THE HIMALAYAN (Initial Ownership Impressions)
It was ca. 2010 that I sold WB 01 T 7110, the bike with the company of which Eastern Bulls started wandering way back in 2003 February. It was a gorgeous AVL 350 Machismo, if I may add. Since the time I sold the bike, I have always regretted coming back to India and not having a bike to ride, priorities in life had also changed and I was far more focused on my career since the time I left India in 2006. Early 2016 after 10 long years when I decided to leave Germany and move to Hong Kong, it was a given, that I would have far more time to spend riding around Asia/ India. The hunt for the bike started already end of 2015, detailed research on the tiger line up from Triumph, the Versys from Kawasaki, the upcoming motorcycles from other brands – but every time something made me repeatedly go back and look at the Royal Enfield line up – it’s those love hate relationships, as they say and I was certainly a bit more keen on something made in India, made for India. Early February once I moved to Hong Kong, I started following the Himalayan very very closely. Unknowingly somewhere I started growing a liking for it – the simplistic approach. It did not take me very long to make up my mind that I wanted to see the Himalayan in my garage. Few calls made, to my brother, Hero. He was following up closely with the dealers and friends at Enfield and I insisted that my bike should be the first one in Kolkata, if not, India. Fast forward to 22nd March 2016 a snow white Himalayan was delivered. So that’s enough of history on how and why the bike entered my garage, let’s get to the bike itself.
Even though looks are subjective, it just does not get simpler than this! The bike looks very attractive in certain angles, and at some angles it’s not at all photogenic.
Controls/ Center Console:
The display and information what the center control provides is far more than sufficient. It even sports a compass – the fact about how useful or useless it is can be argued upon, however, a 12V charging outlet would have been, for me, more useful.
A lot of holes where bungees can be conveniently attached below the pillion seat and the carrier.
The carrier itself is a well-designed unit and provides for practical usability. Badly put together, though.
Under the pillion seat there is a small storage compartment where nothing fits, and I dislike the fact that both the seats need to be taken out in order to gain access – not the most practical solution, in my opinion.
Engine/ Handling/ Braking/ Seating:
Very mature riding position – just perfect, I could not have asked for a better riding position than this. Add to that the comfortable seats – I have not done a long ride yet, but I would take the risk of saying it can do a full tank ride without a halt taken by the rider. I shall confirm this on my long term impressions.
Most of the reviews have complained about the power the bike delivers, true, the figures are not very tempting on paper, but, IMHO, for our roads in India and the purpose this bike is built for the bike produces adequate power – let us please bear in mind powerful bikes have only recently started pouring into the country. The customer base also first needs to gradually get accustomed to the power the manufacturers are delivering on their bikes and the riders in India also need to mature to use and tame the power. We do not have professional riding schools in India in abundance, recently there are one or two which have cropped up down south but that’s not enough. It would not have been difficult for RE to give another 15-20 horses to this, but I am sure they have done it for a reason, they know what they have done.
I personally found the bike to be extremely flick able and friendly in city traffic, it just does what I want it to do. The brakes however, could have been a tad better with a meatier bite. The only possible reason they might not have given the additional bite is probably because of the purpose the bike is built – on off road/ gravel terrains too much bite could be an issue.
Oh boy! I could write a book on this one. The Himalayan leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to workmanship – very shoddy job and certain areas look as if it’s done at the next door welding shop. Welding joints are very untidy, be it on the frame, swing arm, career, untidy joints are too be seen all over! Other than the rant, I would mention, if one has used RE products earlier – it actually is a pleasant surprise when one considers where they are coming from.
What I miss? What else would I have liked?
The best thing I like about the bike is any roadside mechanic would be able to put the Himalayan together, in case you have nuts and bolts falling off (after all, its and Enfield).