Heed the call of wide open spaces astride the Himalayan
The Himalayan is a charming motorcycle that has far more to offer than its spec sheet would have you believe
Royal Enfield’s affordable adventure bike, the Himalayan, gets an update for 2021 with the changes largely based around comfort, practicality and convenience.
The overall design is the same but there are a couple of details that have changed. First, Royal Enfield has added its ‘Tripper’ navigation screen onto the Himalayan’s quirky digi-analogue instrument console. The Tripper screen is a small, circular colour display that reads out navigation directions — its display works via Bluetooth and requires your phone to be connected to the Royal Enfield app.
With the addition of the Tripper screen, Royal Enfield had to change the earlier windscreen to fit around the new display. The new windscreen is not only wider, but a little taller as well, providing decent wind protection.
Another change is that Royal Enfield has re-profiled the metal frame that runs alongside the fuel tank and it no longer fouls with the knees, which is a common complaint for tall riders. Further back, the company has used a new kind of foam for the seats; the seat height remains very approachable at 800mm. And finally, the rear rack has been made slightly shorter and now gets a metal plate on top that should enable more secure loading of luggage.
Overall fit and finish is good, but a closer examination will reveal the odd, shoddy weld here and there, and the finish on the inner side of the exhaust could have been nicer as well.
The 2021 update brings in three new colours, which includes the Mirage Silver shown here, a very nice shade of green that Royal Enfield calls Pine Green, and a Granite Black option. Nothing has changed mechanically from the BS6 Himalayan that we rode a year ago, and that includes the 411cc, two-valve air-cooled motor that makes 24hp and 32Nm.
The Himalayan continues to be very smooth and refined at most points, and it is only near the 7,500-odd RPM redline that you will feel some vibrations. The motor cruises beautifully at 80kph, and 100kph is quite relaxed as well. The bike will surge up to 120kph if you keep it pinned, but anything above that is a struggle. In the city, the engine won’t mind you holding higher gears at low speeds, but the motor feels flat below 2,000rpm.
The chassis is the same as well, with a very absorptive ride comfort that shakes off even the worst potholes. As before, the brakes are a clear improvement over the BS4 version, but still feel dull and the front lever needs a strong pull for quick braking. There is dual-channel ABS and the rear can be deactivated by long-pressing a small button on the dash, but this button was quite fiddly and sometimes it just wouldn’t work.
On the road, the Himalayan is an encouraging bike that you will find quite easy, thanks to its low seat and gentle engine responses. However, with long travel suspension and 220mm of ground clearance, you will eventually wish the bike had more power and weighed less than its current 199kg.
At ₹2.01 lakh (ex-showroom) it appears that Royal Enfield is using the opportunity to make a price correction. Nevertheless, the Himalayan is a likeable and charming motorcycle, that has far more to offer than its spec sheet would have you believe. At this price, there is nothing else like it.