ENFIELD HIMALAYAN (2018 - on) Review
- A strangely appealing but odd fit for the UK
- Engine lacks punch
- Excellent value for money
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£240|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Royal Enfield Himalayan is not a bike aimed at our market. 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, but alas, we don't expect a Royal Enfield Himalayan 650 any time soon.
We first saw the Enfield Himalayan in 2015 and it showed a lot of promise. We then rode it in through the Himalayan mountains 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.
Royal Enfield Himalayan customs
The Himalayan is a popular bike for those who like to personalise their machines. We saw six customs at Wheels and Waves in June 2019.
Furthermore a number of bikes from Barcelona-based motorcycle clothing retailer Fuel Bespoke Motorcycles created a one-off, Dakar-inspired Royal Enfield Himalayan, which took on the 2019 Scram Africa rally.
The build was amplified by a modified Suzuki RM-Z450 exhaust.
For a little extra pep, the bike received a Powertronic ECU plug-in, with the ancillary components and running gear remaining the same as the original machine. The old single headlight has made way for a squared enduro mask and the screen has been removed.
This has left the Marlboro-coloured tank more exposed for more of a classic enduro feel. What’s more, the standard dual seat unit has been replaced for a single seat design, with the rear now housing a removable luggage rack.
For additional luggage capacity, they have also rather cleverly recycled one of the tank-mounted luggage racks from the original machine and re-mounted it on the left, to the rear of the machine.
Watsonian give the Enfield Himalayan the sidecar treatment
In November 2018 British sidecar firm Watsonian Squire announced a new sidecar outfit in tandem with the Royal Enfield Himalayan.
The firm are using the low-capacity adventure bike as a test mule for their latest 'International' sidecar, which draws inspiration from the firm’s original version launched back in 1938.
After production was halted by the Second World War, the original motorcycle accessory was then not available to the public until 1950, in a year where it was also raced in the International Six Days Trial at Llandrindod Wells, in Wales.
Much like the original International, this has been designed primarily for road use and features a glass fibre body with aluminium panels and mudguard, mounted on a tubular steel frame that has been powder coated for durability using expoxy resin.
Beneath the seat is a large luggage locker for all of your belongings and the 16-inch spoked third wheel – complete with a black powder-coat finish - is mounted on hydraulic suspension and shod with a Bridgestone Trail Wing tyre.
Available in Spring 2019, the unit costs £3995 plus £450 for the fitting kit.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
B-roads highlight other problems. Firing into the first corner, I pulled the front brake only for the lever to come most of the way back. Thankfully the rear has a bit more gusto. Leave off the brakes, try to carry more corner speed and it all goes a bit loopy as the soft suspension begins to struggle. Head off-road, however, and all is forgiven.
Where the power delivery is lacking on the road, in slimy mud it’s confidence inspiring. The suspension too comes into its own as the long travel (200mm front, 180mm rear) soaks up all but the biggest bumps.
The steering is light (with loads of room lock-to-lock) and the 800mm seat height is dreamy if you’ve ever struggled with 870mm+ adventure bikes. It has proper off-road pegs too once you unbolt the rubbers.
The brakes too are pardoned nearly all their ills but you can’t turn the ABS off (unless you pull the fuse). Off-road the only thing that restricts it are the tyres – stick a set of knobblies on though (such as Mitas E-09 - £100 a pair) and you’ll be flying.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The 410cc air-cooled single makes just 24.5bhp, and that's not enough for fast-paced UK roads. The 2018 version of the bike has fuel injection but still uses a choke-style fast idle lever to start from cold (a veritable relic these days).
The engine's shortcomings are less obvious off-road, but it still seems a shame that you can't get the Himalayan with the 650 twin engine From the Royal Enfield Interceptor instead.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The simplicity of the Himalayan means there's not an awful lot to go wrong, and early indications are that the reliability is good.
In May 2020 a recall was issued for this bike due to corroding Bybre brake calipers.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Some fag packet maths suggest you could fly to India, buy a Himalayan, ride it to the UK, hang it on the wall as a souvenir and buy another to ride around on all for less than the cost of a fully-specced GS. Gets you thinking doesn’t it?
The official service interval for valve clearance check is just 3000 miles, but owners report that they can get away with every other one.
The Himalayan is a pretty basic machine. You get ABS but you can't switch it off for off-roading. There's some crash protection and provision for luggage. The dash is a mixture of digital and analogue and you get a proper fuel guage and a gear indicator plus a compass!
