Monday, March 5, 2018

Off on a Royal Enfield Himalayan adventure motorcycle

Royal Enfield Himalayan motorcycle being ridden a long way from Florida.
Disclosure: Royal Enfield will provide transportation, accommodation, food, entertainment and keepsakes to me at this product launch. The following opinions are my own.

Be sure to bring your riding gear, Royal Enfield informed writers bound to its U.S. introduction of the Himalayan adventure motorcycle this week. There will be plenty of opportunities to ride the Himalayan, mostly off road, the invitation informed me.

I was tremendously flattered to be invited to the introduction, as rubbing shoulders with the nation's legitimate moto-writers is far above my modest station.

Trouble is, I have little "riding gear." Look, I live in Florida.

My leather jacket was purchased more as a Halloween costume than anything I would attempt to wear in Florida's environment.

I bought my Royal Enfield to commute to work. I dressed for the office, not to go thrashing through some jungle or desert.

Boots? Mine were purchased for hiking, not biking. They will be ideal only if I somehow have to walk back from my ride on the Himalayan.

In Florida, people ride motorcycles like the Himalayan in T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops. Somehow I doubt this is what Royal Enfield means by "riding gear."

And what, after all, could readers hope to learn from me? I haven't ridden a motorcycle "off road" intentionally since — I think — 1975? I recall it was fun but, since then I have enjoyed the convenience of pavement, with pleasure.

As for whether the Himalayan is a good adventure motorcycle, I can tell you right now, unsampled, that it absolutely is.

Royal Enfield motorcycles of less pronounced "adventure" specification have been mounting the actual Himalayan mountains for many decades, and successfully. Far more modern in every respect, the Himalayan can only do better.

They designers have thought of everything. Trust me.

And trust all those better moto-writers whose articles about the Himalayan will begin to appear shortly.

Trust, yes. But verify.

I once asked an old B-17 pilot what was the best airplane to fly.

"Somebody else's airplane," he answered. Meaning any other airplane for which someone else was paying the bills.

The same is naturally true of motorcycles. I might baby mine, but I will joyfully thrash and dirty your motorcycle before handing it back to you with my thanks.

Royal Enfield is giving moto writers the fun opportunity to clobber the company's motorcycles at no price to the writers.

To this it adds the cost of transportation to the event, two nights in a hotel, meals, drinks and a chance to chat with cheerful Royal Enfield employees.

Naturally, you should be careful of the opinions the writers will express about the Himalayan. They will struggle to be objective, as they should, but will naturally feel compelled to be "fair" to their hosts.

No doubt the Himalayan is a splendid motorcycle and so there will be little or nothing to criticize.

But if so, this in itself can create inaccuracy.

I once bought a car because the auto magazine I trusted described it as the best handling American car. I was greatly influenced by this.

Only after the purchase did I realize that the writer had been reaching for something — anything at all — to compliment, as the car had absolutely no other redeeming quality.

Even so, I was so greatly influenced by that single mention in the magazine that when that lousy car wore out, I bought another one of the same type! Whatever the cost the car company endured in influencing that particular magazine writer to be "fair," I alone paid off.

The reverse will likely be true in the case of the Himalayan. Writers may reach to find things to criticize. Don't be put off. Would adventure be so fulfilling if everything was perfect?


  1. So what kind did you ride off road in 1975? Just curious!

    1. My brother allowed my wife and I to ride his perfectly nice Honda street motorcycles around a dirt track park, including through a shallow river. A very generous guy. We had a blast.


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