Royal Enfield updates the Himalayan adventure bike with a "Tripper" pod
Royal Enfield hasn't tweaked the formula too much with its hugely accessible Himalayan adventure bike, but it's added some nice practicalities including a "Tripper" turn-by-turn navigation pod, switchable ABS and a couple of other small fixes.
Much of the Himalayan's charm is in its simplicity; this is a hop on and go machine that's about as beginner-friendly as they come in the ADV segment.
Its 411-cc single-cylinder engine makes a modest 24.3 horsepower. It runs a 21-inch front wheel and a 17-inch rear, both spoked with dual-purpose tires. It's got 200 mm (7.9 in) of suspension travel at the front and 180 mm (7.1 in) at the back, and gives you 220 mm (8.7 in) of ground clearance to get over logs and rocks in the bush.
It's by no means a hardcore dirt machine; indeed, it's probably softer than anything in its segment. But it's got a certain kind of vintage charm about it, and Enfield is selling them by the bucketload, in its home of India and well beyond. So 2021 gets us a small update focused on practicalities.
For starters, there's now a little digital navigation pod built in. This "Tripper" places a small color screen off to the side of your dash cluster. Visually, the cockpit's a bit of a mess now, with the color screen clashing somewhat with the rest of the bike's analog dials and LCD displays. It looks handy, though; Bluetooth it through to your phone and the Tripper will display turn-by-turn navigation prompts through Google Maps. A fine addition that'll get phones off dodgy handlebar mounts.
There's ABS braking now at both ends, for the seven people with strong enough forearms to lock up a wheel. The back wheel system is switchable so you can slide it up in the dirt when your crush is watching. The seat, which made my legs hurt after about an hour on the road thanks to some unwanted contact with frame rails, has got some extra padding now, and that's very welcome.
There's been some minor adjustments to the pack rack, I'm told, and Enfield stands ready to furnish you with a bunch of practical accessories including lockable pannier boxes, various crash guards, touring seats and a few bits of bling.
You can unfavorably compare the Himalayan's specs to similar small-capacity adventure machines from BMW, KTM, Kawasaki, Honda and the rest all day long. You can argue it's too heavy, or underpowered. You can wonk on about how adventure bikes should be able to wheelie and overtake on the highway until you're blue in the face, for all the good it'll do you.
The fact is, this continues to be a super-compelling proposition, particularly at its price point (starting at US$4,999 in the USA, or AU$8,190 in Australia). It's drawing newcomers into the sport with a non-threatening package that looks adventurous in an Indiana Jones kind of way rather than a Chris Birch one. It continues to be an aspirational bike in its home country of India, where the brand carries a historical dignity, and has a kind of weird hipster semi-retro flair elsewhere.
I found the first one perfectly friendly to spend a few days on, and I can jive with the idea that many modern bikes are getting a bit too clever and digital. In that context, these minor upgrades make sense, and it seems the Himalayan will continue selling as fast as Enfield can build them.
Source: Royal Enfield