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Reaching for a new Summit

S Muralidhar | Updated on March 11, 2021

Royal Enfield's Himalayan bike

The Himalayan has only gotten a cosmetic makeover for its 2021 avatar

The engine is smoother and makes the Himalayan feel quicker than before the BS VI tweak

The 21-inch front rims are shod with 90/90 dual purpose Ceat tyres

The rear gets 120/90 knobblier rubber on 17-inch rims

Royal Enfield’s Himalayan gets a range of new features. It can now better tackle both off-the-beaten and the well-trodden tracks

The Royal Enfield Himalayan was born out of a specific need. One that was influenced by the ‘get off the grid’, wanderlust spirit that resides in the hearts of the brand’s fans.

And RE built it to be different, yet retained the primary, easy-riding character of its forebears, and even managed to pay respects to the brand’s unique aural ancestry.

The Himalayan has since proven to be equally capable and comfortable on road as it can be off it.

A huge section of its buyers haven’t really explored open country, though negotiating the man-made obstacles of our urban jungles must’ve seemed enough of a challenge to throw at the Himalayan.

It is five years since the motorcycle was officially launched and a mid-cycle update was due and that is what the 2021 Himalayan gets.

Design

The Himalayan’s design delivers the perfect formula for riders seeking a dual-purpose bike. The narrow build, 800mm seat height, half duplex split cradle frame and the long travel suspension (200mm front forks) already deliver the goods for a bike that can take the great outdoors. But it is the coming together of features which make it perfect for long rides and that gives the Himalayan its appeal. Its basic design remains unchanged, but small performance tweaks have been made.

The 2021 model upgrade gets better seat upholstery, a suede sort of finish that lends better grip and support. In keeping with its touring bike build and image, it gets an improved rear grab handle and rack that is shod with a mounting plate and four screw holes for fixing bags or carriers. The Himalayan can be extensively customised as part of the ‘Make It Yours’ programme that RE offers. In addition to a bunch of machined parts, to further the Himalayan’s image as a tourer, aluminium side panniers can be added from the selection offered under the programme. They will give you about 26-litres of storage.

The engine is smoother and makes the Himalayan feel quicker than before the BS VI tweak

 

The tank guard has been redesigned and has become narrower. The knee recesses built into the design of the fuel tank make it practical and give it a certain distinct character; though tall riders may still find the fit to be a bit awkward or inadequate. The ‘smoked’ polycarbonate windscreen is a bit different in the new model. The base is a bit wider to accommodate the addition of the ‘Tripper’ meter pod to the instrument cluster. It also looks to have gained a few more millimetres in height. Overall, the difference is not very noticeable, though it adds truck loads to the Himalayan’s tourer character. The Tripper navigation pod is a new feature in the Himalayan. The new Meteor sported this feature first. Offering turn by turn navigation, Tripper is supported by Google Maps and displays navigation information once it is connected to the rider’s smartphone via the Royal Enfield App. The rest of the instrument cluster remains the same in the Himalayan.

 

Performance

The power unit in the 2021 Himalayan continues to be the 441cc, single cylinder, EFI mill that develops the same 24.3bhp of peak power and 32Nm of maximum torque. And it is paired to the same 5-speed gearbox. We have experienced this power unit and its breadth of capabilities. The engine is smoother since its last update, and makes the Himalayan feel quicker than before the BSVI tweak. It is still not a sprinter especially in the lower end of the rpm-band. But, there is enough torque that is available in the 3,000-5,500rpm mid range to handle most conditions on the road. There is also a carry over of the mild vibrations at the handlebar and foot pegs, but felt only at slower speeds and during part throttle.

The 21-inch front rims are shod with 90/90 dual purpose Ceat tyres and the rear gets 120/90 knobblier rubber on 17-inch rims. They offer good grip on the road and off it. The dual channel ABS is standard and can be switched off for making the ride more engaging or if you are going to try some slides while off-roading.

The rear gets 120/90 knobblier rubber on 17-inch rims

 

Bottom Line

The Himalayan has only gotten a cosmetic makeover for its 2021 avatar. The Tripper pod is the biggest update and the rest are all mostly just ergonomic fine-tuning. Yet, it retains its allure and thankfully hasn’t gotten a frightful bump up to its sticker price. At about ₹2.4 lakh it is still the best tourer out there in its segment. And if you are going to get one, you’ll need to weigh what can do with it based on your limitations, not this machine’s.

Published on March 11, 2021

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