Royal Enfield Himalayan has been one bike that has left the media sleepless over last couple of months. This adventure tourer is destined to cruise the Indian roads especially the off roads in Gods own country, Kerala.
Finally after days of wait, I get my hands on Himalayan, sought to be one of the much awaited vehicles in recent days. I remind myself that I am about to embark on an exhilarating journey through highways, forests, mountain roads and even hilly rivers and enjoy nature at its best on this off roader making my dream come true.
Though it is the right choice for Indian roads, we Indians have not been familiar with an adventure tourer as this, which is why this off-roader needs a better preface. The most simplest form of definition for an adventure tourer would be a dual sport bike weighing more than 160kgs and suitable for long distance journeys that includes off roads as well. A bike that possesses both the features of a dual sports bike and a tourer was not easily welcomed in the Indian market until the recent past. But now, the story has changed. Indians are looking forward to have an adventure tourer than just a two wheeler. Reliable sources predict that most of the brands are planning to come up with their own adventure tourers in the coming years that foresees heavy competition in this segment. This is when the Royal Enfield Himalayan makes its entry into the market wowing the adventure lovers across the nation.
Unlike the present day adventure tourers, Royal Enfiled Himalayan doesn't spot a modern ,intricate outlook on its profile. It carries an elegant yet extremely functional design. Huge windshields, circular headlamps and rear view mirrors give it a retro look. The 15 litre fuel tank is prominent as your eyes brush past its sides. The knee recess provides ample support to the rider while riding both seated and standing as well as braking making the journey a pleasure.
The plush seats are low enough at 800 mm making it easier for even the short riders, and provide extreme comfort and grip, under which rests a Himalayan badge on the body panel. The mounts provided for panniers on its rear and jerry cans on either sides of the fuel tank are brilliant. The LED tail lamps tend to remind us of the Thunderbird at one glimpse making the rear strikingly attractive. The elevated rear fender and exhaust pipes remark the features of a dual sports bike. The instrument cluster on the Himalayan comprises of Speedometer, Tachometer , Digital compass, Fuel gauge, Rider information system. The rider information display screen on the other hand, includes two trip meters, digital gear indicator, average speed, clock and temperature gauge. While the switch gears are made from good quality material, the Himalayan carries everything that lets it stand out with an impressive silhouette.
This is one section which needs special mention. RE Himalayan is not the usual old wine in new bottle. It carries a new chassis and a newly developed 411 cc single cylinder, air cooled and 4 stroke SOHC carbureted engine for that reason. Not just that, it also holds the title for the first two wheeler from Royal Enfield with an air cooled engine.
At first, when I heard that the power delivered is only 24.48 bhp , I felt a little underwhelmed like the others as it seemed too less for a motorcycle as this. Anyways, I decided to turn on the ignition and start my test ride. As a matter of fact, Himalayan is the only two wheeler from Royal Enfield which has no kick starter but an ignition switch. As I shifted to the first gear, the tourer was all set to traverse. Unlike other Royal Enfield bullets, it didn't make roaring noises ,instead paced up with a soft and pleasant babble along the path.
Shaking hands with this versatile bike, I realized one thing. Himalayan is not an ordinary off-roader. It's engine may seem underpowered yet is torquey and has excellent low and midranges but delivers its maximum torque of 32Nm at just 4500rpm. Refinement levels are amazing that the vibration is felt only at a higher rpm. Its totally revised ergonomics matches that of an adventure tourer in all aspects. The heavy clutch and a five speed gearbox takes a little time to get used to, but once you are through the familiarizing part, then it's a pleasure ride down the lane. It conquers not just the roads but every terrain with brutal power. To feel the real power, I decided to traverse the forests next, where I moved easily through the dark woods and pebbles in the streaming rivers. To be honest at this stage, I had to change my opinion about the Himalayan being stated earlier as under powered.
Next , I decided to take the road less travelled as I chose a nearby mountain where the road surface was completely uneven and assured bumpy slippery rides.
Here too, RE Himalayan surprised me with its brilliant maneuverability. The front suspension has telescopic forks that gets 200mm travel and rear suspension with mono shock gets 180mm travel which is relatively long and conquers every terrain at ease. Probably these terrains literally helps us to realise the power and performance of this tourer at its best. The 300 mm disc at the front and 240 mm disc at the rear ensures good safety ,yet I wished RE could have added an ABS alongside.
Even though the RE does not target customers who buy an adventure tourer by looking at its fuel efficiency, Himalayan still manages to offer a decent mileage. I felt completely electrified after the test ride of more than 100kms , the only disappointing fact being its grumpy shifts. The ex showroom price of Royal Enfield Himalayan is Rs. 1,62,291. Being an adventure tourer at a pocket friendly price, its success was marked the day it was launched. Let's wait for the days when Indian roads will have more of these bikes zooming past to and fro.