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Royal Enfield entered the 'Adventure-Tourer' motorcycle segment in 2016, with the introduction of the Himalayan. The all-new Royal Enfield Himalayan was a stark contrast to any other their previous models, which until then consisted mostly of cruiser bikes in the 350cc and 500cc segment.
The Himalayan was a welcome change as it filled the void for an affordable ADV-tourer in the Indian market. However, the first-generation (BS3) models were riddled with problems and some severe quality and reliability issues. Royal Enfield was quick to fix the issues and iron out all the problems and introduced an updated (BS4) iteration of the Himalayan.
Apart from the fixes themselves, Royal Enfield has also been consistently updating the Himalayan over time, while also adding new features as well. The most important of them being the shift from carburettors to fuel injection and the addition of dual-channel ABS as standard.
Royal Enfield updated the Himalayan yet again earlier this year. However, the changes and revisions made this time are the most significant to date. The new 2020 Himalayan now not only comes with an upgraded BS6-compliant engine but also features a host of new features, cosmetic updates and added equipment.
We got to ride the latest BS6-iteration of the Royal Enfield Himalayan on all sorts of terrain, be it the city streets, highway, sand, gravel and rocks to see how capable the motorcycle is and if it lives up to its ‘adventure-tourer' tag. Let's find out!
Design & Style
The Royal Enfield Himalayan design has remained pretty much unchanged since day one and this is not a bad thing. The Himalayan always had a purposeful design, offering a comfortable ride across all terrains.
The halogen headlamps and turn indicators at the front do feel a bit outdated, especially considering most of its rivals in 2020 offer LED units. However, they do the job well, offering good throw and a decent spread as well. Above the headlamps is a large visor, which offers riders good protection from the wind, especially at high speeds while touring.
There is also a high-mounted front fender, allowing the suspension to travel freely during extreme off-roading conditions. The suspension itself is through standard 41mm telescopic forks, which offer an impressive 200mm of travel. These are paired with a 21-inch spoke wheel which uses a 300mm floating disc brake to bring it to a halt.
The side and rear profiles continue to offer a functional, purpose-built design. The large 15-litre fuel tank is narrow which, with the scooped-out seats, tall handlebars and the neutral foot-pegs, provides extremely comfortable ergonomics, allowing to cruise easily for long distances without any discomfort.
The narrow tank and the neutral-set foot-pegs also offer a comfortable position even while standing and riding on rough terrains or uneven tarmac. Both the rider and pillion seats offer good cushioning, adding to the comfort-levels of the motorcycle.
The rear profile is mainly characterised by the sleek LED tail lights, below the grab rails, which also doubles up as a place to mount panniers during long rides. The motorcycle does come with upswept exhaust pipes, however, it has been designed to not come in the way of the panniers mounted on the sides.
The rear also features a double-sided swingarm, along with a mono-shock suspension setup to offer 180mm of wheel travel. The motorcycle rides on 17-inch spoked wheels with 120/90 profile and uses a 240mm disc at the rear.
Overall, the design of the 2020 Royal Enfield Himalayan BS6 model remains pretty much unchanged from its previous iterations, apart from a few changes. However, the only noticeable change is the addition of new colour schemes.
The Himalayan BS6 model is now offered in six different colours, this includes three new paint schemes: Rock Red, Lake Blue and Gravel Grey. These new colours are sold alongside the three other standard offerings of Snow White, Granite Black & Sleet Grey.
The Royal Enfield Himalayan BS6 carries forward all the features and equipment from its previous BS4 iteration. Along with this, there are also a few more additional features, which have been added onto the motorcycle.
Starting off, the Himalayan BS6 continues to get the semi-digital instrument cluster from its predecessors. This includes an analogue speedometer and tachometer, with the digital screen limited to offering additional information such as the 'odo' reading, two trip meters, clock and gear indicator. Apart from this, the instrument cluster comes with an analogue fuel gauge and a compass as well.
The only ‘new' aspect on the Himalayan is the switchable-ABS button, which allows the rider to either switch-off or switch-on the dual-channel ABS as and when required. The other addition is the hazard-light switch, which is now placed on the left-side handlebars — at a much-more appropriate and easily accessible position to the rider.
Royal Enfield is said to have reinforced the side stand as well. The new side-stand has now been updated and feels more sturdy, allowing it to take on the extra 5kg of the motorcycle, which now weighs in at 199kg (kerb weight).
