurry to get anywhere.

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With 220 mm of ground clearance, and 200 mm front suspension travel, the Himalayan can take on a lot of hard-core off-road terrain

Off-Road Capability

With an 800 mm seat height, the Himalayan is easily accessible to riders of different heights and build, and reaching the ground with both feet is easy for my near 5 foot 10 inch frame. The low seat height will be helpful to wade across mountain streams with a rocky bed, or across mud and slush when the going gets tough. And the 32 Nm of torque ensures you will chug across most obstacles and rocky or sandy terrain without a care in the world. And speaking of rocky terrain, the Himalayan also offers 220 mm of ground clearance, and a standard engine bash plate, so no worries about oil spilling out of a broken crank case, or getting stranded while tackling such terrain.

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The dual-sport Ceat tyres of the Himalayan offer decent grip, even over loose surfaces

The 21-inch front wheel and 17-inch rear wheel combination of spoked wheels is perfect when the road ends and the going gets tough. The tyres which feel somewhat vague around a sharp corner on tarmac now begin to show their purpose. They are nowhere near comparable as more expensive and proper off-road knobby tyres, but grip levels of the Ceat tyres over gravel and sand are quite satisfactory. The 41 mm front fork isn’t adjustable, but offers 200 mm travel, and that means there’s no bottoming out, even when you are jumping over rocks, ditches and sandbanks. And yes, the rear monoshock also offers 180 mm of travel. With a kerb weight of 191 kg, the Himalayan isn’t exactly light, but it’s still light by adventure bike standards, so even when you end up dropping it, it’s easy to pick up, straddle and ride on. And in case you break something, it won’t cost you a fortune to repair, or replace.

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The Himalayan’s biggest strengths are accessibility, affordability and versatility

Verdict

The Himalayan’s performance on tarmac may not exactly be earth-shattering, but once the road ends, and the trail begins, its easy-going performance makes things a lot simpler. Even riders with limited or no exposure to dirt riding will find the Himalayan’s stability and off-road capability a whole lot of fun. At ₹ 1.79 lakh (ex-showroom), the Royal Enfield Himalayan is the most affordable adventure touring motorcycle available in the market right now. With a strong sales and service network, and easy availability and cost of spares, it’s also easy to live with. And that’s the Himalayan’s biggest strength.

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It’s not a performance oriented ADV bike, but it does most things expected of it quite satisfactorily

The Royal Enfield Himalayan is a simple, bare-bones motorcycle which is affordable, approachable and is built for a leisurely two-wheeled adventure. It’s not an out and out motocross bike, or has the performance to make you pull a wheelie in the dirt, or even pull off a proper power slide. If you’re looking for a modern, sophisticated and performance-oriented adventure motorcycle, you shouldn’t even go looking at the Himalayan, because it may leave you seeking a lot more, because this is no Triumph Tiger or BMW R 1200 GS.

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The Royal Enfield Himalayan ABS is a simple adventure tourer which does the job, while being easy on your pocket

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But if you’re looking for a simple, affordable and easily accessible bike to ride some dirt trails without being overwhelmed with performance or expensive repair bills, the Himalayan is just the right bike for that kind of job. Affordability, accessibility and versatility are its biggest strengths, and with that price tag, there’s no other motorcycle on sale right now which offers those qualities. In fact, riding the Himalayan over a couple of days, you begin to appreciate its simplicity and the capability it offers, and those are the main reasons you should consider one.

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Royal Enfield Sales Drop By 13 Per Cent In December 2018


Royal Enfield’s domestic sales declined for the second consecutive month in December 2018, even as exports soared.

Having posted consistent growth month-after-month throughout 2018, Royal Enfield ended the year with a decline in total sales for the month of December. The bike maker sold a total of (domestic + exports) 58,278 units in December 2018, a 13 per cent drop in volumes as opposed to 66,968 units sold during the same month in 2017. Royal Enfield’s domestic sales stood at 56,026 units, a decline of 14 per cent over 65,367 sold in December 2017.

Nevertheless, international sales for Royal Enfield saw a hefty growth of 41 per cent, up from 1601 units shipped in December 2017 to 2252 units exported last month. While the company hasn’t stated the reason for the surge in demand, it is likely that the exports have risen thanks to the launch of the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and the Continental GT 650 in overseas markets.


Royal Enfield

Royal Enfield’s most consistent seller – the 350 cc range saw a drop of 15 per cent in volumes with 53,790 units sold. Meanwhile, motorcycles with a capacity up to 500 cc, which includes the Bullet 500, Classic 500 and the Himalayan increased by 21 per cent last month. This is the second consecutive month, the manufacturer has seen a drop in domestic sales.