You are left with proper off-road footpegs if you unbolt the rubbers, too.
|Engine type||Single cylinder, 4 stroke, air cooled, SOHC, fuel injection|
|Frame type||Half-duplex split cradle frame|
|Fuel capacity||15 litres|
|Front suspension||Telescopic, 41 mm forks, 200 mm travel|
|Rear suspension||Monoshock with linkage, 180 mm wheel travel|
|Front brake||300 mm disc, 2-piston floating caliper|
|Rear brake||240 mm disc, single piston floating caliper|
|Front tyre size||90/90 - 21"|
|Rear tyre size||120/90 - 17"|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£67|
|Annual service cost||£240|
|Used price||£3,800 - £4,000|
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||24 bhp|
|Max torque||23.6 ft-lb|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
Royal Enfield launched the Himalayan in India in 2015. After many delays, the export version was brought to the UK with fuel injection and ABS in 2018.
Owners' reviews for the ENFIELD HIMALAYAN (2018 - on)
14 owners have reviewed their ENFIELD HIMALAYAN (2018 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£240|
Annual servicing cost: £120
Excellent bike, no it's not a gs but neither did it cost 18k+ It's a back to basics no frills little adventure bike and it does that very well. I bought it to do a little bit of green laning and trips to quieter parts in the countryside and it does that very well, if I wanted to blast round Scotland on th nc500 I'd use my gs... Every time I come back from a ride I am smiling...
Frame designed by Harris and is very good, ride quality is acceptable being as this is designed to go off road too. Brakes are a bit wooden but improve when run in, still need a good squeeze on the lever.
Excellent value, cheap servicing only fly in the ointment is every 3000 miles
Underpowered and feels a bit strangled, there are decat pipes and louder end cans available and very reasonably priced also a booster plug which helps with the initial pick up so should feel more responsive.
Buying experience: Excellent dealer experience, even decent trade in
Version: Adventure X
Good value and good fun
Stable even over broken surfaces. Brakes are ok, reasonably progressive, have not needed any greater braking power so far.
Plenty of torque allows smooth progress. Engine is mechanically noisy with a variety of different sound effects
Mechanically not bad, some of the finishing could be improved, better attention to detail needed. Not really impressed with wiring harness routing and finish. Brake routing poor as it goes under the tank, designed to rub
Excellent enjoyment cost ratio. Servicing intervals too small.
OEM tyres are good (pirelli). Easy bike to ride, with comfort and good handling for what it is. Have the RE panniers which look good but are a bit cheaply built in some areas and have a design flaw with the restraining cable.
Buying experience: Purchased from RE dealer. Got good deal with loads of extra kit. Saved about £300 over the price of the items purchased separately.
Annual servicing cost: £300
Nice to ride rubbish to own stay well away
Easy to ride brakes dont work and seize regular
A strange rattle on part throttle sound like its going to expode
Constant faults service every 3000 mils
Buying experience: Purchased my Himalayan from a west Wales dealer had a fair deal with my part ex enjoy riding the bike but dealer slow to respond to the many warranty claims so many faults brakes seizing clocks misting head bearing failure paint falling off rusting badly chain spent at 4000 mils rubbish built IMO poor back up wont be going back for an interceptor
Annual servicing cost: £140
Great for an all round bike, top speed is not important, it will do 75-80 mph but you can only do 70 so who cares. Motorways are full, a and b roads are fine it's not a sports bike or GS so don't compare. Ride what you like not what's in fashion.
Engine is fine, I only have 1.5 miles at 70mph the rest is 50-20mph. Don't agree with the "to slow for Morden traffic" try riding in London pointless having a 150+ mph bike. Brakes get better as they bed in. Abs is fine. Suspensions good bit hard, but I am 105kg so for a basic set up it's fine. Seats good for my hour and fifteen commute.
I got this to commute into London from Sussex. I have only ridden in the winter and she has been great so far.
Cheap as chips so far, 3000 in and see to use less fuel every week.
Good but I put a terminogi (or however it's spelt) on sounds great, goes a bit better too. Has not made any difference to the mpg.
Buying experience: Groomridge motorcycles were great. Servicing is good too.
Good honest simple no frills bike,after years of riding everything from rd250's to yzf750's and tuono's ive started enjoying getting out again,taking it easy and enjoying the journey,at the end of the day that's what it's all about ,try one and you'll soon realise what you've been missing
Comments regarding slotting in the twin 650 lump totally miss the point and purpose of this bike
Decent standard tyres for general use ,but plenty of options out there if you want to be more adventurous
Buying experience: Good,lmt of Louth,decent ,honest,no pressure.
