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Royal enfield himalayan 450 doing a wheelie

2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 Review: True Budget Adventurer?

The Royal Enfield Himalayan continues to present a significant measuring stick in the world of adventure motorcycling, it offers an accessible entry point to this ever-growing niche with a price tag of $8,990 ride away. When it was released, the original Himalayan didn’t just broaden the horizon; it fundamentally altered the landscape of adventure riding. No longer is your only choice a $16,000 plus dollar BMW GS or KTM Adventure to see far-reaching areas of our country in relative comfort.

The Himalayan presented riders with the allure of diverse terrains and the promise of reliability, all within a financial grasp that was previously unheard of in this segment. Its success was a testament to Royal Enfield’s understanding of the market’s desire for a machine that could be both a daily commuter and a rugged companion.

With the success of the outgoing model, the new Himalayan 450 has large boots to fill. Not only does it have to improve on the bike that democratised adventure riding, but it also has to do this under testing economic times. For a market segment that increasingly values both tradition and innovation, the bike needed to prove that it could carry the mantle of accessibility while elevating the riding experience through technological enhancements and improved performance.

The anticipation surrounding its launch was not merely about witnessing the evolution of a model but about experiencing the continuation of a revolution in adventure motorcycling initiated by the team at Royal Enfield. As I found myself surrounded by the raw beauty of the Victorian High Country, the stage was perfectly set to assess whether the latest iteration could uphold and surpass the formidable legacy of its predecessor. With its refined aesthetics hinting at enhancements beneath the surface, the Himalayan 450 beckoned for a good old bashing in the bush. This is how my test ride went.

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Royal enfield himalayan 450 design
2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 | Image: Supplied

How Does the Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 Look?

The new bike is a blend of heritage and modernity, presenting an adventure bike that respects its lineage while stepping into the current era. Its design ethos is evident in the polished aesthetics and functional enhancements that cater to both the traditionalist and the new customer.

Central to its design is the new steel twin-spar frame, now stronger, stiffer, slimmer where it counts (yep, between your legs), and ergonomically refined to improve comfort and control, especially when standing. This structural integrity promises enhanced handling, stability, and balance, making the Himalayan 450 a more reliable proposition in the rough stuff. Complementing the debut frame is an all-new Showa upside-down front fork and a linkage-type mono-shock, both offering 200 mm of travel.

Ergonomically, the Himalayan 450 is well thought out, with an adjustable seat height (825 mm adjustable to 845 mm – optional 805 mm low seat), large enduro footpegs and wide handlebars for an optimized riding stance. These features, along with intuitive switchgear with joystick control, highlight the bike’s more intuitive interactions.

Royal enfield himalayan fuel tank
2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 fuel tank measures 17-litres which is rather substantial | Image: Supplied

In terms of practicality, the tank is now a substantial 17-litre unit for some serious kilometres between refills, and with a high ground clearance of 230mm and longer travel suspension, the new bike looks even more capable than its precursor on the road less travelled.

Anchoring the visual landscape are a set of 21″ front and 17″ rear wheels, accompanied by hydraulic disc brakes and switchable dual-channel ABS. Safety and aesthetics converge with the integration of a familiar LED headlight (hello Super Meteor parts bin), and integrated rear indicators and tail lights.

The Himalayan 450 is offered in a palette of colours including Kaza Brown, Slate Salt, Slate Poppy Blue, and Hanle Black, but if you want further personalisation, Royal Enfield already has a kit full of accessories available with plenty more on the way.

What Powers the Royal Enfield Himalayan 450?

The new Himalayan marks a significant leap forward in technology, especially considering the price point. At its heart lies the new Sherpa 450 engine, Royal Enfield’s first liquid-cooled power plant.

2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 Engine Specifications

  • Type: Liquid-cooled, single cylinder, DOHC, 4 valves
  • Displacement: 452 cc
  • Compression ratio: 11.5.1
  • Maximum power: 40.02 PS (29.44 KW) @8000 RPM
  • Maximum torque: 40 Nm @5500 rpm
  • Ignition system: Digital electronic ignition
  • Clutch: Wet, multi-plate, slip assist (slipper clutch)
  • Gearbox: 6-speed
  • Fuel supply: Electronic fuel injection 42 mm throttle body, ride-by-wire system
  • Engine start: Electric

This engine is not just about the raw numbers (40Nm @ 5500rpm, FYI); it’s all about the smooth delivery of torque across a wide rev range that stands out. Equipped with ride-by-wire technology, the new donk offers refined throttle response and four adjustable riding modes, allowing for personalized control and efficiency across various terrains.

