23 May 2024

Royal Enfield Himalayan 2.0 - Budget Adventure Enhanced

When Royal Enfield announced their all-new, clean-sheet Himalayan, they weren’t kidding.

A fellow member, eager to learn my impressions of this revitalised machine, was told “the only resemblance the new Himalayan has to the old is the name.”

The venerable Himalayan has been a beloved choice for Ulysses members since its debut in 2017. Known for its rugged simplicity and dependable performance, it has won the hearts of many of us.

Now, after a significant update, the liquid-cooled, single-cylinder 452cc, DOHC 4-valve version of the Himalayan promises to enhance performance while maintaining the character that made the original such a hit. Let’s dive into what makes the new Himalayan a noteworthy evolution.

We all know that a lap around the car park is not going to cut it, so the good people at Urban Moto Imprts loaned us one for a week and we promptly headed northeast out of Melbourne on a multiday test with both bitumen and dirt in the mix.

While the new Himalayan retains the familiar rugged look that defines its identity, some not-so-subtle design tweaks and enhanced build quality make it feel like a big step forward. The robust frame now accommodates the new Sherpa engine, ensuring better stability and strength. The bike's aesthetics remain true to its adventure roots with a high-mounted front guard, practical crash bars and ample mounting points for optional luggage.

The new powerplant is compact, lightweight, smooth and delivers just shy of 30kW through its new 6-speed gearbox with slipper clutch. While you won’t uproot a mallee stump, the 40Nm is useful enough and delivered at just 5500rpm. 

On the twisty tarmac toward Mt Buller, I found the handling delightfully sympathetic and plenty fast enough for this portly old trooper. Many of you will be familiar with these roads and know that speed is not your friend on the many tricky bends. Sure, I had to keep the revs up, but I wasn’t wringing its neck either.

On the numerous unsealed detours, the Himalayan worked with me through the narrow, dusty tracks. I lamented not getting more familiar with the four riding modes on some of the trickier sections, but I hasten to point out any deficiencies were more likely mine than the bike’s. 

The tripper navigation system with TFT screen, first seen in the Metor 350 and Super Meteor 650, makes an appearance here too. This Google-based system provides turn-by-turn navigation via a smartphone connection and a dedicated dial as part of the instrument cluster. It’s a handy feature for adventure riders exploring new routes. The instrument cluster itself includes useful information such as a gear position indicator, fuel gauge and a clock. Plus, there’s a USB-C charging point.

Always part of the Himalayan’s appeal was its modest weight (196kg wet), a low seat height (825mm with an 805mm option) and simplicity. Well, with its new ‘modern’ features, some of that simplicity has gone. Ride-by-wire, 42mm EFI replaces carbies for one.

The 21-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels, paired with dual-purpose tires and single-disc brakes provide adequate traction and stopping on both sealed and unsealed surfaces.

While many brands are experiencing a slump in sales - an 11 per cent drop in Q1 this year - it appears Royal Enfield has acquired some immunity to the market’s idiosyncrasies. The first shipment was sold out before it hit our shores and there’s even a wait list on the next. I’m surmising this is likely to do with Royal Enfield’s aethestic appeal, approachable price tag and all-LAMS model line-up.

So, if you think you’re in the market for a new Himalayan, you’d best get down to the dealer now.

Loan bike from Urban Moto Imports, Melbourne


Spec Sheet - click to enlarge

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