BS6 Royal Enfield Himalayan Long-Term Review: Introduction with 1 month, 4,600 km Update!

From an engineering disaster to a capable, trustworthy ADV, Royal Enfield’s Himalayan has come a long, really long way. After we bid adieu to our previous long-termer - the Interceptor 650 with a grand farewell, here is how we welcomed the newest member in Express Drives’ long-term fleet!

By:Updated: Dec 28, 2020 9:23 PM

 

Goodbyes do hurt! Especially when you have to say one to the bike that is an absolute cracker and more so, a promising companion for around 10 months. It seemed like folks at Royal Enfield somewhere sensed this emotion of ours and hence, offered the BS6 Himalayan in exchange for the Interceptor 650. I was happy, for the Himalayan is the only bike in Royal Enfield’s portfolio, apart from the 650 twins, that I really admire, thanks to its versatility. Yes, the bike did make a lot of buyers’ lives miserable when it was first launched in the BS3 era, however, the best part is that Royal Enfield has taken all that criticism constructively and certainly worked towards making the Himalayan a package that deserves attention and respect! And what better way to test this claim than having it as a long-term BS6 test bike for a few months!

My first month with the BS6 Royal Enfield Himalayan was mostly about Delhi-Ajmer-Delhi runs. Moreover, I did a Delhi-Sikar-Bikaner-Ajmer road trip as well and if you guys been wondering how I managed to clock over 4,000 km in a little over a month, well, now you know the reason.

Before elaborating the performance and changes on the BS6 model, quickly, the design first! For people who love fancy-looking motorcycles, the Royal Enfield Himalayan might be a disappointment but that doesn’t make it a bad looking product.

The Himalayan with its minimalistic design looks purposeful and functional and hence, looks beautiful in its own way. Add to that the fact that its upright stance and bits like a tall windscreen makes it look like a proper touring material and at the same time, a worthy and capable off-roader.

To me, personally, the Himalayan looks like a carnivore with a strong, rock-solid spine!

The BS6 update brings a couple of new features like hazard lamps and switchable ABS for the rear wheel and the Himalayan now comes in multiple dual-tone shades as well. Coincidentally, the paint scheme that our test bike has – ‘Rock Red’ is our personal favourite. Also, the side stand has been worked upon and RE says that the bike now parks better on terrains. Their claim stands true!

Royal Enfield has managed to retain the same power and torque figures of the Himalayan at 24 hp (a marginal drop of 0.2 hp) and 32 Nm with the same five-speed transmission. While the gearshifts have gotten slightly smoother than before, the shift from first to second gear still feels a lot clunky. Get on the saddle of the new BS6 Royal Enfield Himalayan, munch a few kilometers and you will feel that the engine has got smoother than before. The power delivery remains linear and the refinement levels are noticeably up in exchange for which, the Himalayan has lost some of its rawness that the previous BS4 model used to have.

The engine has a decent grunt low down in the rev range and the strong mid-range makes the Himalayan a brisk walker, especially in the city. However, this isn’t an engine that loves to be revved hard and hence, takes its own sweet time to proceed towards its 6,500 rpm redline. Out on the highways, the BS6 Royal Enfield Himalayan shows its true character and while the bike feels the happiest at 80 kmph, it doesn’t mind doing 100 kmph all day as well.

Anything beyond that and you are taking it out of its comfort zone and it starts to resist with significant vibrations creeping in! With the transition to the stricter BS6 emission norm, there is now a significant drop in the top speed of the Himalayan from 140 kmph (BS4 model) to 120 kmph, to be precise.

The seat is wide and comfortable and for a non-stop 150 km, you shouldn’t be having any complaints. As already mentioned, from Delhi, we did trips to Ajmer, Jaipur, Sikar and Bikaner on the Himalayan and are impressed with its ability to effortlessly travel places without breaking a sweat.

Also, even in the current extreme chilly conditions, all it takes is just a thumb at the starter to wake the Himalayan up in the morning.

However, it’s better to warm up the engine for a good 3 to 4 minutes at idle first to ensure that the engine doesn’t keep shutting down during the first few kilometres of the day.

The suspension is on a slightly softer side and hence, the Himalayan handles all of those undulations and broken highway patches with ease. The tyres offer adequate grip for the road and even in wet conditions around the corners. The brakes have certainly gotten better on the new BS6 Royal Enfield Himalayan but these still lack that instant bite and feel at the lever. That said, while these perform their basic duties quite well, they don’t instill much confidence during panic braking.

The Royal Enfield Himalayan has been a trustworthy companion when it comes to munching long distances. During our so-far journey with the bike, we didn’t face any major troubles. The only issue that popped up a couple of days before writing this story is the malfunctioning of the gear position indicator. In order to be precise, the gear position display is just showing a blinking dash (-) instead of a figure no matter what gear the bike is in and the only number it is showing is a ‘0’ when the bike is in neutral. Our next report will be about how the BS6 Royal Enfield Himalayan performs off the roads and we will also be telling you about the service details, overall cost and also, the cost for the gear position indicator fixing. Stay tuned!

LOGBOOK

Distance covered – 4,600 km
Average fuel efficiency – 27 kmpl
Top speed recorded – 120 kmph
Faults occurred – Malfunctioning gear position indicator (should be fixed in next service)
Current price – Rs 1.91 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

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