2019 Project Bike: Enfield Himalayan

First proper ride
Adventurise it: let’s make a list
Short UK road test (good for specs)
BS3 carb model in Ladakh
Tips, mods and hacks from Advrider (also links to aftermarket kit)
Well presented Himalayan blog (in French)
UK Facebook group (closed) and North America Facebook Group

him-layaEnfield Himalayan: that’s bike #61 and my project for 2019. Out of curiosity I test rode one a couple of months back and despite the initial scepticism shared by many, riding was believing and I could see the appeal. It’s a bike in a niche all of its own; a long-stroke, low-slung plodder; an under-stressed travel mule that ought to chug happily along backroads. It’s said to be pretty good off-road for what it is too, but it sure won’t blaze down the autoroute trailing a series of sonic booms. The Himalayan has elements of ag bike (right): heavy, basic and agbikeswith low power output but above all, unapologetically functional. They say that tanked up, the ABS Himalayan weighs a staggering 194kg. Doing the bathroom scales trick came up with 192kg. Crikey, they weren’t joking.
A similar low output/capacity plodder that’s been on my radar is Honda’s NC range; an auto 750X was also a contender for bike sixty one, but a quick read on advrider where they’ve been experimenting since the original 700 came out reminded me that adapting one into something like 2018’s XSR Scrambler would deliver an uncertain level of worthwhile improvements for the weight and time. For 2019 Honda put a 19er on the front of the revised CB500X. Doing the same to the 750X, or offering a more adventurised model (as BMW do) would make a better base project.
himmBack to the Enfield. My example gleams as white as the driven snows of Annapurna. And with less than a thousand miles on the clock it’s nearly as virginal. Add some LED lighting and heated grips and it was a pretty good deal.
With the Him’s trail biking potential I’ve come up with a plan for a route recce in the High Atlas followed by a ride deep into the Western Sahara ahead of my spring Fly & Ride around Eastertime. If what I’ve read is true, the REH ought to plod steadily up and down the mountains and across deserts of southern Morocco.

Him-spexThe Elephant in the Himalayas
I suspect the many people who are curious about the Himalayan have little interest in Enfield’s long-established Bullet-based singles. I’m one of them. Things have probably moved on, but the old-style Bullets carry a stigma of crude manufacturing and poor reliability which cannot be excused by retro-cool looks or the ease of roadside repairs. The troubled launch of the original BS3 Himalayan a couple of years ago (more here) did nothing to dispel such concerns. Andreli yet I can think of a couple of BMWs – a brand associated with a (long outdated) reputation for reliability (right) – which didn’t go any better. That well known fact doesn’t stop them being best sellers.
And so it’s a bit of a leap in the dark on the equally much-improved export BS4 Himalayan released in 2018. It’s a bike many potential owners want to like but are niggled by the fact that they might just get only what they paid for and will get crippled by Chinese levels of depreciation. The only way to find out is to buy one and see. Maybe that’s why they call it adventure motorcycling.
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