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Royal Enfield Himalayan review

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It is NOT called Bullet, and rightly so, because it is NOT Bullet. It is made by Royal Enfield, so it can have the Royal Enfield name / brand / badge, but it cannot be Bullet.

Bullets have THUMP, which this bike does not have. Why? Because it has overhead camshaft to operate the valves! The overhead camshaft is operated by timing chain which all Indo-Japanese bikes have. In fact almost all bikes in the world today have timing chain driven overhead camshafts, which just cannot produce THUMP.

As far as I know, only Bullet and Harley Davidson (HD) bikes have pushrod operated valves, yet HDs do not produce the distinct THUMP which Bullets produce because all HDs have twin cylinder engines! So in the time Bullet produces one distinct THUMP HDs produce two, so the distinctiveness of the THUMP does not exist in HDs.

The other difference is that ALL Bullets: 350/500/535 have kick starter, Himalayan does not have kicker (weight reduction?). Though some may consider this a minor matter, there is no kicker and it is a difference!

There are other differences, but I will let YOU discover/identify them. The major ones have been named above.

So, what is the Himalayan all about?

Starting from the front end, the first thing we see is the front wheel having spokes – hence cannot have tubeless tires. Front wheel diameter is 21-inch & has tire of thickness of 90/90 – quite a common tire thickness as today’s bikes go. The front wheel has a 300 mm disc brake. The front wheel is held in twin-forks of 41 mm diameter with bellows. The tire has a very close fitting mudguard (How will it fare in wet mud when mud gets between the tire and the mudguard?), though without the rubber splash preventer (for city and corporate rides). I suppose you will have to drill two holes at the rear bottom of this front mudguard to fit such a splash preventer, which is available anywhere for a few Rupees. The 17-inch diameter rear wheel is 120/90 and has a 240 mm disc brake.

A few inches above the front mudguard is another kind of? Mudguard which looks like a horn=seeng, not bajnay wala ! It is useless and adds weight. It should not exist. Above this useless protuberance is the headlight dome and instrument cluster, which is very illuminating. Take a look.

The big circular analogue on LHS is the speedometer showing road speed in km/hr as well as miles/hr. The digital display below it shows current time and current ambient temperature. The 0 shows current road speed (bike is at rest). The other figures are odo 7.5km and trip 5.5km meter.
The circular dial at bottom right shows direction SE=South-East in which the bike is headed. The other meters are self explanatory.

 

There is a transparent shield above the headlight.

 

The bore X stroke of the 350 is 70 mm X 90 mm, while for the 500 it is 84 mm X 90 mm. The point to note is that the stroke of both is 90 mm. I believe all 350 and 500 Bullets use the same Crankshaft. The 535 cc Continental GT has bore X stroke of 87 mm X 90 mm. Thus the Continental GT also uses the same Crankshaft. All the 350’s produce 19.8 bhp at 5250 rpm and all 500’s produce 27.2 bhp at 5250 rpm EXCEPT the model Bullet 500 which produces 26.1 bhp at a lower 5100 rpm. All 350’s develop a Torque of 28 Nm at 4000 rpm and all 500’s develop a Torque of 41.3 Nm at 4000 rpm EXCEPT the model Bullet 500 which develops 40.9 Nm torque at a lower 3800 rpm. Since the model Bullet 500 revs at LOWER rpm than all other Bullets (whether 350 or 500), the model Bullet 500 has the HiGHEST ENGiNE LiFE FACTOR (ELF) OF 2.307 among all bikes made in India – and probably the whole world! But what of the HiMALAYAN? How does it compare with the 350/500 Bullets?

 

The Himalayan is NOT a Bullet nor is it named Bullet – it is simply named Enfield Himalayan. The Himalayan has a totally different engine which is 411 cc and has a bore X stroke of

78 mm X 86 mm and a Compression Ratio (CR) of 9.1, while all Bullets have CR=8.5. Thus Himalayan has a HiGHER Compression Ratio than all Bullets – 350 & 500. It produces 24.5 bhp at a much HiGHER 6500 RPM. Max Torque of HiMALAYAN is 32 Nm at 4000-4500 rpm which again is HiGHER than all Bullets. Himalayan has ONLY Electric start, no kicker ! Also, the ELF of Himalayan is 1.69. Since the stroke of Himalayan engine is 86 mm, it is obvious that it is not using the crankshaft used in ALL Bullets. Also, the Himalayan has an OiL Cooler, which does not exist in any Bullet.

 

Consequent to the fact that the Himalayan has totally different bore X stroke than all Bullets, the shape of crankcase is also totally different. The 22-inch long rear swing-arm is of rounded rectangular shape, which is 61 mm vertically and 31 mm horizontally. The rear disc brake is also visible in the picture below.


The Himalayan has five gears and is fuelled by carburetor with a throttle position sensor. Front suspension is Twin-Fork with 200 mm travel and rear suspension is mono with 180 mm travel.

At 182 kg kerb weight this is the lightest Enfield bike. It has a 1465 mm wheelbase which is about 100 mm longer than any Bullet. Ground clearance is 220 mm, which is 80 mm more than any Bullet. Fuel tank is 15 Liters which is more or less same as most Bullets. Headlight is 60/55 watts backed by a 12 volt – 8 Ampere hour battery.

I took a short ride (within my colony) and felt that Himalayan has a slightly faster pickup – probably due to its high (6500 rpm) revving engine (overhead camshaft) and smallest (17-inch diameter) rear tire. I also feel that the seat is a bit high – due to its largest diameter (21-inch) front tire and its 220 mm Ground Clearance. The silencer is upturned – probably because one has to ride thru many water bodies in Ladakh.

 

The name Royal Enfield is written on a plate carried in a metal frame on both sides. The company could have written the name on the fuel tank and reduced the weight by a couple of Kilos.

All-in-All the Himalayan feels to be the best bike to ride to Ladakh !

 

 

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