Interestingly, of the three mini-ADVs we tested, it’s the Royal Enfield that seems to know exactly “who” it is, and it makes no pretenses otherwise. It looks like a tool because it is. It looks like it could claw its way up a gnarly, oxygen-deprived pass because it was designed to do just that back home in India. Point it where you want it to go, twist the throttle and utilize the broad, friendly torque curve to tractor your way forward. It’s unflappable and rock solid. If the G 310 GS is the hare, the Himalayan is the tortoise; patience is the name of the Himalayan’s game, and slow and steady wins in its world.
The spec chart (see below) tells much of the story: a 58-inch wheelbase that’s more than 2 inches longer than the BMW, a big 21-inch tube-type spoked front wheel, 26.5 degrees of rake (the Versys-X 300’s is a steep 24.3) and 431 pounds carried low under a softly-padded 31.5-inch seat that compresses to put the rider even closer to the ground. Despite the low seat, 6-foot-tall, 200-plus-pound Senior Editor Drevenstedt found the ergos quite comfy, and declared he’d ride it across the country anytime.
If you prize confidence and stability over quickness, the Himalayan is the bike for you. Its air-cooled single, fed by a simple fuel injection system (there is a fast idle switch on the left grip), churns out the most torque of the bunch and sounds pretty good doing it. It’s got its own brand of coolness as well; as our photographer commented, “It makes the other two look like toys.”
The best part? At $4,499, it undercuts the other two by $1,200—that’s a lot of dough to spend on accessories and gas for the adventures you’ll take it on.