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Inexpensive Royal Enfield Himalayan Reviewed in Britain in Advance of U.S. Availability (with video)

As you know from earlier reports on MD, Royal Enfield should be making available in the U.S. market this year at least three all-new models. The first to appear should be the 411cc, single-cylinder Himalayan. With an expected price of just $4,499, together with currently-popular retro looks, the Himalayan could potentially lead RE to U.S. market share that is something other than a tiny fraction. Of course, the 650cc twin models should follow later in the year (after the expected Summer debut of the Himalayan) at their own bargain prices expected to be in the neighborhood of $7,000.

In any event, the Himalayan is apparently hitting British markets a bit earlier than the U.S., and a fellow calling himself The Missenden Flyer has posted a YouTube review that is worth having a look at if you are interested in this bike. Here it is:


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79 Comments

  1. Gritboy says:

    Eager to testride one. I ride a big ADV bike and sportbikes, but I’ve been riding since the early ’80s so I think it’ll be a blast from the past with some eclectic charm and budget price. I personally like the wonky steampunk+apocalyptic look for a simple scrambler style bike (it’s hardly a true dual-sport or ADV bike).

  2. My2cents says:

    WHO KNEW CROW WAS SO CHEWY.

    I was at a motorcycle event during the weekend and low and behold there was a RE display and up front a Himalayan. So I took time to check welds, push buttons, turn and twist anything flexible, sit, stand, wiggle and walk around this motorcycle.

    The build quality is pretty good and quite like 1980’s Japanese motorcycle standards for this class. The switch blocks are slightly crude but far superior to that which crawls out of China. Like all adventure bikes they are the Phyllis Diller of the motorcycle world, not pretty but loads of effective qualities.
    Dealer network in the USA is about 65 currently and plans to get to 120 in short order, which after consideration seems completely possible.
    The CG seems very low and good leg room for someone of average height, both to ground and to peg. Bar placement is generic but easily tailored and seat overly soft and narrow.
    What was most impressive was a center stand, how refreshing and severely absent in the current world of chain driven motorcycle, and almost never in the world of big singles.
    I’m likely to……….no I will test ride one this season, and I will find a palatable recipe for crow as a way to amend my previous comments.

    • paul246 says:

      I am more interested in long term reliability, even short term ( one season ) for that matter.

      In the meantime I just purchased a nearly new (less than 500 miles on it) Yamaha XT250 for a mere $2900 USD. I know that this bike WILL NOT disappoint me.

      • My2cents says:

        I have a DR 200 in the garage for the purpose of off road riding and back road excursions. The value of lightweight single track rests in the 250cc single cylinder class ( and for me air cooled is best) which has been ignored until recently. Your Yamaha is a great example of the traits required to be in that club. The RE Hymalian is still interesting and deserves a shot at membership as well, even though the displacement and country of origin differ from current selections.

  3. Johnny ro says:

    https://newatlas.com/royal-enfield-worlds-top-selling-big-bike-indian-motorcycle-market/50859/

    Bike sales in India are around 18 million a year. Indian brand bikes above 250cc are running 60 thousand a month.

    I think the Indian bike market must be different than the US market, eh?

    I would like to give this a try but tend to agree that a versys 300 or DR650 or XT250 have many advantages especially dealer networks

  4. Randy in Ridgecrest says:

    This article got me thinking about SWM bikes that “may” be coming to us. The Super Dual looks and reviews really stellar – but will be several thousand higher than the Himalaya. I really hope that model makes it here as it fills a void between say a DR650 and the Husky 701. The cheaper 440cc models, the “Silver Vase” is the scrambler, appear to be roughly competitive to the Himalaya but with maybe 8 more horsepower. Wonder what the price of those would be if SWM brought those here?

  5. Doc says:

    Not a bad looking bike. For some reason it reminds me of an early 80’s look. And the simplicity to me is a bigger selling point than alot of the fluff that you pay for but may not use on more sophisticated bikes. Biggest thing to me is, if the quality is substandard, how do they manage to stay in business? Indians being loyal to an Indian company? Or people just like to wrench on their bikes so much, they don’t mind the quality issues? Maybe it’s looked at as a challenge. I’m really interested in the Interceptor because it reminds me of the W650’s I’ve owned(2). But I need reliability when the nearest dealer is 250 miles away. I suppose ownership is an adventure in itself.

