Royal Enfields are still the choice in India when it comes to touring. The 'Bullets' did a great job, but with other motorcycles having advanced technology making their way into the Indian market, the Bullets suddenly saw a hinderance.
Also, many who own Royal Enfields, always want to visit the Mecca of the motorcycling world, the Himalayas. Being really frank, the Bullets suffer up in the mountains, mainly due to lack of ground clearance and their weight.
To address this, Royal Enfield has come up with its newest model, the Enfield Himalayan. The Himalayan is an adventure tourer, the first of its kind in the country, and a much needed one. Having ridden Enfields in the Himalayas for years, this is how the Himalayan would score.
The Royal Enfield Himalayan features a traditional adventure motorcycle design. It has an upright, relaxed riding posture, with long travel suspension. The Tank is well sculpted to accommodate the rider's legs. One good look and you will immediately understand the purpose of the Himalayan, which is to be ridden off-road and feel comfortable on and off the road.
A puny engine does no good for an adventure motorcycle. The Enfield Himalayan is powered by a LS400 oil-cooled, 4-stroke single-cylinder engine. The engine produces 24bhp, which is adequate power, taking into consideration that Enfields produce a good amount of torque. The Himalayan produces good low-end torque, which is what offroaders and tourers need.
Expect the Himalayan to return around 35km/l, which is again decent mileage. Coupled with a 15-litre fuel tank and optional jerry can add-ons, the Himalayan would prove to be the ultimate motorcycle, designed keeping the Himalayas in mind.
Ride & Handling
Enfield have always been good handling motorcycles, if one gets the hang of it since they have a great centre of gravity. The Himalayan may not handle like the good-old Standard 350, since the motorcycle is high. But that is what happens when you design a motorcycle to be ridden off-road. You do lose a bit of that footpeg scraping cornering ability, but one can't expect everything in a motorcycle.
Performance is good, just the right amount one needs for a everyday use motorcycle.
The Royal Enfield Himalayan comes with long travel front forks and a monoshock at the rear, which is the first for Royal Enfield. The front tyres are 21-inch spoked wheels while the rear is an 18-inch wheel. Typical off-roader setup.
The instrument cluster will be part digital, part analogue, which will feature fuel level, compass, tacho, and speedo. Also available are the add-on jerry cans that bolt on to the tank, instead of the rear.
So, is the Royal Enfield Himalayan worth it? Well, the motorcycle does not have the thump as the old ones, looks nothing like the old ones, has an oil service interval of 10,000km, spark plug change interval at every 25,000km, and is light. Having ridden extensively in the Himalayas on every Enfield that is sold in India, I would say Enfield has the right machine for adventure now.
Any person who has ridden extensively in the Himalayas on an Enfield would admit that water crossings are the most difficult bits, because boulders under the water get you. That issue has now been sorted with the Himalayan having better ground clearance. The other difficult bit up in the mountains is taking the dirt and gravel (which I love). The Himalayan answers that difficulty as well, with its upright seating and handlebar positioning.
In all, the Royal Enfield Himalayan is the motorcycle every adventure Bulleteer was looking for and here it is.