Vimal Sumbly, company head of markets for Asia-Pacific, Royal Enfield. (Picture: Nikkasit)

One side of the space where I satisfied Vimal Sumbly used floor-to-ceiling windows ignoring Bangkok’s horizon, however it was what was on the opposite side that completely caught the daring spirit of the male who heads the Asia-Pacific company of the India-based bike maker Royal Enfield.

The whole opposite wall had actually been developed into a background including the Himalaya range of mountains with a plateau covered in green turf in the foreground. It existed that a variety of riders positioned with their Royal Enfield bikes.

” This is the greatest motorable roadway on the planet. It’s called Khardung La Pass,” Mr Sumbly informs me. The mountain pass lies in Leh, a district in the union area of Ladakh, 5,359 metres above water level.

The superb environments of mountains produce a transcendent experience, linking people with nature and making them wish to keep returning for more. When he was riding his Royal Enfield Himalayan on the well known Magnetic Hill in Leh, “there was just the hill and me; I appeared like simply a little dot”, Mr Sumbly remembers. “I enjoy mountains. I enjoy to ride there.”

His enthusiasm for motorcycling began early in life. “When I was a little kid, I truly liked tricycling,” he states. “I constantly like something that is quick, fast to get on. Something motorised and technology-driven.

” Someplace in my mind, it constantly states that I wish to go motorcycling.”

The exact same gut impulse paved the roadway that led him to study mechanical engineering and invest the last 25 years in the bike market.

” Now I can call myself a motorbike expert,” the executive informs Asia Focus throughout a company journey to Thailand.

Mr Sumbly fell for Royal Enfield since it’s “an easy, simple, gorgeous-looking bike” that restores “the enjoyable of riding”. However that’s not the only factor– Royal Enfield “is extremely historical brand name”.

British-bred by business owners Bob Walker Smith and Frenchman Jules Gobiet, the very first Royal Enfield bike was introduced in London in 1901. Now it’s owned by Eicher Group, an Indian international automobile business.

Now commemorating its 120th year, Royal Enfield is the world’s earliest bike brand name in constant production. In add-on to a strong existence in its regional market, the brand name is popular in 60 other nations consisting of France, Germany and Italy. It has actually been broadening into the world’s most significant motorcycle markets here in Asia consisting of Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Mongolia, South Korea and Japan.

In Mr Sumbly’s view, Royal Enfield provides the purest motorcycling experience. When you ride it, you end up being a devoted follower. “That’s what I enjoy about this brand name,” he states.


Royal Enfield went into the Thai market in 2016 with an objective to be a leader in the mid-sized bike (250 to 750cc) sector. It now has a 7% share, which Mr Sumbly states is “extremely favorable” considering it is a brand-new gamer.

A range of designs, in addition to placing as a premium bike at an available cost with ease of use, have actually assisted the business develop a base of over 10,000 clients in Thailand up until now.

Royal Enfield, in Mr Sumbly’s viewpoint, is best for riders who wish to update however do not wish to go expensive in cost. “We are extremely well put in the mid-size sector which is where our focus lies.”

From simply 2 display rooms situated in Bangkok in 2018, the business has actually broadened to 33 places throughout the nation consisting of in Pattaya, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Ubon Ratchathani, among others.

Too, it just recently opened a brand-new assembly center in Chachoengsao to work as a circulation center for the domestic market and other Southeast Asian nations.

Mr Sumbly states the business is taking a cautious and comprehensive technique to developing an existence in the area. Prior to going into any market, the brand name does its research study by comprehending the nation, its culture and individuals.

” We constantly think in less is more. We do something and we wish to do it properly,” he keeps in mind.

” My technique is ‘inch broad, mile deep’, and after that we scale.”


While the pandemic may have delayed Mr Sumbly’s riding journeys, it did not decrease business of Royal Enfield, which continued to remain gotten in touch with existing and prospective clients. “Throughout this time, what we did was we right away transferred to digital platforms,” he describes.

The digital-first technique was embraced throughout the organisation including its dealerships. The business utilized the lockdown duration as a chance to train its dealerships. It even introduced 2 brand-new designs– Meteor and Classic– in Thailand, sticking to its vow to present a brand-new design every quarter.

” We entered into training mode. We believed this is the correct time to train our individuals, to keep them encouraged and motivated,” states Mr Sumbly, noting it likewise guaranteed that its dealership partners might keep their workers working.

Digitising enabled the business to engage with both existing and prospective clients. For those who wished to attempt or purchase a Royal Enfield bike, if they remained in a red Covid-control zone, he confesses “we might not do anything” to physically provide a bike for a test flight. The option was to send out videos of other clients and influencers to keep them notified and interested.

However as quickly as Covid curbs were alleviated and zoning turned from red to green, the business was prepared to provide a huge to a potential purchaser’s house, with personnel in total health set.

Mr Sumbly acknowledges that not all clients who attempted a bike purchased one, however states it was a fantastic knowing experience and “it was enjoyable to go and we state thank you to them”.

The engagement encompassed its social networks existence consisting of Facebook and Instagram, with the Facebook page seeing an increased variety of posts and images. Its dealership partners have actually likewise required to Facebook Live to engage with clients, while the business’s Instagram account includes gamification posts to keep fans included.

