Last November we rode the new Himalayan up the Himalayan Mountains at the World Launch. Now we have had the chance to push it to the limit here in Australia in the Snowy Mountains...

The word speaks volumes for what it can mean to a person. It brings up memories and images of Mount Everest. The people who have conquered that mountain. The people of the Himalayas and their exploits as Sherpas to those that have attempted to climb Mt Everest…

Kaz Anderson represented BikeReview at the Global Launch and rode the Himalayan 450 in the Himalayan Mountains…

Himalayan. It is an iconic word that has boundless meanings and attachments to life and adventure. Royal Enfield is one of the oldest motorcycle brands in the world and has been in continual production since 1901. It has changed hands a few times and relocated to India in 1952. The world lost contact with Royal Enfield for many years because of its focus on local markets. In the last few decades a new direction in leadership has transformed the company and the direction it is going is up…

“Himalayan. It is an iconic word that has boundless meanings and attachments to life and adventure”…

A new approach to enter the world markets has led to new models to stand alongside the traditional single-cylinder motorcycles that Royal Enfield is so famous for. One of the biggest changes was in 2016 when they launched the Himalayan, an adventure bike with a 410cc single-cylinder engine and off-road capabilities. It was new territory.

It looked functional, practical and robust with its protective crash bars and so on. It was well received in the adventure market and had a number of years of good reviews. It was also the bike of choice for tour groups that rode to the Himalayas. A good, simple to ride motorcycle that could tackle most obstacles in its path.

2017 Royal Enfield Himalayan

The first time we saw the Himalayan was late 2016 when it did the rounds of the bike shows… It was a global hit.

After our World Launch trip we were invited to the Australian launch of the all new Himalayan. I was lucky enough to go to the launch and have a chance to test this new model over three days in the Victorian High country, based out of Mt Buller. On day one we rode the bikes from Urban Moto Imports HQ to Mt Buller via some scenic back roads and a small amount of dirt road (hmm so much for my jeans and boots staying dry with a creek crossing) and then arrived at the Sebel resort at Mt Buller.

Read our World Launch for the full technical information and spec’s on the 2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan here

Day two was all off-road with fire trails, 4WD tracks with some very demanding sections that tested our skills and the ability of the bike. Day Three was a more leisurely road ride to the summit of Mt Buller, a good chance to test the on road capabilities of the bike. More about the three days later.

Royal Enfield doesn’t rest on its laurels, it looks for new ways to manufacture and develop its models. So for 2024 they have reinvented the Himalayan. It is a complete redesign, with an all new 450cc water -cooled, six-speed with slipper clutch engine, that produces double the horsepower of the original Himalayan. It now has 40hp and a lot more torque than the original; it also has a rev limit of over 8500rpm and loves to be revved. Maximum torque is 40Nm at 5500rpm so there is plenty of low down pulling power as well.

The new Royal Enfield Sherpa 450.

Liquid-cooled DOHC single-cylinder four-stroke, four-valve head, 84mm x 81.5mm bore x stroke, 452cc, 11.5:1 compression ratio, EFI with 42mm throttle-body, semi dry sump, wet multi-plate slipper clutch, six-speed gearbox.

The chassis was also redesigned from the ground up, with the engine being a stressed member to help with rigidity and also to enable the use of better locations for the rear swingarm and shock to be located on the chassis. The testing was comprehensive with hundreds of hours of riding included to decide on the final geometry and design of the chassis. SHOWA suspension is also used front and rear with 43mm upside-down forks with 200mm of travel and a linkage type monoshock with also 200mm of travel with preload adjustment at the rear.

There is no damping adjustment at either end but, saying that, I couldn’t really fault the performance of the suspension over the three days we tested the bikes. Could it use some adjustability? I’m sure it could for some riders who like to have more control on how the bike behaves but, for the most people it is set up right for most conditions.

The wheels are 21in front with a 90/90 x 21 road orientated tyre, the rear is a 17in with a 140/80 x 17 road oriented tyre. Interestingly the tyres are now Indian made after the Indian government banned the import of tyres from around the world. Royal Enfield spent endless months working with a local tyre company CEAT to create the right tyres for the Himalayan. The tread pattern is more road orientated but has good drainage and pattern to work on dirt, it’s really a 80/20 tyre, 80% road, 20% dirt.

The wheels are 21in front with a 90/90 x 21 road orientated tyre, the rear is a 17in with a 140/80 x 17 road oriented tyre.

