The Royal Enfield Himalayan A Good Beginner Motorcycle For Me?

Line of Royal Enfield motorcycles.
Line of Royal Enfield motorcycles, My future garage? 😀

I have a few thousand kilometers(yes, the odometer reads in kilometers) on my TBR7, a dual-sport Chinese motorcycle. It’s my first, and like every happy motorcyclist, I am looking at my next motorcycle. For some reason, Royal Enfield has been the manufacture that has been sticking in my mind. When I think of actual bikes, the RE Himalayan seems to be the bike I keep thinking about.  Of course based on my research and my opinions.

I am much a beginner motorcyclist. This thinking might quickly explain why I have not opted to jump on a liter-bike, but the RE Himalayan is a zebra in a herd of horses. So why a Himalayan? Based on Royal Enfield’s Website information and videos, I’ll try figure why and why not.

I Have A Royal Enfield Dealer Near Me.

When I get an itching to buy another motorcycle, which happens often, I go to one of my local shops, several miles away, and look at their line of Royal Enfields. Unlike many of us, I do have a Royal Enfield Dealer near me. Their selection of Royal Enfield motorcycles is hit or miss, but recently they got a larger order of motorcycles and filled their showroom floor. There are Int650’s, Meteors, Continentals, and of course, Himalayans.    

Their Himalayan inventory is typically tiny, but they had five sitting on the floor after the last shipment. Seeing all the motorcycles in one place and the dealer let sit on the new bikes. Knowing the history, ups, and downs of Royal Enfield, it seems like they are the brand I want to focus on.  

Moving forward, I am looking for feedback, and here is my thinking aloud process. I do not own a Himalayan or any other Royal Enfield motorcycles, so my findings are based on research and other riders sharing their options with me. Would you mind leaving feedback if you can contribute to my inner voice discussion? 😀

Why An Adventure Bike?

I’ve had the pleasure of going ‘off-road,’ actually a muddy gravel road. I liked that my dual-sport had good ground clearance and a suspension to soak up the uneven surface. This type of riding is fun, and the ability to ride on the street back and forth from home to the trails is the best. Have to admit almost all my riding is done on the road, so moving up to a better dual-sport might not suit me, but getting a street bike with somewhat off-road capabilities is for me—an Adventure Bike.

Is Royal Enfield Himalayan Good For Beginners?  

The next purchase will be my second motorcycle. I am a beginner, so that some factors will cover my safe growth in the hobby. Here are a few that come to mind:

Is Himalayan Difficult To Ride?  

This list of essential features that I feel affects the motorcycle’s fit for me as a new motorcyclist:

  1. Seat Height – Face it; I like the security of being able to put my feet on the ground—at least one foot at a time. 
  2. Throttle Response – We all seen those YouTube videos where a new rider lost control of the motorcycle and crashed into a fence. Now learning to use a clutch might have prevented those accidents, but I want to remain in control via speed control.
  3. Rider Aids – ABS, Traction Control, etc. Anything to make my ride safer is a plus.

Is The Royal Enfield Himalayan Motorcycle’s Seat Height OK?

I wear a 30-inch inseam on my pants. So this is short compared to any of my peers. So a low seat height is essential for my peace of mind. The RE Himalayan seat height is listed at 31.5 inches. This seat is low enough for me to flat foot one foot and be on the ball of my opposite foot. I tested this by actually sitting on the motorcycle. Not the most comfortable for my height, but very doable.  

FYI, I understand if I want a lower seat height, I sacrifice ground clearance. This compromise is apparent. So I can’t eat my cake and have it too.  

What is the Royal Enfield Himalayan’s Throttle Response?

It’s easy to go to the Royal Enfield website to get objective data like specs, but something like ‘throttle response’ is very subjective. I had to go over several YouTube videos, and from what I have deduced, the throttle response is ‘soft.’ This means you can fully twist the throttle and not throw the rider back. The bike will accelerate(we’ll cover this more later) but not in a jerky fashion. So a beginner rider, like myself, shouldn’t have run away from motorcycle accidents.  

This lack of explosive power might be a disadvantage to some motorcyclists thrill-seekers. But, it’s an advantage for new riders like me and off-road riders who want the power delivered in a controlled linear fashion. The Himalayan is very controlled, from what I learned, and delivers torque very linearly with the RPMs.

So far, the throttle response appears good for a beginner motorcyclist like me, both in safety and off-road control.

Does The Royal Enfield Himalayan Offer Rider Aids?

Yes. Again using Royal Enfield’s website as the source, there is dual-channel ABS(Front and Rear) with the ability to go to a single channel(front only) for off-road riding.

I have skidded my back tire many times on the TBR7. A bad habit from riding mountain bikes. When I ride my mountain bike, I use the rear brake only for most of my stops and speed control.

I have a fear of the front brake skidding or flipping the bike. Seriously, how fast would I have to go to flip a motorcycle? This fear is unreasonable. However, the fear exists, and I carried it over to the motorcycle hobby.

A rear-wheel skid is unnecessary, produces additional wear on the rear tire, and doesn’t help in stopping. The back wheel loses tracking and skids, and it’s the traction you want for stopping power. A terrifying part is skidding while taking a turn; failing traction on a turn not only results in longer stopping distances, but the back end of the motorcycle loses all traction with the road, and you can get into a low-side crash. I have a low-sided a couple of times on my mountain bike. This experience has made enter turns very slowly on my motorcycle.