In November 2018, the witnessed a 4 per cent decline in sales with 65,026 units as against 67,776 units that were dispatched in November 2017. The drop comes at a time when the company is facing direct competition from the recently resurrected Jawa Motorcycles. Bookings for latter are already open with its retro motorcycles sold out till September this year.

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Royal Enfield Bullet 350 And 500 Trials Scrambler Images Leaked


The leaked images showcase the first proper glimpse of the Royal Enfield 350 and 500 Trials scrambler-styled motorcycles that are expected to go on sale around early 2019.




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The Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Trials will continue with the same mechanical setup

Rumours have been rife about Royal Enfield bringing a Scrambler-styled motorcycle next year to the Indian market and while it was expected to be a new 650 cc offering, the latest set of leaked images say otherwise. According to the latest images emerged online, Royal Enfield is working on the Scrambler version of the Bullet 350 and Bullet 500 that is likely to go on sale in the first half of 2019. To be badged as the Royal Enfield Bullet Trials 350 and 500, the bikes look identical to the ones we’ve spotted testing in the past and will come with an upswept exhaust, knobby tyres, single seat, among other changes.

Also Read: Is A Royal Enfield Scrambler In The Making?

Royal Enfield Bullet 350
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The Royal Enfield Bullet 350 Trials gets a red frame and an Interceptor 650 inspired fuel tank

With the popularity of scramblers globally, it should not come as a surprise that Royal Enfield is looking to tap into the potential. The Trials edition has been on sale internationally for years now first introduced as an Electra 500 based offering in the UK, while there have been customisable kits for the standard models as well  The leaked images reveal most noticeably the upswept exhaust with the raised mudguard and a luggage rack in place of the pillion seat. The fenders are shorter too over the standard version.

The ground clearance appears to be similar to the stock model, while the suspension too appears to remain the same with no changes in the travel. We’ll have to wait though for RE to officially announce if there have been any changes made to the suspension. The frame though is finished in red on the Bullet 350 Trials, while the Bullet 500 Trials gets a green finished chassis that remains largely visible. Also visible are the fork gaiters for the front suspension and a black bezel for the headlamp.

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Royal Enfield’s original trials bikes were sold during the ’40s and ’50s | Photo Credit: Haywards

Interestingly, the Royal Enfield Bullet 350 Trials gets an Interceptor 650 inspired fuel tank with the classic RE logo that certainly looks good, while the Bullet 500 Trials comes with a copy finished fuel tank in comparison. Mechanically, expect both bikes to continue using the 346 cc and 499 cc single-cylinder engines respectively, while also getting ABS as standard right from the launch.

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The Royal Enfield Electra 500 based Trials bike sold in the UK in 2009 | Photo Credit: Haywards

The scrambler-styled Royal Enfield Trials bikes were originally sold back in the late forties and fifties, and the 350 trials bike also won a number of championships. So do expect the bike maker to dive into its history and tell us an interesting story around the Trials bikes. Prices will be at a premium over the standard versions, but it needs to be seen if production will be limited like some of RE’s previous special edition motorcycles. We expect to hear from the manufacturer soon about the Trials edition, which will remain unique to the segment.

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Leaked Images Source: Gaadiwaadi.com

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Is A Royal Enfield Scrambler 650 In The Making?





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Royal Enfield could well introduce a Scrambler in the new 650 Twin platform

An upcoming Royal Enfield Scrambler 500 has been spotted once again, undergoing test runs in Pune, leading to speculation that the Scrambler 500 will be launched as early as March 2019. Spy shots of the RE Scrambler 500 reveal only cosmetic differences, primarily in the fender design and a wider and taller handlebar with a central brace. While the latest spy shots do underscore that the Royal Enfield Scrambler 500 may be almost production ready, it also leads to the next possibility – is there a Royal Enfiield 650 Scrambler on its way?

Watch the Royal Enfield 650 Twin India Ride Review Here:


Royal Enfield

 

Also Read: Royal Enfield Scrambler 500 Spotted Testing

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The Royal Enfield Scrambler 500 is expected to be launched in the first quarter of 2019

The new Royal Enfield Scrambler 500 is expected to be powered by the same engine as the RE Classic 500. The four-stroke, air-cooled, fuel-injected 499 cc single-cylinder engine puts out 27.2 bhp of maximum power at 5,250 rpm and peak torque of 41.3 Nm at 4,000 rpm. The wheels are likely to be the same 19-inch front and 18-inch rear combination, but the tyres will likely have off-road and on-road oriented tread pattern. The Scrambler 500 also comes with front and rear disc brakes, and while ABS will be standard, Royal Enfield could also offer the bike with switchable ABS, at least on the rear wheel for better off-road capability.

