Not many “reviewers” of the Royal Enfield Himalayan seem to be worried that the motorcycle which is supposed to be used to cross high mountain passes uses a carburetor instead of electronic fuel injection. And I wonder why.
I had a horrible experience riding my carbureted Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 up to Marsimik La in the Himalayas at 18,953 feet. As I reached higher altitudes, the motorcycle lost all sense of power. There just wasn’t enough oxygen to burn all the fuel entering the cylinder. The engine started making horrendous sounds as if it was getting ready to fall apart. I ended up riding the clutch in first gear to get the torque I needed. I had to rest the motorcycle multiple times after I smelt the clutch plates frying themselves.
As I struggled with my Thunderbird, my friend Gurudatta Munishwar, riding an fuel injected KTM Duke 390, was prancing up and down the mountain passes thoroughly enjoying himself. I don’t know how the Duke’s computer managed feeding it’s engine with a potent air-fuel mixture, but it did. It didn’t seem to face any of the problems that my carbureted Thunderbird was facing.
Thankfully, my Thunderbird ultimately made it to Marsimik La, but the journey was anything but enjoyable. It was horrible and filled with stress.
I find it extremely ironic and incredibly stupid that a motorcycle which draws its name from the Himalayas and is allegedly designed for high altitudes should come with a carburetor, the worst possible way for an engine to be fed an air-fuel minute at high altitudes.
What were the folks at Royal Enfield thinking when they made this ridiculous decision? Who can explain this to me?