ROYAL ENFIELD’S HIMALAYAN 450 – FAQS ANSWERED
If you’ve been out of motorbike circles since you were a stoner on the hippy trail in India 30-odd years ago, you could be forgiven for picturing Royal Enfield as an old-school brand, proudly churning out beautifully crafted, uncomplicated machines that look like they come from a time when motorcycles were more about the romance of adventure than cutting-edge technology.
In the meantime, though, you may be surprised to learn that this British-born, India-based manufacturer (the oldest motorcycle brand in continuous production) has embraced progression with two hands. They’ve expanded their model range massively and improved component spec and tech across the board. And, in the process, Royal Enfield has become the world’s biggest-selling brand in the mid-weight (250-750cc) motorcycle market segment. Which is no small feat.
But it was what Royal Enfield did at the 2023 EICMA Motor Show in Italy late last year that really made the worldwide motorcycle market sit up and listen. They unveiled an all-new adventure tourer called the Himalayan 450 that’s powered by an liquid-cooled 450cc engine, and comes with a 21-inch front wheel, an upside-down Showa fork and a lot more electronic tech than its predecessor. Their Himalayan 450 was billed as a bike that “strikes the perfect balance between capability and usability; an adventure tourer that has everything you need, and nothing you don’t” and images of this 450 make the machine it supersedes, the original Himalayan 411, look positively archaic!
Then, a few months later, when the Himalayan 450’s pricing was officially announced, it created even more of a stir. With a ‘Ride Away’ price tag in Australia of less than $9000, the Himalayan 450 costs less than half of a greater majority of the machines in the mid-capacity adventure-touring bike market. And there’s no doubt that news has prompted a groundswell of excitement, especially for those at the less experienced end of the riding ability spectrum.
But what is this Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 exactly? How and where was it conceived and developed? Who is it targeted at? What’s its component spec (and electronic) tech like? Where and by how much has its performance improved on its predecessor? And when can you get the chance to throw a leg over a demo model? To answer those questions, we plucked some relevant excerpts from the information Royal Enfield has now released about their landmark new Himalayan 450…
HOW WOULD YOU SUMMMARISE THE HIMILAYAN 450’S DESIGN OBJECTIVES?
Well, let’s highlight the four key points that Royal Enfield draws attention to (in somewhat florid language) in the new model’s PR:
- The perfect equilibrium: The all-new Himalayan strikes the perfect balance between capability and usability. It is an adventure tourer that has everything you need, and nothing you don’t.
- Meticulously designed for the unknown: Inspired and shaped by the ever-evolving and often unpredictable Himalayan ecosystem, this motorcycle effortlessly adapts to the terrain, to the elements and to the rider. It is truly built for all roads, and for no roads.
- Many motorcycles rolled into one: Engineered for adventure and equipped for anything that comes its way, the Himalayan combines capability, simplicity and versatility – making it the only motorcycle you will ever need.
- An evolutionary leap ahead of its mould-breaking original avatar, the new Himalayan is powered by the Sherpa 450, Royal Enfield’s first liquid-cooled engine. It comes adventure-ready with an upside-down front fork, and new features such as Ride-by-Wire, and TripperDash full map navigation TFT display.
WHAT IS THIS HIMILAYAN 450 AN EVOLUTION OF?
Royal Enfield has a long association with the Himalayas, which has been the brand’s spiritual home and creative inspiration. The original Himalayan 411 was inspired by the 60-year-old tradition of exploring the Himalayas on a motorcycle, and was born in the Himalayas in 2016. Purpose-built, confidence-inspiring and a capable, go-anywhere motorcycle, the Himalayan has proven itself time and again as the ideal motorcycle for adventure riding in these incredible mountains. It has been the motorcycle of choice for thousands of explorers across the world who have ridden it to traverse a multitude of locations and terrains, thereby creating a niche subcategory of adventure touring that is real, sensorial and accessible.
The new Himalayan 450 evolves from this, builds on this proposition, and takes it several notches higher. In fact, the Himalayan 450 does not share one component with its predecessor.
On a twisty mountain road, the new chassis offers improved cornering performance to match the extra power of the engine. Off-road, the extra ground clearance, improved suspension travel and wide spread of torque from the engine make every trail easier. The new, more powerful, Sherpa 450 motor gives useful improvement to highway riding as well as maintaining better performance at high altitude. The new motorcycle has more ground clearance to avoid getting beached off-road and a clear, simple navigation system to remove the need for a separate GPS unit on the handlebars.
