Exclusive! We ride Royal Enfield's new Himalayan

First UK road test of India's debut adventure machine, tested in the Lake District

Exclusive! We ride Royal Enfield's new Himalayan

NAMED after the legendary mountain range of its homeland, Royal Enfield’s Himalayan claims to be India’s first true adventure motorcycle.

Designed with the mountains in mind, the Himalayan claims to offer adventurous capability in an affordable package. It features Royal Enfield’s latest 411cc single cylinder lump, making 24.5bhp and 23.6lb-ft at 4,250rpm.

It’s just arrived in the UK and so Visordown’s Laura Thomson headed for England’s equivalent of the Himalayas – the Lake District – to try it out in our exclusive first test.

Here’s what she thought:

"Approaching the Himalayan, I didn’t know what to expect. Given the delays that had plagued the model’s arrival in the UK and talk of chassis troubles, gearbox failures and flaking paint inside the fuel tank in its native market, the Himalayan didn’t get off to the best start in life.

"But the bike that awaited me at the UK importer’s Chorley HQ was a different variant to that sold in India, I was promised. Plus, all the teething problems that had arisen in the Indian market had since been resolved.

"And after two days of exploring the Lakes – on and off-road – I can say that while the Himalayan isn't perfect, it certainly isn’t bad – especially considering its 4k price tag.

"The good points include its awesome looks, quirky nature, low seat height, easy handling and competitive price. While it may lack the tech of a Triumph Tiger of the refinement of a BMW GS, it offers a stylish, affordable entry into adventure motorcycling.

"It also takes a very different approach from those much fancier motorcycles. Think of it as a quirky café racer for the mountains, a bike that's as at home in Shoreditch as it is in Snowdonia.

"While the Himalayan is well-suited to a Sunday amble or a gentle spot of trail bashing, solid, unforgiving suspension, shaky bars and a lack of brake bite is enough to put you off riding too fast.

"Torque also fades higher up the rev range, and by the time you reach 60mph the bike feels a little puffed out.

"Another sticking point was the digital dash compass, which appeared to have its East and West confused…

"But, if you're looking for something that's a bit quirky, low-tech and cheap, and you don't mind the odd quality control lapse or a lack of high-speed performance, then the Himalayan might be just what you need."

We'll have more on the Himalayan, once southern softie Laura gets out of our Shoreditch-based flat-white-powered Northern decompression chamber.