Like every other adventure rider would like it to be – brilliant. The Himalayan is a no nonsense motorcycle and easily takes on all the roads that comes its way. I rode the motorcycle in Shimla and regions around and not for a single time, the Himalayan showed any signs of trouble. The chassis is good and responsive and clearly shows that it means serious business. Swing your leg over and suddenly you’ll feel at home. When in main stand, the Himalayan looks daunting, but once you’re on it, the 800mm seat height is quite friendly for all sized riders. The wide handle bar and upright riding position is very comfortable, however, the fuel tank gets a small recess which might make you feel that it’s useless, but it does offer good grip while you’re standing and riding.
The best part of this motorcycle is the kerb weight which stands at 182kgs. This has made the Himalayan pretty practical for Indian use as it’s quite flickable, usable and not very tough to pick it up, in case you’ve a fall, which usually happens while adventure riding. The suspension setup of the bike is not as plush as you would expect, but it takes on the bad roads pretty comfortably. The 21-inch front wheel and the 17-inch at the rear are the perfect choice for this bike. And the CEAT tyres that’s been used on these wheels, perform really well and offer plenty of grip. The seat is relaxed but being a narrow one, you won’t have enough space to move.
Coming to the most important aspect of the bike, the engine. The Himalayan gets a new 411cc single-cylinder air-cooled engine that gives you 24.5bhp and 32Nm of power to play with. Surprisingly, this engine isn’t a vibey one at all, unlike the other Royal Enfields. This was achieved through the use of rubber mounts and counter balancer. The engine isn’t as smooth as the Japanese but for an RE, it is incredible. Hardly any vibrations were noticed on the handlebar, footpegs or the tank. In terms of performance, I liked the low and the mid-range punch. Most of my hill climbs took place in second gear and I was pretty comfortable with it, so was the bike. But a little more power, say, 4bhp-6bhp more, the Himalayan would’ve been an amazing bike. I didn’t get a chance to use the fifth gear a lot due to lack of good straights in Shimla but a detailed road test of the Himalayan will give us the answer. This five-speed gearbox, however, wasn’t as smooth as expected and loses few points there. The 300mm disc at the front and 240mm disc at the rear performs really well, but just like the other bikes, locks up the rear wheel in slush.