2021 Royal Enfield Himalayan review: Ace adventurer with pebble in its shoe
The Royal Enfield Himalayan has been ruling the roost in the affordable adventure bike world for quite some time now. It enjoys a fairly sweet spot in the market thanks to its positioning and the unique set of abilities that it brings to the table, like no other motorcycle in the segment. Recently, the updated 2021 model was introduced with some new features and a higher price tag which now crosses the ₹2 lakh barrier. So what the latest update is all about and does it still justify its price tag? Read on to know!
A quick glance and chances are that you'll mistake it to be the MY20 model since the styling revisions are quite subtle. For starters, there is a smoked tint windscreen upfront, the front metal rack has also been tweaked and the bars on the fuel tank have been shortened significantly for added convenience for taller riders since some have complained in the past about knees brushing against the front rack. Moreover, the rear luggage rack has also been remastered. Look upon closely and you'll find that the new rack is lowered and sits comparatively more in line with the pillion seat.
Now another significant update on the MY21 model is the introduction of new oh-so-wow paint schemes which include a matte-silver option, a funky green option with camouflage effect, and a new dual-tone black as seen on the test images. Also, not to forget, there is Royal Enfield's 'Make It Yours' program available on the new Himalayan which lets the rider customise some bits on the bike as per own taste and needs.
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That said, one of the key updates on the updated Himalayan is the addition of the new Tripper Navigation system which was introduced on the Meteor 350 last year. Thanks to this new feature, there is 'one more dial' on the instrument panel which now looks like it belongs to a helicopter or a flying car. Perhaps, Royal Enfield could have used this opportunity to redesign the new panel, replace the digital compass (which no one uses) with the navigation dial, or something of that sort. Anyways coming back to that point, the new Tripper Navigation feature is in fact a welcome addition to the bike. Pairing and unpairing take a few seconds and it does come in handy if you are looking to find direction on a 'watch-sized screen' instead of a phone.
The seats on the new Himalayan have also received an update in the form of new dual-density foam which makes them slightly stiffer than before and better for long-distance touring.
In terms of mechanicals, things remain exactly the same. It continues to source power from the same 411 cc single-cylinder long-stroke air-cooled engine. It is capable of pushing out 24.3PS of maximum power and 32Nm of peak torque. The transmission unit also remains the same without any update whatsoever. While the BS 6 version of the engine has definitely become more civilised and smoother in comparison to the BS 4 version, what remains the same is the rattling, signature vibrations in the low and mid-ranges that completely ruin the fun, especially if you are being aggressive on the throttle. The noisy tappets are 'still very much noisy' and there is a constant buzz from the front-end, which I remember was also there in the previous year's test bike. Royal Enfield, are you listening?
Maybe the way Meteor 350 has pushed the tempo and completely changed my perspective of smaller Enfields has something to do with my higher expectation from Royal Enfield now. Maybe, it's time for a heart transplant on the Himalayan!
In comparison to MY20, the new Himalayan has become close to ₹10,000 more expensive, and with that money, you basically get a connectivity (Tripper) feature, new colours and more friendly ergonomics. The Himalayan still misses out on several other bits that riders nowadays give preference to, for example, tubeless tyres on spoke wheels, LED lighting, etc. Though these bits can be bought aftermarket, the point is Himalayan isn't exactly light on the pocket motorcycle to own in the first place.
Himalayan is still an ace long-distance travel machine and a very capable off-roader and that nothing can take away from it. It is perhaps the only bike in its category to offer a mix-bag of everything; a platter of adventure, stable on-road performance, comfort, and mile-munching abilities. But it is still far from being perfect.