I just love this bike. Its small & light. Easy to live with. Fun to ride and great value for money.
Riding the bike is a pleasure on fast A & B roads. Up to the 60mph limit it loves going through the bends, holding a line with ease but on the motorway its limitations are reached. 70mph + and the engine is getting close to its practical limit but it will do it. Just doesn't like it. Then again the back roads & lanes are its natural habitat. In town & commuting is a breeze & the high riding position really comes in useful. The riding position is just right. At 5' 8" I can get my toes down OK. The seat is firm & by using a sheepskin cover I can last about 2 hours before numbum sets in. The brakes are good without being spectacular. Only had the ABS intervene on gravel but feels OK. I don't go off road (intentionally) so I can't comment.
Just love it. Only 400cc but so sweet running & economical. About 70 mpg. Whats not to like. Vibs are there but only just & I quite like to feel its alive & not grey & clinical. Much less viby than the other singles I've owned. Its eager to go & smooth with it. The clutch is light & precise.
No corrosion or problems with the paint. Nothings fallen off. Bikes never missed a beat in 3000 miles.
Cheap to bye. Average service costs but had to wait for the engine to fully cool down before servicing so the valves can be checked, makes for a long day at the dealers. Just sips the go juice.
As standard the instruments are good BUT I doubt the accuracy of the compass (or relevance). The trip is sometimes impossible to change no matter how hard I try & then just alters by its self. The small screen is perfect, no wind on my head. The full & side stand as standard work well.
Buying experience: I bought my bike from Motorcycle Trading in Berkshire. The service was excellent & I am happy to recommend them.
Annual servicing cost: £160
Comfortable Non-selectable ABS
I really enjoyed the character of the single cylinder, reminded me of my Suzuki GN400.
Excellent value for money all things considered.
Would be nice to disable ABS for off-roading.
Buying experience: My experience is of an unlimited test ride, I simply didn't want to give it back. This bike is ideal for the type of roads we have in North Wales (except A55).
Annual servicing cost: £195
If you're looking for a mid weight adventure bike. Buy this one. It's great. If you're looking for a scrambler, buy a scrambler. If you're looking for a road bike, buy a road bike. Superb value for money. I read a lot of reviews before finally buying this bike (and selling my Triumph Spring ST). And I'm SO pleased I did. It is now time to add my own. Admittedly I've only had it for a couple of weeks and still running it in. But I need to add a glowing review to bat back all the bad reviews this bike seems to attract. The only thing I can find a direct comparison with, is a Land Rover Defender 90. It is basic, it is slow, it is agricultural but it is brilliant off road. It is bearable on road, but if you're looking for a motorway cruiser then this isn't the bike for you. It has certainly been well designed. The engine pulls well in the mud if you keep the revs down. You're not going to smoke any sports bikes at the lights, and you'd rather you weren't on the motorway for ages (it's just really boring). But the one I test rode happily sat at 75mph so you don't have to dice with trucks on the highways. Who wants to sit on the motorway for a whole trip anyway?!? I'm 85kgs and the suspension works well for me. I think those that find it throws you off are a bit lighter and those that bottom out are maybe a little on the large side? Headlights are alright, and full beam lights up country roads well during the hours of darkness. You might want supplementaries if you're planning any night time off road adventures to pick out any lumps and bumps. But I'm pretty happy. Windscreen doesn't keep the wind off your face but does a good job of shielding your body to keep out the chill. Again, if you're riding for long periods at high speed you're looking at the wrong bike. The brakes are fine. Again not sports bike brakes, but you're not on a sports bike. You have to pull a bit to get the front end to dip but if you apply both brakes you can come to a rapid stop if necessary. I haven't loaded it up totally yet with pillion et al but I imagine you just have to adjust your stopping distances, like driving my 90s micra as a teenager. The riding position is super comfortable. Both seated and standing. Stood up, the frame does bulge your calves out a bit, but you end up turning your feet in ever so slightly to compensate for this without even thinking about it. The downside. Only thing I can think of off hand is it could do with a mudguard to cover the rear shock, that takes a hammering off road. Feel like this will be the first to go. Maybe a taller screen if that's what you're into. It has a reserved burble, some might say it sounds like a hair drier but that can be easily and cheaply solved with an aftermarket pipe. I don't mind being on the quiet side, if you take it green laneing you'll piss off less pedestrians. Anyway, if you want one. Test ride one. If you think it's acceptable on road then buy one and have all the fun in the world on pretty much any road you choose. Its aesthetic improves with age and damage. And so cheap it doesn't matter if you drop it. In my humble opinion a scratch and dent here and there will add to its charm rather than having an exceptionally maintained 18k GS that is only used on a commute. With 'the long way round' BMW created a dream but sold and over priced, overweight and over complicated bike. Royal Enfield have created an affordable response to turn that dream into a reality.
