The saga is that Yamaha is no longer building its legendary XT 500, introduced in 1976. This is nonsense, of course – it is now called Royal Enfield Himalayan. With this revenant of the classic enduro in travel execution, we ventured onto the slopes.
You can't get past it anyway, so we can do it now. So let's talk about money. With a new price of 4,690 euros, the well-equipped Royal Enfield is not only one of the cheapest bikes on the market, but – let's face it – it is a real bargain for all its qualities.
With this you could let the read-out be the read-out and drive to the next dealer.
But what would you get for just under 4,700 in detail? Here are the details: The Himalayan is a classic travel enduro. And she takes this task terribly seriously. That's why it looks a bit - well - serious. The colourless colours (white and grey) underline the seriousness, but above all the unusual frame. This is not only visible everywhere, but somehow appears screwed on from the outside. It's as if a person were carrying his skeleton over the outside of his skin.
It may seem very rustic, but actually it's a great idea. Everywhere on this frame things like the headlight are screwed on, but that's not all. There are other holes and eyelets where you can attach even more, for example the Alukoffer or a skateboard (all already seen). It's a bit like this very practical basement rack, just that it's driving around the area.
A newly developed single-cylinder engine with a whopping 24.5 hp is responsible for driving. They have a sense of humour, these Indians. Contrary to conventional conventions, the newer engine not only has less cubic than the old engines, it also produces less. You have to bring something like that.
Contrary to expectations, the very comfortable bench is also accessible to smaller people. This Himalaya sits without mountaineering equipment (stupid pun, but I couldn't miss it). With a seat height of 800 millimetres, the pilot drives very well integrated in the Himalayan and has the 191 kilogram truck under control at all times. Before you drop off, take a quick look at the watch collection: there is little surprise, everything makes a suitably retro-styled impression. Even the tank clock not only looks analog, but actually relies on a small hand. Something falls out of the frame in this environment is the compass, which is not a massive ship compass – but actually digital.
Then let's go.
The 411 cubic centimeters of the single cylinder produce the already mentioned 24.5 hp. They don't even do that badly. There is no denying that there is a certain lack of start-up, but progress is being made. Something that can be described as acceleration in good conscience develops from 2,000 tours, from 3,000 it goes strammer. So you push gear by gear, five are sufficient for the driving range up to 110 km/h. Royal Enfield gives the top speed at 127 km/h, but we lack some imagination where there should be a long enough distance all over Germany to give the Himalayan the necessary start.
We mention this with speed because of our high work ethic as a motorcycle tester, but this info is completely superfluous. If you want to chase this moped across the runway, you're kind of in the wrong movie. In the right strip there are gravel, hills, nasty slopes, what to conquer or at least discover. As Enterprise Captain James T. Kirk put it, bravely go where no man has ever been before.
The good driving comfort contributes its part to the fact that these countries, which are rather rare white spots in Germany, can sometimes only be normal country roads. You could, if you wanted. In any case, one should be able to look ahead, because the brakes with ABS, especially the front single disc, are not the biggest advantages of the Himalayans, to put it mildly.
It is very handy for that. On the highway it can be precisely aligned, and no one has to fear the city either. One thing you should know, however: In order to be good in the terrain, which it is with its standard motor protection, it needs appropriate soles. These dual-purpose pneus from Pirelli make their thing off the road decent, but they are not the ideal cast on tar. Despite subdued engine performance, the Himalayan can drift off the right path on a wet or slightly slippery road.
The windscreen is not quite as great despite the standard disc, but the sociable comfort is good.
So what remains? The Royal Enfield is a motorcycle for those who place little value on engine power, but no value at all. They get a handy motorcycle for all decelerated days of the week. And on holiday? It can be long or short, near or far, the Himalayan doesn't care. Whatever it is, she does it in her calm, unexcited way.
Did we actually mention the price? If not: 4,690 euros with good equipment costs this explorer bike for individualists. A bargain ...
The test bike was provided by 2radhaus Stadie (Pinneberg near Hamburg).