ROYAL ENFIELD HIMALAYAN: THE FIRST WORDsubhash kumar
Royal Enfield motorcycles have always been a favourite for a trip to the Himalayas. So when RE decided to pay homage to the mountain ranges by launching a motorcycle of namesake, the entire spectrum of the adventure-tourer segment went abuzz. Well, the long wait is finally over as Royal Enfield raised the final curtains on its much-awaited Himalayan. The world got its first good look at the motorcycle a few days ago at the Delhi Auto Expo 2016, and boy was it a display! Everybody wanted to catch a good look at the bike and wanted to get their hands on it.
Unfortunately though, for now the bike is off limits with no hopes of being able to try it out before March. Apparently, the motorcycle is still going through its advanced stages of beta testing. The members of the inner circle of Royal Enfield, which includes personalities such as the RE CEO Siddhartha Lal have been spotted on social network testing the Himalayan in the terrains it is named after, and we have to say the first visuals look quite enchanting.
What we know: It is nice to see that in many ways it is very much a Royal Enfield and has retained some of its hallmarks. The round headlights for instance and a sound that is still a reminder of the old Enfield charm. It is easy to gauge that the Himalayan has a strong build and sturdy design and a tall frame. Thanks to the telescopic 41mm front suspension with a travel of 200mm, which is at the minimum 30mm more that the classic 350. This should translate into Himalayans’ superior ability to absorb shocks and deal with harsh terrains. Also a larger front wheel diameter of 21 inches should allow for the bike to easily overcome larger obstacles like rocks and such.
The 411cc air-cooled single cylinder engine produces a power output of 24.5 bhp @ 6500 rpm and good low-end torque of 32 Nm between 4000-4500 rpm. This should mean that the bike should be able to push its way through the uphill terrains of Himalayas at higher altitudes much better than the ever trusted bullet.
A curb weight of 182 kg which is lighter than its 350cc cousin and a higher power output means that you can expect the Himalayan to be quick on its feet.
This is the first time the RE has forayed into the world of mono shock suspensions, which is what you’d find on the Himalayan rear with a more than decent 180mm travel. This definitely instills confidence in the Himalayans’ shock absorbing abilities on tough roads or no roads.
The Himalayan comes with several luggage mounting point at the rear and the front of the bike as a standard. This means that you can literally hook anything to the saddle and the bike. From panniers to soft luggage and from hard saddle bags to jerry cans.
All this amounts to a motorcycle designed for utility and functionality while keeping the adventurous spirit at the core.
Like any other enterprise that Royal Enfield has ever undertaken, this one too has drawn mixed reactions from the various quarters of the Indian demography.
Some people simply love the sturdy frame and the functional design, while others simply feel that RE is losing its royal touch by producing modern motorcycles. Overall through, the buzz is quite positive and the bike has been well received in pretty much all quarters. With Himalayan, Royal Enfield is taking on a terrain that is unfamiliar and not so easy to cover, yet extremely exciting and promising in the long run.
Our Take on the Himalayan:
Royal Enfield had made it clear from the outset that they’re going to keep the design minimalistic and focus on the performance and functionality of the bike more, and based on the first impression, the bike certainly looks the part of the adventurer-tourer. We specially love how the name Himalayan is engraved in the side panels shaped as falling rocks, simple and elegant. The tail lamp is also very stylish and the upswept exhausts are also a nice touch and give the bike an increased water wading abilities. The sturdy and rugged design of the bike make it look very handsome, and the seat height of 800mm despite the tall framing ensures that even the riders of less than average height are able to place both their feet on the ground comfortably.
The last time RE experimented with Fuel Injection, let’s just say it did not go quite as well as expected. Which is why we’re glad they stuck to the good old carburetor with throttle sensors this time around.
RE is also promising larger service intervals for the Himalayan with no less than 10,000 kms between subsequent oil changes.
We had written a post earlier describing what we expected of the Himalayan.
However, it would seem premature to give our final verdict on the matter, as we’re yet to try the motorcycle and put it to test against the tarmac and the lack of it. So for now we eagerly wait to get our hands on the bike. We shall provide you with a more detailed review of the bike as soon as that happens.
Drop your comments and tell us what are your thoughts on the grand Himalayan adventure Royal Enfield has undertaken.