It was already a hit in India, but since the Royal Enfield Himalayan appeared in Europe in 2017, this charming single-cylinder all-road has steadily gained a loyal fan base. For this model year, the little adventurer got his first update, which of course took the Euro5 hurdle. In addition, some ergonomic fine grinding has been carried out and the Himalayan is now equipped with navigation as standard. We navigate for a first test over the Utrechtse Heuvelrug.
The Royal Enfield Himalayan first appeared on the European market in 2016. The Indian home market was, of course, the first playground for the 411 cc single-cylinder, which by the way rolled out of the pen of none other than Pierre Terblanche, best known for the many Ducati’s he designed in the past (including 888, 749/999, ST- line, the air-cooled Multistrada and the Supermono). And the Himalayan was initially also developed for that home market. That fact still forms the basis of the current model. In short: a low and accessible seat, a large ground clearance due to the predominantly bad roads in India, a long maintenance interval, because a visit to a workshop on site is expensive and a long service life, because buying a new engine costs there a lot of money and is not for everyone. A practical approach in particular, and this also applies to other properties, such as light-footed steering behaviour, a small turning circle, easy handling, good turning characteristics, a lot of torque at low speeds, little electronics, adequate range, high maximum payload and acceptable suspension travel. All things that make motorcycle life easier in India and other Asian countries, but are certainly not wrong here in Europe either.
So enter Himalayan, and now we are ready for this second generation of this light allroad. An update in which the switch to Euro5 was the most important, where, for example, the catalytic converter has been given a place high in the exhaust system and is close to the engine block, so that it is quickly at operating temperature. By the way, taking that Euro5 hurdle has not been at the expense of the power, because just like before, the single pitter is good for 24 hp at 6,500 rpm and 32 Nm at 4,000 rpm. Royal Enfield has also made a number of other adjustments, which are mainly ergonomic in nature. For example, the saddle has been slightly changed, the window has a slightly different shape and the crash bars have a slightly different shape to give riders with longer legs just a little more space. In addition, it is
luggage rack adjusted and the dashboard has had a freshening up. It still has two analog clocks for speed and rpm and of course the handy compass, but the LCD display has been renewed and a novelty has been added: the Royal Enfield Tripper, a turn-by-turn navigation system that uses Google Maps and can be linked to your smartphone via the Royal Enfield app. A simple dot-arrow system, and still in full development, but to get from A to B it works fine, as will become apparent during the test. And it is therefore standard, and that for a bicycle of € 6,299.
Anyway, let’s start sitting on that modified saddle. This is at a modal height of 800 millimeters for this segment, as before, and partly due to the narrow rear of the tank, the Himalayan is particularly accessible. With my height of 1.85 meters I easily put my feet flat on the asphalt. It takes a while to find the start button, because it is somewhat hidden under the somewhat hefty switch of the hazard lights. Once found, the Royal Enfield shows itself to be a smooth starter and is soon stamping happily with its thick cylinder.
With a dry weight of 185 kilos, the Himalayan is not a particularly lightweight, but once on the roll it seems to be more than 150 kilos. The whole thing immediately feels whole after the first kilometers
light-footed and balanced and nice and stable straight ahead. The saddle feels nice and comfortable and well padded. The knee angle is pleasant and my legs have plenty of room. Maybe the knees of riders with really tall nationals just touch the bulges at the front of the tank, but that’s a matter of trying. The simple-looking diamond above the classic round headlight protects quite well, keeps the wind away from your upper body quite well and does not cause annoying turbulence. Partly due to the weight, the Himalayan initially seems to lack some power. Of course, those 24 hp and 32 Nm don’t really have a frightening effect on the cobblestones in the street, but in practice they undeniably have their charm. The torque is actually quite fine between about 2,500 and 4,000 rpm and the single-cylinder runs with its modern cylinder head, piston and cylinder if necessary, quite effortlessly and without really annoying vibrations to about 7,000 rpm. Even in higher gears of the otherwise fine-shifting gearbox, the block effortlessly picks up from below. You really have to drop below 2,000 rpm if you want to chop the single-pitter on the chain. The block has a long stroke and spoils with remarkably good turning characteristics and produces a nice single pitter roll. This quickly brings you into a very pleasant cadence, in which you become one with the engine, as it were. A real tractor, which you can also use in not too difficult terrain. The more than 220 millimeters of ground clearance is there for that reason, and the suspension travel is also somewhat wider with 180 and 200 millimeters at the front and rear. And the wheel combination of a 21-inch front and a 17-inch rear wheel is, of course, ideally suited if you sometimes dive into the dirt, and you can also choose from a wide range of tires for these wheel sizes.
Point of criticism are the brakes
As standard, there are Ceat Gripp XL rubbers under the Himalayan, which are coarsely studded tires of Indian manufacture. Ceat is India’s largest tire manufacturer and the brand is first-fit among all new Royal Enfields. Under the Himalayan they certainly don’t do it wrong, certainly not on the occasionally quite wet road surface. The feedback from the front is actually quite good and so is the grip feeling. The Ceats under the Royal Enfield Continental GT and Interceptor, which we also rode briefly on the same day, felt less confident on the wet road, at least at the front than the Gripp XL. Anyway, what do you want with a name like that…. The light-footed handlebar character continues to dominate and the Himalayan turns out to be a classic throw-and-throw machine on the smaller Dutch handlebar roads, ideal playground for a bike like this one. It remains ‘ie always neatly stable feel, with the suspension actually only on speed bumps taken quickly what after want to sway.
There is a point of criticism on the brakes. The single disc in the front wheel may look substantial, but the braking deceleration is not always very convincing. Especially if you unexpectedly have to brake hard, it is quite a squeeze and it all just about. Fortunately, the fork does not twist with this kind of braking action and you have a great assistant at the rear brake. The Himalayan 2.0 will probably only further increase the cult status of this Royal Enfield and anyone who appreciates the charm of this Indian ‘Brit’ will not be disappointed easily. It’s worth serious consideration for those who want to step out of the ‘rat race’ to more and more power and who also have a brother dead from the growing presence of ‘bits and bytes’ on motorcycles. No, the Himalayan guarantees pure motorcycling and that for an attractive price, including a handy Tripper that shows you the way.
TECHNICAL DATA ROYAL ENFIELD HIMALAYAN
MOTOR: air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine, balance shaft, single overhead chain-driven camshaft and two valves, wet-sump lubrication, petrol injection, catalytic converter, mechanically actuated multi-disc wet clutch.
Boring x slag: 78,0 x 85,0 mm
Displacement: 411 cc
Compression: 9,5 : 1
Max. power: 17.88 kW (24.3 hp) at 6,500 rpm
Max. torque: 32 Nm at 4,000 rpm
CYCLE SECTION: steel double cradle frame, Ø 41 mm telescopic fork, steel swingarm with mono shock absorber and lever system, preload adjustable, front disc brake Ø 300 mm, two-piston caliper, rear disc brake Ø 240 mm, single-piston caliper, ABS.
Tire size: 90/90-21; 120/90-17 campin
SIZES AND WEIGHTS: wheelbase 1.465 mm, seat height 800 mm, suspension travel from 180/200 mm, dry weight 185 kg.
Guarantee: 2 years
Service intervals: every 10,000 km
Colors: black, silver, green, blue/white
Price: NL € 6.299,-/B € 5.499,-
INFO THE NETHERLANDS AND BELGIUM: MotoMondo, www.royalenfield.com