Saturday, May 22, 2021

First time off road impressions of the Himalayan

I bought the Himalayan as a 'do it all' bike so with fine weather beckoning me out a few weeks back taking it off for a day out on the Wessex Ridgeway seemed like a good plan.

I've been riding along the Ridgeway for years now on and off. As a seventeen year old I used to thrash my poor old D1 plunger Bantam along it, more recently the (now departed) Yamaha AG200 was used for the same purpose and accomplished it with somewhat more aplomb. If a standard D1 Bantam can tackle it obviously the Ridgeway is not, for the most part, particularly technically demanding though it can get so in wet conditions. This time I joined the Ridgeway by riding up the cart track from Tollard Royal village. Initial impressions were, as expected, of ease and comfort from the Himalayan. There wasn't really any call at all to stand up on the pegs.

Atop the Wessex Ridgeway.

Pleasant is a word I find myself using to refer to the Himalayan quite a lot and so it proved to be on the Ridgeway. Burbling along the undemanding sections was a happy and relaxing experience. Despite the amazing weather the Ridgeway was far from busy and the Himalayan did nothing to disturb the calm. I've got the standard exhaust fitted and have no intention to change it, the bike runs smooth and clean, plus it is quiet. This is a massive bonus when mixing it with walkers and horse riders. A steadily ridden bike with an unobtrusive exhaust note definitely promotes better harmony.

Typical of a few spots on the Ridgeway. The track
gets chewed up by farm traffic and 4 x 4s in wet
weather, a trough develops and then a new track
is forged around the side of the trough.

In the few spots where the going got a bit tougher the Himalayan acquitted itself reasonably well. The weight of the bike became quite evident and given this the low seat height was a boon. As with all these things, it's a compromise, slightly lighter might be nice but then the bike would not be so relaxing at 70 on the motorway and of course would cost significantly more... You can't build a bike for all shapes and sizes and, though the Himalayan is generally comfortable for me at six foot two, when it came to standing on the pegs I found the handlebars to be slightly too low. Some risers are on the shopping list.

This was deep! We took the dry route.

On a couple of ocassions avoiding the deep water was impossible. We went briefly as deep as the base of the cylinder barrel, there was a fair old bow wave so the air inlet under the saddle was kept well out of it and no problems were experienced at all.

One problem that has been reported elsewhere is the lack of off switch for the ABS. All I can say is I confirm this, it's a bit disconcerting to ride down a slippery slope with the brakes automatically disengaged... 2021 models have a switch and I understand that it's an easy job for the home mechanic to install one on earlier models. Something I'll have to do before the bike does its first long distance trial.

We rode the Ridgeway as far as Salisbury and then took to the road for a short while before joining it again near the Chalke Valley for the ride back home . This is where the Himalayan shines, as a dual purpose bike it is a peach, most capable off-roaders are a bind to ride on the road but Enfield have struck the on / off road balance pretty much spot on with the Himalayan.

The Himalayan in its element. The brush
guards are a new addition. Polisport, cheap
and functional.

The previous owner fitted a rubber flap
to protect the shock from road dirt, I went
a step further with a hugger. From the filthy
state of the hugger the rubber flap second line
of defense is still very much necessary.

I wish there was more protection for the chain from
dirt, it's completely exposed to the tyre. A fully
enclosed chain guard would be nice but failing that
there's got to be a simple solution.

All in a ride of some 70 miles, about half of it off road. The Himalayan acquited itself well and I'm looking forward to our first long distance trial together. In the meantime the Trans Euro Trail beckons this summer.

No comments:

Post a Comment