Front brake could be better
Not enough speed for UK roads
Approx 80mpg. Great bike in all honestly amazing value for money but really needs 650 from Interceptor to be a serous contender in UK
Annual servicing cost: £350
Overall, a capable bike. I have owned my Himalayan for nearly a year. The let-down is quality on some items and poor support from the dealer, non-existent support from Royal Enfield.
Great ride quality the pretty much non-adjustable suspension is more than capable. Brakes could do with an extra bit of bite but do the job.
Does the job well plenty of torque for less than 25bhp I can't think of a better engine. Currently averaging 75mpg.
Bike reliability is fantastic. However, the pannier rails have been rusting after nine months, and quite badly. The quality of these genuine accessories is worrying and not to the same standard as the bike. The clocks started misting up early on and this has got progressively worse. The dealer has told me Royal Enfield have advised they are only water resistant. The dealer will pull them apart and seal with silicone sealant, sounds like a bodge and sand and repaint the rails. I'm hitting a brick wall with Royal Enfield who just send generic emails telling me they will contact me within seven days but don't! It seems little niggles that they are unwilling to resolve have knocked my confidence in the brand.
Short service intervals but countered by low servicing costs. Once out of warranty I will be doing most of this myself thus reducing the costs.
I bought the bike for its simplicity and ease of modification. I didn't want any electronic gizmos so it's perfect.
Buying experience: No issues with the purchase as this was a new model. I got no discount and paid the £4199 retail price. I just feel that once I bought it, the dealer and manufacturer are not interested and struggle to contact you back.
I have just completed a 13,650 km race in 21 days around the 4 corners of India on the 2018 model. NO mechanical issues (Not even a puncture !!!) In the following month I then completed a further 10,000+ km of fairly hard riding. Again without a single mechanical issue !!! No matter how hard I pushed it kept running (And I flogged it) True it's not an Arabian racehorse more like an American mustang it just keeps going, and going, and going. For anyone who want's an honest value, no frills, fun loving, go ANYWHERE machine ..You cannot ignore this set of wheels !!!
This really is a "Go Anywhere, Do Anything" bike, The Icy, mountainous regions of the Himalayas, the muddy tracks of Assam, the Floods of Kerala, the madness of Mumbai city traffic the dry dusty regions of Gujarat. In "Normal" riding conditions you will be looking for a fuel stop before you need to look for a rest stop. As for braking systems .. They are perfectly adequate for the performance. Fully laden 80 kilo's plus 40 kilo's (fuel/water/food/clothing) in some of the craziest situations imaginable they were always adequate to the task.
Performance bike it's not. For the "less demanding" rider it will do anything you ask of it. For the "Great Expectations" rider, wait for the 650 cc release or spend 300% more and by a Tiger !!!
The bike I rode was virtually "Bullet proof" As previously stated this is a "no frills machine" but that is obviously reflected in the price. True the bike would benefit from a couple of minor upgrades (Decent LED headlight, USB charging outlet) but these are simple "add on's"
As I only rode the bike for two months in India it would be unrealistic for me to quote figures, however I can safely say that the recommended servicing schedules are very conservative. 25,000 + km in two months of very hard riding across every extreme terrain in India with average 6,000 km services and the bike was still running as good as the day I collected it .
My model didn't include ABS but it's got to be a safety benefit. The bike would benefit from a couple of minor upgrades (Decent LED headlight, USB charging outlet, Heated grips) but these are simple "add on's" As for tyres, I rode on the standard Indian issue but given power outputs I would suggest and "Dual purpose mid range block pattern" tyre will be perfect.
Annual servicing cost: £400
There's so much to like about the Himalayan, especially if you approach it with realistic expectations. With 24.5bhp it's obviously not that fast by modern bike standards, and if you take it for a short test ride and expect it to excite you then it probably won't impress. But give it time, learn to lean on the torque of the long stroke motor and be impressed by the nicely supple ride quality and its ability to take you a long distance in comfort. For back, road exploring and for just getting out and having fun on a bike I've personally found it hard to beat.