  6. Selecter says:

    RE was touring around with the IMS with a couple of these in tow. I stopped to check them out, and I liked the looks and the feel a whole lot more than I thought I would. The seat was at just the right height for me (I’m 5’9″), seemed well-padded, the bars and pegs were at just the right spots, too. I liked the integrated tank-bumper-bars, too. Obviously, I couldn’t give it a ride, but it has me more than a bit curious.

    The down-sides I could find were that the suspension seems to compress an awful lot, even for this type of bike, with my meager weight on it. Secondly, the welding on the frame and other pieces was simply atrocious. I had a Suzuki built in 1980 that was miles better, and it still didn’t exactly have welds you would have shown off to your mechanic buddies. They were supposedly pre-production units, but given this bike already has a year or two on the Indian market in carbureted form, I’m pretty skeptical of that claim, too. All of this is a bit mystifying, since the new 650 twins on display were very pretty, and seemed to be assembled to a pretty high standard. So, consistency definitely is not “there” with RE.

    As many times as RE has claimed that “this time” would be the time that their QC and build quality and consistency would catch up to the rest of the world, one would figure they’d have gotten there by now. I’ve heard the same several times since the mid-2000s. Other dual-sports like the CRF250L may have less cubes and cost a few hundred dollars more, but the yawning gap between the CRF and the Himalayan in overall build and finish quality is staggering. This thing sells for the approximate equivalent of $2700 on the Indian market. At that price point, the sloppy build quality makes sense. At $4500 here in the US, it most definitely does not.

    • paul246 says:

      Selector, good information, thanks.

      • Selecter says:

        And don’t get me wrong here. Despite the non-Honda-ish nature of the bike, even in that form, I’d give it a look. It might not be the most sophisticated tool around, but neither am I! I’m waiting for our local dealer (only one in the Minneapolis area I can find) to get one or two on hand this spring, and see if I can get a ride!

  7. Frank says:

    This is a great looking bike. Hoping it can work well enough at 65 to be a daily driver.

  8. Vrooom says:

    I’d guess it’s in excess of 400 lbs., and probably around 18 hp? The appearance will sell a few for those who like that utilitarian look, but as others had said, I’d probably lean towards a Versys 300 if I was in the market for something like this.

  9. MGNorge says:

    At this point I think a head to head comparison with similarly sized and/or priced bikes in order. I think it would be an interesting read if comprehensive enough.

  10. Gham says:

    I rather hope it’s a success,even though I may not consider a Royal Enfield at least the design and styling is something that looks like a world of fun and might spurn other makes to follow with like products.Something like a modern Yamaha XT 500 would be interesting.

  11. Tommy D says:

    Anyone remember the promo video that Royal Enfield posted to YouTube of the Himalayan? It showed the bike being ridden in the dirt and going over a small dirt jump and upon landing the foot peg broke off. https://youtu.be/nn_mSxu2fvg I am not surprised that the peg broke as the jump was excessive for a bike like this. I found it surprising that the company didn’t edit that out. If you can’t review your promo video for stuff like that, then how well do you QA the product?

  12. viktor92 says:

    This bike looks old and cheap, I can’t care less of it

    • Fred M. says:

      Way to insult someone else’s taste in bikes.

      • Chuck Smith says:

        Perhaps “someone else” should put on their big boy or big girl pants and not get broken up over a complete stranger’s opinion. I find it old and cheap looking as well. Others find it handsome and rugged. One opinion doesn’t invalidate the other. I hope anyone who buys one has a fantastic experience.

        • viktor92 says:

          I hope that too, but I can’t change my perception.

        • Fred M. says:

          Perhaps you should untwist you panties and not make so many assumptions, Chuck. This bike isn’t exactly to my tastes and I’m not “broken up” about anything.

          If I meet a fellow biker on a bike I like, I say “nice bike.” If I think his bike is ugly, I say say something like “nice day for a ride.” I must be a wuss because I believe in being nice to fellow motorcyclists — even if they are complete strangers.

