The Himalayan has recently come under a lot of fire for teething issues and the recall for replacement of a few engine components. Lot of our readers as well as many other forums are asking whether they should steer clear of the Himalayan. I agree I was one of the writers who wrote about these issues in the following articles – Royal Enfield Himalayan – Reports of Early Problems and Royal Enfield Recalls the Himalayan. But does the Himalayan deserve this negative image? Is Himalayan really an unreliable/problematic bike causing much grief to its owners? The answer is simple – No.
The Himalayan had extremely minor issues initially like a slightly hard gearshift, minor oil leak and a slightly noisy engine (tappet noises). Did owners really have major breakdowns or were they left stranded on the road or needed repeated visits to the service centre for repairs? – No.
So why the negative image? What caused the first spark was the accident of a test-ride bike immediately after the bike’s launch. The front forks sheared off and really scary images were released of the same. Then what fueled the fire were reports of issues faced by new owners and the news of Himalayan’s recall. A bit of a social media frenzy was caused due to all this.
That accident did put a huge question mark on the sturdiness and quality of the Himalayan. But it was discovered that the rider was riding at very high speed and hit a Honda Dio and/or hit a divider head on (We’ve heard reports suggesting both). We really don’t know the exact details, but any major frontal accident involving a bike, domestic or exotic, can cause front forks to shear off or wheels to break in two (as we have seen for another bike before). I am not trivializing the incident, but I doubt anything apart from a truck can escape such an accident unscathed. But as I don’t have any proof or exact details of the accident, I will not claim any definitive judgment on the issue. The above comments are my personal opinions (shared with many fellow bikers) and I will not deny that I could be wrong.
Initial few owners did face teething issues but Royal Enfield immediately contacted each owner of their own accord and got each and every issue fixed. They changed the clutch assembly to fix the hard gearshifts, replaced gaskets and torqued the nuts and bolts to fix the oil leakage and replaced entire rocker arm assembly to fix the excessive engine noise. Most importantly – it was all done completely free of cost for all owners.
I own a Himalayan. I bought it a month ago. Did I face any issues? NONE! Never did I have any gear shift issues or excessive engine noise nor a drop of oil leakage. And the same is true for all owners who have purchased the bike since. My bike is probably from the second batch of production. The proof is in the pudding that Royal Enfield has fixed all the above issues for the Himalayan on the production line itself. Owners of the second batch and beyond did not have to visit the showrooms at all except for taking delivery of the bike! This is definitely a sign that Royal Enfield has upped its game and is striving for quality and customer satisfaction.
Another point to note is, one should look at the initial ownership reviews of extremely reputed bikes like the Honda CBR250R and the KTM Duke twins – 200 and 390. You will realize the owners of these bikes too faced quite a few issues when these bikes were launched. Honda and KTM needed almost 6 months or more to get these issues sorted. So we can cut Royal Enfield some slack.
Is the Himalayan a perfect bike and owners will never face any problem ever again? – No. Is the Himalayan the highest quality bike you can buy in India? – No. But right now the bike is the best that Royal Enfield has to offer and the quality and reliability is up there with the best in the business.
The Royal Enfield Himalayan does not deserve the bashing one sees on social media and definitely deserves a more positive image. Long term reliability is yet to be proven and I will reserve comments for at least another year or more.