Adventure Tourer is one the iconic segments in motorcycling world ruled by some of the renowned players like Triumph Tiger Series, Kawasaki Versys 1000, BMW R 1200GS, Honda Africa Twin, KTM 990 Adventure and many more. All these are high capacity motorcycles with whopping price tag and high maintenance cost. But they are purpose built motorcycles, capable enough to take on any terrain or any roads. Their touring capabilities ranges from proper tarmacs to bumpy off roads. These are some of the many qualities that separates adventure tourer from other motorcycles. Keeping this in mind lets talk about the latest offering from the RE Chennai facility. The much awaited Indian version of the adventure tourer, the Himalayan has born.
The Design and Features
People may wonder, how this 400cc little bike from RE can be called as an adventure tourer? The answer lies within the vehicle itself. Amazingly, the Royal Enfield Himalayan bears all the necessary flavors of a real adventure tourer. It is under powered and lacks some of the most advanced electronic as well as mechanical features, but it still stands to be one of the finest creation from the legendary Enfield family.
It doesn't look like any other siblings of its family. Himalayan stands apart with its unique and simple bare-bone styling. It really looks like a purpose built machine with a larger 21-inch front wheel with multi purpose tyres (meant for both on and off-roads), engine sump guards, saddle carrier, pannier mount, seat height, upswept silencers and higher placed headlamps. All these are considered to be standard outfits for an adventure tourer. The round headlight of the Himalayan is topped with a small windscreen and underneath a beak is well placed to notify the adventure characteristics of the bike. It is the first Indian bike to feature compass in the instrument console alongside trip meter, fuel gauge, gear shift indicator, tachometer, speedometer, outside temperature gauge and hazard lights switch. The whole console is a combination of analog and digital with an orange back-lit, which looks colorful in the dark. Altogether, RE has improved a lot in designing such a good looking and informative console, when compared with other models.
The 14-litre fuel tank with a maximum range of 400 to 450 km on a full tank is a great addition for a tourer bike. The seats are of highest quality offering too much softness, the hand grips and spring loaded rider footpegs are of fine quality and better finish.
The Engine and Performance
As i mentioned earlier, Royal Enfield has deployed a new engine for this off-road beauty. The newly developed 410cc, Long Stroke, Single Cylinder, Air-Cooled, SOHC engine with fuel injection system. The mill delivers a maximum power of 24.5 bhp @ 6500 rpm and a peak torque of 32 Nm @ 4250 rpm. Unlike other RE models, Himalayan comes to life only with electronic push button. With the usage of new upswept silencer, exhaust note is too loud and it doesn't feel like the iconic thumper. On opening up the throttle, the Himalyan revs much faster than Classic 350 or Bullet Standard. This high torque engine is a perfect tool for Indian road conditions as well as for adventure off-roading.
The bike offers a well defined riding position, suitable enough for all kinds of riders. The high held handlebars and low-sit saddle makes it easy to access the ground below it.
The Suspension, Chassis and Brakes
Himalayan is constructed around the newly developed split cradle chassis. Like the flagship Continental GT, this too has been engineered by the RE owned Harris Performance center. The new chassis makes the cornering smooth and nervous free. Overall, this new chassis has to be the strongest and most reliable chassis that RE has ever made, considering the essence of Himalayan.
Being and adventure tourer, it must have a long travel suspension and it gets 41mm telescopic forks with 200 mm travel upfront and a rear monoshock suspension with 180mm travel at the back. This happens to be one of the finest suspension with longest travel in the RE brand. The combined work force of suspension and dual purpose 21-inch and 17-inch tyres provides enough traction and ground control on all kinds of terrains. The 220 mm ground clearance also enables the motorcycle to go anywhere with such an ease.
Stopping power of the Himalayan is controlled by a 300mm and 240mm BYBRE disc brakes at front and back respectively. These are well enough to reduce the speed and it definitely misses the real king, the ABS system. It is rumoured that, upcoming RE Himalaya will feature ABS braking with some minor technical upgrades and this would energize its braking abilities.
The Himalayan does covers all the necessary elements and features of a real adventure tourer. It really lacks some firepower when compared with other big players in this segment. But with an affordable price tag just under 2 lakhs, it is one of the finest machine to go on touring purpose. For the past 2 years, the sales figures of Royal Enfield has cruised to higher figures, surpassing some of the renowned brands such as Harley Davidson. The sales figures had doubled both in domestic as well as the international market. With the emergence of Himalayan in their line up, it is to be climbed even higher.
Mechanical issues with their various models are one of the recent concerns of the brand. According to some reports, their latest offering Himalayan too are prone to some of their regular causes. Some customers are unsatisfied with the fit and finish of the bike. Crack in the chassis, engine vibration, fuel pump block, problems with the flywheel and engine vibrations are some of it. Witnessing the desire for adventure tourer in the Indian market, many international players are about to introduce their models in the 300 to 500cc category. The KTM Duke 390 Adventure, Suzuki V-Storm 250 and low capacity Kawasaki Versys are some of it. With the arrival of newer alternatives, RE will be forced to upgrade their kid.
Himalayan would become even better motorcycle, if the company is ready to upgrade those sections, which lacks serious engineering.