Commemorating 120 years of building the motorcycling culture, Royal Enfield will mark 2021 with an ambitious expedition on the Royal Enfield Himalayan, to attempt to reach the geographic South Pole, from the Ross Ice Shelf via the Leverett Glacier.
Siddhartha Lal – Managing Director of Eicher Motors Ltd
“120 years is a long legacy for the brand, and we are very happy to have made it count. Over these years, we have created and nurtured a thriving culture of riding and exploration around the world. This pursuit of exploration has been a quintessential part of our DNA, and 90° South is another chapter in our series of extraordinary, epic motorcycling rides. In the past, rides like Himalayan Odyssey have paved the way for motorcycling adventure in the Himalayas and an epic expedition like this to the South Pole will further inspire people to become adventurers again. A test of endurance and perseverance for man and machine, this expedition is the first of its kind attempt to traverse the 770km long route to the South Pole on a motorcycle.”
An ode to all Enfielders who’ve dared to explore beyond the ordinary, 90° South will be an ambitious attempt to go where no motorcycle has gone before. To begin from Cape Town, South Africa, on 26 November 2021, the expedition will see two Royal Enfield riders – Santhosh Vijay Kumar (Lead – Rides & Community, Royal Enfield) and Dean Coxson (Senior Engineer- Product Development, Royal Enfield) attempting to reach the geographic South Pole, from the Ross Ice Shelf, via the Leverett Glacier, to the Amundsen-Scott Pole station.
To be conducted in close partnership with Arctic Trucks, 90° South will be attempted on two, purpose-built Royal Enfield Himalayans. Arctic Trucks, a member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, are renowned for their deep expertise in the field and have covered over 350,000 kms on the Antarctic Plateau. They have supported and serviced several scientific expeditions and activities, as well as commercial and NGO expeditions in the past.
Launched in 2016, the Royal Enfield Himalayan is a simple, capable, go-anywhere motorcycle. Inspired from the experience of decades of riding in the Himalayas, and traversing thousands of kilometers of challenging terrain, the Royal Enfield Himalayan was built to be a versatile motorcycle that is capable on the road, as well as off the beaten track.
For this expedition, two Himalayans have been modified in-house, with functional upgrades to be able to navigate snow and ice to function under extreme conditions in Antarctica. The Himalayan was tested for this arduous and treacherous journey at the Langjokull glacier in Iceland, with an intention to mirror the conditions in Antarctica. Phase 1 of testing was held in September 2020 while phase 2 of testing concluded in July 2021
Minimal changes have been made to the motorcycle to make it ready for the terrain and weather conditions in Antarctica. For greater torque at the rear wheel, the main drive sprocket has been changed from a 15-teeth, to a 13-teeth unit. There is a tubeless wheel set-up with studded tyres that allows the tyres to run at very low pressures, and to increase floatation on soft snow, while also providing adequate traction on hard ice. The team has introduced a stronger alternator using rare earth magnets, so as to enable the motorcycle to produce more current and enable the team to run heated gear off the battery.
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