Royal Enfield Himalayan BS6: First Ride Review
The country’s go-to ADV, the Royal Enfield Himalayan, finally gets switchable ABS along with 5kg additional mass
Royal Enfield hit the bulls eye when it launched the Himalayan back in 2016. ADV market was booming and after the death of the Hero Impulse, enthusiasts seeking to tread off-road were left with no choice. The Himalayan was finally a ray of hope for ADV-lovers. However, after the initial demand the numbers dipped, with inferior quality being the culprit. Royal Enfield turned things up a notch thereafter, and with the BS4 model, most of the issues were ironed out. But with no option to switch off the ABS, enthusiasts were left high and dry. Competition was catching up, with BMW Motorrad introducing the G 310 GS, Hero MotoCorp bringing in the XPulse 200 and of course, KTM 390 Adventure that was being tested.
With the BS6 deadline closing in, Royal Enfield launched the updated Himalayan at Rs 1.86 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), Rs 6000 more over the outgoing BS4 model. But is there more than BS6 trickery? Yes! Switchable ABS, updated console, new side stand mount and a hazard lamp switch are some of the goodies thrown in. The Himalayan now also weighs a whole 5kg more than earlier. Have the BS6 updates made it even slower? Let’s find out.
Out on the road
With no changes to the ergonomics, the Royal Enfield Himalayan continues to be super comfortable, thanks to its 800mm seat height, wide handlebars and neutral-set footpegs. The Himalayan continues to use the same long stroke, 411cc, single-cylinder, SOHC equipped motor but now makes 24.3bhp (lower by 0.2bhp) at 6500rpm and 32Nm at 4000-4500rpm. With most of the grunt available at low rpm, city commutes with the Himalayan continue to be a joyful affair.
Get on to the highway and the Himalayan will surprise you. The bike gets to the 100kmph territory without breaking a sweat in third cog, courtesy the long gear ratios! However, post 120kmph, it is a bit of stretch to get the engine to 125kmph (the max we could manage). Surprisingly, the vibrations are well contained throughout, with some jitters creeping in through the bars, peg and seat, especially when you near the redline (6.5k rpm).
Royal Enfield claims to have worked upon the braking of the bike for a stronger bite. However, the brakes are still spongy for our liking and could’ve been stronger. The ABS too works flawlessly and the well calibrated system helps the bike maintain its line and composure even if you drop the anchors at high speed.
Off the beaten path
The Himalayan’s ergos are sorted even when you decide to stand up on the pegs and get things going on the dirt. The tank has lovely recesses to allow you to hold it and the serrated pegs ensure that you are latched onto the bike firmly.
The 41mm Endurance forks offer 200mm travel and the monoshock gets a 180mm travel, which in theory should be plenty. However, on our excursion in the dirt, the rear suspension bottomed out a couple of times, resulting in the main stand hitting the ground. Something you wouldn’t expect from an ADV. Speaking of the stand, RE has equipped the updated Himalayan with a new side stand mount which allows for improved stability.
The Himalayan was already a hefty motorcycle, tipping the scales at 194kg (dry) and now with the BS6 diet, it has gained 5kg more, which means a bit more stress when getting in and out of tricky situations on the trails. However, once you pick up speed you can barely feel the difference. And going fast on the dirt with the Himalayan was always a delight and now with the switchable ABS, you are going to have a grin plastered on your face every time you dab the rear brake. The rear brake was a bit numb for my liking on the tarmac, but out on the trails, it was just about perfect, allowing enough bite to go sideways and get back on the gas.
The Himalayan we always needed?
The Royal Enfield Himalayan has always been a great tourer with excellent off road abilities as well. And now with switchable ABS, things are even better when you intend to play around in the dirt. The vibes have gone down considerably as well and the Himalayan now feels like a well-finished; premium product; very much on the lines of the 650 Twins. Further sweetening the deal is Royal Enfield’s 3-year warranty.
The prices for the Royal Enfield Himalayan BS6 start at Rs 1.86 lakh, while the dual-tone colours are available Rs 1.91 lakh and the Sleet at Rs 1.89 lakh (both ex-showroom); which is a value for money prospect considering Himalayan’s capabilities on highways and trails.