Last week we got a chance to test ride the brand new Himalayan BS-IV version. Due to the strict BS-IV emission norms, the Enfield was forced to pause the production of their Himalayan motorcycle fitted with BS-III engine. Interestingly, the updated BS-IV Himalayan features fuel injection system which is already available in the Australian and few European markets. Moreover, they have sorted out few mechanical issues of the previous model as well.
The Engine and Performance
Unlike the Thunderbird (another off-beat model from Royal Enfield), Himalayan gets a brand new LS 410 engine which is a 411cc, long stroke, oil-cooled, 4-stroke engine specifically built for the Himalayan. The new long stroke engine offers more torque at lower revs which makes steady rides even at lower speeds. The mill delivers a maximum power of 24.5 bhp @ 6500 rpm and peak torque of 32 Nm @ 4000-5000 rpm making it as one of the responsive motorcycles in the market. In the new version, everything except the carburetor has been replaced by an electronic fuel injection (EFI) system following the BS-IV emission norms. The 5-speed gearbox remains unchanged with the same chain and sprocket drive. Gear shifting is much smoother and responsive and comparatively better than the BS-III model.
Unlike other Enfields, this one doesn’t have a kick starter and comes to life with the electric starter. As the engine thrives, we miss the iconic thump from the exhaust. However, the silent thump comes from the new upswept silencer certainly suits the personality of the Himalayan. Open the throttle and one could easily notice how smooth this machine is. More or less it performs like an upgraded version of Thunderbird 500 with peak torque at lower revs. This makes Himalayan as an approachable machine even for a beginner. With every twist of the throttle, there is no rush of sheer power but the required power and torque are readily available at your right palm. The red line starts at 6500 rpm and anything above 5500, it is uneasy for the machine. Yet, the engine remains to be refined, except for the few rattling and vibrations quiet past 90 kmph.
The Riding Dynamics
The riding posture of Himalayan is clinical. Eventhough the bike offers a ground clearance of 220 mm, the ground below is still reachable. The upright and low saddle position offers a firm control over the machine and over the road. Perfectly positioned foot pegs, handlebar and the 800 mm seat height offer a comfortable ride and are easily accessible for all kinds of riders. In fact, the pillion seat too offers comfortable easy rides. Regardless of its massive 182 kg of weight, the bike doesn’t feel clumsy or unmanageable on turns or uneven terrains. The Himalayan is handy and safe in our hands even on the hardest tracks. The higher ground clearance plays the keen role while off-roading.
However, the bike is equally good in traffic and highways. The Enfield really deserves appreciation in this section that we would even forget for a short time that we are riding an Enfield. The engineering side of the RE has improved a lot from their past machines. Being an off-road vehicle it features long-travel suspension at both the ends. The Himalayan gets 41 mm telescopic front forks with 200 mm travel and rear monoshock suspension with 180 mm travel. Both the suspension systems have been tried and tested by the RE for years. The newly developed half duplex split cradle frame has helped in reducing the weight and improving the dynamics of this motorbike. You could comfortably lean, stand or twist this bike in any terrain with full confidence.
Features and Styling
It was an experimental task for the RE engineers to develop a motorcycle that doesn't look like what Enfields are supposed to look like. And to their brilliance, they have smartly crafted a brand new motorcycle under a new platform.
The bike looks simple with those exposed bones and frames. From the very first stance, it is pretty clear that it is a purpose built adventure bike with the high ground clearance, engine sump guard, high-placed angular up-swept exhaust and dual-purpose tyres enhances its adventure personality.
Upfront, the round headlamp is accompanied by a transparent windscreen, reminds you something from the Dakar Rally. Underneath the headlamp is an extended beak, which is usually found in modern-day adventure bikes. The absence of LED headlight has been a let off from the RE, but they have managed to keep the LEDs in rear light. Another attractive outfit is the multi-functional instrument console which includes a large analogue speedometer with kmph and mph readouts, LCD screen that displays gear indicator, trip meters, ambient temperature, clock, average speed, service indicator, side stand indicator and odometer. Moreover, the console also houses digital compass which helps the rider to navigate in no-mans land.
The 14-litre fuel tank is a fine piece of machinery with perfect knee recess and few mounting points to pile up your extra bags or fuel cans while touring. There's a luggage carrier mounted over the taillight as well. The size, shape and the comfort level of the rider and pillion seats are exceptionally good. It is perfectly designed to meet the adventure capabilities.
The Suspension and Braking
The Himalaya gets the most advanced suspension system that Enfield has ever developed. It features 41mm telescopic fork at the front with 200 mm travel and monoshock suspension with linkage at the rear get 180 mm travel. So far, it is the best and it boosts our confidence to take this machine to any terrain of your choice. Himalayan features all-purpose 21-inch and 17-inch wider tyres at front and back respectively. It gets 300 mm disc with 2-piston floating calipers at the front and 240 mm disc with single piston floating calipers at the rear completes the braking department. However, it was a great disappointment from the makers to evade ABS from the fuel injected version although it is available on the export models.
The Himalayan BS-IV Fi looks promising and delivers better than the previous one. According to the company officials, they have managed to rectify the technical issues with the first edition. Unlike other adventure bikes, Himalayan promises to be an adaptable motorcycle. The ergonomics of the vehicle enables the user to take this motorcycle for a daily commuting and off-road trail with equal easiness and comfort level. This is the area where Himalayan can be a perfect replacement for other Royal Enfields. Altogether, Himalayan is the only affordable adventure bike in India bearing a price tag of Rs 1.65 lakhs (ex-showroom New Delhi) offering you a seamless touring experience.
Photos By: Jithin Johnson. View More Photos
Test Vehicle Provided By: Pinnacle Motors Kodungallur
Full Details, Specification and Pricing of Himalayan