We’re Just back from the last Moroccan tour of the season, I’ve been meaning to pop in to see Anton in the shop and catch up, after a busy season. I also wanted to have a look at the new Royal Enfield Himalayas which he has just taken delivery of.
I’ve only seen a couple of pictures on the net, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect? Simple/easy to fix and designed for the rough roads of India? Perfect for our Moroccan tours or a ride through the Pyrenees?
Keen to try one, Anton handed me keys and asked if I could put some miles on it, as it needed running in before the first service / goes out for hire. Instructions were to keep the revs down, get it dirty and report back.
The first problem navigate through the busy traffic on polished slippery roads and tram lines of Barcelona, on a brand new bike in the rain with new tyres! Eeek! I survived! In fact, it was easy, after a couple of minutes getting used to the clutch/gears and the feel of a different engine, l was carving through to the front of the traffic at the lights. Verdict: It’s as easy to ride through traffic as my daily rider the CRF 250L.
First impressions I must admit I think it looks good – with lots of nice shiny stainless bolts, it even has a full stainless exhaust including header pipe! All of the welds on frame etc look neat and tidy, nice alloy bash plate, plus not much plastic to be seen! The seats relatively low and narrow at the front where it meets the tank and wide at the back, so good for standing up! Tyres – 21″ Front 17″ rear both of which are shod with good rubber, Pirelli scorpion Mt 90s which l highly rate for both road and trail.
The handlebar switches feel solid and the instrument gauges are easy to read with speed, revs, fuel, and a gear indicator. The LCD info display is a bit on the small side, but to be fair I struggle to read my satnav, without reading glasses! Something which confused me at first was the display with N, E, S, W, and an arrow which kept changing? When sat waiting for the lights l eventually realized it was compass! A bit a novelty idea? however, it did prove useful for getting out of the city!
What’s it like to ride? well having now ridden it for a few days, on mixed roads, it’s comfortable, handling wise it feels planted and predictable, it’s fun carving through the twisties or just plodding along enjoying the view, stopping for a photo. The single disc brakes aren’t the sharpest, which is good in the wet or off-road. It has ABS, which can be fitted with an off switch, for trail riding / off road. There’s no traction control, so no pro, enduro mode or anti-wheelie control to play with, or spoil the fun!
On bigger roads, it’s happy to cruise all day at 75 to 80mph / 115 to 130kmh.
The engine: to be honest having not read any of the other reviews or specs before riding, I thought It was 500cc the same unit as used in other Enfield’s. I was wrong! according to the Specs form the factory (see below) it is, in fact, a new 411cc motor with overhead cam, balancer shaft, and fuel injection which meets Euro 4 emission regulations. It has 5 gears instead of the normal 6 which are evenly spaced, I can’t say that I missed the extra gear.
It’s very smooth, fueling wise I didn’t notice any flat spots, its happy to rev, esp for a long stroke single. There’s hardly any vibration through the bars so no numb hands! It feels torque and pulls well, despite only having 24hp. An old saying “it’s better to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slowly“!
Servicing: everything looks easy to get to, without loads of fiddly plastic bits to remove. So I’m guessing that it’s not going to be expensive or even too difficult to service at home. Valve clearances are good old simple screw and lock-nut.
MPG: on the first tank of fuel keeping the revs below 4000 (as running in) I managed 86mpg on mixed roads with about 130km/80 miles with a pillion. Tank range is about 400km/250miles + with the 15L tank.
Off-road: l haven’t tried it yet, to be honest, I’m frightened to get dirty! As its brand new and I hate cleaning bikes, So I’ll try and give it a couple days, or at least fix my broken pressure washer first!
Off-road up-date: it’s now dirty! As a comparison, I normally ride a CRF250L or an Africa twin. I tried a few of my local trails with some steep climbs which I normally ride. The weight feels low and the bars are nice and wide so the steering is relatively light In fact, standing up on the page it reminds me of a classic twin shock trials bike. It has good traction even on some of the wet steeper climbs thanks to the long stroke engine which lends its self well to being ridden off-road. On some of the faster rocky routes, the suspension soaks up the bumps well. So all good!
Extras: what would I add or change? it’s already fitted with a center stand, as standard from the factory (normally about £200 extra from other manufacturers) The side stand needs a larger plate welding to the bottom or a bolt on piece. I would add lower engine bars plus rear bars for soft panniers and a small to medium or off-road friendly top box for valuables. I would also add hand-guards and heated grips.
Nitpicking: – I think the front ABS sensor/cable which runs around the outside of the lower left fork leg needs moving to the rear of the fork leg for extra protection from rocks etc. I’m not convinced about the drive chain having a split link! although it’s easy to change for a riveted type.
Verdict: Would I buy one with my own money? yes it’s a great mid-size adventure bike Its comfortable and fun to ride on or off-road. I could use it as a work bike/ tour hack, it would be great for some of the long trails we ride in Morocco or Spain. It’s quick enough to be fun to ride. On-road price only £4200 plus low Insurance. The question is which bike would I trade in? or do need 3 adventure bikes?
If you fancy trying the Royal Enfield Himalaya either on a guided or self-guided tour in Spain, Pyrenees or Morocco read more here
Single Cylinder, 4 stroke, Air cooled, SOHC, Fuel Injection
Maximum Power: 24.5 bhp @ 6500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 32 Nm @ 4250 rpm
Ignition system: Digital electronic ignition
Gearbox: 5 Speed Constant Mesh
Fuel supply: Electronic fuel injection
Engine start: Electric
Chassis and suspension:
Front suspension: Telescopic, 41 mm forks, 200 mm travel
Rear suspension: Monoshock with linkage, 180 mm wheel travel
Frame: Half-duplex split cradle
Wheelbase: 1465 mm
Ground clearance: 220 mm
Length: 2190 mm
Width: 840 mm
Height: 1360 mm (Fly Screen Top)
Seat height: 800 mm
Kerb weight: 194 kg
Fuel capacity: 15 liters
Tyre’s and Brakes:
Front tyre: 90/90 – 21″
Rear tyre: 120/90 – 17″
Front brakes: 300 mm disc, 2-piston floating caliper
Rear brakes: 240 mm disc, single-piston floating caliper
ABS: Dual Channel
Royal Enfield Himalayan review + specs written by Jay Pitt – on & off road tour guide for Overland Motorcycle Tours