Royal enfield himalayan 450 digital screen
4-inch TFT display on the Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 | Image: Supplied

What Technology Does the Royal Enfield Himalayan Have?

Another surprising addition is the 4″ TFT display, which offers comprehensive connectivity options, including phone integration and full map navigation through Google Maps (cast straight from your phone), bolstered by the Tripper Dash system for seamless, turn-by-turn directions. This, along with a USB C charging point, underscores how much Royal Enfield is having a fair crack at this price point.

Royal enfield himalayan 450 riding on the road
The Himalayan 450 shines as a playful performer on-road | Image: Supplied

What’s the Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 Like to Ride?

Sometimes when a new bike offers a lot of new elements, it can feel like a bit of a test mule, but not the Himalayan.

On the road, the Himalayan 450 shines as a playful performer. While the 21” front and 17” rear wheels feel quite adventure-y, the chassis balance is surprisingly engaging, with the bike feeling quite capable on the hard stuff. Riding up Mt Buller first thing in the morning accentuated the 450 Sherpa’s rasp as it climbed through the revs—something that could get addictive heading into the cooler months.

Once out on the highway, the Himalayan is more relaxed than its older sibling. The suspension is more supple, the engine more relaxed when cruising, and despite the absence of cruise control, you should be able to knock over some serious kilometres without needing a physiotherapist.

Royal enfield himalayan 450 on rocks

Venturing off-road to Craig’s Hut aboard the Himalayan 450 was when you could truly appreciate the upgraded package. The Sherpa 450 engine, with its torque dancing across the rev range, was like having an eager companion, always ready with the right amount of gusto, no matter how poorly I chose my line.

The usable torque also allows for less frequent gear changes which consequently provides a safety net in tricky situations. There was a small amount of rear wheel chatter on heavier corrugation, but the suspension handled everything I threw at it with aplomb.

With Low-speed 4×4 tracks, high-speed dusty fire trails, uphill, downhill, and even creek crossings, this package reiterated the fact that you don’t need to spend lots of money to do proper adventure riding.

Royal enfield himalayan 450 in the sun
2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 | Image: Supplied

Should You Buy the Royal Enfield Himalayan?

In the realm of adventure motorcycling, the Himalayan 450 emerges as a paragon of versatility and reliability, effortlessly marrying the bliss of off-road exploration with the pragmatism required for daily commutes. Its off-road prowess is commendable, with the bike’s capabilities often surpassing the limits of the rider’s skill (definitely mine), a testament to its engineering and design. This motorcycle does the simple things exceedingly well, a quality that cannot be overstated in its contribution to the overall riding experience.

The inclusion of LAMS approval is a strategic move by Royal Enfield, inviting a new generation of riders to the world of adventure motorcycling, a segment that can seem daunting to novices. This accessibility is further bolstered by the Himalayan 450’s service intervals, set at an impressive 10,000 km, addressing one of the most significant concerns of adventure touring—maintenance. Such intervals not only reduce the ownership cost but also assure riders don’t need to overthink route planning.

Royal enfield himalayan 450 on water crossing
2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 | Image: Supplied

While I only had the bike for two days, I still experienced the Himalayan 450 conquering highways, fire trails, 4×4 tracks, mountain passes, and even water crossings, which speaks volumes of its robustness. Through cold starts and hot, the bike never missed a beat. It’s this unwavering reliability, coupled with Royal Enfield’s thoughtful simplicity, that sets the Himalayan 450 apart.

From $8,990 ride away, the new bike has once again set a new standard for adventurers and commuters alike, supported by Royal Enfield’s comprehensive warranty and roadside assistance.

For those seeking a bike that promises and delivers an uncompromised adventure experience without the usual hassles of frequent maintenance, the Himalayan 450 offers a compelling case. It’s a machine that does it all, and does it well, making it an indispensable companion for all types of riders.

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