          • Chuck Smith says:

            I noted the same nebulous “Someone Else” you did. I never mentioned you or implied you were the person with the issue. Secondly, to address the second straw man you constructed, we are discussing a bike on the internet, not talking directly to owners. Aesthetics do matter and people will discuss them on internet forums. Like you, I wouldn’t be intentionally negative toward an owners bike but if they directly asked me what I thought of the looks I wouldn’t have any issue telling them it isn’t my thing. If their self image is so tied to their bike that they get bruised from a stranger’s opinion then they have bigger problems than me being “too honest”. I have Spanish dirt bikes, a Harley and a Triumph. Supposedly I’ve been riding garbage for years. I’ll live.

  13. todd says:

    How is $4500 plus tax and license cheap? 5 or 6 grand all-in is still a lot of money to me and can get all sorts of nice bikes that would be better than this. I do like the bike, I just never understand how people can spend so much money on a new bike when you can get something much better for much less money in the used market. Is the novelty of having the “latest” bike a big deal for people? It may work for the latest high tech sport bike but it’s kinda lost on this. I mean, is this really two or three times better than a clean KLR?

    • PatrickD says:

      If you follow that line, then nothing new is ever cheap. So the ‘i can get something else second hand cheaper’ is predicatable and boring.

      So if we start with the point that this is a new motorcycle, then it’s cheap. Maybe for a reason, but that’s what choice is all about.

      Plenty of people are paying this much for an MTB. They’re paying $1000 for a mobile phone. This is a brand new 400+cc bike.

    • Randy in Ridgecrest says:

      When I said cheap down below I meant cheap enough that people would buy it new, then when the bike doesn’t live up to their expectations I’ll buy it way cheaper used. Then, of course, it won’t match my expectations and I’ll sell it.

      But, comparing to a KLR650? That is one ugly beast, way taller, just as heavy, with a little more power. To me not interesting at all, I’d get another DR650SE first!

    • Fred M. says:

      “How is $4500 plus tax and license cheap?”

      Because it’s a low price relative to most new bikes.

      “I just never understand how people can spend so much money on a new bike when you can get something much better for much less money in the used market.”

      If I don’t like the used bike as much, it’s not a better bike. If I really value a factory warranty, the used bike is not the better bike for me. If I place a high value on knowing an engine has been broken in properly and that the a bike has never been abused, the used bike is probably not a better bike for me. No matter how careful and meticulous you are in inspecting a bike prior to purchase, there are internals that you just can’t evaluate. Ask any mechanic at a bike dealer and he’ll probably have horror stories about broken bolts, JB Weld, and painted Bondo on used bikes.

      • todd says:

        Ok, though that’s never been my experience. Years ago I bought a BMW R75/5 for $200, adjusted the valves and proceeded to put an additional 115,000 trouble free miles on it – then sold it for $4,500. I picked up a ‘82 Yamaha Seca that had been sitting under a tarp for 15 years, replaced the brake lines and proceeded to add 35,000 trouble free miles to it before trading it straight across for a $3,000 car. I then picked up a super clean K75S for the lofty sum of $3,000 ( the most I’ve ever spent on a motorcycle) and I’ve gotten 75,000 glorious trouble free miles from it so far and it’s still worth about $3,000…

        I’ve owned many, many bikes (30?) that have all cost much less than my $3,000 BMW and I’ve only had trouble with one, my ‘90 GB500 that has required two cam shafts, eight rocker arms, four valves and a new connecting rod. Yes, to me, a used DRZ400 or SR500 is twice as good as this new Enfield, probably twice as reliable and still half the cash. I still don’t see the value of new here.

        • Fred M. says:

          I’ve had many bikes in my 40+ years of riding. I bought some new and some used. Some I sold for what I paid for or more and others I rode until they had little value left in them.

          “Yes, to me, a used DRZ400 or SR500 is twice as good as this new Enfield, probably twice as reliable and still half the cash.”

          But to others, those Japanese bikes are far less desirable. And while the DRZ400S can be made reliable, it has some significant issues in stock form.

