The Royal Enfield Himalayan was a turning point for the firm when it was launched in 2015 – marking the move from purely making retro throwbacks to manufacturing a unique low-cost adventure bike and seeing the increasing influence of the company’s UK-based R&D efforts.
It’s paid off. The Himalayan has proved to be a worldwide sales success for the company, paving the way for even more ambitious projects like the twin cylinder range and establishing the company as a serious international player.
For 2021 the Himalayan gets a selection of subtle but significant updates that make an already appealing package even more tempting.
To appreciate the Himalayan to the full, put aside desires for performance or razor-sharp handling. That’s not what it’s about. Its appeal lies in rugged simplicity allied to daily usability and a low price.
In 2021, the technical side of the bike is effectively unchanged, with 24.3hp at 6500rpm and 32Nm of torque on a plateau from 4000-4500rpm from its SOHC, air-cooled, 411cc single. The latest version of the engine is Euro 5 compliant, though, where the 2020 model was only certified to Euro 4 standards.
Chassis-wise, everything remains as before, with no changes to the steel cradle frame and the simple suspension, with 41mm forks at the front and a straightforward monoshock rear.
So what’s new? The most obvious visual update is the new shape to the Himalayan’s signature front-mounted luggage mount frames, which double as the brackets for the headlights and instrument panel. For 2021, the frames taper towards the bottom, giving a more subtle appearance than the boxy shape used until now.
Harder to spot are the changes to the seat and the screen – both shaped to be better integrated with the styling in 2021 – and the rear carrier which is smaller and neater than before.
On board, you’ll instantly spot the other notable upgrade; an extra instrument bolted to the right-hand side of the clocks. Turn on the ignition and it reveals itself to be a small, colour LCD screen in a circular bezel. This is Enfield’s ‘Tripper’ navigation system, which debuted late last year on the Meteor.
It's a neat solution that’s designed to leverage the processing power of your smartphone, acting as a display for Google Maps-based navigation. You program your route and destination on your phone using a dedicated phone app, and on the move directions are displayed on the Tripper’s tiny screen, with straightforward arrows for directions and a distance countdown telling you how far away the next turn is.
Finally, for 2021 new colours add some visual flair to the Himalayan; a camo-style ‘Pine Green’, ‘Granite Black’, ‘Gravel Grey’, ‘Mirage Silver’ and two-tone ‘Lake Blue’ and ‘Rock Red’ versions on offer.
The simple black and grey versions of the new Himalayan cost £4599, while the rest of the colours are £100 more at £4699.