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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
Photo by James Duncan, Universe Camp, Uyuni Salt Flats

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


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  #1  
Old 21 Mar 2016
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The Royal Enfield Himalayan – First Impressions

Today I test rode the Royal Enfield Himalayan in Chennai. Didn’t ride it for long. Just a couple of rounds around the block. But I inspected it long enough to determine if Royal Enfield has truly built something special or merely put lipstick on a pig.





This is not a full blown review. Just my first impressions. Let’s start with the good.

+ Nice suspension

+ Comfortable seat

+ Good riding position when seated

+ Great dual sport tyres

+ Acceptable level of vibrations at city speeds

+ Nice exhaust note. It’s not the typical Royal Enfield “doob doob” sound. But it’s not a typical KTM Duke “Trrrr” flutter sound either. It sits nicely somewhere in between. Cruising at low speeds should be fun.



The bad

+ Absolute shit build quality and finish. Some of the welds weren’t even ground. I’m told manufacturing robots were used to build the Himalayan. If that’s true then I’m pretty sure robots were blindfolded. Bolts were already coming off. One of the bolts fastening the side panel was missing, leading the panel to rattle.











+ Underpowered. I tried a 0 to 60 kmph and it felt nowhere close to my Duke 390. Zipping through traffic is not going to feel like fun. I don’t need to ride this fast on a highway to know what it will feel like. I already have a pretty good idea. Cruising won’t be fun either.

+ Very sticky gear shift. I’m pretty sure this is a problem with the bike I rode. There is no way all Himalayans can come with such a bad gear shifter. But the bike I rode was just 260 km old. Which doesn’t speak too well about its drive train.

+ Pathetic riding position while standing on the foot pegs. The foot pegs are pushed back a little and I have no idea why. I squatted for a good two minutes by the side of the road, looking at the chassis, trying to figure out why Royal Enfield had to push the foot pegs behind. When I stood on the foot pegs to ride over potholes I found my body lurching forward almost getting ready to fly over the handlebar. With my knees bent a little hugging the tank, I wasn’t comfortable at all riding on the foot pegs. I’m six feet tall and I think the situation won’t be very different for shorter people. Although their torso will be closer down to the handlebar their hands will be shorter as well and they will find themselves leaning forward like I did. The Duke is horrible to ride while standing on the foot pegs, mainly because the pegs are pushed way behind. It makes sense for the Duke as its a pocket rocket street bike. But the Himalayan is an adventure bike and you are supposed to ride it comfortably while standing on the foot pegs.



I’m completely baffled as to how the folks in the media actually “reviewing” the Himalayan are raving about it. The bike looks like a prototype of something that still needs to be properly styled. Build quality and finish is typical Royal Enfield level – pathetic. The engine lacks character. I just don’t see myself having fun with this bike like I do with my “adventurized” Duke 390.

Sorry, this isn’t what I was expecting from Royal Enfield. The Indian adventure motorcycling market deserves something better. I’m hoping KTM will launch the 390 adventure in 2017. They are reworking their Duke and RC engine and platform. I have a feeling they will add an Adventure variant to the 2017 lineup.
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Old 22 Mar 2016
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Thanks for your write up and a shame about the quality, hopefully they will get that sorted. Do you know if all dealers have demonstrators? I am in Mumbai next week and would like a ride if there was an opportunity.
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Old 22 Mar 2016
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Not all dealers have test ride motorcycles. The big ones in Mumbai should.
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Old 22 Mar 2016
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Those welds look almost exactly the same as the auto weld stuff the Japanese were doing in the 60's - referred to at the time in the press as "pigeon sh1t"

Enfield probably got a very good secondhand deal on those old welders that Honda had stuck away in a warehouse for a few decades.
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Old 22 Mar 2016
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Terblanche

Here is someone to blame:
Pierre Terblanche joins Royal Enfield - Motorcycle news : General news - Visordown
although I doubt that he is responsible for the weld splatter which does add a certain amount of street cred to any bike.

"along with a new 400cc engine to power upcoming models"
how is the new engine design performing??
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Old 22 Mar 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
the weld splatter which does add a certain amount of street cred to any bike.
In that case most of my bikes must have unbelievable street cred ratings

My efforts at welding make the Enfield stuff look like an apprentice's final exam.

I blame the welder.
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Old 22 Mar 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deelip View Post
Love the sari protector!
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Old 22 Mar 2016
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Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
Love the sari protector!
My Harley-Davidson Fat Boy came with a sari guard. ON BOTH SIDES!!

I would pay good money to see a lady drape a sari and sit astride on a Fat Boy. ;-)
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Old 22 Mar 2016
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Seems Enfield will have to "up their game" to compete in the world ADV market. Enfield have dealers in USA and EU, I've no idea how sales are doing.

Here in USA Enfields are no longer all that cheap ... previously a major reason for someone to take a chance on this bike. So it gets tougher for Enfield to compete. A poor quality bike won't make it here in USA. Too many good alternatives. But Enfield have "the look" ... and the "history". But is that enough?

But it's early days. Lets assume Enfield know of the quality problems mentioned in Deelips review ... and realize that no one in USA or EU will purchase a bike of such poor quality, low power .... having only a romantic "old school" nostalgia in its favor. (hey, don't laugh, HD built an empire based on nostalgia)

If Enfield are serious we should see BIG improvements to save this bike, and the company. Not too late.

If KTM introduce a 390 ADV version of the 390 Duke, that will further slow Enfield sales in India and elsewhere. I'm sure other Indian companies are also working the ADV segment, yes?

For the cost of labor in India it seems to me Enfield should build every Enfield by hand, using the very best crafts people in the country to do it. Make them works of art, not robot welded junk. They can do it. They have the skills.
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Old 23 Mar 2016
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If you can rent a "reliable" RE in Katmandu why can't you buy one anywhere else.


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Old 23 Mar 2016
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Romany,

Would like to rent one in Nepal. Can u give me contact details please.


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  #12  
Old 23 Mar 2016
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I was seriously looking at the Himalayan as India really does not need more than 500 cc viz a viz traffic mania.

One thing carries on in RE their indifference to customer satisfaction. The boom in their sales are mostly first time bikers of those who have finally been able to get their hands on the bike.

If this is what The Himalayan promises will have to remove from my list. Will drive one before i decide. Am waiting for the KTM which should be launched soon nx year. Want to do a longer ride this time.

Did the Vadodara London on my 350 1990 std model. Looking for a better one for my RTW in 2017.

Thanks for the reviews.

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Old 27 Mar 2016
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Enfield are unable to export to UK and EU at moment due to emissions legislation, i was intrested in lokking at 1 as a winter hack and general ride a round, but if the weld quality by robots is that bad bestvthey get the locals as they can do far better, I think 400 cc is fine but the bhp and some other issues, as mentioned above means I would reconcider and look at another 250 - 500 cc bike took the z300 out other day.

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Old 28 Mar 2016
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Let alone the UK, Royal Enfield can't sell this so called "revolutionary" motorcycle in Delhi, India's national capital due to emissions norms. So essentially they built a new motorcycle on a new platform but made it compliant to an already outdated emission standard.
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Old 28 Mar 2016
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Too bad the RE Himalayan doesnt seem to be at a acceptable quality level.

I have been riding the RE 500 Bullet through Bhutan, Sikkim and a good bit around in Nepal and just loved it.

Why do they make a new engine that that doesnt even fit emission standards?
I know they made some models with EFI but had problems with those and went back to carburators. Its not the right direction to go...
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