It's a lot like the previous Himalayan in spirit but nothing else. This is an all-new motorcycle built from scratch. While the fragments of Royal Enfield’s first attempted adventurer motorcycle still cling to its appeal, the Himalayan 450 is a colossal upgrade in almost every sense. Engine, design, refinement, suspension, tyres and just about everything is reworked or redesigned to better fit the Himalayan moniker. However, it’s the clutch that will surprise you more.
Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 first ride review
Expeditions start here
You don’t need a spyglass to tell that the Himalayan 450 looks different. It’s a lot meatier around the tank and has plenty of curvy lines that push the design language of the Himalayan away from the original. I personally liked the squarish fuel tank and sharper lines of the previous Himalayan. Nonetheless, styling is subjective and this is designed for riders of all shapes and sizes. Long legs? The tank extensions won’t get in the way. Want to grip the tank with your knees? It’s sleeker down the seat.
Swing your leg over the seat and the whole thing just feels right. The fuel tank is tapering towards the seat which gives you better knee grip and more control of the motorcycle while standing and riding. It’s a conscious design decision and it’s all for a better riding experience. In my opinion, it works. Especially offroad when the bigger naughtier rocks nudge the tyre sideways, you can be assured that this thing will be planted and easily manoeuvred with your legs.
However, this may feel front-heavy for newcomers or riders who are not used to bigger motorcycles. The 17-litre fuel tank holds 2 litres more than before and the airbox also sits under the fuel tank now. Even the new Sherpa Engine is tilted forwards. So, if you tilt the Himalayan 450 sideways more than 50 degrees, make sure you have the strength of an Asgardian Thunder God to bring it back up because this thing is heavy!
On paper, it’s 3kgs lighter than the previous motorcycle, all the while having a bigger capacity liquid-cooled engine and a bigger fuel tank. The muffler is smaller and squished closer to the motorcycle to have a better centre of gravity and shed some weight too.
You can take a Classic or Bullet to the Himalayas but it’s the Himalayan that will bring you closer to the mountains. It’s freakishly capable of climbing uneven terrain and staying planted to the ground, even if you lose sight of the tarmac. And that’s not something Royal Enfield has struck by chance, this here is engineered for the off-road and on-road.
The 452cc liquid-cooled Sherpa 450 Engine is capable of 40hp @8000rpm and has a maximum torque of 40Nm @5,500rpm. You will get 90% torque at 3,000 rpm, making it reliable for climbing steep terrains and trudging through off-road patches with ease on lower gear.
We rode the motorcycle in Manali and while the high altitude did knock off a few horses from our throttle, the jump in performance over the previous Himalayan was significant and quickly noticeable. There’s more power and it comes more quickly than before while you have less weight to deal with. It’s also got slip and assist clutch so the clutch lever doesn’t demand the strength of God to hold in place. It’s quite unlike a Royal Enfield motorcycle and this makes the Himalayan easy on the road but more so when you’re standing and riding off-road. Switching gears while standing and riding is easier than before and gives you the peace of mind to pick up pace without worrying about the heavy clutch on downshifts for slower patches.
The Royal Enfield Sherpa 450 engine is a very refined engine with RE’s first aluminium-plated bore. It’s a mature engine that works very well on an adventure motorcycle like the Himalayan. In fact, this engine would even sit well with the Royal Enfield Hunter in my opinion. If nothing, at least the clutch could…
The motorcycle can also take a beating. It’s a twin spar tubular steel frame and no aluminium bits, which is why the Himalayan’s weight loss feels like a mere short trip to the gym. Regardless, steel is less prone to bending and warping. We really bashed our review unit on a 24km off-road patch and while the insides of this 450 remained glued together, the same can’t be said for our human joints.
Fit and finish are improved here. The main stand doesn’t rattle under the belly like the early versions of the first Himalayan and the liquid cool engine stays cooler than before. Although we tested the motorcycle in Manali where the temperatures were favourable, city use still remains to be seen.
Rest assured, the suspension won’t betray you. The Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 has one of the best suspensions you can find in this price bracket. It’s a wee bit stiffer but that makes it a lot more confident on the road. Off-roading on this is unadulterated fun. The Himalayan 450 eats rocks, stones and pebbles for breakfast. The upside-down front suspension with 200mm travel is not adjustable and could be the only thing carried from the previous Himalayan. The rear mono shock suspension is good at keeping your bottom cushioned as much as possible with 200mm travel as well.
I am 5.9ft and with the standard seat set to low adjustment, I was able to get my feet down properly. The seat can be adjusted from 845mm to 825mm. Additionally, before buying the motorcycle, you can choose between a standard seat or a low seat. The low seat is 825mm and can be lowered to 805mm. Royal Enfield has also raised the ground clearance to 230mm on this motorcycle.
The feature set is decent but we’re pretty sure the upcoming KTM Adventure will have better features. You get an eco mode and performance mode. We never really enjoyed the eco mode because it made the Himalayan 450 sluggish. The eco mode drops the power between 1st to 4th gear, however, in 5th and 6th gear, you get the same power as the performance mode. You can even turn the rear ABS off and shimmy the rear out for slides on this 2245mm long motorcycle.
