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ENFIELD HIMALAYAN (2018-on) Review

Published: 03 October 2018

With the throttle twisted to the stop in fifth, I had to watch as the photographer’s van pulled away with ease

Royal Enfield Himalayan

With the throttle twisted to the stop in fifth, I had to watch as the photographer’s van pulled away with ease

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

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.

Royal Enfield Himalayan has a choke for cold starts

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.

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

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.

Royal Enfield Himalayan making a splash

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.

Engine 3 out of 5

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.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The simplicity of the Himalayan means there's not an awful lot to go wrong, and early indications are that the reliability is good.

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 5

At £3999 it’s one of the cheapest bikes going. Compared to the rivals, you save a chunk over the Suzuki V-Strom 250 (£4599), BMW G310GS (£5100) and Kawasaki Versys (£5149).

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.

Equipment 3 out of 5

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.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2018
Year discontinued -
New price £3,999
Used price £3,300 to £4,200
Warranty term -
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £64
Annual service cost £260
Performance
Max power 24.5 bhp
Max torque 23.6 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption -
Tank range -
Specification
Engine size 410cc
Engine type Single cylinder, 4 stroke, air cooled, SOHC, fuel injection
Frame type Half-duplex split cradle frame
Fuel capacity 15 litres
Seat height 800mm
Bike weight 185kg
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"

History & Versions

Model history

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.

Other versions

None

Owners' Reviews

2 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.

Review your ENFIELD HIMALAYAN (2018-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.5 out of 5
Equipment 4.5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Enfield Himalayan

06 October 2018 by Jack the Lad

Great commuter and tourer. Not fast, but perfectly adequate for legal speeds on UK roads.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
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.
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
No problems at all.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
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.
Equipment
5 out of 5
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.
4 out of 5

Perfect all rounder

04 October 2018 by Mike

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.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
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.
Engine
5 out of 5
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.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
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.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
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.
Equipment
4 out of 5
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.

Photo Gallery

  • Royal Enfield Himalayan
  • Royal Enfield Himalayan is best on the dirty stuff
  • Royal Enfield Himalayan dash includes a compass
  • Royal Enfield Himalayan is underpowered on the road
  • Royal Enfield Himalayan has a choke for cold starts
  • Royal Enfield Himalayan is great value
  • Royal Enfield Himalayan getting dirty
  • Royal Enfield Himalayan making a splash
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