Considering buying a Himalayan, thoughts appreciated

Aitrus

Getting there...
Location
NW USA
New guy here in the Pacific Northwest of the US. I'm looking for some feedback from some experienced Himalayan owners - preferably ones with more traditional cruiser experience if possible.

I currently own a 2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT. I've had it since my military retirement in 2018 (a present from my wife - I'm a very lucky man!). I'm 90% happy with it, but I can't do everything I want to with it. I ride back and forth to work and take the occasional weekend 200-400 mile cruise. Once a year I'll do a 1,500+ mile trip, mostly on back roads / two-lane blacktop. I avoid the interstates when I can and like cruising around 60mph or so at the most. I also like to go camping, usually by accessing off-the-beaten paths via fire roads, dirt tracks, etc, but I can't do that too well with my Vulcan. It's possible on gravel roads, but not practical.

I live in Washington near the Idaho border, and my bike works well here - as long as I can park it in the garage during the off season or if rain is in the forecast. I have a prospective job offer in Georgia, and have some weird logistics to work out with the bike. One solution is to move first and leave the bike in storage, then fly back and road trip the bike from Washington to Georgia. An attractive option to be sure.

Another possible solution is to sell the Vulcan and buy something else in Georgia. Here are some decision points I'm thinking about that are making me lean towards a Himalayan as the new - and only - ride.

- In Georgia it's possible to ride year-round (or nearly so) to work, but with all the rain I'll need something that's more weather-proof than my current ride. Parking the bike outside is also likely. My breaking point for deciding if it's too cold to ride is 35 degrees. If there's a chance of icy roads I won't risk a ride, but otherwise I try to ride whenever possible.
- On long distance cruises I avoid interstate highways when possible and stick to country roads. Curvy two-lane blacktop at 45-60 mph, planning the route through small towns and beautiful countryside - that's the kind of long distance multi-day ride I enjoy most.
- I like to go camping a lot, but don't like established campgrounds where I have to pay a fee to enjoy nature. I like taking fire roads and trails into hidden places for camping, but I don't do a lot of "adventure riding" in the sense of striking out over areas with no roads, no trails, and rough terrain.
- I have zero experience on dirt bikes, hill jumping, track racing (either dirt or pavement), etc. I have no desire for getting such experience, so I don't need a bike designed for those things.
- I don't mind doing my own maintenance, so something that is wrencher-friendly is a plus.
- I'm 5'9" with a 30" inseam, so a towering BMW is not in the cards for me. I like being able to put my feet down at stoplights.
- I'm frugal by nature, so a high-priced ride isn't ideal, but I prioritize reliability quite a bit. Something of good quality that's reliable for a reasonable price under $10,000 is what I'm aiming for. No need to pay for engine displacement or sparkly farkles that I won't ever use.
- I like a classic look, either classic cruiser or a WWII-era "jack of all trades, master of none" kind of motorcycle. To me, the Himalayan has an attractive look that would fit right in on an Indiana Jones movie set.
- As a kid I grew up riding a Big Red 250 three-wheeler and a Honda PA50 moped (we called it our "Hardly a Davidson"). Both of those were single cylinder engines, so the thump of the Himalayan's single is welcome to my ears.

All of these things are what lead me toward the Himalayan, which seems like a solid jack-of-all-trades kind of motorcycle. I've watched a lot of reviews on the bike, and have particularly enjoyed Ol' Man Ronin's channel. And I've watched Itchyboots, of course. I'm looking forward to the day that FortNine finally does a review on it - if he can ever get his hands on one.

So some questions I have for the audience:

- Is this bike a good daily rider for commuting purposes over local non-Interstate streets?
- Is this bike good for multi-day cruising on two-lane roads where a traditional cruiser tends to shine?
- Is this bike easy to work on for an average do-it-yourself rider? Meaning, somebody who's not a novice and can change his own friggin' oil and bolt on parts when modifying the ride to suit, but who's not capable of doing an engine rebuild.
- Does this bike handle long periods of wet weather well? I read that it's become a popular ride in the UK which has me thinking it handles rain well, but I haven't found any long-term owner reports on this aspect of the machine. The only negative is an occasional report of condensation in the speedometer case.
- What are common issues and complaints about the bike? Any recurring or common mechanical issues to be aware of?
- What are common improvements made to the bike? For example, on the Vulcan 900: a lot of riders put on bigger rear tires and front and/or rear pulleys (more or fewer teeth) to get lower revs / less vibration at highway speeds; a lot will do some amount of debaffle work to deepen the tone of the machine; etc.
- I've seen reports of both a 450 and 650 version of the Himalayan in the works. Any truth to the rumors?
- If the Himalayan isn't for me, what other rides do you suggest I look at?

