February 17, 2018

Royal Enfield Himalayan Sleet BS4 FI buying and ownership reviews

A new beginning for my bike riding passion.!

Riding motorcycle and travelling has always been a passion of mine from many years, As other things in my life like work and family had taken over, my riding passion was on a back burner. Come 2018 the riding spark has rekindled again. All this while I was riding my trusty street bike Honda Unicorn 150cc. Now I wanted to upgrade to higher capacity bike and have booked a Royal Enfield Himalayan Sleet with explorer kit. This blog post would give you my journey into the territory of Royal Enfield Himalayan ownership and experiences. 

I had decided that this time I would be buying an unique bike, as I like Motorsports; especially  Rally, I wanted to buy an Off Road/ Enduro bike which also acts as a tourer. I was going through all the Automotive groups on Facebook, TeamBHP and Xbhp for reviews and ownership information. My analysis for Off Road bikes started for November 2017, my criteria for deciding was the price of the bike should be around 2.5 Lac, displacement should be around 500cc and weight should be less than 200Kgs. Bikes which was in my radar was BMW 310GS, KTM 390 Adv, Mahindra Mojo and Royal Enfield Himalayan BS4 FI. 

At EICMA 2017 BMW 310GS was showcased and it was informed that it will be introduced in 2018, Although the displacement of the bike is around 310cc I considered this bike because of the BMW company. As this was launched in other asian countries like Indonesia and other Asian countries the reviews were good. However after EICMA show there was no exact launch dates and price information for the BMW 310GS even till now(February 2018). I had to let go BMW 310GS from my list due to company delay in bringing out this bike into the market. KTM 390 Adv on the other hand was only rumor in the air and it never made any news. Majindra Mojo was dropped from the list due to the scarce service centers for servicing.

The only option remaining was Royal Enfield Himalayan which ticked all the criteria. Although reliability was a big question mark, I wanted to take time in researching by reading ownership reviews. So the research started by reading posts for every ownership reviews. The general perception from the review from news bites and groups was that BS3 model from 2016 was plagued my innumerable issue, like Magneto coil, Tstem rusting, Ignition wiring etc due to bad quality of materials. After the major recall and halting of production of BS3 model, RE released the BS4 version with Fuel Injection. BS4 model reviews was good and all the issues from BS3 were fixed.

DECEMBER 2017: The hunt for test rides of Royal Enfield Himalayan had begun. I shortlisted all the near by Royal Enfield showrooms near my home and office. The first RE showroom which was visited was Acclaim Motors Pvt Ltd, Yelahanka. I asked for a test ride of Himalayan and the rep told they dont have REH for test ride. It was not a good sign and feeling at Acclaim Motors. Next visit was to CVS Motors Badrappa Layout on Hebbal ORR, here also the same response that they don't have an REH for test ride. As every day I see CVS Motors RE store on upper palace orchard in Sadashivanagar, I thought I would give it a try for asking for a test ride. The response given by the customer representative really took my confidence off. All the while I have been reading that BS3 version had reliability issues with sub standard material, The representative from CVS Motors Sadashivnagar informed that the RE Himalayan test bike is there but it is having some issue and it cannot be given for test ride. This response shattered my confidence. Can some on from Royal Enfield tell their store reps how not scare customers. Even though it might be a small issue, there is a way to inform so that customers are not scared. I gave up the hunt and started waiting for other bike releases. 

After two months and after reading positive reviews for actual REH users reviews I mustered some courage to test ride again. This time I choose HSR Services Kantha Court Lalbagh road. I went with my office colleagues. As I had very bad experiences with other Royal Enfield showrooms, I did not had much expectation. However to my pleasant surprise; customer rep Aakash greeted us and turned out to be friendly guy, he arranged us a test ride with least amount of time and explained the price breakup post the test ride. HSR Service was a positive experience.

JANUARY 2018: It was time to make a final decision, the other bikes in the list was still a wild goose chase. There was no news about the price or release dates. In the mean time Royal Enfield teased with a new color variant called SLEET. It was scheduled to go public on January 12. On the day of release of Sleet, I again visited HSR Services Lalbagh, as we entered the show room we were welcomed by the amazingly looking Himalayan Sleet with all its explorer kit attached. My jaw dropped on seeing the sleet and at the very moment it was love at first sight. We were greeted by Mr. Mithun from the store who arranged another test of REH. We were told that booking for sleet will be done on the internet and he asked us to book the sleet as and when the booking opens.