The most striking difference from the old Himalayan to the new model is the appearance; it looks far more modern in its styling with strong influences from the dirt off-road events like the Dakar rally. The tank is large and holds 17 litres which is more than enough for the 452cc engine to give some very good distances to the next fuel stop. But it is also slim where it needs to be between the rider’s legs.

“At times we were struggling for grip but the Himalayan would just keep going, finding some sort of traction over the terrain”…

The seat is a two piece item with adjustability in height for the rider with a very quick and simple system to  change the height. There are also other seats available that offer both a taller or lower seat depending on your needs. I found the seat set at the higher level was ideal for my 179cm frame with the seat to footpegs ratio just right. There is also a practical rear rack on the bike as stock.

The front-end is also modern in style with a 4in TFT display dash that has media control, google maps and phone connectivity plus the usual expected displays of that can be switched from analogue style to digital. There are also four ride modes to choose from, switchable ABS for road or dirt, and a USB C type charging port. The throttle is Ride by Wire and works very well with the ECM and fuel injection with its 42mm throttle-body doing a lovely job of good clean fuel delivery under any conditions.

The headlight is LED, the front screen comes in different sizes and offers some wind deflection at speed on the road. Front brake is a single ByBre (By Brembo) 320mm rotor with a double piston caliper, the rear brake is a 270mm with s single piston caliper, both work well to stop the 198kg wet weight of the Himalayan. On each side of the bike at the front there is a tubular steel framework that can carry some small luggage bags, but they are also a very handy crash bar that protects the fuel tank very well, they don’t interfere with the rider when either standing or sitting and suite this style of bike.

A lot of time and thought has gone into the exhaust system as well with a very neat system tucked up close to the frame that is well out of the way of obstacles when in the bush on fire trails or narrow tracks. The muffler and heat shield is very smart in its design and is made of stainless steel, there is an accessory muffler that offers higher wading capabilities for the more adventurous owners.

Paul’s been riding off-road for 40-years, as well as road racing. After the three day ride he rates the Himalayan highly.

The under engine protection plate fits well and offers good protection of the bottom of the motor. The engine can also be protected more with a set of lower crash bars that some of the test bikes had fitted, they were tested by some riders over the three days, crashes do happen, none of the bikes had any issues with damage to the engine cases. Ground clearance is 230mm, good for this type of bike.

The first three colours are all linked to areas of the Himalayas where the colours of the landscapes are spectacular.

There are four colour options for the model, Kaza Brown, slate salt, slate poppy blue and Hanle black. The first three colours are all linked to areas of the Himalayas where the colours of the landscapes are spectacular. The Himalayan has captured these colours in its paint schemes, they are all striking. The Hanle Black is more for your traditional Royal Enfield owner.

With three days of different riding terrains and environments, it really showed the bike to its full potential. Day one was the ride to mount Buller as I mentioned earlier. There was some highway riding with some good fun back roads thrown in to start with. A lunch stop at Yea, and then on to Mt Buller with a short dirt road section. Handling, braking and engine character on the road is impressive.

The dirt was our first chance to try out the bike in this environment, the tyres were left at normal road pressures and we had some loose Stoney tracks, some single trails and a creek crossing. Nothing too hard and the bike handled it well. I don’t know whether I didn’t hear or I wasn’t told about the creek crossing, anyway, one pair of wet jeans and boots later that became very muddy for the rest of the dirt road section we arrived at Mt Buller. There was time to get cleaned up and wash my jeans before the evening dinner and presentation. First impressions of the bike were great…

The presentation was very informative with a number of the Royal Enfield executives here for this launch. Mark Wells is the lead for the design for the Himalayan; his talk was really informative and showed how much really went in to the design of this bike. Great information on the processes of the design and the build were explained very well by Mark.

Day two was all dirt, with varying levels of difficulty from powdery roads to washed out tracks to climbs that were just steep and rocky, even some sections were large loose rocks about the size of your fist or larger that offered no traction because of how loose they were. At times we were struggling for grip but the Himalayan would just keep going, finding some sort of traction over the terrain. The great low down torque was a real asset at times helping to pull the bike through some of these awkward stages.

The gearbox is slick with easy no fuss shifts both up and down the six gears. I never experienced a false neutral both on or off road. The ratios suite for 450 lower and torque and it always seemed to have the right gear for the right corner it hill, it was confidence inspiring. The clutch action is light and easy to use. There is plenty of adjustment at the lever to do as l in how you want the free play or take up point to be. It is a slipper clutch too, which comes into its own when negotiating descents in the bush. The slipper clutch was also handy on the road with the benefit of limiting rear wheel lock up when rushing into tight corners and using the gear box to reduce speed, very nice.

