2018 Royal Enfield Himalayan Adventure Motorcycle Review
As much fun as it would have been to ride the all-new 2018 Royal Enfield Himalayan in the Himalayans, I traveled a whopping 50 miles to Midlothian, Texas, to test the Indian-built ADV motorcycle on pavement and in the dirt to find out just how much adventure it is ready for.Here are the essential facts on the Himalayan.
1. Although a peak 24.5 horsepower at 6500 rpm doesn’t sound like much, the LS410 motor gets the job done. The fuel-injected air-cooled SOHC engine’s modest numbers belie the fact that there is good, smooth power available. The 2018 Royal Enfield Himalayan’s 411cc undersquare motor easily handles sustained speeds up to 70 mph on the highway, while providing 26 ft/lbs of torque to grunt through muddy creek crossings. Fuel injection definitely helps.2. Brembo brakes with stainless steel brake lines effortlessly manage the Himalayan’s 401-pound curb weight. The braking response is solid, and avoids being grabby under aggressive stopping. The front brake consists of a 300mm disc and two-piston floating caliper, while the rear brake is a 240-mm disc with a single-piston floating caliper.3. The 2018 Royal Enfield Himalayan’s 26.5 degrees of rake is a bit steeper than other dual-sport and adventure models, which contributes to a quicker turn capability. Along with being just 400 pounds, the tucked in rake keeps the Himalayan nimble. In part due to the modest power output, both road and trail stability are not compromised.4. The linkage-assisted single shock is a first for Royal Enfield. The firm, but not harsh, suspension is nice compromise for pavement and rough, off-road terrain. It does not easily bottom out, and allows the rider to confidently jump the bike off short drops. Travel is generous, with nearly eight inches in the front and over seven inches in the rear.5. The Pirelli Scorpion MT 60 tires worked well on pavement conditions ranging from rough, county roads to smooth highways. Fully stable at speed and when cornering on pavement, the Pirellis’ off-road capabilities are enough to traverse through soft, clay-based Texas mud without excessively sliding around. Impressively, Royal Enfield equipped the Himalayan with a dirt-friendly 21-inch front wheel, along with the 17-inch rear hoop. The wheels are wire-spoke.6. There’s a fork brace that allows for mounting a tire-hugging front fender. Given the height and abbreviated design of the high fender, a low-fender makes sense. However, I initially tested it without the low fender, so I can’t say whether or not it would have packed up in the sticky mud I rode through.7. The aluminum skid plate and engine guards protect the motor from rugged terrain and falls. Also, though the engine is tucked nicely in the frame. This is essential for true ADV riding.8. Cutouts on the sides of the four-gallon fuel tank allow the rider’s knees to be in. This improves cornering control and prevents the gas tank from interfering when standing. Riders of all heights will find this very helpful.9. The seat height is a bit shorter than most other dual sport and ADV models. This allows smaller riders to have better control without having to resort to installing a lowering link.10. The seat is nicely padded with a small backrest providing much needed support for long hauls. Royal Enfield definitely prepped the Himalayan for high-mileage ADV rides.11. The Himalayan comes equipped with rear pannier mounts. Luggage is a must for a true ADV motorcycle, and the Himalayan is ready for you to choose the style that suits you—rear aluminum panniers will be available from Royal Enfield initially. Additionally, the front pannier racks that allow carrying gas cans (!) and other smaller items for long trips.12. Despite the very modest price point, the Himalayan’s instrument cluster is comprehensive. A large cluster contains an analog speedometer in the top half with the bottom half containing a LCD display showing gear position, ambient temperature, time of day, odometer and trip odometer; a compact, readable tachometer; analog fuel gauge; and a compass bordered with cardinal points and digital direction indicator. Another nod to the present is the LCD taillight.13. With an MSRP under $4500, the price point of the Himalayan is very much in keeping with Royal Enfield’s philosophy of affordable, accessible, and fun. I was definitely having fun with the Himalayan, doing everything from quickly carving through country road hairpins to confidently grabbing air over jumps off-road. As an owner of a Kawasaki KLR650, the 2018 Royal Enfield Himalayan is a motorcycle that I would easily have in my own garage, and for more than simply the occasional weekend ride.
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.