Royal Enfield Himalayan BS6 received an update for BS6 long time before the lockdown. Getting hands-on experience with the bike after waiting so long was in itself a rewarding experience. For starters when the bike first arrived in the parking lot the first thing that struck was its colours. The grey test bike had a different lustre to it and definitely stood apart.
Same look better packaging
The Royal Enfield Himalayan BS6 does see some improvement in terms of quality. It’s not the best but it certainly is better than the last time. The bike has not changed in design and continues to impress it with its tall stance. Also, the Himalayan does stand out in the adventure community because of its design. There no bike that comes close to it in terms of design.
There are panel gaps at places as seen on the quarter panel but that can be overlooked on a bike that looks so barebones. The Round headlight at the front for me could have done with a good round LED but instead Royal Enfield has chosen to give an LED at the bottom on the headlight which is overpowered by the Headlight itself. Miss of the LED indicators at the rear do not disappoint and the big chunky bulb indicators do work well with the design of the bike. Overall the bike looks as charming as it was.
Touch and Feel
Before even starting the bike as I sit on the bike I notice one thing clear is that the seat height is low. At 800mm official seat height and the soft seat, going flatfoot on the Himalayan is no worry. What has changed is the weight. Now putting this bike on the centre stand is a task. With BS6 it has gained 6kgs and become 199 kgs. This weight of the Himalayan is felt even at high speeds when you try to move the bike and it does not want to.
The Catalytic converter on the bend pipe is now moved to the front. The BS4 model had it on the base and it had changes of scraping. The handlebars of the Himalayan fall so comfortably in the hand. Along with that, the handlebar is not too wide which makes the bike feel a bit nice.
Also, there are a few additions to the switches in the riders field of view. The first one is the ABS switch on the instrument cluster and the other one is the Hazard light switch. Now the instrument cluster of the Himalayan feels very over-optimistic. For eg sometimes the fuel gauge drops so suddenly that it leaves you baffled with the fuel consumption of the bike. Also having a compass does give it an adventurous feel but what’s the functionality when you do have a smartphone with you always.
As I start the bike, the biggest change is noticed. The Exhaust note. The Himalayan has got a very different exhaust note now. It has more base and the Thumph is baffled more. This is straight down to the change of the position of the Catalytic converter and the slightly altered end can. Now, if this bike sounds so polished, then does it ride better too?
I don’t live in the woods and to take the Himalayan to an easy off-road trail I have to cross a fair bit of the city. This gave me a great idea of how the vehicle has improved in the city and highway. It accelerates as briskly as before and holding speed is what it does well. The long-travel suspension does soak up all the bumps but the weight does bottom it out soon. Going over a bump on the Himalayan is not so pleasurable if your weight is not working on the suspension. Also at high speeds the bike wobbles and if you try to take curves at high speed you would be forced to relax the throttle completely. I totally agree that the bike is not made for high-speed corner-carving but still doing a speed of 120 km/h on a 400cc bike is something that we expect.
In the city the bike did heat up slightly but nothing that bothered me through my riding boots and pants. But if you are planning to ride this bike with some chappals (which you shouldn’t anyway), beware of scalding you toe. Vibrations on the Himalayan are a fair bit contained than other Royal Enfield Bikes. You do enjoy the thump here and at 60 km/h in the top gear, the bike just feels in its zone. Slight throttle inputs last for a long time and it feels like its on cruise control.
The one area of issue with the test bike was the clutch. This wasn’t the problem with the previous BS4 model. The clutch had a very inconsistent feel. There was a very gradual merging point and the motor had to be spun up a bit for a stall-free moment from a standstill. This was a bit of a problem as I transitioned from the highway to broken surfaces on steep climbs.
For offroad I am no expert but the trail that I hit was not a treacherous one too. It was a pretty amateur trail with dirt and soil around the lake and a few ups and downs. The Royal Enfield Himalayan on its first slow scouting run felt effortless. The first gear with just the throttle management works the best. As I was getting familiar with the trail I started increasing speed. This is where I noticed that if you are standing and riding the upshifts are not that easy.
The bike is heavy and manoeuvring with your legs does take some muscle. The one thing that is commendable were the brakes. Both on-road and offroad those brakes have shown phenomena improvement and weight now doesn’t seem very intimidating. Also switching off the rear ABS offers more control by letting you drag the rear brake.
As far as numbers are concerned the Himalayan makes 24 bhp of power and 31 Nm of torque. In the BS6 update, the Power has been down a bit but the engine feels very refined and consistent.
After a tiring session on the offroad track, I decided to hit the highway and go back home. That is when I was so engrossed in riding the bike that I rode 30 to 40 kms away from the city. The offroad session had, of course, tired me out completely but the bike’s highway comfort and relaxed riding posture make you wish that the ride never ends.
The fuel tank capacity is also sufficient at 15 litres and there is an option of 2 jerry cans for extra fuel. This approximately gives you a range of 450 km on a full tank. Riding it harshly will only increase the engine noise so riding it in leisure is the only right way to go about. The Royal Enfield Himalayan does feel like an affordable globetrotter that you can buy at Rs 1.86 lakhs (ex-showroom).
So Should you buy it?
The price at which this bike comes and the competition it has makes it look like a middle ground but you have to decide what you will use the bike for. If you already have a bike then it does not make sense to spend this much and but the Himalayan. Instead, save some money and go for the Xpulse and get a Rally kit on it. But if you are a Royal Enfield fan who wants to have a bike that will be there for a long time and will be clocking a lot of kilometres then the Royal Enfield BS6 makes for a perfect companion.