There’s ride-by-wire here but during our test time in Manali, Royal Enfield informed us that the high altitude can make the throttle a bit sluggish. There’s an itsy-bitsy delay in the throttle response on the first two gears and while we don’t know if it improves in the city, it’s worth waiting and seeing if it’s a mechanical iffy or just the low oxygen of the higher altitudes.
At the time of writing, only the international variant gets tubeless spoked wheels. The Indian variant is awaiting BIS certification and will be sold as an optional extra for anyone who wants tubeless spoked wheels. The tyres on the 21-inch wheels and the 17-inch rear are quite good as well. These are not off-the-shelf tyres but are made for the RE Himalayan 450. You can corner with ease around the twisting roads of the mountains and even dabble in the sand and stone concoction of the mighty Himalayas. Even while climbing steep bits paved with Himalayan sand, the tyres hold admirably. If you’re a purist, these should keep you happy on the road and off-road.
Royal Enfield prides itself on designing the round-tripper dash that supports Google Maps for navigation. It looks fantastic. There’s everything you need and it doesn’t look cluttered or overcooked. Once you connect your smartphone to the motorcycle via the RE app, you can search for any location inside the RE app which has a Google Maps engine. This will relay the information to the tripper via a Wi-Fi connection between the smartphone and the motorcycle and you can globe trot using Google Maps easily. What’s the catch? Well, it won’t work without your smartphone and secondly it doesn’t work with the Google Maps app but with the RE app that has the Google Maps engine inside it. Similar to what the Uber app does. The smartphone needs to have network connectivity and constantly feed data to the tripper as well. The app also doesn’t let you lock your smartphone. The RE app also stays running in the foreground and only dims the display and disables touch until you swipe to unlock it. It’s a workaround for sure but we don’t see anyone else doing a better job than this on an adventure motorcycle at this level for now.
Your smartphone will run out of battery very quickly like this. We had an Apple iPhone 14 which went from 90% to 20% battery life in 2hrs 30mins. There’s a USB Type-C port to charge your smartphone or you can dump a power bank in your bag and keep the thing juiced up but make sure your smartphone doesn’t cook itself. We wish there was a smarter tripper to take all the heavy load from your smartphone and do it all on the motorcycle itself. Maybe an optional accessory in the future? Who knows.
The tripper also has more features. If you have an Android smartphone, you can even control your music, read messages and take phone calls. Any music app can be controlled when the tripper is linked to an Android smartphone. The same can’t be said for Apple iPhone users. iPhone users can only control music if it's playing in Apple Music. Messages and Calls will not be shown. This is a problem with Apple’s stringent privacy policies. Google Maps work through both devices so that’s fine.
This is a first on a Royal Enfield and it's a better implementation than the previous turn-by-turn navigation so hopefully it gets better from here. Nonetheless, you’ll be able to find your way easily on the Himalayan thanks to the Google Maps integration.
The Himalayan 450 also borrows the LED headlight from the Super Meteor 650. Fun fact, the headlight was originally designed for this Himalayan 450 but the Super Meteor 650 launched before so it went there first. The tail section is a clean curve this time. The taillights are integrated into the indicators which gives it a unique look.
Royal Enfield has covered all the shortcomings of the previous model. There's more power, quicker torque, better suspension, better seats and yes a better engine. This is a very confident motorcycle on and off-road. Although, expect it to be slightly more expensive than the previous Himalayan.
It’s trying to do its best on-road and off-road as a motorcycle and is succeeding in striking the right balance between the two. The Sherpa name is derived from the ethnic group of the north who support trekkers in reaching their favourite peak and the Sherpa engine at the heart of this Himalayan 450 similarly feels trustworthy and reliable to get you to the most unchartered spots and then take you back to civilization as well (17 litres fuel capacity, remember?). It’s a very capable motorcycle in that sense. Quite fitting of the Himalayan moniker than the one it replaces.
Oh, and if you really want to truly make it yours, there are two kits coming. The tourer and rally kits with different accessory configurations. You also get a ton of official accessories for this motorcycle too.
Wrestle with mud or glide on tarmac, this can do both and better than any other motorcycle
|Engine:||452cc Liquid Cooled, Dohc, 4 Valves,|
|Maximum Power:||40.02 Ps (29.44 Kw) @8000 Rpm|
|Maximum Torque:||40 Nm @5500 Rpm|
|Clutch:||Wet Multiplate, Slip & Assist|
|Chassis:||Steel, Twin Spar Tubular Frame|
|Suspension:||Upside Down Fork (Front), Linkage Type Mono-Shock 43mm (Rear)|
|Ground Clearance:||230 Mm|
|Kerb Weight:||(90% Fuel + Oil) 196 Kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||17.0 Litre|
|Tyres Rr.:||140/80 R 17"|
|ABS:||Dual Channel Abs, Switchable|
|Cluster:||4-inch Round Tft Display With Phone Connectivity, Full Map Navigation (Powered By Google Maps), Media Controls|