I’ve got to be honest: when I first approached the Himalayan I didn’t know what to expect, especially given the delays that had plagued the model’s arrival in the UK and talk of snapping chassis, gearbox failures and flaking paint inside the fuel tank in its native market. But the bike that awaited me at the UK importer’s Chorley HQ was reportedly a different variant to that sold in India.
And after two days of exploring the Lakes – on and off-road – I can attest that while the Himalayan is far from flawless, it certainly isn’t bad – especially considering its £4k price tag.
Good points include its awesome looks, quirky nature, low seat height, easy handling and competitive price. While it may lack the tech of a Tiger of the refinement of a GS, it offers a stylish, affordable entry into adventure motorcycling. And it also offers a different approach to these bikes. Think of it as a quirky café racer for the mountains, a bike that is as home in Shoreditch as it is in Snowdonia.
It’s surprisingly capable, in moderation, and if high speed riding isn’t your cup of tea then you’ll do just fine on the Himalayan. After all, it’s not a performance bike, but rather an enthusiast’s machine. And with that budget price tag, I imagine a lot of people will be enthusiastic about it.
Model tested: Royal Enfield Himalayan
Engine: 411cc single cylinder, air cooled, four stroke, SOHC
Torque: 23.6lb-ft @ 4,250rpm
Kerb weight: 191kg
Seat height: 800mm