Everyone “reviewing” the Royal Enfield Himalayan seems to be concentrating on how great the motorcycle is on bad roads and off road. Nobody seems to be saying anything about how it cruises on a highway at 100 kmph. I feel that’s important because that is what the motorcycle is going to be doing most of the time. All Himalayan owners won’t be living in Ladakh. They will need to ride their motorcycles to Ladakh from whichever corner of India they are coming from. Those long days of riding India’s highways needs to be enjoyable as well.
Even a Hero Honda Splendor, or any other 100 cc motorcycle for that matter, can ride well on bad roads and trails. That’s not the point. The point is that an adventure motorcycle needs to be well behaved on highways as well. It’s engine should not feel like it’s being molested. It’s chassis should not vibrate as you ride the motorcycle at higher speeds. It’s handlebar and foot pegs should not rattle your bones all day.
The problem with the current Royal Enfields is that they look and feel like World War II motorcycles. I happen to own a 2012 Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 and riding it faster than 80 kmph is pure torture for the mind, body and soul. When I ride my Duke with friends riding Enfields, I almost fall asleep on the handlebar trying to stay back with them. It’s not that an Enfield can’t go fast. It can. But it feels like shit when it does.
This is 2016. I want to know if the Himalayan feels like a motorcycle that belongs to this century while cruising on highways. I want to know if it’s truly an adventure motorcycle off the tarmac, and more importantly, on the tarmac as well. Who can tell me?