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The custom Scrambler 650, built by Revival Cycles, demonstrates the possibility of developing a Scrambler based on the 650 Twin platform

Clearly, the Scrambler genre is what Royal Enfield will explore as the next new model range of bikes. And if the Royal Enfield Scrambler 500 is on its way, will a Scrambler 650, based on the new RE 650 Twins also be in the making? It’s early days yet to confirm if Royal Enfield will introduce a 650 Scrambler, but what is clear is that the 650 Twins will spawn more new models.

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The Scrambler 650 Custom uses a standard bash plate and long travel suspension

While the possibility of a 650 cc Himalayan has also been rumoured for long, we believe the off-road model in the 650 Twin platform will be a Scrambler rather than an adventure tourer. And this is where Royal Enfield’s very own custom build based on the 650 Twins come in. During the press ride of the 650 Twins in the US earlier this year, Royal Enfield showcased several custom bikes, but one of them which caught our eye is a Scrambler-style one-off build commissioned to Revival Cycles.

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The suspension travel has been bumped up on the custom Scrambler 650 and the wheels come with knobby tyres

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Based on the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650, the ‘Sunday Special’ as it’s called, features long travel suspension, a standard engine bash plate, knobby tyres and a flat seat. A wide handlebar completes the 1960s Scrambler design, although the LED headlight and brushed aluminium finishes do underscore the high quality contemporary touch to this neo-retro Scrambler. Of course, the Sunday Special is a one-off build for now, but it certainly highlights the canvas the 650 Twins provide to develop different factory custom bikes. A bigger and more powerful Royal Enfield Himalayan will be welcome, but a modern-classic Scrambler, based on the 650 Twins is what will be Royal Enfield’s legacy model, and the custom Sunday Special could well be the beginning of the designs for a third model in the 650 Twin platform – a Scrambler 650.

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Royal Enfield Scramble 2018: Looking For Adventure With The RE Himalayan


Royal Enfield, as a brand, holds quite a big value in the Indian motorcycling community and has been a crucial part of our automotive history. Despite several modern and technologically advanced offerings present today, one reason why many customers still go for a Royal Enfield motorcycle is purely because of the love and camaraderie its owners share for the brand. The company knows this very well, which is why Royal Enfield has been hosting some of the most popular customer-driven riding events. One such event is the Royal Enfield Scramble, a specially designed adventure riding competition that tests your riding ability, navigation skills, and teamwork. Luckily, this year, Royal Enfield invited us to be a part of the fourth season of this competitive riding event, which was held in Gurugram.

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The fourth season of the Royal Enfield Scramble was held at Gurugram this year

Organised by Himalayan Motorsport, the 2018 Royal Enfield Scramble offers three days of hard-core off-road riding, competitive adventure sports events, and more. A total of 10 teams participated, mostly from Delhi and NCR, and each team consisted of two riders, which includes the media team that I was part of. While the event is mainly suited for the Royal Enfield Himalayan, it did not stop many participants from entering the competition with bikes like the 350 Electra (now Bullet ES), Classic 350, Thunderbird 350, Classic 500, and even a Bullet 500. In fact, one of the riders from the winning team rode the Classic 350. I, on the other hand, was given the new BS-IV compliant, fuel injected, non-ABS 2018 Royal Enfield Himalayan. I was paired with a fellow journalist from AutoX magazine.

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2018 Royal Enfield Scramble saw close to 20 riders participate this year

The base, the starting point, and the off-road arena, for all three days, was going to be the Off-Road Adventure Zone (ORAZ) in Gurugram. The first day or ‘Day 0’ mainly involved briefing for the main event and a few small technical riding tasks in the off-road arena. Before I get into the details, let me just tell you the only off-road riding experience I have had before this, apart from riding on the pothole infested roads of Mumbai, was a 3-hour adventure and off-road training session I got at the Triumph Adventure Training Academy. Little did I know that everything I learned there, were just baby steps compared to what I was going to experience here.

Day 0

So, coming back to the technical tasks of Day Zero, it involved riding on this meticulously designed off-road track which included steep climbs up embankments, and downhill sections, sand tracks, gravel, and small ditches, and a bunch of other obstacles. Each participant was timed for each one of these tasks, and it was during one of these levels that my bike got stuck in a field of tyres, and I lost a massive amount of time, putting my team at the bottom of the scoreboard for the first day. However, I still had the chance to redeem myself during the main event which was going to take place during the following two days.

