Royal Enfield Himalayan – Road Test Review
Snapshot: Royal Enfield Himalayan is first in its segment adventure-tourer that packs a lot of potential which allows you to push the limits every time you are away from rest of the world.
What is motorcycling? In simplest words it is one of the rarest feelings that makes us feel alive. It’s a feeling that accentuates our courage to take risks and takes us closer to being human. It might be a cliché that is being repeated time and again on different instances, by different people, but we were not born to just study, make money, get settled and eventually grow old and die. We were born to explore, travel, learn and live.
It’s been a long time since motorcycle riders are taking their motorcycles to the Himalayas. Ask a kid and even he’ll tell you that Himalayas is a place where heaven meets earth. Through the last decade, the trend has grown beyond reckoning. It is has become a ritual to take your motorcycle to the Himalayas. So with the same idea and analysing the continuously evolving Indian motorcycle market, Royal Enfield had an inception of a motorcycle that will make this journey easier than before. A motorcycle that can be taken almost anywhere without giving it a second thought and hence the Himalayan was born.
Royal Enfield is one of the motorcycle brands in India who have tried to explore almost all segments of motorcycling from café racers to adventures. With the launch of Himalayan the company has made a solid statement that they are expanding their boundaries and pushing their limits much faster than any other brand in the Indian market today.
The Himalayan looks like a baby adventure bike desperately waiting to grow big. The bike looks tall and is exactly how an adventure motorcycle is supposed to be. It has an interesting design that looks good from no matter which angle you are gazing at it. The tank is slim, handle bar is wide and high placed in order to dictate the bike with more confidence in off-road situations. The new engine is painted all black and is visually appealing, the dual split seats are well designed.
The best part of the design is Himalayan’s rear section. From bang on rear its LED tail light gives an impression of a much premium bike. When looking from the side, the tail and the rear sub-frame looks smashing and is composed really nicely. The small windscreen sits on a small round headlight at the front. This screen doesn’t really deflect much of the wind blast but Himalayan surely looks better with it. Honestly the wind is deflected more towards your helmet then around it. The combination of 21” front and 17” rear tyre looks great as well. So overall Himalayan does looks enchanting and there is no bit on the bike that looks out of place. It’s just the width of the bike and the front round headlight that had us thinking if both elements could have been bigger.
What about the new Instrumental cluster?
The new instrumental panel may look cluttered at first glance but it isn’t. It displays quite a lot of information about the bike in an interesting design. It has an analogue speedometer, a small digital display that shows information like Trip meter 1, Trip Meter 2 and average pace in both the trips, temperature, time and much more. The fuel gauge and tacho meter is displayed using analogue meters. But one tiny issue with the fuel gauge is that sometimes it behaves randomly and one cannot fully rely on it. Apart from this, the panel also has a digital compass which works fine. The Hazard light button is present at the front which should have been at the handlebar for more convenience, as sometime it is difficult to take your hands off the handlebar to lean forward and engage the button.
Engine and Performance-
The Himalayan is propelled by an all new LS410 engine, where LS stands for long stroke. This engine is an 411cc single-cylinder, OHC 4-stroke engine that delivers 25.5bhp of maximum power at 6,500rpm and 32Nm of peak torque between 4000 to 4500rpm. It comes mated to a 5-speed constant mesh transmission with gears well placed and precise. Our test bike felt slightly hard to shift from 1st to 2nd gear and neutral engagement, but we were told by Royal Enfield that this smoothens after the motorcycle’s second service.
The all new LS410 is comparatively more refined and linear than other RE engines. It doesn’t produce any vibrations even when you are hitting its upper rev mark which is 7000rpm and on the other hand it touches that without any ado. It’s quicker than one would expect! But again when one is playing in dirt, the engine lacks that initial throttle response or sudden surge of power that’s needed to drift your way through a muddy corner. The engine feels happy cruising between 80-90kmph and delivers an admirable fuel efficiency of around 37km to a litre under mixed riding conditions.
Ride and Handling –
The company spent quite a lot of time thrashing it around and testing it in the most adverse conditions. Taking inputs from the best off-roaders in the country and even taking the bike to the hills before making sure the bike is ready to hit the market. So what did Royal Enfield learn from all these challenges? Its Dual cradle frame works great in terms of delivering a composed ride. You can actually sense when it’s going sideways and it lets you control it. Himalayan does not translates a corner slide into horror but perhaps a confidence gaining encounter. The bike feels friendly because of its setup that even a new rider will feel confident on it as it takes no time to adapt to its nature. A big thumbs up to Royal Enfield for this brilliant frame.
Himalayan comes with 41mm suspension upfront and first-in-RE single monoshock at the rear. This setup allows the Himalayan to jump up and ride out of deep crevices without any drama. Also its 220mm ground clearance enables it to expedite through the roughest of terrains.
It comes loaded with 300mm disc, 2-piston calliper at the front and 240mm disc single piston at the rear. The rear brake works like magic, you just tap and the rear wheel will stop just like that. On the other hand the front brake did not feel as strong as the rear, perhaps to prevent the front wheel lock-up as that may throw you off the bike.
Can it be ridden in City?
Himalayan is a tall bike with high placed handle-bar and up-straight riding position. The seats are fairly comfortable and the bike feels easy to ride no matter if it’s off-road or tarmac. But short riders may have hard time trying to control it in rush hour traffic. Also the Ceat tyres should have more traction on tarmac as they feel low on grip especially in wet conditions. Apart from that, riding the Himalayan in daily city conditions should not be a big deal at all.
Royal Enfield Himalayan is a very thoughtfully made machine which has the capability to go further and beyond. Himalayan not only packs a more refined engine than we have ever seen before on a RE but also a highly efficient frame that allows the bike to be ridden at its full potential. It is offered in two colours including snow and graphite, personally we like the white Himalayan more than the Graphite black one.
At a price point of Rs. 1.55lakh (Ex-Showroom, Delhi), the Himalayan makes an unbeatable proposition for people looking up to buy a motorcycle that teaches them the true meaning of freedom!
Photography - Mohd. Nasir
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