Showcased in late 2023 at EICMA for global audiences, the new Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 was launched in India at the end of 2023, and will subsequently be available across other global markets. It’s expected to arrive in Australian and Kiwi dealer floors in early March, 2024.
HOW HAS THIS NEW HIMILAYAN BEEN RECEIVED IN OZ & NZ?
Royal Enfield’s Himalayan 450 motorcycle has created a stir in the Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) regions, building upon the tremendous success of its predecessor, the Himalayan 411. The original Himalayan 411 established a strong foothold in the ANZ market, earning a reputation for its reliability and adaptability. Not only has it been the preferred choice for adventurous riders looking to explore the diverse landscapes of Australia and New Zealand, but it has also served as the ideal platform for various custom projects, showcasing the creativity and craftsmanship of local motorcycle enthusiasts. In addition to individual riders, the Himalayan has become a sought-after choice for adventure tour operators and rental agencies, allowing riders to embark on memorable journeys through scenic routes with the utmost confidence. The introduction of the all-new Himalayan 450 to the ANZ market continues to enhance the legacy of Royal Enfield’s commitment to providing exceptional motorcycles for the spirited riders of this region. With its new features and technology, the Himalayan 450 promises to take the ANZ motorcycling community to new heights of exploration and adventure.
WHAT’S THE NEW HIMALAYAN 450 POWERED BY?
Based on Royal Enfield’s latest, lightest and most technologically advanced vehicle integrated powertrain, the new Himalayan 450 will be powered by Royal Enfield’s new Sherpa 450 liquid-cooled engine, and will have a host of new integrated tech features that enhance and improve the adventure touring experience on the new motorcycle. This new Sherpa 450 engine is bigger than the outgoing LS410 air-cooled 411cc engine, with its displacement increasing to 452cc. For a more detailed insight into the development of this ground-up new Sherpa 450 powerplant, listen in to this podcast with Royal Enfield’s Ben Edy, Group Manager Product Development.
WHY ARE THE HIMALAYAS SAID TO BE THE BEST TESTING GROUND FOR THIS NEW MODEL?
The Himalayas are an ever-changing, ever-shifting landscape and exploring in this region requires you to embrace change of plan at every step; from varying weather and unpredictable terrain to rivers that can be a trickle in the morning and mudguard-deep that same evening. The all-new Himalayan is designed to adapt to all such conditions; from its water-busting high air intake to its tough frame and luggage bars ready to take a beating when things don’t go as planned. The improvements over the original model have been driven by time spent in the saddle, from epic trips exploring the wildest mountains to riding in everyday situations. What’s more, the motorcycle has been tested and developed by explorers, globetrotters, experts and riders of all abilities across a huge range of conditions, both in adventure trips around wild landscapes and in controlled testing centres in the UK, Spain and in India. This testing program has resulted in a truly versatile motorcycle that is ready for anything and puts a smile on the face of every rider, whatever their ability level.
WHAT KIND OF PERFORMANCE GAINS DOES THE ALL-NEW SHERPA 450 ENGINE GENERATE?
The new Himalayan’s Sherpa 450 engine has more power and torque than its predecessor, but stays true to the Royal Enfield character by retaining excellent low-rpm performance. With maximum power of 29KW at 8000rpm and a maximum torque of 40Nm at 5500rpm (which compares very favourably to the 17KW and 32Nm max power and torque figures of the air-cooled engine is replaces), the new 452cc Sherpa engine makes 90% of its torque from 3000rpm upwards giving a tractable power delivery without needing to be revved to the moon to go anywhere. This characteristic is most helpful when climbing slippery slopes, allowing the Himalayan to find traction where others will spin. This performance – combined with the torque delivery – also allows comfortable two-up riding along with luggage. The new engine features a semi-dry sump design to maximise ground clearance and allow compact packaging.
As Royal Enfield’s first liquid-cooled engine, it uses an integrated water-pump and twin-pass radiator set-up for optimum cooling. That’s crucial when riding technical terrain at high altitude; something this motorcycle is fully intended for. A new six-speed gearbox means greater flexibility of ratios and better highway cruising. This drives through a new, cable-actuated slip and assist clutch, giving a lighter clutch action and longer clutch life.