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The main event involved navigating to different waypoints around Gurugram using GPS coordinates

To give you a gist of it, the main event was divided into two days and each day the teams were to be given a set of about 9 GPS coordinates, located in and around the Gurugram area, which were essentially ‘waypoints’ to cover. Each one of these coordinates held a certain amount of points, and all the teams had to navigate to every single one of them, not necessarily in the given order, using Google maps. The first team to cover all waypoints and reach the final destination, within the stipulated time, will have scored the highest points for that particular day. The list also included a couple of dummy waypoints and a few bonus tasks, which were to be revealed to us only at select coordinates. Furthermore, at the end of each of these two days, the organisers planned another technical task, one more challenging than the previous day.

Day 1

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The teams were flagged-off from the Off-Road Adventure Zone (ORAZ) in Gurugram

So, 10 minutes before the flag-off we were handed out the list of coordinates for the day, and that was all the time we were going to get to formulate a strategy to cover all the waypoints. The first coordinate on the list was a compulsory one, which means all the riders were heading out for the same location. As soon as I hit the road, I noticed a peculiar problem with my motorcycle, which did not allow me to go past 60 kmph because my clutch cable was getting jammed. While from a certain point on the route the speed limit was below 60 kmph, it was on the highway where all the riders whizzed past me, including my partner, making me the last one to reach the first waypoint. Lucky for me, by the time I reached the first destination, my teammate had already set a suitable course for us to cover the remaining coordinates.

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We had to strategise a suitable course to cover the waypoints given to us using GPS coordinates

Within the first few hours, we had covered around 3 to 4 waypoints, and it was at one of these locations that we got a chance bag some bonus points as well. It was a simple task that involved searching and retrieving a blue sash from a nearby coordinate, but it took us about 10 minutes to complete. The next location on the map was around 32 km away and for the most part of it we were on the highway, which means I had to cruise at 60 kmph. Luckily it was at this next waypoint that I got some mechanical help and got my clutch cable fixed and now it was time to make up for the lost time. Or so I thought.

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The RE Himalayan we had was the fuel-injected BS-IV model, and felt at home in the wilderness

At the next waypoint, which was practically inside a forest, we were given the option to achieve some bonus points again, considering we had lost few points already, we decided to make up for it here. As we had no network connection to find out where exactly the coordinates led us, we decided to keep following the trail till we reached the waypoint or the nearest network tower. Interestingly enough the trail had direction markers along the path and assuming it was made by the organisers so that we do not get lost, I and my teammate decided it would be ideal for us to follow the markers. Turns out it wasn’t, and if you still haven’t guessed it yet, yes, we were lost! Sadly enough, we realised this after almost an hour of going deep inside the trail. The route itself, however, was one of the most challenging off-road trails ever, filled with long patches of red soil, sand, gravel, stone paths, steep uphill climbs and downhill sections and much more. In fact, it took us almost an hour and a half to come out of the trail and into civilisation, and by that time we had already reached our deadline, missing out on about four more waypoints.

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We lost a great amount of time after we got lost inside a forest trail

With no time in hand, we decided to head directly to the last coordinate, which was OTR Dirt Park, close to ORAZ, and it was here that we had to do complete Day 0’s main technical task. The specially laid out track was equipped with patches of hard soil, loose soil, sand, ditches and much more, luckily for me, after spending most part of the day on a much tougher natural off-road trail, this one did not feel all that difficult, and I finished it in 1 minute and 44 seconds, not the best but at least better than at least 3 other participants.

Day 2

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The Royal Enfield Himalayan was punctured twice on the last day

After an eventful Day 1, I was hell-bent on making up for all the points our team had lost the previous day. But, it was easier said than done. As I walked up to my motorcycle in the hotel parking lot I noticed that the front tyre was flat, turns out my off-road fiasco from the previous day had left a slow puncture in the bike’s front tyre. To make things worse, it was a Sunday and there is no puncture guy to fix the tyre for me at 7:30 am nearby. By the time I got it fixed and reached the starting point, I was already over an hour late, which was the biggest setback for the final day. Or so I thought.

