The motorcycle you see here came fresh from the showroom with just a handful of kilometres on the clock and we’ve already passed the 1,000km mark. Most of that has been within the city as the bike eats through my near-70km round trip commute to work with effortless ease. On most motorcycles, the one-way journey usually takes 50-55 minutes on a good day, but the Himalayan has sliced that down to about 45-50 minutes. It’s not like I’m going any faster than I normally would, but I just don’t have to slow down that much over the bad patches. When Royal Enfield released the Himalayan, it was hailed as a bike designed to conquer the mountains and rough terrains. The Himalayan’s superb suspension along with its composed chassis and comfy riding position help it plough through broken stretches without a care, and that’s a beautiful feeling if you live somewhere with terrible roads.
This is a big bike, there’s no getting around that. Shorter or less experienced riders will find it a bit intimidating and you do feel the heft when lifting it off the side stand. But in a market where approachability and friendliness is pretty much the norm, it’s refreshing to have the option of a proper, large motorcycle. Besides which, I find the size and heft is completely justified given the bike’s comfort, capability and large fuel tank.
Design and Build Quality
The Himalayan's rugged design stands out amidst the sea of sleek, modern motorcycles. Its tall stance, high ground clearance, and utilitarian features give it an unmistakable presence on the road. The build quality feels robust, with sturdy components that inspire confidence even in the face of rough roads and unexpected obstacles.
Equipped with a 411cc single-cylinder engine, the Himalayan isn't the most powerful bike in its class, but it offers a smooth and tractable power delivery that's well-suited to both city commutes and highway cruising. The long-travel suspension absorbs bumps and potholes effortlessly, ensuring a comfortable ride even over uneven surfaces. The upright riding position provides excellent visibility, making it easy to navigate through traffic.
Handling and Maneuverability
Despite its size and weight, the Himalayan feels surprisingly agile in city traffic. The wide handlebars and responsive steering allow for quick direction changes, while the low-end torque provides ample grunt for pulling away from stoplights. Filtering through tight spaces is a breeze, thanks to the bike's narrow profile and manageable weight.
Comfort and Ergonomics
One of the Himalayan's standout features is its rider-friendly ergonomics. The spacious seat offers plenty of the room to be move around, and the footpegs are well-positioned for all-day of the comfort. The windscreen provides adequate wind protection at the highway speeds,and although taller riders may experience some buffeting. Overall, the Himalayan excels as a long-distance tourer, with a comfortable riding position that can be minimizes fatigue on extended journeys.
With fuel prices on the rise, fuel efficiency is a crucial factor for many riders. While it may not be as fuel-efficient as some smaller displacement bikes, its long-legged touring capabilities more than make up for it.
Maintenance and Reliability
One of the key considerations for any long-term ownership experience is maintenance and reliability. In our 1,000km journey with the Himalayan, we encountered no major issues or breakdowns. Regular maintenance intervals are relatively straightforward, with Royal Enfield's widespread service network ensuring easy access to spare parts and knowledgeable technicians.
The Himalayan’s first service is due at the 500km mark, at which point the service centre gives the bike a general check-up and changes the engine oil. The cost came up to Rs 3,062, of which Rs 2,415 was towards 2.1 litres of semi-synthetic 10W-40 engine oil. The rest included Rs 250 towards a “first service kit”, Rs 118 towards “consumable charges” and Rs 279 towards a chain lube and cleaning kit. That essentially sums up life with the Himalayan so far and it’s been a good time. I’d like to be able to do some off-road riding before this pleasant Mumbai winter weather burns away and maybe get a few choice accessories installed as well.