If you want to cross a continent on bad roads – a ride into the Himalayas perhaps – then it would excel, but on fast UK roads it struggles. If it had the new 650-twin found in the Royal Enfield Interceptor and the associated 46bhp, then it could be a serious mainstream contender.
We first saw the Enfield Himalayan in 2015 and it showed a lot of promise. We then rode it in India, but back then it was carburetted and not destined for the UK. Fast forward to 2018 and it’s Euro4 with fuel injection, a cat converter and ABS. So how does it handle things here in Blighty?
Twist the choke (no really...), prod the starter and the gentle thump of the 410cc air-cooled single sends your heart a flutter. Stand back while it warms up and it looks every inch the part – the reinforced steel frame designed by Harris Performance oozes adventure, as does the 21in front.
Even the humble little alloy panniers (£499 extra) fill you with a sense of joy at the adventures to come. Sadly, that joy soon drains away when you hit the road.
Within minutes you’re wringing its neck and the gentle throbbing is replaced by terrifying clattering. On a fast A-road with the throttle twisted to the stop in fifth, I had to watch as the photographer’s van pulled away with ease.
A glance at the speedo showed it had topped out at an indicated 75mph. In its defence it’s vibe free, the screen keeps off the worst of the wind and the Enfield only sips at the petrol, so you can get over 50mpg.
But 24.5bhp simply isn’t enough when you’re dicing with bigger and more powerful vehicles. There are big old gaps between the gears too, so dropping a cog for an overtake doesn’t help.