          I made $4,486 in the stock market today, so this bike is inexpensive. After I sell one of my four bikes, I may consider this or some other Royal Enfield. It would be a spiritual replacement for my Ural Solo that I had (before some idiot in a car turned in front of me).

          • Fred M. says:

            Correction: Made $6914 in the market today now that the mutual funds are priced after close. And, looking at the bikes, I’d get a Royal Enfield Classic in Battle Green. This bike is nice, but that one is more to my taste and it’s only another grand.

          • todd says:

            Well, there’s the difference. I only make a couple hundred dollars a day but about half my income goes to my mortgage and the food/groceries takes up half of what’s left. I have an IRA that’s probably earning more than I am but I won’t be touching that for another 25 years or so.

          • mickey says:

            todd, I can really appreciate that you can take cheap used bikes and make them work for you, you obviously have some wrenching skills, but I contend at this point it sounds like you are doing it out of necessity rather than anything else. I also contend, by keeping your nose to the grindstone, there will come a day when you look at your bank account and say hey look $$$$ I’ve worked hard and I deserve something NEW, and I want a new bike I won’t have to wrench on for awhile, one that comes with a warranty, and isn’t someone else’s rejection piece. One I get to break in how I want and take care of how I want, that no one else has owned. All mine. I contend that most of us older folks went thru the exact asme process of buying used bikes when we were young and poor, and fixing them up, until we could afford new ones. At this point in our lives, we see something we want, we write the check, and don’t look back. You’ll get there.

          • todd says:

            Maybe Mickey but, like I said, my used bikes haven’t ended up needing much work at all, if any. I compare that to my co-worker’s new Triumph that needed a $1300 initial service as not to avoid his warranty – or my friend’s new K1300R ($17,000) that jumped its timing chain when he turned off the key and it destroyed the head and most of the valves. I have a number of stories like that from people that thought buying new meant that it would work better. It’s a lie and the manufacturers, dealers, lenders, and insurance agencies are just sucking you dry.

            I’m glad you have a warranty, you’ll probably need to use it – hopefully, since you paid through the nose to have it.

          • Fred M. says:

            Todd, I didn’t want to be crass and I was not boasting. A man’s worth is not expressed in dollars; I was no better or worse a person when I had no savings and a minimum wage job. I was just pointing out that “cheap” is relative.

            I was disappointed in your reply to Mickey’s message. He seems like a nice fellow who made some very good points. He’s right about the value of owning a bike from new, knowing it was broken in properly, meticulously maintained, and not abused.

            I know that you want to believe that used bikes are just as trouble-free as new bikes, but they are not — no matter how many stories you’ve collected about failures (likely covered under warranty) of new bikes.

            “…my co-worker’s new Triumph that needed a $1300 initial service as not to avoid his warranty”

            Your co-worker was under no obligation to pay Triumph for service to retain his warranty.

          • todd says:

            I’m sorry if my response to Mickey came off snarky. I have owned many new things that have failed and many old things that are still going strong. I’d like to say that “they don’t build them like they used to” but that isn’t the case; they build them the same way they used to. A new think is not perfect and is likely to have the same types of failures as something that has had previous owners. It’s not like the original owner won’t experience failures until he’s moved it on to the next owner and most components (other than tires) won’t fail from age or normal use.

            So, OK, maybe new motorcycles won’t fail. When did this start being the case? It seems like it started somewhere in the early seventies because every motorcycle that I’ve owned from that era all the way up to the mid nineties has been bulletproof- save the occasional Honda.

          • mickey says:

            todd, no prob, we just see this issue differently. Just like we view displacement, torque and rpms lol

          • Fred M. says:

            Todd, No one is suggesting that new bikes never fail (though such “infant mortality” failures are normally covered as warranty repairs) or that used ones are nothing but trouble.

            But mechanical things wear out. That includes gears, crankshaft bearings, wrist pin bearings, bearings in general, cylinder bores, pistons, rings, valves, valve seals, valve springs, camshafts, cush drives, control cables, chains, sprockets, clutch plates and baskets, fork and shock seals, etc. On a new bike, those things are not going to be worn and soon to need replacement.

