Back in 2016, when the Royal Enfield Himalayan was launched, it sort of filled the void that had left people thirsty for an entry-level, affordable ADV. However, the first model was ridiculed with reliability issues, which were largely paid attention to in the BS-IV version. But now RE has promised an even improved motorcycle in its BS-VI avatar and we are here to see if the changes have made any difference.
So If I have to sum up the list of changes that come with the switch to BS-VI, the new Himalayan gets a greener motor, a few practical features and new colour options in the palette. Yes, the list is quite short but a revision is required nonetheless.
Starting with the design, the Himalayan retains its minimalistic theme that does with little body panels that lend the motorcycle its adventure credentials in terms of appeal. There is a laudable improvement in terms of build quality as the welds are not shabby and look in place and line with the rest of the motorcycle.
The paint finish on the few panels that the motorcycle has is of superior quality and the switchgear feels quite premium to use. While the plastic on the rest of the motorcycle is of good quality, the quality of materials around the instrument cluster, especially the button on the instrument cluster could have been improved.2020 Royal Enfield Himalayan. (Image: Anirudh Sunilkumar/News18.com)
Now apart from munching miles on the well-paved highways, the Himalayan is meant to conquer all things off-road as well, which means two major things come into play – it’s ergonomics while being seated and while standing up. This is where the Himalayan always shone. While being seated, the rider’s triangle speaks of comfort with a wide handlebar and low seat that gives the rider a commanding position. While standing up, the ergonomics speak control as the handlebar is within reach, the tank can be gripped tightly and the footpegs are neutrally set.2020 Royal Enfield Himalayan. (Image: Anirudh Sunilkumar/News18.com)
One of the most notable additions in the new BS-VI Himalayan is the switchable ABS. All you need to do is hold down this ABS button on the instrument cluster and you are ready to lock up the rear and slide about.
In its journey to be greener, the Himalayan has gained 5kg making it fairly heavier than the outgoing model and this is noticeable once you get away from the asphalt. This along with the lack of modern features is the only two glaring cons that I found in the latest iteration. For a motorcycle that costs well over Rs 2 lakh, the Himalayan does not come LED headlamps or turn indicators. Neither does it have a digital instrument cluster or a charging port even as an option.2020 Royal Enfield Himalayan. (Image: Anirudh Sunilkumar/News18.com)
Performance and Ride Quality
Coming on to the performance of the motorcycle, the Himalayan is now powered by a BS-VI compliant 411-cc engine that outputs 24.3bhp and 32Nm of torque. The figures are marginally down, but the fact that it has gained 5kg, made the drop in power-to-weight ratio quite evident. However, despite the same, the new Himalayan continues to retain its jack of all trades persona. The engine is tractable with a strong mid-range that can offer both comfortable cruising and the oomph for off-road adventures. Apart from the tractability, another laudable character of the new engine would be its refinement that makes the experience even merrier.
Another notable improvement in the new Himalayan comes in the braking department. I remember the previous iteration to have spongy brakes that have considerably improved in the new version. The setup feels more progressive with plenty of bite at the front as well as the rear.2020 Royal Enfield Himalayan. (Image: Anirudh Sunilkumar/News18.com)
So to sum it up, we are quite happy to see that tiny shortcomings like the vibrations and the braking have been dealt pretty well in the new version. And the fact that the motorcycle now gets switchable ABS makes it an even better proposition. So, the formula remains the same, a motorcycle that can cruise at triple-digit speeds but can also handle crawling traffic with ease, a motorcycle that can take on a well-paved path or no roads at all. Something that woed us before and something that still woes us.