Royal Enfield has launched the Himalayan at Rs 1.55 lakh (ex-showroom, Maharashtra). The model marks the company's entry into the adventure bike segment, and is styled closer to adventure bikes from the last century than their modern counterparts, but with practicality in mind.
There’s a front windscreen, easily readable instruments, on-board luggage carrying capability and space to clip on fuel and water jerry cans, or even extra front-mounted panniers, all of which makes practical sense in this segment.
The heft of the Himalayan engine counters its otherwise tall centre of gravity and Royal Enfield has taken into consideration the motorcycle's off-road prowess, deploying a longer, 15-litre fuel tank that is slim enough to allow the rider to stand on the foot pegs for better control over rough terrain.
The Himalayan uses an all-new four-stroke, 411cc, two-valve, long-stroke, air-cooled and carburetted engine. The unit is designed to deliver a flat, easy to access torque curve, delivering 3.3kgm of peak torque at 4,500rpm giving the rider access to more pulling power at lower engine speeds. It’s a button-started powerplant with 24.5bhp of maximum power available at 6,500rpm. The engine is a relatively faster revving unit and sounds different from any other Royal Enfield. The manufacturer also claims that the new unit is easy to maintain with oil changes required only every 10,000km.
The Himalayan gearbox is a five-speed unit, with a cable-fed clutch to back it up. Power is transferred to the rear wheel via a drive chain.
The Himalayan comes with a comfortable, upright riding position. It has been designed with Indian riders in mind, hence the saddle is easy to access and also provides ample ground clearance to navigate off-road trails. A steel construction frame holds the new bike together, with 200mm travel 41mm telescopic suspension up front, and a monoshock, with linkage for improved damping in any conditions, supported by a steel fabricated swingarm at the rear. The Himalayan comes with on- and off-road tyres, and you find a larger 21-inch wheel in front, and a 17-inch unit at rear; both rims using wire spokes. Single rotor disc brakes are provided front (300mm) and rear (240mm).
Rugged, comfortable and solidly built adventure bikes are perfect for Indian roads, which are often as good as off-road. And one has to salute Royal Enfield for boldly plunging into a segment that most other manufacturers turned a blind eye to, save for Hero who pioneered the segment in India with the Impulse.