Here's an exercise: What do you enjoy about motorcycling? Seriously, think about the best times you've had on two wheels and a motor and consider what made those the best times. Each rider will have a variation on multiple themes. I have commuted, toured, and explored on motorcycles. Some of my destinations h...
Here's an exercise: What do you enjoy about motorcycling? Seriously, think about the best times you've had on two wheels and a motor and consider what made those the best times. Each rider will have a variation on multiple themes. I have commuted, toured, and explored on motorcycles. Some of my destinations have been hundreds of miles away, some just 10 miles away. I have enjoyed many motorcycles from a Honda 160 Dream to a BMW R1100R. With about 150,000 miles on two wheels and about 50 years on and off of two wheels, I have developed some preferences regarding what situations to avoid and which to seek.
I try to avoid: interstate highways, many miles in a straight line, bikes that fatigue me, frequent fuel stops, bikes that are so thirsty that a four wheeled roadster would be more economical, bikes that are not designed for challenging terrain and of course, bikes that break down without any hope of a roadside repair.
I seek winding, hilly country roads loaded with blind corners and perhaps livestock. I like lonely stretches where I don't feel pressured by traffic to go with the (illegal and insane) flow. A mount that is not perturbed by a bit of broken pavement, sand, gravel or other less than ideal surfaces. I like to be able to obtain fuel economy that is remarkably better than my four wheeled alternative. I like to hone my riding skills without breaking bones or traffic laws. I am in a state of gradual physical decline that is not unusual for those that have been alive for more that an fistful of decades, so I also seek to avoid motorcycles that I can't get back up on their wheels (unassisted) if they should fall.
Chances are good that you don't agree with me on the previous two paragraphs. If so, the bike that you would find ideal would not be the same bike as I have found to be ideal. As you may expect, I have purchased and enjoyed a Royal Enfield Himalayan. If, like me, you are into comparisons of specifications, the Himalayan is far from impressive. That intrigued me, how could a motorcycle that is so numerically inferior be worth a second look, let alone a purchase? How could the moto-vloggers that rave about this bike have a rational perspective? Do the numbers misrepresent the case?
Some folks seem to have never experienced the need for speed, the need for a shot of adrenalin prompted by the wide open throttle of a powerful machine, the ability to out accelerate and out run nearly everything else on the road. Others of us have done that, been there, and don't care to go back. Is the perfect road less perfect at a slower speed?
In this time of inflation, a Royal Enfield Himalayan may well cost less new than many of the used bikes for sale. Once past the test of patience known as the break-in period, my Himalayan became more of a joy. As the miles have increased, the rough edges of the machine became smooth and I was also honed to a different edge. I hope that this is true for many riders of their individual favorites, the machine begins to conform to the rider and the rider to the machine. I quite enjoy the average fuel economy of more than 75 mpg, the range of more than 250 miles per tank and the improvement in top end response as the parts become more familiar with their mates.
The greatest test this year will be a trip of at least 800 miles near the end of summer. My typical Google Maps options are no highways, no tolls and no ferries. While the Himalayan can attain 70 mph, I don't care to use it that way. I get to enjoy more of America by actually having a bit of time to look at it, albeit at the cost of delaying my arrival by an hour or so.
Is the Himalayan for you? To answer that question, you must assess your expectations, then learn about the motorcycle to see if it can fulfill them.