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.
Conceptualized as a tribute to 120 years of pure motorcycling, and as 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 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
Given that the Himlayan in itself is a complete and proficient machine, 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 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 snow drift. In line with our #LeaveEveryPlaceBetter initiative, the team will ensure all waste including human waste is brought back for appropriate disposal.