For a budget bike the ride quality is exceptional. Supple on the choppy surfaces of Britain, but still controlled enough to have some fun in the corners. It also makes a brilliant job of being good on the road as well as off-road and it's only the limited ground clearance that hampers it off-road. It also carries its weight well and is really easy to ride off-road for first time riders.
A bit more power at the top end wouldn't go amiss but I wouldn't swap that for the really usable torque in the mid-range. It'll cruise at about 70mph, and hit about 84mph flat out.
In 16000 miles I've had dry head bearings that have needed re-greasing. Otherwise I've had no problems and have been really impressed with how the bike has stood up to heavy usage, especially as I've been doing a lot of trail riding on mine. There are a few niggles, but nothing that's going to ruin a trip and parts and servicing are affordable.
Cheap to buy, cheap to service and easy to work on yourself. Fuel economy is good, especially away from the motorway.
I think it's great that as standard it comes with centre stand, rear rack, front rack and a decent sized tank. Other than the £500 panniers and some £32 hand guards I've not had to spend any more money to make it a usable travel bike.
Buying experience: Bought from Cooperb in Northampton. Great guys and a great and conscientious mechanic.
Great commuter and tourer. Not fast, but perfectly adequate for legal speeds on UK roads.
The lever does NOT come back to the bars. A hard stop needs a hard squeeze - but that means you are in control, very reassuring on cold, damp roads. Handling and roadholding are top drawer, but the original tyres wore too quickly.
No problems at all.
3000 mile service intervals are a mild annoyance, but at about £80 a time servicing is still cheap compared with most bikes. I can't understand how the MCN tester gets 50mpg - mine averages 75 over 5000 miles and I don't bimble about.
25 bhp is enough for road riding. It will easily reach national speed limits and maintain those speeds all day long. Low revving torquey single makes it relaxing. If you want to ride stupidly fast it's not the bike for you. On the other hand you won't scare yourself or lose your licence.
Annual servicing cost: £260
I think the MCN review is harsh, take the time to look at reviews like Nathan Millward's a seasoned green laner who has taken this bike the length of the UK and across America. Sure its not outstanding in a particular area however it is very good at most things which for me makes it amazing. Sure its only 24.5 bhp but offers great torque and simplicity. It's unique in its offering so its being compared against totally different rivals. For the price of a high end 125cc it's great value. I have over 4k miles on the bike and I'm very happy with it, even fully loaded and two-up on weekend breaks it's been great, I'm in no rush to get anywhere and fully loaded at 65mph it still averages nearly 80mpg.
Great ride quality the bike really pulls well and will top 80mph but prefers to go at 60 to 65mph. After all the speed limit is 70 and I'm looking to keep my licence. The bike feels better being used at these speeds and doesn't make me want to ride like a lunatic so again a bonus. Still makes me smile the bike needs you to select the right gear and anticipate everything on the road to get the speed and gear right. For returning to biking this is great with no gizmos and aids I'm not becoming a lazy rider.
Runs as sweet as a nut and is simple. I think this is a niche market no large manufacturers are nailing some of us still want a simple, reliable bike. I've had mine since March and have used it in all weather. Responsive torqey engine that sounds great pulls fantastically and does the job well.
No issues at the moment other than a vibration issue which was down to the tank and rectified by the dealer ASAP. As mentioned the service intervals are 3000 miles. Once out of warranty I'll be doing these myself and the valves will only need checking every 6k miles according to those who have owned the bike for some time and done the miles.
Only let down by the daft 3k service intervals, manufacturer states valve checks every 3k and oil and filter every 6k, this should be the other way round. My dealer does a full service each 3k for £130. Once out of warranty I'll be doing most of this myself as the bike is easy to work on.
For me this bike is perfect no electronic aids or nonsense as it's really not needed. My only planned mods are a gel seat. The standard one is not bad but for weekend jaunts an improved seat will help. I also will put in heated grips, handlebar guards and a PowerPoint these would be great if factory fitted but for £4k I'm happy to get these added. Clocks are functional and do the job well I think digital clocks would look odd on this bike. The compass is pointless and unreliable.
Buying experience: Great I couldn't have wished for any more, great dealer support and no subsequent issues with the bike. QB motorcycles in the West Midlands gave me a half day loan of the demo bike and no pressure to buy. I was sold by the test ride and I'm not regretting the purchase. If the bike was a warplane it would be an A10 Warthog a slow workhorse that has love it or hate it looks. I love it and this bike will be a keeper. The perfect all rounder, not outstanding in one area but great in all. Come on MCN, check out the other reviews and keep it in perspective relative to the engine size and price.