Life after riding 10000km on a Himalayan – Long Term Ownership Update

Now that I have finished riding 10000km on a Himalayan, it is time to look at the pros and cons of owning this motorcycle. What Royal Enfield has been up to, to fix the mega-debacle that the Himalayan has been for a large part of its first year of existence. The motorcycle has let me down a few times, but overall 2016 has turned out to be one the better riding years in terms of riding days.  Under all the luggage in the image above is a Himalayan. So, that is good.  Read the 5k on the Himalayan review, before reading this.

Running with the fast ones.

In late September, it was to have been Rolling Thunder’s 15th Anniversary ride. But, given the political tension in Tamil Nadu, it was put off for a while. An impromptu plan to ride to Bagalkot was hatched by Vishu and off we went. No point wasting approved leaves and a good weekend. I ended up riding with 3 solid motorcycles in the shape of a Triumph Street Twin, a Triumph Thruxton and a Suzuki Bandit 1200. It was clear even before I left home trying to keep up with the group would be futile. If you read the 5k review it was mostly rain rides. Those rains had not yet gone away.

Royal Enfield Himalayan with imported machines.
Fast motos and a wannabe.

Since we had only a tail bag, we were quite aerodynamic, though two-up. This was the ride where I saw the maximum top speed out on the highway. 135kmph two up with about 3 days of luggage. The bike had come back from service from HSR, but the engine still sounds a little off. The shifting is just as bad but at the end of this ride, I felt this was a better motorcycle than the ones from RE. But it was clear that if you kept speeds like that, the enine would detonate before we can do 10000km on a Himalayan. 90-110kmph is the sweet spot.

6,000km

Just under the 6000 km mark came the worst part of owning a Himalayan. The realisation that it is indeed a half baked product. 11th of November was the day of pushing my Royal Enfield Himalayan. The now increasingly common grouse that I had read about on the forums hit. The alternator (or really god knows what at this point) had quit and the battery did not have the juice to crank itself up. All this after just a few 100kms after the previous service. So it was a long haul pushing it back home. As I pushed along and passed people on their evening walk, all I could think was…

“Some people walk their dogs, I walk my Royal Enfield.”

Coming back to the half-baked product analogy, this was much like the half-baked pieces of meat and vegetables, they serve at Barbeque Nation. You still need to simmer it over a flame, if you want it done well. The flame, in this case for me, turned out to be the Royal Enfield Brand Store Service Center.

Karthik P from the RE was fantastic in the dealing with the issues. And, the way the bike was turned around in time for the Goa trip was in the nick of time. (Thanks to all those of you, who made the effort.)

Royal Enfield Brand Store Service Station
RE Brand Store Service

Tentatively towards Goa

Under a week from this disaster and recovery, I was carving corners with the boys on a ride in the Western Ghats, Karnataka. Starting with Agumbe, heading down to the coast towards Kundapura and then onto Goa. Minimal luggage and solo riders, it was a quick ride. #AnneiKnows had a secret sauce which was being dumped into tanks of the Himalayans at each refill.

Mitron… At this pump, Modi seems to approve of the Himalayans.

Thanks to Royal Enfield Brand Store, Bengaluru for the fixes and I felt at the time that one more visit should iron out everything on my motorcycle.  All of the  Royal Enfield Himalayans (there were 4 of us) performed flawlessly during this short but intense 1,400km run. Finishing 10000km on a Himalayan was still a little far away for us. At the end of this ride, StormTrooper‘s odometer was just under 7,500km.

Back to back weekends

The immediate next weekend of the Goa trip was the delayed and now organised Rolling Thunder anniversary. Good weather and a fantastic location in Sterling, Yercaud. If you are looking for a place to stay in Yercaud give it a go. You won’t be disappointed. Now back to the motorcycle, it was going well and I did not have any trouble on this ride too. The bike pulls alright, as long as you’re on the power and keep the momentum going.  If you drop the revs below 3,000 RPM you will need to shift compulsorily. No doubt about that.

Now back to the motorcycle, it was going well and I did not have any trouble on this ride too. The bike pulls alright, as long as you’re on the power and keep the momentum going.  If you drop the revs below 3,000 RPM you will need to shift compulsorily. No doubt about that – two people on the motorcycle and light luggage. Speaking of low RPMs and related vibrations from the single cylinder, it is not too bad. Especially if you are coming from other Royal Enfields.

Himalayan beautiful photos
Great ride back through some back roads.

It was around this time that I started thinking of putting on more luggage on the motorcycle since the RTMC new year ride was coming up. I needed to get some saddlebag stays for the Himalayan as it was to be about 10 days long and I knew we would complete 10000km on a Himalayan on that. Many of you may have seen those write ups both the installing saddle bag racks on the Himalayan and the post-ride review of the Himalayan Saddlebag stays.

2016’s Long Ride

We’ve not had a good long ride for a while now and this was the perfect opportunity to get away. We rode through some beautiful terrain and had some great experiences. The motorcycle did well, but tension started from Day 1 of the trip. I had got it back from a fix and service at the Royal Enfield Brand Store. New problems that had not cropped up during the initial 5000km on the Himalayan began showing up. Amongst which was the front brake calliper and fork leaking issue. Scary to see this within 150kms of what was to be a 2,000km journey. This experience left me really disappointed.

We had a long way to go and I babied the bike through the next 2k km. Nothing happened to the engine or even the motorcycle, but that image of a bathed-in-oil front calliper was always on my mind. But, despite this, we had a great ride and allowed us to enjoy the fantastic route put together by Bumboo and Sara.

Loaded and off the beaten path

The bike did not die anywhere and started up with the first crank each morning.  I topped up fuel every 200kms or so. It has at least another 150kms range before it gets critical.  But, why wait?

The meters do give you the information like that fuel level, fuel warning and a reserve tap. So many indicators for one tank of fuel starts to feel redundant after a while. All this combined with a trip meter if used well you should never be caught out without fuel.

Finally, 10000km on a Himalayan

As we headed back to Bangalore on the first day of 2017, it was time for that number, 10000. Somewhere on Hosur road.

I’ll (probably) put together ride reports and photographs from each of the various rides, but no idea when I get around to that.

10000km on a Himalayan review tl;dr

The information for 10000km on a Himalayan is what brought you here if you are probably looking to buy a Himalayan. My suggestion at the moment is a mixture of WAIT & BUY.

I’ll explain “Buy” first since that what I am leaning towards. Most people who are taking delivery recently seem to have received much better working machines. If you have good karma and are good at sorting out your vehicle’s issues. Go ahead and buy it.

And “Wait”, because there are still horror stories, which may be one of the many lemons from the Royal Enfield factory. The Service Centers are strained trying to fix issues caused by bad quality from Royal Enfield. Many times spares availability is an issue while they wait for a new batch from the factory.

As you can see that despite the issues, I have had a good number of interesting rides over various terrain. But, I have suggested people buy the Himalayan in the early days and it is getting a little embarrassing with all the issues. So, the “wait” is my disclaimer suggestion.

10000km on a Himalayan and having fun!
10000km on a Himalayan and having fun!

I have finished 13000km on the Himalayan as I write this and the motorcycle has been through its recall related changes. I still have not taken it out onto the highway and have done about 300kms of in-city commuting. I’ll try and post up that follow up much faster once I get it out on a highway ride.