I only started depending on my front brakes more. The gentile-gentile-more approach I’ve been using. I never experienced a front-end skid and didn’t ever want to.

The point is, more and more I read about ABS and how it helps keep upright control of the motorcycle, the more I want it. Glad to see the Himalayan has it, and even glad to know if I don’t wish to rear-wheel ABS in the future, I can turn it off. Another point for the Himalayan.

Is Royal Enfield Himalayan Good For Daily Use And Long Tours?

This is a good question. My next motorcycle should be a comfortable motorcycle that I can ride more often. My TBR7 seems ‘cheap,’ and I take it out for a couple of hours, but commuting on it or even over night camping seems iffy.

Guessing if the Himalayan is suitable for daily use and longer rides, comes down to some features I feel it should have:

Is The Himalayan Bike Comfortable To Ride?  

I have not ridden the Himalayan, only sat on the seat. The seat is comfortable. It has a grippy covering to prevent you from sliding but feels like a firm memory foam composite. Compared to my TBR7(I upgraded the seat with a cover Read Post TBR7 Seat Cover Upgrade), I was pleased with the Himalayan seat. I feel it’s going to be way more comfortable than my current motorcycle.

How Fast Is A Royal Enfield Himalayan?  

Now I asked myself this question, but not for the obvious reasons. I have no wish to go racing, but I do want the motorcycle to keep up with traffic, carry myself and my luggage and still have the ability to pass and get out of danger. Here is what I found from RE’s website and YouTubers.

  1. The Royal Enfield Himalayan engine outputs 24.5 HP. This power is way more than my TBR7, but the weight of the motorcycle is listed at 439 pounds, with makes me think the Himalayan is heavy for the amount of horsepower it puts out.  
  2. The Himalayan wasn’t designed for American Highways. So the engine can be pushed to 70 mph but can’t maintain it on hills, and the throttle is constantly open. One YouTuber stated her hands buzzed after a few hours of riding. I know handlebar vibration can be minimized with foam grips and weighted ends, but just looking at the stock version now.

Is the Himalayan Reliable?  

If I am commuting, my income relies on me showing up to work on time. If I am off-roading, getting myself out of danger is the priority. So, is the Himalayan reliable? Again, I have to go to the RE website, and it appears the Himalayan was designed to function with minimal components to break and going long periods between shop times. 

The engine is only 411cc and is only air/oil-cooled. This is simple. Low compression engine that can run on regular gas. This engine is a working person’s engine. It might not have a kick start(I figured it would like the Ural), but I still like the simplicity. I have mixed feelings about it having fuel injection versus a simple carburetor, but I see how the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.  

So Is The Royal Enfield Himalayan Worth Buying?

To summarize my dislikes:

I’m not too fond of the highway performance. I’ve driven slow cars that could only do the speed limit on the highway, but a steel cage protected me. A motorcycle’s defense is avoidance. Not being able to pass or accelerate away from danger is a concern. This lack of power might not be a fair concern with using safety cushions and keeping the head on a swivel. However, I like options.  

What I do like is:

  1.  Royal Enfield priced the Himalayan for people like me. Frugal, value-minded people. A person who shouldn’t be into motorcycling, but I am. The new price is fantastic. Today’s 2021 Himalayan has real reliability improvements I wouldn’t see with an older version. So I would buy something new, and the price is excellent.
  2. Although the Himalayan is heavier than a dual-sport and even heavy for its engine horsepower, it’s listed as < 200 Kilos. Also, some YouTubers stated the majority of the weight is low, which leads to stability and the ability to lift a dropped bike. But….. it’s light compared to the monster adventure bikes we see today.
  3. It’s a Royal Enfield!!!!! Face it; there is something about its history that makes it extraordinary. It makes your bike stand out from the mass-produced, cookie-cutter bikes you see on the road.

So Is Royal Enfield Himalayan A Good Beginner Motorcycle?

In a word, Yes. It’s a jack of all trades use, off-road and on-road, and low powered engine with a liner controlled throttle response. Sure. This bike sounds like fun for even the non-beginner. Again Yes, the Himalayan sounds excellent.

Will I Buy A Royal Enfield Himalayan?

I just said the Himalayan is priced great, but at the same time, I can only buy one bike, so still sitting on the fence. If I had the money for two motorcycles this year, the Himalayan would be the first I picked up. I could ride the heck out of it, enter into the Adventure Motorcycling world, and get some real experience. Then I would decide whether I would keep it or sell it.  

Current Year Used Royal Enfield Himalayan show up on the market very rarely, and when they do, they are gone fast. So I feel the bike would hold some resale value.  

One Hangup For Me Buying The Himalayan.

Rumors. Yes, Rumors that the 650 version is right around the corner. Worse, there are now rumors of a 650 Scrambler that Royal Enfield will be releasing for the 2022 model year. These rumors feed into my over-thinking mind, and for now, I am on hold. Unless I find a low-priced current year (used) Himalayan, I might pick it up before the 650s come out.

Your Feedback And Comments?

What is your feedback? Am I holding out too long? Should I get the Himalayan and get some road time down? Or, am I wise to see what the future holds for us beginner motorcycle riders?

Thank you,

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