            You don’t know if the previous owner broke in the engine properly to maximize its life or whether he hit the rev limiter eight times on the way home from the dealership. You don’t know if he changed the oil on schedule, as he claimed, or whether he only changed it for the first time as he prepped the bike for sale to you. You don’t know if he tried to change clutch plates, sheared off one of the bolts, put the cover back on, and quickly put the bike up for sale.

            I’m not trying to tell you that you should buy a new bike or that all used bikes are nothing but trouble, but people who buy new bikes are not all suckers who have been taken in by a conspiracy among bike manufacturers, dealers, lenders, and insurers.

        • Fast2win says:

          The obvious point is this bike is very inexpensive. What you can buy used is a pointless comparison.

        • Chuck Smith says:

          Look up definition of price then look up definition of value. One objective, one subjective. Hopefully that clears things up for you.

          • Chuck Smith says:

            Not intended to be snarky although it appears that way. Just saying that total cash outlay is not always the determining factor in why someone chooses a bike. The work ethic to rehab these bikes is IMO pretty admirable.

            I find the person bragging about how much they make in the market much less admirable, especially coming from someone so quick to lecture others on tact. “Someone else” might be offended and the same point about relative income and buying power could have been made with much more class.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I just never understand how people can spend so much money on a new bike when you can get something much better for much less money in the used market.”

      A: see entry for THE NEW BIKE SMELL.

    • MGNorge says:

      Just be glad we have choice. Not everyone wants to take a chance on a used bike and like the security of a new bike’s warranty. Not everyone wants to pay new bike prices and are more comfortable buying used, etc.
      Remember though, without new bike sales there’d be no used bikes. A healthy market provides both, take your pick.

  14. Pacer says:

    I am subscribed to The Missenden Flyer’s channel. He is one of my top 3 motovlogger.

  15. 5229 says:

    I don’t see this bike being very popular in the good old USA.

  16. P Harris says:

    I’d buy a used cb500x – have more reliability, a wonderful engine and chassis, and upgradeable.

    • Fred M. says:

      But then you’d be stuck with a CB500X, which you would hate because you really loved the retro styling and rarity of the Royal Enfield Himalayan and you think that the CB500X is ugly and far too common.

      • Neil says:

        Good point, Fred. I have heard of quality issues and they need more than just some lawnmower store selling them. We have one large dealer nearby in NH but he is the only one and he’s about 50 miles North of me so not very practical. Maybe the Harley dealer should sell them!

      • Lynchenstein says:

        RE takes ugly to new heights though. And at least the Honda is reliable.

      • Selecter says:

        I’ve still not talked to a CB500-variant owner that hasn’t been happy with their bike, especially the X. Nobody that owns them hates them…

        If styling and rarity are what do it for you, then god bless, but some folks actually like to ride the heck out of their bikes, and the CB500 platform is an excellent one to do it on. It’s hardly a bike that one is “stuck” with…

        • Fred M. says:

          Lynchenstein says:
          “RE takes ugly to new heights though.”

          I find their bikes to be attractive as do many others.

          Selector says:

          “I’ve still not talked to a CB500-variant owner that hasn’t been happy with their bike, especially the X. Nobody that owns them hates them…”

          People who own them constitute a self-selecting group. If they hated the styling or wanted a bike that is uncommon, they would not have bought one.

          • Lynchenstein says:

            If it works for you, that’s great. But it’s not a good looking bike at all in my opinion.

    • WSHart says:

      So then, P Harris. You’d “buy a used cb500x – have more reliability, a wonderful engine and chassis, and upgradeable.”

      The real question is will you?

      Talk is cheap and most here (including yours truly) just talk. Royal Enfield will sell a lot of these. Maybe not here but in their own country and doubtless a few others. This bike should do well enough to warrant its production costs. In the coming years RE may also use the motor, or variants, in other models.

      Just giving the bike and it’s specs a cursory glance I can say more than a few of the targeted owners would sooner own it rather than Yamaha’s SR400. Electric start over kick, a better seating arraignment and a larger fuel tank are three good reasons for people to pick the RE over the Yamaha. Looks are subjective but in the 70s Enduros were a big seller and in an environment such as found in India, I would think they still are. The RE’s looks are functionally biased toward India’s riding environment.