“With three days of different riding terrains and environments, it really showed the bike to its full potential”.

We ended up at ‘Craig’s Hut’ for those that remember the movie The Man from Snowy River, this is the Craig families hut, it’s perched right at the top of one of the most breathtaking lookouts in the Snowy area. The hut remains as a tourist destination by 4WD or bike only. Lunch was later that afternoon with a great BBQ that everyone enjoyed. There were a few tails of minor offs on some of the hills and tracks by some of the others. Overall the Himalayan excelled in both chassis and engine areas all day.

Big wheels and 200mm of suspension travel, plus decent ground clearance, has taken the Himalayan to the next level.

I must admit I did have a small drop myself on one of the very steep hills. The bike only suffered a few scratches and a bent clutch lever, surprisingly; I was able to bend the lever back into shape with relative ease and no risk of it braking. I liked this, and also that the foot controls are made from steel, it is easier to bend one back into shape without the risk of snapping it off.

Speaking of stopping, the 320mm front rotor was more than enough for this bike, giving a good strong feel without fade on even the hardest braking on the road. The feel from the By Brembo caliper off-road was subtle enough to give good feel without locking the front wheel and engaging ABS. The rear brake was very much the same with great feel on and off road with the subtle control that is essential for the dirt, although it was a bit powerful at times off-road.

Smooth fuelling and a good power curve made the Himalayan great fun on the fast dirt roads.

After standing on the footpegs for most of the day my knee, which is bone on bone and needs replacing, was swollen. I elected not to do the after lunch stint and headed back to the Sebel for some ice on the knee. The group returned about an hour and a half later. There were some pretty tired journos that night at dinner but, every one of us totally enjoyed the days ride, it really showed just how capable the Himalayan is as an adventure bike, its far more than just a bike you take on a dirt road.

The new Himalayan 450 has great ergonomics whether standing up or sitting down.

Day three was a ride up to the summit at Mt Buller, all bitumen but lots of tight corners on the way up and back down and a real chance to have some fun in the bends with the Himalayan. The 450 offers good brisk acceleration that gets you from corner to corner in a fast rate so you can really have a good play. Cam Donald, Isle of Man TT legend and very fast, was our lead rider over the three days, he and a few others had a really good play through the bends on the way up to Mt Buller. Not ridiculous speeds but using the bike to its potential, shall we say. The bike is very well mannered on the road and can be ridden with spirit and it won’t get upset or let you down in these conditions, lots of fun.

Is the Himalayan a serious proposition for people as an adventure bike? Yes, it is. It offers excellent on road manners and very good off-road capabilities. With a starting price of $8990 Ride Away it is exceptional value for money, add to that a three year warranty and unlimited km plus roadside assist and you really can’t go wrong… We will get one back for some independent testing some time this year, and maybe even do a few overnight camping trips on it…

2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 Specifications

Price & Availability: $8,990 Ride Away Kaza Brown, $9,250 Dual Tone, $9,490 Hanle Black, Q1 2024
Warranty: Three Years with Roadside
Colours: Kazza Brown, Poppy Blue, Himalayan Salt, Hanle Black, Kamet White
Claimed Power: 29.44kW(40.2hp)@8000rpm
Claimed Torque: 40Nm@5500rpm
Claimed Fuel Consumption: N/A
Claimed Fuel Range: 400 + KM
Wet Weight: 196kg
Fuel capacity: 17L

Engine: Liquid-cooled DOHC single-cylinder four-stroke, four-valve head, 84mm x 81.5mm bore x stroke, 452cc, 11.5:1 compression ratio, EFI with 42mm throttle-body, semi dry sump, wet multi-plate slipper clutch, six-speed gearbox

Chassis: Steel twin spar tubular frame and sub-frame.
Rake: N/A mm Trail: N/A mm
Suspension: SHOWA Seperate Function Forks, non-adjustable, 200mm travel (f), SHOWA monoshock, preload adjustable, 200mm travel (r).
Brakes: Single semi-floating 320mm brake rotor, two-piston caliper (f),
Single 270mm rotor, single-piston caliper (r). Dual Channel switchable ABS.
Wheels & Tyres: 90/90 – 21 (f) 140/80 – 17 (r) CEAT adventure tyres, Aluminium Excel spoked tubed wheels (tubeless currently in development).

Wheelbase: 1510mm
Seat height: 825 – 845mm standard (805 – 825mm low option).
Ground clearance: 230mm
Overall width: 852mm
Overall Length: 2245mm
Overall height: 1316

Instruments & Equipment: Ride Modes, TFT dash, ABS.

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