Talk about touring in India and the list of places that’ll come to your mind is sure to have the Himalayan ranges in it. The next step would be to think about the preferred bike for that tour and it is very likely that you’ll end up thinking about Royal Enfield (RE).
Until now, these RE trips have been made on street cruisers like the Thunderbird and the iconic Bullet. But the company has built a purpose-built adventure tourer and named it after its natural habitat – The Himalayan. Does it have what it takes to be your go-to motorcycle? We find out.
At first glance, the bike looks very simple and there’s not a lot going on. But remember, this is supposed to take you to the harshest of terrains and chances are that it will have a few tip-overs over its lifetime, and it is at that moment that you’ll appreciate the minimalistic design approach.
The bike has a tall stance to it. The design is narrow, tightly packed and the handlebar is placed high. RE has also given space for mounting hard and soft luggage onto the frame. There’s some clever engineering too like the fuel tank has been carved around the areas where you’ll need knee-room when you’ll be riding it while standing on the footpegs. The instrument cluster and the headlamps have been mounted on the frame too and hence, the handlebar feels light and the bike has a super-impressive turning radius.
Talking about the instrument cluster, it has a neat design layout and tells you everything you need to know. There’s also a compass on board, which can get a bit tricky to understand at first and the combination of digital and analogue meters give it a classic touch. Although it could have used a distance to empty gauge as on long trips, it’s just easier to know what kind of a range you can get from the fuel that’s left in the fuel tank. But to tackle that, RE has given a 15-litre fuel tank, which is good enough.
The best part about the bike has to be the chassis. The stance of the bike is bang-on too. A slight nudge on the handlebar gets the bike to turn, the seating position is upright which means it is easy on your wrists, shoulders and back. The seats are soft and comfortable and the bike just feels connected to the rider.
On top of that, the bike has telescopic suspension at the front which has a 200 mm travel and the rear mono shock suspension (a first for RE) has an 180 mm travel, add to that 220 mm ground clearance and you have a motorcycle that can go almost anywhere.
The 21-inch front tyre and the 17-inch rear tyre provide ample grip and are capable of taking a beating.
What’s Not So Cool?
Royal Enfield has fitted a brand new engine in the Himalayan called the LS410. ‘LS’ stands for long-stroke and the ‘410’ stands for the cubic capacity.
The 411cc air-cooled engine delivers 24.5 bhp and 32 Nm of torque and comes with a 5-speed transmission. It also comes with a counter-balancer which has effectively removed almost all the vibrations that you would normally associate with an Enfield. But what were left wanting was a bit more power for those quick overtakes on the highway as the engine is not peppy enough and the tall-gearing make it a laidback cruiser.
The clutch also feels heavy on the lever and the transmission on whole feels clunky.
There is no denying that the Himalayan is one of the most capable motorcycles in its segment thanks that wonderful chassis.
Yes, optional ABS and Fuel-injection would have been nice but then that defeats the whole purpose of this motorcycle as it would become a lot more expensive. This has been designed to be accessible, capable, practical and at Rs 1.56 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) it checks all those boxes.