WHAT ARE THE STANDOUT FEATURES OF THE 450’S NEW CHASSIS?
The new Himalayan 450 has higher ground clearance and long-travel suspension, which let you tackle more technical terrain without catching the chassis on the ground. An all-new steel twin-spar frame has been designed to give these benefits in an off-road situation, without making the Himalayan too tall or intimidating. The new frame is stiffer and stronger to improve cornering performance and stability. The chassis includes a new Showa, cartridge-type inverted fork, designed to work across a wide range of conditions, from smooth roads to rocky riverbeds. Quality suspension is not just about performance; a well-controlled fork makes it easier on the rider when tackling loose, unpredictable terrain, letting them concentrate on where they want to go, rather than reacting to every bump. The Himalayan retains the proven 21-inch front / 17-inch rear wheel combination, with newly developed aluminium alloy rims and bespoke tyres for superior grip, confidence-inspiring handling and stability in both on- and off-road conditions. Additionally, the wider 140/80 rear tyre offers better traction and more confidence on tarmac or off-road conditions.
HAVE THE ERGOS CHANGED MUCH?
With the new chassis and compact engine came the opportunity to improve rider ergonomics, particularly when riding in a standing position. The new motorcycle is narrower between the legs, allowing better control standing up and making it easier to get feet firmly on the floor when sitting. The rear section of the new 17-litre fuel tank (up from its predecessor’s 15 litres) has been slimmed down to give a more comfortable knee-recess when riding. The split-type rider and pillion seat allows the rider seat to be adjusted up by 20mm. In addition to the standard seat (825mm seat height), there is a low-seat available as an option. Between the standard and the optional low seat, the rider gets a wide range – from 805mm to 845mm – of adjustment. This, combined with the narrower frame and tank, equates to better ground access. Both the rider and the pillion seats, as well as the seating triangle, have been designed to offer maximum comfort for long hours on the saddle, on or off the road.
WHAT TECHNOLOGY HAS ROYAL ENFIELD INTRODUCED ON THE HIMALAYAN 450?
Taking from the brief of ‘everything you need, and nothing you don’t’, the technology that made the cut on the new Himalayan is all there for one purpose – to improve the experience for the rider. First and most prominent is the new TripperDash. The classic round shape has a number of innovative features for the rider, with options to switch from a traditional analogue-style to a digital layout. The new TripperDash offers the world’s first full map navigation on a circular display, built with Google Maps Platform with audio guidance in more than 130 languages. The joystick controller on the left-hand switch allows you to control the cluster as well as music, calls and messages as part of the mobile connectivity. Riders can choose between ‘Performance’ and ‘Eco’ ride modes, altering the throttle response through the new ride-by-wire set-up. Rear ABS can be disabled for a more engaging off-road ride experience.
WHAT COLOUR OPTIONS DOES IT COME IN, AND WHAT’S IT COST?
The four colour options and their introductory pricing is as follows:
- Kaza Brown (single-tone paint scheme) – $8990 AUD / $8990 NZD
- Slate Salt (dual-tone paint scheme) – $9250 AUD / $9250 NZD
- Slate Poppy Blue (dual-tone paint scheme) – $9250 AUD / $9250 NZD
- Hanle Black (premium dual-tone paint scheme) – $9490 AUD / $9490 NZD.
Note that pricing for the Australian market is ‘Ride Away’, but ‘RRP’ (that is, inclusive of GST, but not on-road costs) for the New Zealand market. You can pre-order yours (via a $500 refundable deposit) here.
All Himalayan 450 models comes with a three-year unlimited-km warranty and three years of Roadside Assist.
WILL AUSSIE & KIWI DEALERS HAVE DEMO UNITS SO YOU CAN SAMPLE THIS NEW MACHINE?
Yep. According to Urban Moto Imports’ Tom Fossati, Royal Enfield’s National Marketing Manager, “Being such a highly anticipated motorcycle, we have seen hundreds of customers pre-order their Himalayan 450, with customer orders beginning to arrive in March. Dealership demonstrator vehicles are expected to arrive in the weeks to follow. All Royal Enfield dealerships, Australia and New Zealand wide, will have demonstrator units available to test ride, so people can experience the next evolution of the Himalayan.”