It’s often said that innovation is the only way forward. Indeed, in the context of the motorcycle industry, it is this very innovation that drives manufacturers to success. And while not all brands are all about technology and performance, it goes without saying that they all strive to deliver a better product to the end users.
We’ve been seeing quite a lot of this innovation from Royal Enfield recently, a brand which centers on heritage, emotion, and the rawness of the ride. Despite not being about cutting-edge performance, Royal Enfield has indeed driven its technology into the 21st century, and there’s no better bike that encapsulates this than the new Himalayan. First unveiled in all its glory at EICMA 2023, the new Himalayan marked quite a few firsts for RE. For starters, it’s the brand’s first liquid-cooled engine, and one with quite an impressive power output, with its 40 ponies ready to wrestle with the likes of those of KTM and BMW.
The new Himalayan is also Royal Enfield’s most performance-oriented machine to date, featuring technology like throttle-by-wire, premium suspension components, and not to mention a 65-percent increase in power. Indeed, our first ride review on the new Himalayan revealed that it’s quite a tractable piece of kit, capable of handling all sorts of terrain with relative ease. That being said, it’s clear that the Himalayan isn’t the only bike to feature the new Sherpa 450 engine – it just couldn’t be.
For quite some time now, rumors of a Hunter 450 – a bigger sibling to the massively popular Hunter 350 – had been floating around. A recent post from Indian publication HT Auto reveals some spy shots of the reported prototype of the Hunter 450. Check it out in the Instagram post below.
Clearly, it’s a departure from Royal Enfield’s classic codes, as it flaunts fairly modern lines, inverted front forks, sporty looking alloy wheels, and an overall sporty stance. It’s clearly more naked bike than it is laid-back cruiser, and the bike’s design does little to keep it a secret. After all, the Hunter 350 was born to be a nimble, easy-to-ride commuter, albeit one rocking the much more relaxed and docile J-platform. With the Hunter 450 now within the realm of possibility, it certainly looks like RE’s upping its game when it comes to performance.
After all has been said and done, it’s important to note that these spy shots of the alleged Hunter 450 are just that – spy shots with no confirmation from Royal Enfield as to whether or not what we’re actually looking at is an upcoming model. Just like HT Auto, all we can do at the moment is to speculate what this bike could have in store, should it become a reality. However, if Royal Enfield’s previous launches are anything to go by, chances are we’ll be seeing a new model bearing the Sherpa 450 engine much sooner than later.
Should the Hunter 450 indeed be a reality, it’ll face some stiff competition from both new and established players including but not limited to the KTM 390 Duke, Husqvarna 401 bikes, as well as the twin-cylinder offerings from Kawasaki and Honda. Of course, new players in the game like the Harley-Davidson X440 and its Hero Mavrick counterpart won’t let themselves be left out of the party. How long do we have to wait until we see this new model undisguised? Well, your guess is as good as mine, but HT Auto says that it should hit the road in the second half of 2024.