Meet the Indian Motorcycle of the Year or IMOTY 2024, the Royal Enfield Himalayan 450. It is one we enjoyed when we rode it in the Himalayas. And then again, when we covered 1,300km on it through the Western Ghats to Goa and back.But, these were short stints, two or three days with the motorcycle at most. And its shortcomings - if any - didn't bother us much at the time.
But, the Himalayan 450 is one of the most talked about new motorcycles on the market. And a bunch of you want to buy one. Its shortcomings, therefore, will bother you. But, how much? Well, we decided we had to answer that question. We had to spend months with the motorcycle to get a better, clearer picture of how it truly is to live with. And so we now have one on a long term test.
The idea with most of our long termers is to cover a minimum of 5,000km in six months. Doing so helps us get a better understanding of the motorcycle’s pros and cons as a city commuter and a long-distance companion. Plus, the flexibility it offers in terms of personalisation. The time we spend with the bike also helps reveal its strong purchase and rejection reasons. We intend to do the same with the Himalayan 450.
What’s more, we will do additional reports on how easy or difficult it is to ride off-road for those who aren’t experts on taking on the rough. We will delve deeper into the official accessory catalogue of the motorcycle. And we will also try and give you a perspective on how much it has changed compared to its predecessor.
All that and more will come in the following months.
As of now, as is customary in case you have not read our reviews, here is a quick recap on the Himalayan's specs.
The new Himalayan 450 - true to its ‘new’ moniker - doesn’t share anything with the older Himalayan. It runs a 450cc, liquid-cooled engine instead of an air-cooled unit. It uses a four-valve head instead of the simpler two-valve setup on the previous motorcycle. As a result, it makes significantly more power and torque.
That’s just the start.
The new Himalayan also uses more competent cycle parts. The upside-down front forks offer more travel and are more sophisticated in their construction and operation. The rear monoshock is still of the linked variety and again offers more in terms of travel and refinement. The wheels are still 21-17 front and rear, but these now run better tyres. And finally, the braking hardware - front and rear- has improved significantly in terms of bite, feel and progression.
These improvements come at a higher price tag, of course. So, is it worth the extra money? Well, we will have a comprehensive answer for you by the end of this test.
Make: Royal Enfield
Model: Himalayan 450 Summit
Kilometres this month: 12km
Fuel efficiency: NA
Price when tested: Rs 3,50,469
Photography by: Kaustubh Gandhi
Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 Front View