Enfield’s new dawn: Rally-raiding prototype spotted filling up in the UK

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Royal Enfield are gunning for the A2 adventure bike top spot in 2023, with a new rally-raiding 450 single spied in the UK just last week. The image was captured by an eagle-eyed MCN reader at a petrol station in Lutterworth – not far from where the Indian firm’s UK Technology Centre is based. 

The bike can be identified as an Enfield via a faint outline of their badging on the nearside engine case. Outside of that, it shares little with anything else in their range – with only the rear 17in spoked rim appearing to be taken from the popular Himalayan

Unlike other singles in RE’s model range, this engine is liquid-cooled, with the head angled forward, rather than directly upright. Sorry to disappoint you, but it’s unlikely the soft drink bottle overflow system will make it to the finished machine… 

Royal Enfield Rally close up of wheel

Although there are no clues on capacity, spy shots reported in India back in March suggest it will be a more aggressive 450 – moving away from the sedate performance of the 411cc Himalayan and into the snappier realms of KTM’s 44bhp 390 Adventure and Honda’s 27bhp CRF300 range. 

Alongside the new engine is a stubby exhaust, with a chunky heel plate disguising the large catalytic converter to help it meet the latest Euro5 emissions regs.  

But it’s not all about the engine. The new model clearly means business off-road, thanks to chunkier upside-down forks (a first for Royal Enfield) with plenty of travel, plus a large 21in front wheel. There’s currently no bashplate on the prototype, but that could be added on a finished machine.  

Sticking with the suspension, there’s a right-side-mounted rear shock, which appears to extend from the slim swingarm to the frame beneath the large petrol tank. It’s difficult to make out adjustment, but we’d expect at least options for preload. 

Royal Enfield Rally Close up

And speaking of that fuel tank, not only does this one appear to have a large visible capacity, it also looks to extend beneath the riders’ seat – indicated by an additional compartment floating just above the unusually long shock. A relatively small single-cylinder engine and a hefty fuel load could be just what’s required for long periods of adventuring off the beaten track, without the need to awkwardly strap on emergency cans of fuel or cut short the fun due to lack of gas.  

Should you want to fasten anything to the bike though, there are stubby Himalayan-inspired rails located just beneath the short fly screen, these wrap around the single headlight and rounded singular clock unit.  

Although we can’t see that front light unit, the indicators do not appear to be LED. The switchgear and dash also appear to be quite basic, so don’t expect too much in the rider aids department.  

Outside of that, the bike sports a split rider and pillion seat. Despite its off-road credentials, the rider’s perch doesn’t appear to be all that tall, either. Combined with the slim nature of a single-cylinder engine, it should remain manageable for short riders and novices alike. Enfield declined to comment.