There’s no stopping Royal Enfield at the moment. Be it their new launches, upcoming projects or the laurels it has secured under its belt. And now, the company has announced that to commemorate 120 years of building the pure motorcycling culture, Royal Enfield will mark 2021 with an ambitious attempt to push the boundaries of motorcycling possibilities. The company will undertake a motorcycling expedition on the Royal Enfield Himalayan, to attempt to reach the geographic South Pole, from the Ross Ice Shelf via the Leverett Glacier. 90° SOUTH – Quest for the Pole is conceptualized as a tribute to the brand’s commitment to pure motorcycling, and to the courage and resilience of innumerable riders and explorers who have made history with their motorcycling journeys.
90° SOUTH – Quest for the Pole
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 witness 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 3,50,000 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.
For this expedition, two Himalayans have been modified in-house, with functional upgrades to be able to navigate snow and ice to ably 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. 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 setup 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.
The motorcycles will be ridden on a compacted snow track from the Ross Ice Shelf to the South Pole, to reduce motorcycle drag and limit emissions to an absolute minimum. Royal Enfield is consciously ensuring no footprint is left behind by the expedition team except wheel tracks that will quickly be lost to snowdrift. In line with our #LeaveEveryPlaceBetter initiative, the team will ensure all waste including human waste is brought back for appropriate disposal.
Speaking about the milestone year for Royal Enfield and the expedition attempt, Siddhartha Lal, Managing Director of Eicher Motors Ltd, said, “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.”
Speaking about the brand’s purpose of encouraging explorations, and wishing the expedition great success, B Govindarajan, Executive Director, Royal Enfield remarked, “It has been an unbroken legacy of 120 years, of fueling and pushing the boundaries of human exploration, and being an ally to many explorers. It is their journeys and adventures that have inspired us to attempt this first of its kind motorcycle expedition. This bold and ambitious attempt to ride to the very end of the earth summarizes the resilience of the human spirit, and we hope to complete it successfully as an ode to all Royal Enfield riders and their own inspiring expeditions.”