Royal Enfield Himalayan Fi ABS
Royal Enfield have introduced the Himalayan with an anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Full-time ABS on an off-roader? We turn to the figures for the answer
In terms of ease of riding and capability, the himalayan has always been an outstanding motorcycle. combining a great chassis with essential cycle parts and a decent 411-cc engine gives it an edge in the practicality department. one of the himalayan’s greatest virtues is the confidence it inspires in the rider. even after spending a few moments astride it, its point-and-shoot capability is something that makes itself evident anew. the himalayan is intended for no-road and off-road use, but, from where i’m sitting, i see a number of people using it off-road or hitting trails on the weekend, but the remaining 71.4 per cent of the week is spent commuting. that said, the high ground clearance, excellent handling, and even the traction from the set-up is something everyone will appreciate in all situations. however, while they’ve flipped the safety switch on with the inclusion of an abs, there’s no way to switch it off, if need be. When hitting the aforementioned trails, most would want the rear to be in their control and devoid of electronic interference when manoeuvring in tight spaces. this goes against its off-road credentials to some extent. its only singlecylinder rival, the bmW g 310 gs, offers switchable abs, but costs twice as much. the himalayan abs is available for rs 1.79 lakh (ex-showroom).
in braking performance terms, the addition of abs does better braking characteristics and stability when coming to a complete stop; whether on concrete, tarmac or gravel. the feel from the brakes is now progressive, linear and doesn’t feel intrusive. on the road, the figures from 60 km/h to zero are encouraging: 2.09 seconds and just about 18 metres. even on the dirt, it managed 30 km/h to zero in 1.79 seconds over 7.8 metres; that’s 0.8 of a second more and twice the distance it takes on tarmac for the same speed. across all speeds, though, the abs version stops quicker and over a shorter distance than the conventional older model, and by a good few tenths at speed.
even so, the himalayan does offer everything one needs to get going and familiarize themselves with off-road riding. abs isn’t going to be a daily-use thing even if you’re a bad rider. think of it as an insurance policy for unforeseen circumstances when it comes to braking — the worst-case scenario of panic braking on a wet surface or gravel and a sudden intrusion in your path is where it will well and truly kick in and save your bike — and your behind from sliding out of control.
apart from the abs, there isn’t anything new in the bike. it retains its long-travel front fork and magnificent linked rear monoshock. the ceat gripp Xl rubber — 90/90-21 front and 120/80-18 rear — together with the suspension do a great job of putting down both ends. the “ls410” 411-cc air-and-oil-cooled single-cylinder engine with fuel-injection still makes 24.8 ps and 32 nm. the torque spread is linear and usable across the rev-range. as always, a little more power would be welcome and the engine and gearbox could do with a little more refinement — nVh for the engine and shift quality when going through the gears. even so, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the himalayan is an incredibly capable bike and these are merely ways it can be improved upon even further.
ABOVE: New ABS light near the Mode button; no button to turn it off, thoughRIGHT & BELOW:Himalayan finally gets a pair of wheelspeed sensors