WHO WHAT WHERE
WHO: Dani Gonzalez Guarinos and wife Marta, from Spain. Dani has been for many years a motorcycle travel guide in India, currently guiding with Aventura en India (www.aventuraenindia.es)
WHAT: Riding a 2016 Royal Enfield Himalayan – not yet available outside India, but due into Europe later in 2017.
WHERE: Dani took time out from his guiding to take his wife on a long tour from Delhi to the Spiti Valley, in the very northern most part of India, high in the Himalayas.
First lookover of the bike and I was impressed by its appearance – it looks strong. The finishing might not be to Japanese standards, but this is not what this bike is about. It’s not a premium product, being priced only slightly above traditional Royal Enfields, it is, even in India, classed as a budget adventure bike. Start the bike – electric, there’s no kickstart! – and for all the changes in aesthetic, it still sounds like a Royal Enfield, with a distinct thump to the exhaust note. There’s nothing fancy here, rugged simplicity would best describe it.
For the ride we were undertaking I had some engine protection bars fitted (there’s an oil cooler that looks like it needs a little looking after). I also ran with the optional screen – there’s plenty of dust, let alone stones and rocks, kicked up by Indian trucks.
I’m not the tallest guy so I was impressed and relieved to find a modest seat height (800mm). After years of riding Bullets I also appreciated the upgrade that is the Himalayan’s suspension, which offers 200mm of travel up front and 180mm at the rear – figures that are becoming standard for proper adventure bikes.