Adventure motorcycles are slowly catching up in India and the only reason why this trend is currently not skyrocketing is that fully grown ADVs like Triumph Tiger or Ducati Multistrada have fully grown price tags as well. But there are now ADV options in the market that are proper and won't hurt the pocket much either. We are talking, of course, of the Royal Enfield Himalayan and BMW G310 GS. While the Himalayan is the only ADV Royal Enfield produces, BMW Motorrad has had immense experience in building ADVs and the 310 GS is the smallest, most affordable they ever came up with. So, how do these two compete?
Having ridden both of them, I'm quite convinced that the two are equally sound when it comes to comfort. You can clock hundreds of kilometres in a day on either of them without breaking your back. The two are distinguished, however, by what they're most comfortable doing and turns out that the Himalayan is much happier going off the road.
|Royal Enfield Himalayan||BMW G3109 GS|
|Engine||411cc air-cooled, single-cylinder||313cc water-cooled, single-cylinder|
|Power||24.5 hp at 6,500 rpm||34 hp at 9,500 rpm|
|Torque||32 Nm at 4,250 rpm||28 Nm at 7,500 rpm|
|Brakes (front)||300 mm disc||300 mm disc|
|Rear||240 mm disc||240 mm disc|
|ABS||Dual-channel (non-switchable)||Dual-channel (switchable)|
|Weight||191 kg (kerb)||169.5 kg (kerb)|
|Fuel Capacity||15 litres||12 litres|
|Price||Rs 1.79 lakh (ex-showroom)||Rs 3.49 lakh (ex-showroom)|
To clearly answer the question, you have to ask yourself whether you'll be indulging in a lot of off-roading. I and Dipayan Dutta who rode the G310 GS for this test agree that the GS likes the tarmac more than unfriendly surfaces. And then, of course, there's the matter of price – the difference of price between is almost twice.
The major difference in ride dynamics between the two comes from how soft the suspension setup is, what the riding posture is and good the engine is with low-down torque. In comparison to the Himalayan, the 310 GS has very plush suspension which tends to transfer of a lot of feedback to the rider's shoulders through the handlebar while off-roading.
Moving on the riding stance – the handlebars on the 310 GS is comparatively lower than the Himalayan and forces to the rider to hunch forwards. And lastly, the Himalayan offers slightly more torque than the 310 GS.
However, when it comes to design and build, the 310 GS is by far the more premium looking product and the Himalayan still has some of its issues relating to build quality. Furthermore, the Himalayan's dual-channel ABS is not switchable but it can be switch off on the 310 GS, which means you can slide happy on it, but can't on the Himalayan.
So, if money is not a matter and you know you'll be sticking to tarmac and would like to bring home a more premium and cool-looking product, 310 GS will not fail to impress. And if you're more interested in taking the bike off the road a lot, the Himalayan will be more to your liking.