Royal Enfield expedition to Antarctica, trip to the South Pole

Written by Akhil Dalvi

The world’s oldest motorcycle brand in production since 1901, Royal Enfield, has kept its legacy of creating authentic classic motorcycles. Over the years, the brand pursued many exploits. This ranges from riding on the highest motorable pass in the world to reaching the Base Camp of Mount Everest in Tibet. It also arranged rides across the most inaccessible mountain pass at Daulat Beg Oldi, Karakoram. In addition to riding across the desert at Kutch.

Royal Enfield’s Expedition to the South Pole

Commemorating its 120 years of motorcycling culture, Royal Enfield will undertake an expedition to the South Pole across the Antarctic. The ’90 degree SOUTH- Quest for the Pole’ expedition features the Royal Enfield Himalayan. The Himalayan motorcycle will be travelling across the Ross Ice Shelf via the Leverett Glacier. The conceptualized journey is a tribute to the brand’s commitment to motorcycling and the courage of various riders who’ve attempted journeys in the past.

Ride to the Antarctic Plateau

The expedition begins in Cape Town, South Africa, on November 26th, 2021, and features two leading Royal Enfield riders. Attempting to reach the geographic South Pole would be Santhosh Vijay Kumar, Lead – Rides & Community, Royal Enfield; and Dean Coxson, Senior Engineer- Product Development, Royal Enfield. Partnered with Arctic Trucks, the expedition features two purpose-built and in-house modified Royal Enfield Himalayans. Arctic Trucks are members of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, known for their expertise and coverage of 3,50,000 km of the Antarctic Plateau.

Royal Enfield Modification for the Antarctic Expedition

The modifications made to the Himalayan include reducing the primary drive sprocket from 15-teeth to 13-teeth to enable increased torque at the rear wheel. The provision of tubeless studded tires with the ability to tackle the terrain, weather, run on low pressures and increase traction on the soft snow. The team also installed a more robust alternator utilizing rare earth magnets to enable the motorcycle to produce more current and run the team’s heated gear.

Thorough Testing for the South Pole Expedition

Extensive testing of the bikes took place at the Langjokull glacier in Iceland to prepare for the upcoming journey. Conducted in two phases, Phase 1 of testing began in September 2020, while Phase 2 concluded in July 2021. The bikes will ride on a compacted snow track throughout the journey to keep drag and emissions at a minimum. Royal Enfield will ensure that the expedition team leaves no footprints behind except for wheel tracks that would disappear in the snow. The brand’s #LeaveEveryPlaceBetter initiative guarantees that all the debris, including human waste, will be brought back for proper disposal.

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