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5 Essential Off-Road Upgrades for the Royal Enfield Himalayan

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With its 21” front wheel, capable suspension and sturdy off-road protection, the Royal Enfield Himalayan is ready to get off the beaten path right off the showroom floor. We’ve been riding our Himalayan long-term test bike for nearly a year now and have taken it places we never imagined we would go. As we’ve gotten it through tougher and tougher terrain, our confidence has grown to push its limits even further. From the sand dunes of Nevada to the rock-crawling jeep trails of Big Bear Lake and everything in between — the little Himalayan has proven it’s more than capable of hanging with the big boys.

Royal Enfield upgrades

But after putting thousands of hard miles on a $4,500 motorcycle, we were bound to see some chinks in the armor. Pretty much any new adventure bike needs a little help from the aftermarket to prep it for real adventures and the Himalayan is no different.


Here are five items we feel are essential upgrades for anyone that wants to spend significant time riding their Himalayan off-road. All of these upgrades will help improve the bike’s durability, but we were also careful to choose items that would blend well with the classic styling of the Himalayan.

Royal Enfield upgrades

Whether it be hitting a rock in a tip over or getting kicked when throwing a leg over the bike, stock turn signals typically don’t last very long. The original blinkers on the Himalayan held up well for the first few rides, but then they began to break one by one. A little Duct Tape held them together for awhile but we were in need of a more permanent solution.

Looking for a set of turn signals with higher durability, we came across the Tuff Lites from Extreme Dual Sport. It’s a small manufacturer but their off-road blinker design has been around for several years. They feature a flexible base that allows them to bend 90° in any direction and snap back to their original position. Tuff Lites use LEDs so they also draw less wattage from the electrical system. We chose the universal kit and just cut and spliced into original wiring. They worked right out of the box without requiring an additional relay and offer high visibility to fellow motorists. The rounded art-deco design is also a good style fit with the Himalayan.

Royal Enfield upgrades

The original mirrors on the Himalayan are actually not bad for OEM equipment. We took them on a few rides and never broke them. But experience has taught us that OEM mirrors are going to break sooner rather than later, so it’s better to be proactive.

DoubleTakes are some of the most popular dual sport mirrors on the market. If anything pushes on them stronger than the wind, two different hinge points allow them to bend out of the way. They can also be adjusted down out of the way in gnarly terrain. We went with a set of the original round Enduro Mirrors for a more stock appearance. The kit includes two mirrors, two long RAM arms, two RAM ball studs, and a single right-side reverse thread adapter (Yamaha Adapter). We had a set of these mirrors laying around that we’ve used on several different bikes through the years. They’ve been through tons of tree branch wacks and countless falls. We don’t want to find out what it would take to break these!

Royal Enfield upgrades

Any bike that goes off-road needs a good set of wrap-around handguards. They protect your hands from branches and your levers in a fall. It’s also nice to have a little extra wind protection on the highway for your hands. Unfortunately, the Himalayan doesn’t come with any hand guards.

Looking for a set of handguards, we were concerned about retaining the bike’s styling. We didn’t want to just bolt on a set of massive steel-braced moto guards. The Acerbis Rally Profile handguards offer a more subtle, streamlined appearance while still providing function protection. They are a full wrap-around design and are constructed of sturdy polypropylene. They aren’t metal braced but are strong enough to protect the levers in most falls. Their smaller design doesn’t look out of place on the Himalayan either. They are also affordable and come with a mounting kit for ⅞” or 1-⅛” handlebars.

Royal Enfield upgrades

Most parts on the Himalayan are pretty durable and can take a good amount of off-road abuse but the stock ⅞” handlebars are made of soft steel and bend fairly easily. Adding wrap-around handguards can put even more stress on them, and once they bend, it’s almost impossible to get them back to their original position. After bending the bars on a few different occasions, it was time for an upgrade.

We wanted strong 1-⅛” bars but didn’t want the additional expense (or modified appearance) of an adaptor kit for the larger bar diameter. So we checked around to see what stronger ⅞” handlebars were available. The Hybrid Bar from Mika Metals is an aluminum fat bar that is ⅞” at the clamp area but flares out to 1-⅛” diameter. They look just like any other tapered handlebars, they are incredibly strong, and no bar clamp adaptor is required. The Hybrid comes with a motocross-style cross bar but it can be removed if you want to retain a stock appearance. If you are not launching off doubles at the MX track, they are plenty strong without it. We also opted for the ‘CR High’ bar bend for roughly the same h as stock but with less sweep for more aggressive enduro ergos.

Royal Enfield upgrades

The Himalayan has been pretty reliable other than a few loose bolts and rattles, with the exception of the exhaust. Under the consistent stress of rough trail riding we’ve put the bike through, we noticed the stock muffler loosening from time to time. The exhaust system has only one attachment point at the silencer and another at motor’s exhaust port, so there isn’t a lot of support. Periodically, we would need to re-adjust and re-tighten the silencer to stop it from wiggling around. But eventually, that constant movement weakened the silencer hanger bracket. After thousands of miles of hard riding, we had our first failure on the Himalayan when the welds on the bracket gave way. We haven’t seen a pattern of complaints about this from other Himalayan riders online, but it is something we’d like to see Royal Enfield address.

Instead of going back to the stock exhaust, we looked for something lighter that would reduce stress on the system. GPR makes a nice slip-on muffler for the Himalayan that is quiet and weighs roughly half as much as the OEM unit. It’s handmade and Tig welded in Italy and features a removable dB killer. We opted for the satin black finish for an understated appearance, but they offer several different styles and colors to choose from. It sounds about as quiet as stock, and with the dB killer removed it has a nice growl. We can’t confirm if there’s any horsepower gain but it feels a little peppier. Any power boost is welcomed on the Himalayan and so far it’s holding on tight!

Other Himalayan Upgrades to Consider

Royal Enfield Himalayan upgrades

Tires: Most riders will think of tires when considering off-road upgrades, but we’ve been riding the Himalayan with the stock Pirelli MT60 tires and have found them to be grippy in most scenarios. They are a 70/30 (street/dirt) dual sport tread, which we typically wouldn’t expect to grip in difficult terrain. But the Himalayan’s lighter weight and tractable power combines for good traction. Only in deep sand were we wanting a little more aggressive tire. A more aggressive tread would be a welcome improvement but we wouldn’t say it’s absolutely necessary unless you are getting into a lot of mud or sand riding.

Skid Plate: The stock bash plate has good coverage in the front and underneath, but not much on the sides or for the exhaust. Even so, we put this bike through some serious rocky terrain and only put a few light dings in the header. The skid plate definitely took a beating and got uglied up, but it’s still hanging on tight and continues to protect. A skid plate with more coverage is worth considering for long-term durability in aggressive terrain but you could probably put this upgrade off for awhile.

Royal Enfield upgrades

Foot Pegs/Levers: The Himalayan’s foot pegs are decent sized but do sit lower than many adventure bikes, so they tend to clip a lot of rocks. We had several encounters with big rocks that would have snapped off lesser pegs. The Himalayan’s pegs took all those dingers in stride. They show wear and tear but are made of steel so you can bend them back into position with a little cajoling. Same goes for the gear shift and foot brake levers — they’ll bend but won’t snap easily and you can bend them back when they get out of whack. It’s likely to be more cost effective to wear out the OEM units and replace them with factory parts rather than immediately upgrading to expensive billet aluminum aftermarket parts.

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