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ROYAL ENFIELD HIMALAYAN: THE BEST LADAKH TOURER?

Have you ever wondered what the perfect motorcycle for the Himalayas would look like? Tall beak, rugged, off-road tires, high ground clearance, a reliable engine, a comfortable seating position, space to mount your luggage, somewhat along these lines.

Well, for a long time we didn’t have such a motorcycle in the Indian market and the ones that were already there were expensive af! But in 2016, the scenario changed, cause royal Enfield launched the Himalayan in the Indian two-wheeler market. Enthusiasts and off-road riders finally had a bike to look up to. It quickly gained attention and popularity and the name Himalayan conveyed the reason why the Himalayan was made, to rule the Himalayas and thus it became the official go-to bike for every enthusiast in the country who wanted to explore the mountains.

Now, I didn’t know about the Himalayan initially, I only knew about the classic 350 and the 500. But when I saw one of the moto vloggers riding one, I was elated.

A few days later, I saw a Himalayan on the road, it looked like a mini version of triumph tiger, it genuinely looked good and I wanted one with an army camouflage so bad for a long time.

Now making a motorcycle like the Himalayan wasn’t an easy task at all, it’s not the typical kind of motorcycle Royal Enfield is used to making, so Royal Enfield had to start from scratch.

Thus, started the process of making the Himalayan, lots of prototypes and test mules were developed. The engine, suspension everything was played around to find the perfect balance.

It was tested on various terrains from the Rocky Mountains, to the jungles and the deep slushes of mud. There were a lot of times when the engineering went over the board in the Himalayan and that’s when royal Enfield had to tone it down a bit.

Bikes, like the classic 350 and 500 were already good as Ladakh tourers but where they lacked was the part when a rider wanted to take the path less trodden. These bikes had their limitations but the Himalayan's chassis and suspension had to be tuned in a way that they absorbed all the cracks and bumps on the road while maintaining the structural integrity of the motorcycle.

Another target that royal Enfield had was to keep the weight of the Himalayan low because a motorcycle of its type needs to be light enough so that the rider can maneuver the motorcycle whenever they want.

Moreover, the Himalayan has to be compact for obvious reasons, thus it wasn’t easy for royal Enfield to fit all the suspension parts, electrical equipment, and other things in a small amount of area.

Even the engine in the Himalayan is not the one you typically find on the classic series, it’s an LS 410 engine with an overhead camshaft, it produces around 25 Bhp and 32 nm of torque, not a lot but it’s more than enough for 99 percent of the terrain the Himalayan will face.

The terrains that the Himalayan will be experiencing will be quite challenging from hot, humid weather to icy cold mountains. Thus, the oil cooling in the Himalayan will help you maintain the temperature of the engine so that you can ride the Himalayan smoothly.

Motorcycles like the Himalayan are built to go to unknown places and you definitely wouldn’t want to be stuck on your motorcycle in the middle of nowhere, that’s why a motorcycle like the Himalayan has to be very reliable and it is. It requires service every 10,000 Kms and the spark plugs need to be changed after every 25,000 Kms. So, you wouldn’t need to worry about getting your Himalayan serviced every once in a while.

The Himalayan will have to keep a balance between being a road bike and a tourer, that’s why royal Enfield had to keep a balance between the seat height and the ground clearance.

Also, do not make the Himalayan just another soft-roader, royal Enfield experimented with the rim size and came out with 21-inch rims that perform great on the road and off the road.

One thing that you will notice about the Himalayan at the first sight is that it’s a very simple-looking motorcycle, the design isn’t sophisticated in any way, it’s minimalistic yet beautiful, just like how a motorcycle should be.

Inside the engine the Himalayan, there is a counterbalancer that helps in reducing the vibrations on the motorcycle.

The overall compact design of the Himalayan helps it in being stable and enhances the overall handling.

It also happens to be the first Royal Enfield to have mono-shock suspension with linkage.

Testing a motorcycle like the Himalayan on a racetrack like MMRT might seem awkward, but to see how the motorcycle behaves in sharp turns is very necessary to get an idea of its on-road performance.

The types of terrain that the Himalayan was tested ranged from smooth roads to the broken tarmac, snow, slush, sand, and inclines.

The final testing of the Himalayan was done in the Himalayan, the place from which the Himalayan has taken the inspiration. The luggage mounting frame, aluminum panniers have been made strong enough to carry a significant amount of luggage but light enough to not add extra weight.

There is a frame in the front of the Himalayan as well to carry some lighter luggage. The luggage gears on the Himalayan have gone through as many tests as the Himalayan itself has gone through.

The ultimate test of the Himalayan was to reach Khardung La, which is a huge challenge for every tourer out there, but for a motorcycle like the Himalayan that has gone through so much testing and challenges it was an easy task.

At the price point, the Himalayan is currently there isn’t much competition, it is as if the Himalayan has a segment of its own. The only motorcycle that is considered as an actual threat to the Himalayan is the Dominar 400, which we all know is one of the OG’s and the most loved motorcycle among tourers.

But the DOminar 400 is not as capable as the Himalayan, it’s a good touring book, but overall, it’s the Himalayan that can deal with almost every type of terrain.

Also, if you look at the Himalayan as an overall bike, you will see that it is not the kind of bike which is just built for a specific purpose or use. You can use the Himalayan as your daily rider and a lot of the off-road elements in the Himalayan will help you in-city commutes, the suspension travel will make your ride plush and help you counter the pothole-ridden Indian roads.

The tires are good enough to provide you with the required grip whenever you want and the maneuverability of the Himalayan will help you toggle along in traffic as well.

So, everyone, that will be for the Royal Enfield Himalayan, I trust you liked this one, if you did then do share it with your friends and do consider subscribing to Motordrift for more such content in the future.




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