Royal Enfield has given the Himalayan a bunch of subtle upgrades for 2021. But do they actually reflect in the overall ride? Here’s what we have to say after 400 odd kilometers with the bike
Words: Neeraj Padmakumar Photography: Sarath S
Royal Enfield had launched its first-ever ADV bike back in 2016 under the name Himalayan. The ‘go anywhere’ traits of the bike were as evident in its name back then, as they were in its actual brawn. Quite in keeping with the changing times, the Himalayan got a host of significant updates. The most recent major rework had happened in 2020 when a new BS6 engine showed up in India’s most picked mid-size ADV. We had then told you how the BS6 Himalayan was, in terms of performance and everyday usability, through a detailed road test review.
For 2021, the Himalayan gets a bunch of subtle-but-significant upgrades, which we had told you in detail through a previous story. Before we actually start talking about how deeply these have influenced the overall ride experience of the bike, let us take a quick glance at the mechanicals.
|Half-duplex split cradle frame
|411cc, Single Cylinder, 4 stroke, Air cooled, BS6 compliant
|24.3 bhp @ 6500 rpm
|32 Nm @ 4000 – 4500 rpm
|5 Speed Constant Mesh
|300 mm disc, 2-piston floating caliper (F)
240 mm disc, single piston floating caliper (R)
|41mm Front Forks (200mm travel)
Rear Monoshock with linkage (180mm travel)
|Seat Height (mm)
|Tank Capacity (liters)
|Kerb Weight (kilograms)
How Is It To Ride?
The engine feels quite peppy. There is a good amount of low-end grunt and the mill feels decently refined at most rpms. The mid range is, however, the cream of this engine. You would need to push it beyond 7500 odd spins for pumping up the vibrations. 80-100 kmph cruising speeds feel quite likable. You could even push it past 110kmph if the wish be so, but at the cost of refinement. There is notable heating felt on the thighs while dodging the city traffic for long spans. The bike feels quite firmly sprung but also offers decent ride comfort. The brakes could have had more improvement in bite, but are not lame either.
The initial riding impressions of the 2021 Himalayan would not let us spot many points/ areas of deviation from what we had previously experienced on the BS6 model. The overall performance and refinement remain identical to the 2020 model, as nothing has changed on the mechanical front. However, ride it for a few hundred kilometers and live with it for a couple of days and you will eventually realize how more usable and liveable the 2021 Himalayan has become.
What Has Changed In The Riding Experience?
The commendable improvement in the overall ergonomics is the key talking point of the new Himalayan. The seat, which now gets stiffer dual-density foam, is quite a boon in long-distance commutes. Ride the bike for 100 odd kilometers, and you would still not have a sore back. Also because they come with a sandblasted texture, you get more grip on these seats, in hard braking scenarios.
As the front racks have now been redesigned, even the tallest of riders wouldn’t really have the problem of rubbing their knees on the metal (I being hardly 6-ish, have never really had this issue ) However, I felt the manufacturer could have redrawn the knee recess on the tank, in such a fashion as to match the new racks, so that they could have added to the comfort on offer.
The new windshield design does have its set of perks in everyday commuting scenarios. It provides decent wind protection at almost all speeds. Cruise at 100kph and you would not feel any notable windblast on your face (there is some around the shoulders though) nor any annoying rattling from the visor despite its size. The windscreen now comes tinted means, there are no longer those annoying reflections on the cluster, hindering the vision either.
And finally, the showstopper, the Tripper navigation, is quite a boon for the Himalayan. You no longer have to mount your mobile phones on those flimsy little mobile holders, nor do you have to fight bloody battles with the phone screen to finally win directions to your destination. The Royal Enfield Tripper navigation pod takes care of it all.
However, the software does have some room for improvement. There are a few bugs in the Tripper and the RE app, and connecting my phone was many a time a job that required lots of time and energy investments. The pairing should have been a lot smoother and faster. However, there is absolutely no glitch in the directions shown or the routes mapped. Plus, the readability of the display is quite impressive as well. However, I would still wish for an adjustable brightness for the same.
Should You Buy One?
The prices of the 2021 Himalayan have had hikes of up to 10,000. It is still one of the most basic yet capable mid-size ADV offerings which are on the affordable side. 2.06 lakh for the most expensive variant (read color) still places it among the cheapest mid-size adventure tourers on sale today. Though it has had no major equipment additions (save for the tripper pod) or engine reworks, it is much more usable and livable in its latest avatar, than what it used to be in the past. What not to like about it is still the fact that at 199 kilograms, it is on the heavier side for an ADV of this class.