Initially, when I bought the saddlebag stay for Himalayan from Donowyn, I was pretty happy with the setup. We were headed out for a 10-day trip in South India. I had promised to write a full review once I was back covering the performance, pros and cons. Now is the time for that. But, wait! If you have not read part 1 in this series where I cover the purchase, installation, size comparisons, etc. head over to Royal Enfield Himalayan Saddle Bag Stay story and read that first.
It is quite difficult to review hardware like this without using it in the real world. Which is why I put off my recommendation (if you are here only for that, scroll straight to the end of this page) till I got this ride done. Once I was back from the ride, life took over and I have not had the time to put this post together. I hope it helps you guys and gals looking for an effective solution for your Royal Enfield Himalayans. If you want to buy it or be “inspired” by it and do it yourself.
#1. Foot – Clearance
Foot clearance is one of the most important things on a component like this. There are two instances where you’ll need this to work.
a. Pillion’s Foot Clearance
This point is not so important to you if you ride alone. But, when you ride with a pillion it matters that the person is well planted on the pegs both from a comfort and safety point of view.
b. Rider’s Foot Clearance
Either while walking the motorcycle over loose rocks on a trail or literally walking beside it while pushing it. Which this motorcycle will make you do at some point.
This particular saddle bag stay for Himalayan passes tests for both of the above points with flying colours.
#2. Clearance between silencer and the saddlebag stay for Himalayan
The clearance is somewhere between 2-3 inches, not constant. These few inches that exist between the upswept silencer and the saddlebag stay for Himalayan matters for the following two reasons.
I am sure nearly everyone who has been riding for a decent period has spoilt a pair of saddle bags by burning it on a silencer or something. If you have not, you have not been riding for long enough. Not just the bags themselves, but the heat could even affect stuff inside your luggage. For example, your deodorant or clothes.
b. Dirty bags
Exhaust fumes carry carbon and other things. Having it blow directly onto your bags will leave a residue. And, with time it looks dirty and soils everything that comes in contact with it.
#3. Fold out base
Donowyn Rodrick’s saddlebag stay for Himalayan has a fold out support. This should let me use any bag on the Himalayan. I use a pretty old pair of Get Off UR Ass saddle bag (no longer in production) without a problem. Without this, I feel it would not be possible to use these bags as effectively.
Alternately, if I choose to use a pair of separate dry bags on each side (like on the trip to the Himalayas earlier), this configuration should let me bungee any kind of bag onto it. The little loops on the stay, do take care of keeping the bungees in place.
All of this has saved me the trouble of finding new bags.
Point #3 above actually is directly responsible for this. The flat base allows the stay to sit closer to the bike. This lets the bike do two things. retain a slimmer profile through traffic and the saved space can be used to lug more luggage.
a. Profile of saddlebag stay for Himalayan
Retains a slimmer profile through traffic and safer on the highway where getting clipped by a larger vehicle, say a cage of some sort, could be catastrophic.
b. Moar luggage
The saved horizontal space can be used up by the bags. Especially on bags like mine where I can open up a zip to fit more stuff into it. Comes in handy on longer trips.
There are a couple of drawbacks that are either direct or indirectly caused by the saddlebag stay for the Himalayan.
a. Indicator overlap
The rear section of the stay does overlap the indicator. The overlap is a bit of a pain because when you load up the bike, the effectiveness of the indicators is significantly reduced. Very evident in the pictures on Royal Enfield Himalayan Saddle Bag Stay post where I have posted the width comparisons.
b. Not spring mounted
The fold out section keeps opening up slowly when there is no luggage. Especially evident when commuting and you go over a few road humps “enthusiastically”. Maybe the next version could have some form of restraints.
I will just get a few strips of velcro to ensure that the fold-outs remain in a closed position when not required. I thought of using the straps that I used to retain the bags in place, but velcro is quicker when you need to open the stays.
ii) Indicator relocation
I need to move it around or get another set of rear indicators that will make it clearly visible to the vehicles behind me.
iii) Remove for shorter trips
I’ll need to time myself to see how quickly I can remove and reinstall this. I think I would like to leave this rack at home when I do not have a significant amount of luggage to lug around.
Verdict of saddlebag stay for Himalayan
The work done by Donowyn is good. The quality is great, something that you cannot say for the Royal Enfield Himalayan itself. I liked it so much, I have picked up another set to gift to a friend. I recommend that you go ahead and buy it because I would like you guys to support good work too.
Send me images of your bike with this particular saddlebag stay on it, if you want it added to the gallery.
Let me know what you liked or did not like about this post in the comments below. And like always, ride safe and keep the rubber side down.