Thanks to its constant connection with clients, Royal Enfield didn’t experience any order cancellations, despite the fact that production was postponed, states Mr Sumbly. On top of that, the business got substantial insights into how clients were personalizing their bikes from engaging with them.

” On one side there was the pandemic which was tight,” he states. “On the other side, we discovered an ease of working through digital. I believe moving forward this will be a really strong focus for us to bring a growing number of digital focus in the front end.”


Like whatever we purchase, a motorbike is extremely individual. It shows the character of the owner and how they wish to be seen. Royal Enfield comprehends the individuality of riders who wish to reveal themselves through two-wheeled lorries. For that reason its motorcycles are created “as a canvas” for customisation.

The business prides itself on being the very first brand name that offers the client with a completely customisable item. A great deal of bikes can refrain from doing this since the styles are extremely made complex, he states, however Royal Enfield bikes are more simple, making it simpler to discover parts.

Many people associate bikes, specifically larger bikes, with guys. However Mr Sumbly states that at Royal Enfield, “we feel riding is gender agnostic”.

” We at Royal Enfield think a rider is a rider regardless of their gender,” he states. “The spirit of ‘pure motorcycling’ goes beyond gender limits, where the rider turns into one with the maker.

” For us, motorcycling consists of riding, owning, keeping, caring and craftsmanship as an active pursuit. Concentrating on the fundamentals and not the excess. Not changing however reconnecting with the pureness of the experience.”

One essential thing that Mr Sumbly stresses is developing riding neighborhoods, which he states is Royal Enfield’s “strong strength”.

” As a brand name, we are not just about bikes, however we have to do with a motorcycling lifestyle,” he stresses.

The culture of riding a motorbike in Southeast Asia appears throughout the area, from riding for daily life to leisure travel. Royal Enfield wishes to belong of reinforcing the neighborhoods where its riders live, that includes promoting take care of the environment.

One part of that is a behavioural modification project called “Leave Every Location Much Better”. It is targeted at motivating riders to bring their own waste back, supporting regional neighborhoods and organizations, and preventing single-use plastics throughout a trip.

Inquired about the patterns in the market, Mr Sumbly states motorcycling is growing, including that Royal Enfield is especially delighted about India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand.

Apart from the pleasure of riding bikes, increased use originates from the absence of last-mile connection and insufficient public transportation systems in these nations, he keeps in mind.

Although his public Instagram mainly includes Mr Sumbly exercising, biking and motorcycling, he likewise likes to check out. Books on business owners are his go-to category, generally since he wishes to discover the however procedure of structure and establishing entrepreneurial abilities.

Books about Steve Jobs and Elon Musk are high up on the list. He likewise appreciates Ratan Tata, the patriarch of the Tata Group corporation, along with his own manager, Siddhartha Vikram Lal, the owner and CEO of Royal Enfield.

Mr Lal is understood for the revival of Royal Enfield when it was dealing with a “offer out or closed down” minute as sales were decreasing. “Siddhartha is truly someone who got Royal Enfield out of no place to where it is today on the planet,” states Mr Sumbly.

” You can’t end up being effective simply through your own experience. However you can utilize someone else’s experience to set some instructions. That assists.”


As an experienced rider, Mr Sumbly has actually taken two-wheel journeys in more than 20 nations consisting of Spain, Italy, France, Germany, India, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. However Ladakh and Kashmir are the locations he want to return to.

Kashmir– just since “I was born there” and Leh in Ladakh is simply “something on the pail list of every motorcyclist”. His supreme dream location remains in Mongolia, to ride not on the roadway, however the Frozen Lake of Khovsgol.

Reserving time to flight belongs to a commitment to work-life balance that arises from a tactical, well-planned schedule. “I’m extremely clear about my concerns,” he states.

He makes certain to hand over the best jobs to the best individuals with clear goals. “I do not wish to do someone else’s task. I guarantee I help with.

” I enjoy to team up a lot. I enjoy my groups to work carefully which’s how they likewise turn into much better humans, much better experts.”

He fears no difference and sees it as a part of life– like riding a motorbike– “a motorbike needs to work on the roadway. The tire burns and twists around the surface area. Absolutely nothing takes place without friction in life.

” However I constantly attempt to factor things out. I attempt to comprehend others’ viewpoints. It’s extremely essential to comprehend why he is arguing or why there is a dispute,” states Mr Sumbly, keeping in mind that information will be taken into consideration to get rid of the concerns.

Nevertheless, he explains the genuine obstacle depends on being familiar with cultures, attempting to suit those of each area, each nation, and after that adjusting to the marketplace. “It’s an obstacle however it’s enjoyable too since you discover and you unlearn,” he states. “You unlearn often and this is a chance to do that and I enjoy it.

” I enjoy to understand individuals, I enjoy to understand the culture, I enjoy to understand the clients.

” So, it’s an obstacle on one side, however terrific knowing on the other side about a brand-new culture, brand-new individuals, brand-new organisations, brand-new idea procedures, brand-new lenders often, and brand-new clients with a totally various expectation.”

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