      So many people fancy themselves world adventurers but rarely stray further from home than a state or two. Just looking at India’s roadways gives one pause to consider that navigating traffic in that country is an adventure itself.

      Here in America and other more industrialized nations when it comes to riding a great many more of us are living the scheme rather than the dream.

      In other words, buy your used Honda and enjoy the adventure that is a ride to the Piggly Wiggly and back and take solace in it’s reliability to do so. The bike does not make the man any more than the words typed (not written) here by a few make a difference in the reality that what is presented (in this case the Himalayan) before us is all too often far more capable than we are.

  17. Sentinel says:

    It’s just another “third-world” bike, with third-world build and reliability issues. A simple search will net you the proof of this fact. I see nothing to get excited about here.

    • paul246 says:

      Sentinel… you are right. Its too easy to just watch these nearly pointless short ride videos rather than take the extra effort to dig through owner forums. There is a whole different light on this bike once they have been ridden for awhile.

      I’m hoping the bike turns out to be much better now than it was for the first couple years. It is now fuel injected so the altitude issues should be solved, as long as the FI components are of decent quality.

      One good thing is the bike has an oil cooler fitted.

      Only time will tell how well this bike will hold together.

  18. mickey says:

    One of those sure would have come in handy getting out of my subdivision the last 5 days in this stupid snow/ice.

    • mickey says:

      If Honda made this bike for this money, I would be at my local dealers front door when they opened in the morning, check in hand.

      • mickey says:

        Maybe a used lowered CRF250L is in my future.

        • Kagato says:

          Yup–one scoot that always ends up on my list is the Yamaha XT 250. Close as I can get to the older KE’s and TS’s and Dt’s. Still a bit high but it settles down once it has my 200 lbs on it.

          • Todder says:

            Really love how solid my 2015 xt250 has been bashing through trails. You can tell it is built for 3rd world reliability. Wanted the Enfield but wasn’t available. Glad I waited because it got be back into trail riding.

          • mickey says:

            I forgot about the XT 250. Lower seat height than the CRF250.

          • Regan says:

            Another Japanese’s bike in this category the Verses X300 . Its about $5400, has a rear rack, plenty of power and 4.5gal tank. The Vx300 doesn’t look retro but its a much better choice than the slow, poor dirt suspension and 2,1g tank Honda Crf250l.

  19. nickst4 says:

    A good sensible review by a wise chap; makes me proud to be British, even if the bike isn’t! He was right about the uninspiring appearance though, but the likely purchasers may not worry about that. Can’t see it as macho enough for the US market…

    • Bob S. says:

      Your point about not being macho enough is well taken, but there’s a lot of us old codgers out here in the US that want to keep riding into our 70’s and beyond. However, we want to do it on a smaller, versatile, less expensive bike with a more reasonable saddle height than the average dual sport single. I’m in that demographic, and I like the Himalayan. They may do better here than you think.

      • Grover says:

        Do you really want to spend your “Golden Years” chasing quality issues and arguing with the manufacturer over warranty issues? There are plenty of reliable machines out there for just a bit more money that will be a much more enjoyable ownership experience than anything RE has to offer. If the quality of a RE was a good as other bikes they would cost as much or more. The demographic that that you mentioned usually means fixed budget and perhaps ownership of a only a single motorcycle. You don’t need the headache of a RE when all you want to do is ride.

      • paul246 says:

        I agree with Grover. A warranty on a piece of junk is an invitation to wasted time and frustration. Better to expend some effort into researching what owners of the Himalayan have already experienced in India.

  20. Randy in Ridgecrest says:

    Fun review, I’ll have to see what other bikes the Flyer has reviewed. However, I guess I’m opposite his two main points – I think it looks pretty good, and I think it’s 50 pounds heavy for a 411cc single cylinder bike. But it’s so cheap I can see one of these getting into the garage at some time.

  21. Tyler says:

    Initial tests will really tell me nothing until this has some hard miles on it to test its durability.
    Still, I want to love this.

    • toad says:

      Put me in the same boat, if the beta testers after a year or so spend more road time than wrenching time I could see one in my garage. It’s going to come down to reliability.

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