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Welcome the adventure bike, Royal Enfield's Himalayan

Royal Enfield's Himalayan is every biker's dream as it is one of the most capable motorcycles

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Think of a road trip to Leh and what is the first thing that pops into your head? Right, Royal Enfield! The brand has been synonymous to long ride and adventure for decades now. However, it also reminds us of a noisy and non-reliable bike full of vibrations; an image that the company has been trying to get rid of for quite some time now. In this pursuit, Royal Enfield has built their magnum opus and guess what they have named it? They call it the Himalayan. The bike has been creating a quite buzz ever since its first announcement. Priced at Rs1.6 lakh, the bike will have no direct competition, though the Dominar 400 from Bajaj falls in the similar price bracket. The true contender in this category is the Tiger 800 from Triumph, which is 10 times more expensive.

The Himalayan looks completely different from the 60s Royal Enfield. The design is simple and purposeful. Round headlamp, a sculpted 16-letre fuel tank and high-mounted fenders and the large 21-inch front wheel are the prominent features of the design. The soft saddle serves its purpose really well on long rides; it is easy to mount despite its height. Over all, it shows what it is meant to do. The instrument cluster is also packed with some tricks like the digital compass, side stand alert, clock and all sorts of info one can ask for; yet it is neatly placed and easily readable. However, could it be the answer to all Indian riders praying for a reliable and affordable adventure?

To find out we decided to push it to the boundaries. We rode it from Bhopal to Salkanpur, via Budhni and then returned to Bhopal through the jungles of Jhiri and Kolar. The route covered a short highway stretch, uphill climbs and bad infrastructural roads.

You cannot help appreciating the neutral and upright sitting position, combined with the short-turning radius. The bike is very agile and easy to handle in the city and it took us no time to cut the traffic and hit the highway. The Himalayan has a completely new engine called LS410 which is meant for the highways. With a 411cc short stroke engine and 24.5PS (at 6,500rpm), it is equipped with a counter-balancer to keep the vibration levels low. The engine revs easily past 5500rpm and can cruise comfortably at 80-100kmph. The power is concentrated in mid range, which can make it feel a bit slow below 200rpm.

After crossing Budhni, we reached the ghats and it was time to throw the bike into corners. The Himalayan has the new split cradle chassis built by Harris Performance, and it is undoubtedly the best on any Royal Enfield motorcycle in production. You can lean into a corner without worrying about any nervous twitching from the bike.

The long travel suspension soaks up all kinds of bumps, potholes and even the occasional speed-breaker. Without a care the bike felt planted and comfortable even when there were practically no roads in the jungles of Ratapani. The Himalayan gets 41mm telescopic forks with 200mm travel. The rear suspension is a monoshock, the first for any Royal Enfield, and gets 180mm travel.

We came back to the city after a day full of adventure and thanks to the Himalayan, not tired at all. Royal Enfield has created an all rounded tourer worthy of its name.

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