Frequent readers of ADVMoto will find it no surprise that we're big fans of Royal Enfield's Himalayan. When it finally came to the US in 2018, this offerring from the Indian manufacturer gave us a highly capable mid-sized dual-sport motorcycle with an unbeatable pricetag just under $5,000. But riders everywhere were asking for one big update to the bike: ABS. Royal Enfieled heard their pleas, and let ADVMoto check out one of the very first Himalayan ABS models in North America.
• Updates to Braking and Lighting
For the most part, the bike is wonderfully unchanged. The 410cc thumper is still there, as is the low slung seat, wonderful standing geometry and surprisingly capable stock suspension. These these features combined to make the original Himalayan incredibly easy to ride. The Himalayan was already a wonderful offering for new riders, and the ABS is only going to increase that beginner friendliness. But the new Himalayan ABS isn't completely the same, there are a few new features to go over on the ABS model.
The first change we noticed about the new bike wasn't actually the braking system, it was the new paint scheme. Royal Enfield calls it "Sleet" which gives off an arctic camo vibe that definitely matches the overall feel of the bike. It's graphics are vinyl decals placed on a grey painted tank, then clearcoated with a dull finish for durability. Also, since the decals are hand placed, each one is a little different. The Himalayan ABS will also be offered in a black and white "Snow" and "Granite," both of which are colors from the previous generation.
But the biggest addition on this model is a little ABS unit hiding under the right side cover. There are also a smattering of ABS supporting mods made to the bike. These include return lines coming down the neck and under the tank, ABS sensors, an ABS light on the dash and a new larger fuse box. See the video for more details.
A couple of other visual changes we noticed included a new larger brake light, and round turn signals, perhaps to match the round headlight. The previous brake light was not only smaller but also housed multiple leds. While the newer unit is larger, there appears to house only a single bulb.
As far as the ABS system itself, we found it to be a very solid option. The ABS was effective, but not intrusive. Riding off-road we were able to get the rear tire locked up and got the bike into a few little slides. It felt like the ABS would only kick on at higher speeds. After our test ride the folks at Royal Enfield North America confirmed our impressions were correct. The ABS is only active above 5 KPH (3.1 MPH).
This means that even with ABS, you can take those slow technical or downhill off-road sections with a nice slide. This also means riders may not need to find alternate ways to disable the ABS, all of which we do not recommend. For on-road riding the value of ABS as a safety feature cannot be overstated and is mandatory in many parts of the world.
The Himalayan ABS is hitting showroom floors now sporting an MSRP of just $4,750. This is a pretty minimal price jump from the $4,500 of the Non-ABS model, and at either price you'll struggle to find more bike for the money. At the time of this writing, all non-ABS models are sold out. Only ABS models will be available for the remainder of 2019.
It's good to see Royal Enfield responding to customer comments and demands. If this attention to market desires continues, an Interceptor 650 parallel twin powerplant may go into the next Himalayan to further expand performance. The extra power would address one of the biggest complaints found in the North American market which is being able to maintain higher street speeds for longer distance travel. Although this extra power may come at some added weight and cost, a little more umph could mike a bigger Himalayan a great addition to their already impressive line-up. For more information on the Himalayan, visit: RoyalEnfield.com
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