Engine & Performance
The 2020 Royal Enfield Himalayan continues to be powered by the same 411cc single-cylinder oil-cooled engine. The reasonably up to date SOHC engine, with the fuel-injection system allows it to comply with the latest BS6 emission norms.
Power figures on the Himalayan BS6 are at 24.3bhp at 6500rpm; a marginal drop of 0.2bhp from its BS4-iteration while torque remains identical at 32Nm at 4000 - 4500rpm. It is mated to a five-speed constant-mesh gearbox.
The Himalayan being an adventure-tourer comes with a long-stroke cylinder arrangement. This gives the motorcycle a relaxed riding style, with power building up in a linear fashion. There is enough power across the rev range, allowing the motorcycle to build up speed and maintain it as well.
Although not sluggish, the motorcycle did feel a bit slow to take off at low rpms, especially compared to its BS4 predecessor. However, post the initial lag, the power does build up nicely, allowing for a comfortable cruise at speeds of up to 100km/h.
The 199kg kerb weight of the motorcycle also kept the machine extremely steady at high speeds, with the Himalayan running out of breath at 120km/h. The weight of the motorcycle offers a good amount of balance and is hardly noticeable during highway runs, but enter city limits and the situation completely changes.
In the city, the rider is immediately conscious about the weight of the motorcycle, especially in stop-and-go traffic. The motorcycle is narrow enough to filter through traffic, but the weight does hamper its manoeuvrability. The weight of the motorcycle, along with the 800mm seat height, will be of special concern to shorter riders.
However, remove the Royal Enfield Himalayan from the city and highway to any off-roading terrain and the motorcycle immediately feels at home. The long-travel suspension at both ends, large ground clearance of 220mm and the bash plate offer riders the confidence to take the Himalayan ‘almost' anywhere.
This confidence is further boosted when riding the motorcycle while standing up. The narrow width of the motorcycle, the flat foot-pegs and the tall handlebars offer a great riding stance to be able to control the motorcycle easily even while standing up. We took the Himalayan across some extremely tough trails and the motorcycle was easily able to handle any situation.
The long-travel suspension and the high ground clearance also allow the Himalayan to easily pass over most obstacles while off-roading. While the bash plate does protect the important components of the motorcycles from those which do end up poking out more than necessary.
The brakes on the Royal Enfield Himalayan are perfectly suited for off-road trails. The switchable-ABS further adds to the excitement and switching it off, ensures a constant smile across the rider's face throughout.
However, get on the tarmac and the brakes instantly feel a bit spongy. We would have liked a bit more bite from the brakes at least on the tarmac, especially while cruising at high speeds on highways.
The engine itself offers good refinement and is extremely smooth, especially compared to its older BS4 iteration. However, slight vibrations do still creep in, particularly at high speeds on the highway. Although this could also be because of the knobby dual-purpose CEAT tyres which the Himalayan runs on as standard. The tyres themselves give good grip in all conditions, be it on the tarmac or while off-roading.
Competition & Fact Check!
The Royal Enfield Himalayan BS6 is one of the most popular models in the affordable adventure-tourer motorcycle segment in the Indian market. The Himalayan rivals the likes of the Hero Xpulse 200 and the BMW G 310 GS in the country.
|Model/Specifications||Royal Enfield Himalayan (BS6)||BMW G 310 GS (BS4)||Hero Xpulse 200 (BS6)|
|Engine Displacement (cc)||411||312||199|
|Prices||Rs 2.3 Lakh||Rs 3.5 Lakh||Rs 1.11 Lakh|
*All prices are ex-showroom (Delhi)
The Royal Enfield Himalayan makes perfect-sense for those looking at purchasing a capable and fun yet affordable adventure-tourer motorcycle in the Indian market. The Royal Enfield Himalayan allows both expert off-roaders and first-timers to have fun off-tarmac.
The new BS6-iteration of the Himalayan priced at Rs 2.3 lakh, ex-showroom (Delhi) further enhances these off-roading capabilities with switchable-ABS, adding to the fun and excitement of riding the motorcycle across all types of terrains, both on and off-road.
Rahul Nagaraj Thinks!
The Royal Enfield Himalayan is currently the best choice for a premium-yet-affordable adventure-tourer motorcycle in the Indian market. The Himalayan is also an extremely capable motorcycle and offers even the first-time off-roaders like me the chance to have fun and experience dirt-riding.