What’s appreciable about the bike:
– Great on-road as well as off-road ability.
– Long travel suspensions soak up all the beating.
– Sufficient ground clearance and up-swept exhaust are good enough for off-roading.
– A comfortable saddle gives confidence to tour long distances.
– Provision for carrying panniers, saddle bags and jerry cans from company itself.
– A refined fuel injected engine.
– In spite of its huge size, Himalayan gives confidence to lean and stays rock-stable on straight roads.
What could have been better:
– Vibrating mirrors are hardly of any use just like other RE bikes, especially at high speed.
– Stressed engine and drastic drop in fuel efficiency beyond 110+ kmph speeds.
– Spongy feel from front brakes. There is no initial bite but the brakes are okay.
– The rear tyre locks which is beneficial on the off-road manuers but scary on the roads.
– Too heavy for an off-road bike.
After long successful dominant years of Royal Enfield in the cruiser segment with a fleet of
Bullet 350/500, Classic 350/500, Thunderbird 350/500, RE introduced the Himalayan with a 411 cc engine to the audience to enter the adventure tourer segment and overcome the shortcomings of the earlier bikes. It claimed the Himalayan to be an all rounder motorcycle which can do it all for you with the tagline – ‘Built for all roads, built for no roads.’ It was launched at a price of INR 1,68,000 in the matte black and the snow color schemes. In 2017, it was upgraded with the fuel Injected Engine. So, to check if it lives up to the expectations and its tagline, we took the bike to Tahmini Ghat from Mumbai. Here’s what we have to share with you guys.
Looks & Aesthetics
The bike hasn’t changed in the looks department from the BS3 version. It still looks unique and
has a design which looks industrial and may or may not appeal to everyone. The bike makes its presence felt specially in the matt black colors. It looks as if it will walk the talk and take you to places unexplored with the most comfortable rider and pillion seats which the team came across with comfortable riding ergonomics.
The bike measures 2,190 mm in length, 840 mm in width and 1,360 mm in height. The seat height of 800 mm and a ground clearance of 220 mm is appreciable and much required for a bike in this segment. The 1465 mm wheelbase helps in the straight line stability. It has a kerb weight of 182 kgs. Even though it is the lightest offering by Royal Enfield, it is still too heavy for an adventure tourer. We are pretty sure that by chance you happen to be stuck in a deserted situation, you will surely require a helper to move the bike! it is not a bike for all the riders.
The round shaped headlamp design is a distinguishing design as it is held high by the fuel tank exoskeleton. The illumination is sufficient and serves the purpose quite well but having an extra set of auxiliary lamps would be advisable for dense fog as well as long night tours. The bike feels pretty slim between the legs and hence touching both your feet is not a task even if it’s a tall bike. The bike has a big 15 litres fuel tank which will help you cover the distance without frequent fuel stops.. With a fuel economy of 28 kmpl overall , you can expect around a tank range of 400-450 kms with a cruising speed of 80-90 kmph.
The mirrors are round shaped like the ones on the bullet series and tend to vibrate at higher rpm which makes them almost useless and dangerous too! We find it very surprising that RE hasn’t fixed this issue on any of its motorcycles! The rectangular design of indicators and the tail light could be improved for a better visibility in the daytime. The switch gear and handle bar assembly is very basic. Himalayan gets a one-piece handle bar. The vibration dampers at the end of the bar do not really serve their purpose. The quality of switch gear is good and the handlebar grips are good to feel.
To talk about the instrument cluster, it has a 3 piece layout which is a combination of both digital and analog gauges. The speedometer indicates a maximum speed of 160 kmph with a Royal Enfield label at the centre. The digital diamond shaped console reads out the gear position indicator, time, outside temperature, odometer 2 trip meters. There is a rpm gauge on the top right corner and at the bottom right corner has a analogue fuel indicator and a compass which is beneficial when you want to explore the unexplored . Along with it has the neutral light , the low engine oil light, overheat light, the left and right indicators and the high beam light.
The rider’s saddle has a low set-in seat which ensures utmost comfort. The placement of footpegs is in sync with the rider’s saddle and handlebar. It gives the confidence to stand up in rough terrain. The pillion stays happy even on the most horrible patches. but there are complaints of the missing bolts when the owners have taken their bikes on the trails. The exhaust is an upswept one which is required in the rough terrain and river crossings. The pillion grab rails double up as a rack for carrying the tail bag. Speaking of the wheels, the Himalayan has a 90/90-21 inch front tyre and 120/90-17 inch rear tyre coupled with spoked rims. The company provides dual sport tyres but they perform very well on the road as well as off-road but improvement in the tyre size is always a welcome.
Engine Performance & Ride Quality
The RE Himalayan has a Air cooled, SOHC, fuel Injected, single cylinder, 411 cc engine coupled with a 5- speed constant mesh gearbox. With a maximum power of 24.5 bhp @ 6500 rpm and a 32 Nm peak torque @ 4250 rpm, you will not have any issue when on the move. However, we experienced a slight lack of power during a steep up-hill climb which may have resulted due to the bikes weight. We suggest you use 1st gear during slow off-roading. You just need to put the bike in the first gear and saddle your way across the trail. The bike actually comes to life after 4000rpm and engine feels comfortable at 100-110 kmph. But it tends to be stressed over 120 kmph speeds which is absolutely not recommended.
It has a half duplex split cradle frame which is robotic welded for greater precision and strength, which is actually the strongest frame amongst all the RE line-ups. It has 41 mm telescopic forks with a travel of 200 mm in the front and a monoshock linkage suspension with 180 mm travel at the rear which gives a plush and amazing ride.
The braking system constitutes of 300 mm front disc and the 240 mm rear disc which could be improved for taming the bike in a better manner. The front brakes have a spongy feel and lack the initial bite but somehow manage to do a descent job . The rear brake tends to lockup easily but it could be a boon for the dirt ride. There are no heating issues as such and the windshield does a good job . The bike stays planted on road and throw any corner at it , it inspires the rider to lean the bike even more. Overall the ride quality is very good and you can ride for hours back to back without frequent halts.
This bike stands upto its claim that it can perform on-road as well as off-road but does need a few minor upgrades in the fit and finish, brakes and wider, radial profile tyres. This bike can certainly claim its place internationally. Unfortunately, the bike is not for everyone! It’s a task to handle this bike for the riders shorter than 5’7″ and it is surely not a bike for the riding in the traffic. The looks are subjective so you may love or hate it. Its made strong and for those who love to get lost in the wilderness to escape from the daily chaos. So, lets hope that its bigger sibbling – Himalayan 650, which is yet to be launched, brings a better package for those who love adventure touring.
We are extremely thankful to Mr. Rohit Nair for entrusting his beloved machine to us for the ride and for awesome photos. We have attached the link to his photography page below.
Facebook link- https://www.facebook.com/timetravelphotos/
Do follow him on Instagram: @thebackpacknomad