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We had to cover over 6 km of off-road trail to cover with a punctured tyre

While the podium was nowhere on the horizon for us, we were eager to properly finish the race, and achieve all the waypoint. Making the best of the lost time my teammate had already devised the entire route based on the new coordinates, as soon as I punched in my start time at the flag-off point we sped to the first waypoint, which was only about 15 mins away. From there, the next waypoint was about 7 km away but the entire stretch was an off-road trail, the same section where we were lost the previous day. So, as I carefully manoeuvred my motorcycle to avoid another puncture, we came across a bad patch of rocks and at one point I could literally hear the tube in my front tyre burst and the air gushing out. So, here I was again, in the same forest we got lost the day before, and with over 6 km of off-road trail to cover with a punctured tyre.

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This was the second time that I had to change the front tube of the Himalayan

The only option for me at that moment was to ride the bike as slowly and carefully as possible and reach civilisation and get a new tube for the tyre. So, after wasting over an hour or more, we finally reached a puncture shop and put in a new tube. At this point, I and my teammate were so exhausted that we were ready to head back to the base and be done with it. But the competitive spirit in us had not died, and as we just had a couple of hours more before the deadline, we decided to reach as many waypoints as possible. The nearest waypoint was about 11 km away and in the opposite direction, so we skipped lunch, got back on the bike and headed out towards it, before heading back to ORAZ.

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The final technical task of the event was possibly the most difficult one so far

Finally, it was time for the final technical task of the event, which was possibly the most difficult one so far. This time around in addition to gravel, sand and mud, we also had to go through heavy muck and slush that was almost over a foot deep, along with many more obstacles. Lucky for me I was on a Himalayan and things were a bit easy for me, compared to other riders who were on their Classics, or Bullets, or Electras. In fact, I completed a course of the track in 5 minutes and 28 seconds, at the eleventh position. To put things into perspective, the longest it took someone to complete a lap of this off-road track was 12 minutes and 31 seconds.

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The maximum time someone took to cover this off-road track was 12 minutes and 31 seconds

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Despite the fact that we were not able to complete the race on both days, there is no doubt that the experience was unlike any other. After three days of hardcode adventure and off-road riding surely my body was aching in places I never thought I could feel pain in but all said and done, it was all worth it. So, Royal Enfield, do not forget to invite me again for the next season of the Scramble. It will be time for redemption!

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Royal Enfield Classic 350 Redditch ABS Launched In India; Priced At Rs. 1.53 Lakh


The Royal Enfield Classic 350 Redditch Edition now comes with dual-channel ABS, which is priced at a premium of Rs. 6000 over the non-ABS model.




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The Royal Enfield Classic 350 Redditch edition ABS gets no mechanical changes

Royal Enfield has been updating its line-up with Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) since August this year, ahead of the April 2019 deadline. Joining its line-up of ABS equipped models is the Classic 350 Redditch Edition that now gets the safety feature. The Royal Enfield Classic 350 Redditch Edition ABS is priced at ₹ 1.53 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), which makes it about ₹ 6000 more expensive than the non-ABS version. The Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350X ABS was introduced last month priced at ₹ 1.63 lakh and followed up with the launch of the Thunderbird 500X ABS priced at ₹ 2.13 lakh (all prices, ex-showroom Delhi).

Also Read: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350X ABS Launched In India

Royal Enfield Classic 350

The Royal Enfield Classic 350 Redditch ABS gets no mechanical upgrades like all ABS models from the company. Power comes from the same 346 cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder engine tuned for 19 bhp at 5250 rpm and 28 Nm of peak torque available at 4000 rpm. The bike uses telescopic forks up front and twin shock absorbers at the rear. Disc brakes now make it to either wheels on the Classic 350. The Royal Enfield Classic 350 Redditch Edition was introduced in December 2016, and was inspired by the models that were built during the 1950s at the bike maker’s Redditch factory in the UK.

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Royal Enfield Classic 350 Redditch Green

The Redditch edition bikes are offered in three colours – red, blue and green – for the fuel tank,with the rest of the bike finished in black and chrome. Apart from the new colours, the bikes also feature the Royal Enfield Redditch monogram which was first seen on the 1939 125 cc Royal Baby prototype.

Also Read: Jawa Motorcycles To Get Dual-Channel ABS From June 2019

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With the Redditch Edition, almost all bikes in the RE portfolio have been equipped with the safety feature. Only the Classic 350 standard and the Bullet range are yet to get ABS for now. The latter was recently made available with a rear disc brake. Interestingly, Royal Enfield’s direct rival Jawa Motorcycles, which originally announced the Jawa and Jawa 42 with single-channel ABS, is now offering the option of dual-channel ABS owing to public demand. The Jawa 42 dual-channel ABS is the most affordable model from the company and is priced at ₹ 1.64 lakh, while the Jawa ABS is priced at ₹ 1.73 lakh (all prices, ex-showroom).

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