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Royal Enfield Himalayan Carburetor Review, First Ride

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Royal Enfield Himalayan Carburetor Review comes a bite late, but we spend a lot of time to find out whether you should be considering it now

Enchanting –

  • True entry level adventure motorcycle
  • Well tuned chassis and engine
  • Sorted Ergonomics
  • Easy to ride off/on-road
  • Essentials loaded, Value for money

Unsatisfying –

  • Could be more powerful and fuel efficient
  • Brakes could do with better feedback
  • Quality and niggling issues reported

Let’s admit the fact that our demand for adventure motorcycles was and is only met by Royal Enfield, for now. While other hardcore ADV’s (in front of the Himalayan) are on their way, the Himalayan seems to only offer go anywhere talents at present. The Himalayan on one hand has collected all round praise for its ADV core and on the other hand has faced severe criticism regarding the issues that have cropped up. The Himalayan is said to be no frills approach to take on the beaten track and the manufacturer claims that at same time it can do the daily commute to office, weekend rides, as well and this is exactly what we did.

Himalayan is a brand new Royal Enfield platform and there isn’t much that has been shared with motorcycles in its stable, a plus point which brings a lot of customers to the showrooms for the manufacturer. Royal Enfield finally could arrange one for us, which is almost a year later, an allowed us to spend some quality time with the motorcycle. We took this opportunity as always and did a road test of the motorcycle after riding almost 700kms on it. It took a lot of fuel, time and collective efforts to come up with a review of this motorcycle. How is it? Let’s jump on it then!

Design

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When it comes to design, RE has kept it bare minimum. There is basic looking square fuel tank, panniers cage at the front for carrying fuel cans, a round headlamp at the front. Side panel is one single sheet of metal which has the name embossed on it. The rear and front fenders have graphics which say the name of the motorcycle if you look closely. The large wheels, chunky tyres and spoke wheels make it look apt for the job at hand.

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The LED tail-lamps are a good addition to the bike, which looks well placed and chunky. Fit-finish levels are good, quality all around is a bit industrial, but that seems the intended purpose of the motorcycle. The large exhaust looks the most modern part of the lot. The large luggage carrier and bash plate is also a part of the fairly functional package. The orange turn-indicators, well if they are cheap or retro, it is up to you to decide. However, overall form of the Himalayan has now become its signature.

Ergonomics

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The rear set footpegs, the low seat height, the raised handlebar and yet a proper upright position has been achieved. The tank helps lock knees while standing on the footpegs and while sitting as well. The mirrors are of no use as they are short, stalks are very small and the round shape doesn’t work in its favor either. The seats are well padded and we did multiple long rides there wasn’t much to be complained after a 200 km one sided journey. The same can be said for the pillion seat as well.

Speedo and Switches

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The switches are the cycle parts that we have seen before, they are less intuitive on the Himalayan for some reason or not ageing well on the abused test bike. The meters are loaded to the gills by a big margin. You have two trip meter with separate fuel economy parameter such as average fuel efficiency shown. There is a compass on offer along with hazard light switch on the cluster as well. Gear shift indicator, outside air temperature is part of the digital clocks. There are the usual tell-tale lights on the cluster at the top. The speedometer shows both Miles Per Hour and Kilometer Per Hour. The headlights do a good job in terms of illumination and spread.

Engine and Gearbox

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The 411cc making 24.5 BHP of power and 32 Nm of torque is the highlight of the package. The motor is quite smooth, free revving and redlines at a higher (For RE) 7000 RPM. There is a lot of low and mid-range torque which means you are pretty much always in the power-band from 0-120 km/hr. You can cruise at 100-105 km/hr, top speed we saw was a decent 140 km/hr on the speedo where the engine wasn’t as uncomfortable as it has been in the past with RE units. The tall gearing and the narrow power band means it does pull in any gear at any RPM.

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However, traffic duties are best to be done in first gear as it can knock if in very chaotic urban scenarios. Off-roading too is best done in first gear until unless you are just going over bad patch where you automatically shift up. The engine, despite oil cooling does heat up in traffic, but it doesn’t get worse until the urban traffic scene  gets towards a more intense part. 27.03 km/l is what we got over the due course of our road testing. 0-100 km/hr is done in 12.3 seconds.

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The gearbox as reported is fairly hard and so is the clutch which can be mildly painful in high traffic scenarios. We love the exhaust note of the motorcycle as it has a bit of the thump along with sporty appeal which makes it just right and pleasant to the ears every time we went fast on it. We only wish it had more power so that it could be even better at that and along with, it would provide more speed as well.

Dynamics

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Dynamically, the Himalayan is good as the suspension is quite stiff. The link-type monoshock suspension is directly mounted to the chassis not just to the swingarm, which is a great addition. The travel of the suspension on both end is remarkably high and with a low seat height, it is surely a job well done by RE.

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This may have been said a lot of time, but it’s still worth the mention. The motorcycle turns-in quickly enough despite a massive 21-inch wheel at the front, lock to lock isn’t outrageous as big bikes of this type. Long wheelbase and bigger wheels and tyres do a great job of stability at any given speed on given tarmac, which is the very big highlight of the Himalayan. Ride quality is compliant at low speeds, but when the speed rises, it isn’t compliant enough and we think the suspension is way too stiff for our liking at the very edge of the limit.

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Brakes are good, but our test bikes had no life in brake pads at the rear, so most of the braking on an adventure bike was done through the front. The front lever was wooden at low-speed but there was always enough power to stop the bike on the road and off the road at any given speed. Tyres did a good job when we went to specially built dirt track for adventure bikes, the motorcycle truly shined in its natural habitat. We only wished our test bikes had better brakes so we could have more fun and control.

Royal Enfield Himalayan Carburetor Review, Verdict

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Like we said earlier, The Himalayan has its strengths and weakness. The engine is great, but the gearbox isn’t. The chassis is good, but the suspension is quite stiff. The motorcycle is very high on value, but there are some quality issues that need to addressed by RE. We are sure these problems should go away with the fuel-injected model coming in soon. ABS should follow in 2018 as well.

Concluding the experience we had over the 700 kms with the motorcycle we can say the Himalayan is potent enough and still is the best for adventure bike junkies out there. Royal Enfield core values can be seen in this motorcycle and along with a modern touch makes it quite an appealing package on paper for its fans. If you are one or even not one of them, you should atleast consider or short list this mountain loving motorcycle.

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Himalayan Carburetor Review
  • Design
  • Performance
  • Value
  • Comfort
  • Safety
  • Dynamics
4.2
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