The original Royal Enfield Himalayan was an interesting little bike. Launched in 2016 it had a unique chassis and engine setup, and was partly designed by ex-Ducati design chief Pierre Terblanche, as a light adventure machine.
On paper, its specs were fairly lowly: 24bhp from an air-cooled long-stroke 411cc single cylinder SOHC two-valve motor, powering a 204kg chassis of straightforward design (though it had a monoshock rear suspension setup).
Like most Enfields though, it went much better than the spec might suggest, and carved out a solid niche in more mature markets like Europe and the US, as well as in its home market. As the name suggested, it was aimed at use in offroad areas, and even in the toughest parts of India (like, er, the Himalayas!) it worked well.
Fast forward seven years, and we’ve finally got an update – and it’s a big one. The firm’s obviously been busy with its other models – the 650 twins and the 350 singles – but it’s also been working on this – the new 2024 Himalayan 450.
It has an all-new water-cooled engine, which is a first for the brand, and it also gets a six-speed gearbox, also a first in a Royal Enfield. Power output is a much beefier 40bhp@8,000rpm, and torque is 40Nm@5,500rpm, though Enfield says you get peak torque as low as 3,000rpm, which makes for a grunty little unit.
The new Sherpa engine is a proper design: DOHC four-valve head, over-square 84×81.5mm bore and stroke, and ride-by-wire fuel injection with a 42mm throttle body. It lives in a new steel tube frame, that’s been carefully designed to keep the Himalayan narrow and agile, with 43mm USD cartridge-type front forks and monoshock rear suspension, with 200mm travel both ends.
Wheels are wire-spoked with a 90/90 21” front tyre and a chunky 140/80 17” rear hoop. Brakes are by Brembo’s Indian sub-brand ByBre, with discs both ends, dual piston caliper and a 320mm disc up front and single-piston caliper with a 270mm disc at the back. Kerb weight is a solid 196kg with 90 per cent fuel in the 17 litre tank – no lightweight, but a useful drop on the original and more than decent for the sector.
Enfield has given the new bike some neat electronics too: a 4” round TFT LCD instrument panel, with a joystick control, Tripper navigation with Google Maps integration, smartphone link, rider modes, switchable ABS and LED lights all round.
There’s a standard rear luggage rack and fuel tank protection bars up front, and Royal Enfield has released a stack of useful accessories, including taller windscreen, engine bars, tough alloy sump guard, adventure pannier rails with alloy luggage boxes, hand guards, headlight protector and a radiator guard to keep damage down off-road.
It’s a good looking update, and moves Royal Enfield’s adventure machine on by a large margin. The engine spec wouldn’t look out of place on a Japanese branded machine, yet the new Himalayan keeps the definitive style, feel and look of the Indian company.
There’s no word as yet on price or availability, but expect more info on that – and a chance to see the bike in the flesh – at the Motorcycle Live show at the NEC at the end of November.
More info: www.royalenfield.com
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