Royal Enfield Himalayan 5000km Review

Having bought the Royal Enfield Himalayan earlier in 2016, I am now writing the 2nd instalment in the long term ownership series. This post is the Royal Enfield Himalayan 5000km review which covers service recalls, quality, mods and general thoughts around how this motorcycle has fared for me over the last few months. I finished 5k mid-August 2016, about three months after having bought it. If you do not have time and want to read the Royal Enfield Himalayan 5000km review in short with my recommendation, skip directly to the end of this post.  What feedback do you have for me? Feel free to leave a comment.

Life after 500km

StormTrooper is my first dual-sport off the shelf. ThunderDuck had been modified earlier when heading to the Himalayas to take a lot of off-road. But, I have much more hope for this in that department.

After picking up the motorcycle after the 500km service, later that night was the first trail that this bike saw. More like unpaved village roads and it was great. Since I have not yet finished even a 1,000 km, I am taking it easy but definitely feels underpowered. With just one person on it, I expected a slightly better response.

After the 500km service

One of the rare days when I was riding this alone since we have been using this bike a lot for commuting. Commuting was largely done with two laptop bags. There were multiple ways tried out. All so that we would not have to carry them on the daily 50km commutes that we were on.

  • Using the Coocase, which I had got adapted to this motorcycle from the Royal Enfield Standard 500 by this time.
  • As seen below just bunging the two bags together onto the back of the bike.
Royal Enfield Himalayan 5,000km review while commuting
Bungee on the laptop bags.

The motorcycle literally cooks your feet and legs in stop and go traffic. I need to do a whole different post on how the Royal Enfield Himalayan is for commuting. Kick me if I do not do it, it is a story worth telling.

Modifications/ Add-ons

Some of the changes and additions made to StormTrooper were:

  • the addition of a RAM mount with a phone holder and
  • the rear rack to accommodate the Coocase

One of the main items that I wanted to add was a good handguard. But, the clearance of the handlebar to the windscreen just does not allow it. Something that Royal Enfield should have thought of during design.

Bringing in 2,000km

The first out-of-town ride for Himalayan was around the 1500km  mark with Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club to Kolavara Heritage (linked to photo blog) a lovely place near Thirthalli. Other than the initial and home stretches, most of the ride was on back roads. This is where the motorcycle is really good. And, the ride was mostly in the rain too.

The second out-of-town weekend ride was a solo ride with just the boys towards the Nilgiris. I still have not posted that photoblog and will do it at some point and link to it. This ride is where I could test the rear rack to its fullest. I had a moderate load, but putting anything on it with just me on it affected handling. So on the return trip, I packed the bag onto the seat. Much better. Did not get to run as many trails as hoped, but that is always alright. Just want to get the engine nicely settled in and get a service done before that.

Royal Enfield Long Term Ownership review.
Note the large rear rack with the Coocase mount yet luggage on the seat.

2nd Service Pictures

Having come back from the Mudumalai trip, the motorcycle needed lots of TLC. Some of the obvious stuff were:

  • The rear number plate holder has broken. Not during the dirt session, but must be somewhere on the highway when it bottomed off perhaps. (HSR Service station changed only the reflector, which I realised much later. Not good.)
  • Oil breathing all over the cases and head area. Does not seem like the 10,000km service interval motorcycle that Royal Enfield promised us in the launch. This Royal Enfield Himalayan 5000km review shows that it may not make 5k km without periodic maintenance.

I still got back the bike from service later that evening. It was cleaned up, and I do not have a list of things that were done. But, changes were made to make the gear-shift smoother and mostly other superficial stuff. The handlebar cone set was becoming a little tight too, but that seems to be mitigated for now.

By this time we had given up hopes of commuting to work on this motorcycle. Not very ideal for the stop and go traffic on the outer ring road in Bangalore.

Around mid-August, we were planning on the third out-of-town ride, a week long trip bring in the monsoon. What was needed was a set of saddlebag stays. The upswept exhaust does not allow me to use my old saddlebags and this was now a concern for that ride. But, this is something that I would need to get done in the near future if we wanted to do longer trips.

Royal Enfield Himalayan saddlebag stays and clearance.
No way to use saddlebags without stays

However, for the monsoon ride we just took a tail bag and went on the trip. The modified rear rack was a failed experiment and had broken at 3 of the 4 joints. Not worth refixing for what I intended to use it.

Royal Enfield Himalayan 5000km Review as it is
Tail bag on the stock rack.

Royal Enfield Support and Servicing

Took StormTrooper in at the 4,555km reading for service at HSR service station at J.P Nagar. They have done all the services till now on the motorcycle. I gave it in before the prescribed 5k service marker since we will be heading out towards Bagalkot.

Royal Enfield Himalayan 5000km Review
Royal Enfield Himalayan just under 5,000km

Things they changed/ serviced/ tried to fix:

  • Handlebar tightness related to the cone set
  • Gear shifts

Things that still are an irritant:

  • Squeaking “qui-qui” sound from the rear shock.
  • Vibrations all over the cockpit somewhere around the 5,000rpm mark.
  • Handlebar cone set needs replacement. Not fixed satisfactorily
  • The engine breathes out oil. Though mildly.

Despite all of this, I am thinking of selling the Bullet 500 seriously now. Will keep pounding on it over the next few months and will post up the 10k review soon as a follow up to this Royal Enfield Himalayan 5000km review.

Royal Enfield Himalayan 5000km review in short

Royal Enfield Himalayan 5000km review is what brought you here. My suggestion at the moment is a mixture of STOP & WAIT. Do not buy it immediately. There are some serious quality issues in the first few batches, and buying it now would make you a sucker, like us. Wait for the quality issues to reduce and the recalls to finish. Various parts are being replaced by Royal Enfield and like with most first generation products. Once complete, it should be a much better motorcycle, hopefully. Time will tell.

But on the other hand, if you are the types who like troubleshooting and not cribbing about it, you can risk buying the Royal Enfield Himalayan.

Once all of the recalls and quality issues are ironed out, it should be a much better motorcycle, hopefully. Time will tell.