What happens when you hand over the new, 2018 Royal Enfield Himlayan to a ‘BS3’ variant owner for the weekend? Read along to find out…
The Himalayan got off to the rockiest of starts, in a playing field that was its own. Shaking off the teething troubles, the company returned strongly and come 2018, the Royal Enfield Himalayan has been REborn.
At first glance, it has the same, industrial-good looks of the previous generation. The minimalist bodywork, long-travel suspension and other, adventure travelling goodies are still present. There’s something different about this one though. You can’t quite put a finger on it, but it is there.
Step closer and you notice that the fit and finish is a smidgen better; the welds have gotten cleaner. The bash-plate mounting is trail-friendly now and so on. The carburettor has been swapped out, for a Keihin Fuel Injection system – all in the name of better emissions and crisper fuelling. The magic however, is inside!
Naturally, we were eager to experience the evolution of India’s most VFM Adventure Tourer for ourselves. So we drew up a plan and a few calls and e-mails later, the MotoGods ordered the stars to get into formation for this ride. Wheee…
A total of 3 days and 550 kilometres were spent in the new, 2018 Royal Enfield Himalayan. I would have loved to spend even more time in the saddle, but we made the most of what we had. Everything from two lane highways, gnarly trails and gooey lake beds to typical metro traffic conditions were explored, for better understanding the evolutionary leap.
Thanks to our BBQ&Cheers MotoFamily, we even went wheel-to-wheel with more experienced riders at the other end of the Adventure Motorcycling spectrum, just to give us a more complete picture to the scene.
A leisurely start saw us navigating through peak Mumbai traffic and the 2018 Royal Enfield Himalayan turned out to be a revelation, right from the word go.
Gone was the lag that one felt in shifting between, 1st and 2nd gear on the BS3 Carburettor version. The overall effort in working the clutch and gears too had significantly reduced. A soft nudge was all it took, to shift up and down the ‘box and there was this new level of smoothness that the previous gen lacked.
The appreciation for the changes in the new, FI Himalayan grew, as we cleared city traffic and stretched her legs. She revved cleanly as the needle climbed higher, with the vibration through the pegs and handle-bar nicely controlled.
Up in the twisties, she felt a lot more composed when leaned over, encouraging us to carry greater speed into the corners. The Himalayan has always been surprisingly good in the corners, given the large 21-inch front and the long travel suspension, not to mention, that slab-slided stance. But still, there was a noticeable improvement in ride quality and the way it swallowed the craters and unmarked speed-breakers, with minimal rider discomfort.
Hitting the trails, the new FI Himlayan felt all the more at home. The rider triangle as sorted as before, with better suspension damping and liner fuelling meant that it was a whole new level of fun.
The brakes can still be improved, lacking bite and feel, thereby robbing the rider of that crucial bit of confidence in tight situations. Also, the wish for more oomph and grunt out of the engine continues…
Hitting the trails, the new FI Himalayan felt all the more at home. The rider triangle is as sorted as before. The improved suspension damping characteristics and linear fuelling meant that it was a whole new level of fun to dance in the dirt with her.
The Royal Enfield Himalayan in fuel-injected guise even managed to be better than before, when up against more exotic brethren at the other side of the Adventure Touring spectrum. The simpler nature, in terms of build, equipment and electronics – not to mention the hugely satisfying sticker price all make it a lot easier to live with the Himalayan.
Sure, it lacks the power and the ‘exotic’ feel. But it isn’t without its advantages. For example, more people can throw the Himalayan around, with little to worry about in terms of damages and repairs. Most road-side repairs are easy to carry about, and spares availability is leagues ahead of its exotic counterparts.
What’s more, the 2018 Royal Enfield Himalayan made me wish that my BS3 Carb version were as smooth and refined.
550 kilometres later, I can safely say that the 2018 Royal Enfield Himalayan takes the platform strengths viz. comfortable, long travel suspension, great riding triangle, rough road munching abilities and the Value-for-Money positioning and raises the bar even further.
- The Keihin Fuel-Injection has made a world of good to the throttle response of the new, 2018 Himalayan.
- The top-end response is a lot better than before.
- The overall build quality & riding feel is decidedly better in the 2018 version.
- It does appear that the new, 2018 Himalayan has managed to cast off the shadow of reliability that plagued the previous version.
The 2018 Royal Enfield Himalayan is a sure-shot improvement over the previous generation, making a stronger purchase case for itself, as India’s only affordable Adventure Tourer, than before…
So, if you’re on the look-out for an all-purpose, Adventure Tourer that’s not too expensive to purchase and own, do give the 2018 Royal Enfield Himalayan a try. You’ll be surprised by the wide grin that grows on your face each time you wring that throttle!
P.s. Hugs and Love to the BBQ&Cheers MotoFamily for taking the campsite to a whole new level of fun & @kid_on_ghats for the fantastic support 🙂