Wrist-snapping acceleration, wheelies for days, and Moto GP handling… not words you may normally find in a review of the Royal Enfield Himalayan. But then again, the Himalayan does so many other things well, that to compare it to the newest line-up from say, KTM, or any other knobby-clad superbike disguised as less-than-a-factory-offering 10 years in the past, would be a crime.
The Himalayan Mountains throughout India are stunning, to say the least, but present their own unique set of tests to even the most skilled riders. Deep mud, waist-high water, switchbacks for days, bumpy gravel roads, and goats - tons of flippin’ goats in the road - are just a few of the challenges Royal Enfield had in mind when developing the Himalayan.
While the Himalayan is not a throttle-jerking thrill rocket, that’s perfectly O.K., because you’ll find yourself praising its sure-footed grip and metered acceleration. You’ll find yourself admiring how quiet and smooth the 411cc motor delivers the power. Even more grin comes from the suspension giving more than enough support for the speeds you are travelling at so you can actually enjoy the journey (instead of contemplating how an Indian hospital gown fits, after an epic water-crossing-at-warp-speed goes wrong).
All in all, the Himalayan is an amazing little gem of a motorbike, capable of delivering a pure motorcycling experience to anyone who craves it. The price remains to be seen, as does the feasibility of State-side importation, but the bike is most certainly worth its value. If you find yourself with an opportunity to ride a Himalayan, jump on it. You’ll be glad you did.
Words by Brice Cooper | Photos by Noah Conopask
Brice Cooper is a former AMA XR-1200 series rider, owner of the Tiny Mule Creative Agency and a new member of the Royal Enfield fan club!
Noah Conopask is an international filmmaker who creates projects worldwide for brands including Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, BBC, HBO, Bose, Samsung, Google, Eastbay and General Electric. He’s worked with athletes from a host of sports and nations, including a slew of NFL stars. Olympic Medal winner Tom Dailey, World Champion alpine skier Lindsey Vonn, Formula One giants Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and many more.