2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 (Australian launch)

It all started with a phone call, to see if we wanted to head to Melbourne and spend three days riding in the high country for the Australian launch of the 2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450. It seemed an offer to good to refuse.

Fast forward two weeks and after a marathon effort, including two broken gear bags and a late night meltdown, we jumped a plane to our destination, for our first look at the new Himalayan on local soil.

Redesigned from the ground up, and featuring Royal Enfield’s first liquid cooled powerplant, in the form of the new 452cc Sherpa engine, which produces 29.5kW of power and 40Nm of torque.

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Having got our first taste of the new bike in the actual Himalayas, it was now time to throw a leg over what would become our best mate for three days of fun in country Victoria. We were immediately struck by the low seat height.

What also surprised was its neutral weight distribution and light feel (given it’s just shy of being a 200kg bike). And so the journey began, in the presence of one of the most humble, easy to ride with blokes we’ve ever met, multiple Isle of Mann winner Cam Donald.

2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450
2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450

The bike accomplishes two things very well, in that it’s well balanced and compliant, while offering access to the whole torque curve, across all the gears – with no flat spots or surges. Perfect for new riders, it offers a relaxed rider triangle and predictable handling.

Day one was described by our hosts as a transport section; a road to a new destination, if you will. On the road, this writer was reminded just how long it’s been since he’s ridden anything less than a 1000cc motorcycle.

We rode with the knowledge that the sweet spot for this bike is between 5,000 and 7,000rpm, thanks to Royal Enfield chief of design Mark Wells. You won’t be picking off sports bikes or scratching the plastic off your knees, but it gets up and moves in this zone.

An indicated speed well north of the speed limit was seen by someone, but we’ll pretend it wasn’t us. That aside, by the end of the initial ride, we did find ourselves with some soreness in the family area (if you catch our drift).

If it was our bike, we’d fit the accessory touring seat without a moments thought. The safety of one’s plums are worth the investment every day of the week. But our hosts had a surprise up their sleeves; a 15km dirt ride through a water crossing, with hills.

2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450
2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450

The moment we touched the gravel we were in love. The front end of the Himalayan is so confidence inspiring we found ourselves hanging off the high side with lots of counter steer, pushing the back out into controlled power slides, and of course grinning maniacally.

Chasing down Cam Donald at 100km/h, the bike feels poised and unshakeable (trust us, we tried to break it), with even the most ham-fisted inputs translated to nothing worse than a desire to push it harder.

An annoyingly placed corner gave us access to our first single trail of the trip, and a hill start. Completely unfazed, the little engine in the Himalayan 450 simply chugged away as we made it to our final destination for the day.

Royal Enfield’s goal was to build a bike that was capable but not intimidating. With improved power over its predecessor, better performance, and a smooth and light
action cable clutch, they’ve certainly achieved that.

With its new tripper dash providing turn by turn navigation, phone connectivity, and the ability to control music for your next adventure, you essentially have everything you need right in front of you.

2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450
2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450

Day two dawned, bitterly cold, with a friendly reminder that scotch hits different at altitude. With that knowledge stored for later, we geared up for what we were told would be an epic day of off road riding.

The bike didn’t disappoint, and we found ourselves testing the 2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 well outside its design brief, and at pace. Making use of the 21-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels, the slim tank and seat helped get our feet down in the dirt.

With increased ground clearance of 230mm and long travel suspension, including a new Showa upside down fork, the new Himalayan was able to tackle the tougher terrain we were encountering, with ease.

As an aside, we’ve got to say, after a day that included a stop at the hut made famous by the Man From Snowy River, and with more hill climbs, epic views and river crossings than you could ask for, we recommend you put the Victorian high country on your bucket list.

The good news out of all this is that the Himalayan stood up to everything. Yes, some mirrors may have been broken, and a bar or two might have been bent, but the absolute toughness of the bike was on show in a true test of its stamina and ability.

2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450
2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450

It’s the most fun we’ve had on a bike in years. There is a real purity in riding by the seat of your pants, with only your inputs controlling the bike. When you do that in a place that offers sensationally diverse riding conditions, it’s hard not to have a saw jaw from grinning.

From hills that never end to lush river valleys and water crossings, ready to wash your boots and helmet if you get it wrong, it was all on offer. Exhausted, we crawled into bed before day three, which took us on a quick run up Mount Bulla.

Another surprise, in the form of an opportunity for to tackle a ski slope. Dropping into the blue run on road tyres felt like a rollercoaster ride, and we fought hard not to look at what can only be described as an earthshakingly beautiful view while descending.

The Himalayan 450 again impressed us with its light, precise handling, punching well above its price point. Although there is no adjustment on the front and only preload on the rear, the suspension again took everything we could throw at it.

Fuel economy was also very impressive, in a package that’s mostly hard to fault. The seat, as we mentioned earlier, is hard to love, and yours truly is sure someone was making him atone for past sins.

2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450
2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450

The mirrors vibrate, and if you’re going to get super serious about taking it off road, you may want to consider a set of beefier bars, although the factory fitted option suit their purpose, especially on the tarmac.

Royal Enfield has knocked it out of the park with the new Himalayan 450, and new and returning riders looking for a cost efficient bike to get out and explore all roads or none, should certainly have this bike on their shopping list.

Priced from $8,990 as a special introductory offer, the 2024 Himalayan 450 is available in Kaza Brown, Slate Salt, Slate Poppy Blue and Hanle Black. You can find out more by visiting the Royal Enfield website, or by talking to your local dealership.

Our test bikes were provided by Royal Enfield as part of the Australia and New Zealand media launch. Pictures courtesy of Tom Fossati.

Rob Buckworth
Rob Buckworth
Rob started his two wheel adventure at the tender age of five. With a deep love for hitting the trails, he is happy to climb aboard anything and give it a crack.


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