JANURRY 23rd 2018: Online booking opened and I did an online booking by paying Rs 5000. I had booked for Royal Enfield Himilayan Sleet edition with explorer kit. The Himalayan Sleet Edition Explorer Kit included pre-fitted 26 litre water resistant aluminium panniers, pannier mounting rails, off-road style aluminium handlebar with cross-brace and bar-end weights, while there is also an engine guard with powder coating finish. Now waiting has started for my bike. They have informed that it will take 45 days to deliver.

FEBRUARY 27th 2018: I was on a family tour in the state Maharastra Pune district, I got a call from Mithun HSR motors stating that my bike is ready for delivery and I need to come on 28th at 11AM for photo session and delivery. I was surprised when I heard that they are delivering the bike much earlier than expected date.

FEBRUARY 28th 2018: I was the first SLEET customer to walk into the store at 10:55AM. There was a flurry of activity inside the store as store employees were getting the final details done. There were 7 SLEET's with explorer kit parked outside the store and one of the service mechanic was busy polishing the bikes to look good. Slowly one by one al the sleet customers started coming. I met and mad friends with two sleet owners Ravindra and his friend Uday to whom Mithun got me introduced. As setting the photo booth was taking time we discussed about few of the rides and general discussion about Himalayan. At 11:55 AM we were called for the photo shoot and store manager handed over the keys of our Himalayan SLEET. It was such a fantastic moment when you realize that your association with RE Himalayan has started. Every one in the store wished us Happy and safe riding. We were also given a RE helmet and all the documents.

Riding from the store to home for the first time was such a great feeling. I was little apprehensive about the reaction after seeing the bike from my wife, dad and mom. As soon as my wife saw she literally said WOW, I was so relived by her expression as she also fell in love with the bike. My parents also said it looks good and most excited member of our house was my son Vishnu. As soon as he saw the RE Himalayan he said it is so nice and my old Honda Unicorn is not nice. We all laughed at his comment.

FLASH BACK October 2016: As a customary all vehicles that I have bought, I get vehicle pooja done at doddaganesha temple at bull temple road. Last time when I bought my Hyundai i20 and wanted to get vehicle pooja, I did not had good experience with the priests of doddaganesha temple, all the priests at the temple were greedy. First we were made to wait for more than an hour for the priests to do pooja and even after buying a ticket for the pooja services the priests attitude to do the pooja was very bad. They kept on asking for money before doing the pooja. The bhakthi towards doing the pooja was not at all there and the greed for the money was over pouring. I will never go to doddaganesha for any special seva, I only go to see the GOD after that experience.

BACK TO SLEET: This time I wanted to get pooja done near my home, Ganesha Temple in Sahakaranagar. I took my Himalayan Sleet at 7:00 PM along with my parents, Wife and kid. I bought a vehicle pooja and archana seva ticket. First had a darshan of lord Ganesha and did archana for our family for well being. We were allocated a priest to do my bike pooja. We got a very detail pooja and our priest was very friendly and involved our whole family in invoking goodness, peace and prosperity. The whole pooja took around 30 to 35 Minutes which included me doing aarathi to my new bike. Compared to my last experiences at doddaganesha temple this pooja had such a good vibes. The priest wholeheartedly blessed us for our well being. We gave our dakshine to the priest.

FIRST RIDE WITH FAMILY: As with my first bike Honda Unicorn my first ride after blessing from god was with my dad. This time also my dad was the first family member to get to sit on the bike. With the panniers it was little difficult for my dad to climb and sit on the bike but he made it.
My dad liked the ride quality as a pillion. I had another semi long ride with my wife and son who also liked the high sitting position and ride quality.

UPDATE: July 7th 2018,  I have completed 2000 Kms on my Himilayan. I have done 4 long rides until now. Himalayan is performing perfectly (well almost). After 1st service which is after 500Kms, gear shift had become hard. Changing gears from stationary to 1st gear makes a "Thak" sound. Riders who are accustomed to Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki engines will find it very difficult to digest the harshness of the gear shift. To be honest, gear shifting on Himalayan is really bad, its unfortunate that we have to live with it. RE Service says its normal. Heating is another issue which rider has to bear. Heating issue can be overcome by wearing riding trousers.     

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