Royal Enfield Himalayan Review
Bike Tested: 2016 Royal Enfield Himalayan; Road Test No. 652
Price OTR Mumbai: 1.79 lakhs
Planning for Leh-Ladakh but confused? The new RE Himalayan is made for it
After a long wait and multiple spy shots, the highly anticipated Royal Enfield Himalayan is all set to launch on 2nd February, 2016. But we have something special for our tourer friends in the MotorBeam basket. Yes, we got to ride the bike as the production spec test mule was being ridden somewhere in Maharashtra. The test rider requested us to not take pictures for obvious reasons and we obliged. Royal Enfield aims to attract touring enthusiasts with the Himalayan by building an all-terrain motorcycle, first of its kind by the British automaker. Will it be able to attract customers with the interesting line ‘Before Roads, There Were Mountains’?
The R&D team of Royal Enfield put in a lot of effort in the development of the Himalayan. First impressions of the bike make it look like a mini Triumph Tiger 800 XC. The headlight of the Royal Enfield Himalayan is borrowed from its elder sibling, the Continental GT while the tail gets a new design and looks simplistic. The rigid square indicators seemed a bit old fashioned and don’t have any freedom of movement on uneven roads. The all matte-black engine has the new RE logo on it which looks classy. The longer suspension along with a raised mudguard and thin spoke wheels, gives the bike an enduro feel.
The Royal Enfield Himalayan will possibly be launched in three different colours, black, white and one more yet to be confirmed. All the variants have a single badging of ‘Himalayan’ strip on the body starting from the front mudguard to the fuel tank and finally ending at the tail guard, towards a little left from the centre. The aluminium exhaust though, looks unfinished. Overall the bike looks simple, sober and waiting for an adventure. The Royal Enfield Himalayan uses a 410cc, oil-cooled, single-cylinder engine which will churn out approximately 29 BHP and 40 Nm of torque. Immediately one will notice the lack of vibrations on this motorcycle as the engine gets a counter-balancer and is refined, revving smoothly with some vibes coming near the redline. This is splendid news as the lack of vibes is something which no other Royal Enfiled bike can boast off.
I couldn’t do much work on the numbers regarding acceleration but I think it is safe to say that the Himalayan might be even faster than the Royal Enfield Classic 500 due to its light weight. 0-60 km/hr comes pretty quickly post which the air starts its play. Reaching 100 km/hr doesn’t take much time either but what really surprised me was how the bike pulled even post that. I was at 100 or 110 km/hr at 7000 RPM when I thought this was it. Next thing I learnt, there was one more gear left. The Himalayan climbed past 130 km/hr easily and was pulling hard when I realised, I might just be getting closer to God and hence slowed down. The torque seemed more than enough for tarmac as well as off-road duties. The power output from the engine is good till 7000 RPM post which the power fades away and shifting up is the best option. The meter does show the redline at under 10,000 RPM but the motor takes a lot of time to spin upwards of 7000 RPM.
The slimmest Royal Enfield feels light and nimble at sharp and slow turns
Riding dynamics is something most of our tourer friends would be concerned about. The Royal Enfield Himalayan feels light and nimble at tight turns and corners. I took the bike for a short off-road expedition in which the bike performed flawlessly. The front brakes lack a lot of initial bite though and needs some getting used to, the lever is similar to what’s seen on enduro bikes. The best feature of the bike supposedly was the extra long wind screen that provided excellent protection from wind blasts at speeds as high as 100 km/hr. The cluster is also new in the Himalayan with bright yellow coloured digits, easily visible in broad daylight. It included an analogue speedo with both km/hr and m/hr units separately, a small analogue tachometer, a digital compass and an odometer. Switchgear was similar to that offered in most Royal Enfields.
The front suspension on the Himalayan took bumps easily on the off-road terrains while the rear mono-shock was a little bit stiff to provide the maximum rear-end feel while in muddy situations. The slim off-road tyres provide excellent grip in all situations, the front is a massive 21-inch while the rear uses a 17-incher. It would be unfair to comment about the seat as of now as the real test would be when we take it on a long trip and let our buttocks give the conclusion. The exhaust note is different and unique from other Royal Enfields and sounds good to the ears. Overall height of the Himalayan also felt appropriate for a rider as tall as 6 feet like me as I could easily touch down my feet. The motorcycle comes with both, the double sided as well as single sided stand. Fuel tank capacity is 15-litres while economy will be disclosed when the bike is revealed.
Moreover, Royal Enfield will also provide us with a slew of aftermarket accessories for the Himalayan. These include an aluminium handlebar of the same size, two aluminium saddle tanks of 17-litres each, an exhaust, small fuel crates and waterproof bags. The all-aluminium saddle tanks could’ve been much better in terms of quality. Same goes for the red coloured fuel crates that are provided at each side on the tank. The exhaust is of different make and finish which sounds amazing and I personally feel it is the best sounding Royal Enfield ever. Royal Enfield has provided with in-built aluminium screws and joints for easy bolt on and off application of these aftermarket accessories in case you decide to stay in some hotel and want to carry the luggage as it is to the room.
With the overall package that the Royal Enfield Himalayan has to offer, I am impressed. Well yes, it doesn’t provide as much thrill or power as compared to other bikes in this price range but it surely impresses in most of the other departments in which its rivals fail. What we’re eagerly waiting for is the price tag at which the Himalayan will be launched, for that is the only factor that will decide whether the first of its kind enduro-tourer from Royal Enfield will steal the ‘value for money’ tag from the KTM Duke 390. A little birdie tells us that the on-road price in Delhi is under Rs. 1.8 lakhs for the base variant and that might just be the catalyst adventure touring needs in our country.
The Royal Enfield Himalayan is an affordable adventure bike which has been made for a purpose, to take to the off-road. The company has also put in efforts in other areas and the new engine impresses with the lack of vibes, refined nature and good punch. This is a motorcycle to look forward to.