Thanks for taking the time to read, as well as for responding (for those that choose to do so).
 

johnny42

Well travelled
Location
NY State
Test ride one if you can. I'm pretty sure the bike will do all the things you're asking of it. Some report the seat becomes uncomfortable after x-amount of time in the saddle.

The most common farkles are hand guards and factory panniers.

If the test ride doesn't result in a huge grin, you may need to reconsider.
 

Bluestrom13

Well travelled
Location
UK
Hi, and welcome.
I am a UK rider. Owned my bike 6 months, done 5K miles in 5 of those months. Friend has 14K in 12 months. No chrome to rust. Paintwork and engine lacquer stand up well.
Performance. Don't expect alot of speed and you will not be disappointed. Run in carefully, the old fashioned way, you will have a bike that WILL do 80mph, but is far happier
at 55 to 65 mph. Mine returns between 80 and 90 UK mpg. We service our own machines - easy.
I have the RE Touring seat,(£75), which gives 200 mile comfort. Soft bags front and rear give plenty of carrying capacity.

460 kit is available from Hitchcocks. Performance cam (sometimes) available from TEC. 650 version available 2024??
UK roads suit the Himalayan. I don't do much motorway work. A regular 20 mile stretch is OK, maintaining position in the flow, but not kind to the bike all day.
If the Himmy sounds a little underwhelming, then a Suzuki V-Strom should do the trick. (650 is well adequate speed-wise, and returns mega mpg).
 

Napom

Well travelled
Location
Northern VA
While I've only had my Himmie for a month and a half and logged 1,300 miles, I was in your shoes for a long time. A long time, avid cruiser/tour rider, I still love riding my Voyager 1700, and hope to have her for another 100,000 miles. That being said, I am totally stoked with the Himmie. I look forward to extending my rides down those roads I notice when on the Voyager, you know those roads, I'm sure you've seen them from your Vulcan too, the ones where the pavement ends or is non-existent, and you wonder what adventure lies down them. I am now finding out and learning more about this area where I have lived for 28 years . . . I am looking forward to more of that, and taking Jipci down the Dragon and to my buddy's in North West Gerogia as I head down there looking for my retirement property.

My advise - If you don't need to sell the Vulcan, don't. Take that ride across the country - There are amazing roads between Washington and Georgia! Use the Vulcan for what she was designed, and the Himmie, or whatever dual sport/adventure bike you decide on for the really exploring. FWIW, a bike that was seriously in contention for me was the Benelli TRK-502X. It is another relatively inexpensive adventure bike - I never got to test ride one though, and didn't get over the fact that, especially during this Corona craziness, it is made in China. They are making a bigger version of that bike too . . . What can I say - I like having a bike that's not a "Me too" bike. Does that mean I'm anti Harley? No, but I bought my Voyager because I got so much for a lot less. Am I anti GS/KTM/Africa/Tenere? No, but there are more good adventure bikes out there for less $$ leaving me more $$ to mod and ride.

I'm not saying that the Himmie is even in the same class as any of those bikes, but short of running Dakar, most of us will go places on our Himmies right along with folks who pay 4 times the price for their electronic wonders . . .
 
A back catalogue of high and low speed 2 strokes, big 4 strokes and 170 mph Kawasaki and Suzuki space ships.
Love my Himma .... but
In 3 years and 10,000 miles i’ve had to pay for new head set bearings and an engine temp sensor, tyres are just barely legal , which is good, and the chain and sprockets are in good fettle due to being squirted with chain lube before most rides and never riding off road.
The brake callipers have been replaced twice on warranty and the rear master cylinder once.
After 2 years of whining to RE about water in the clocks my dealers, Manhattan of Sheffield, supplied me with a free set ... top chaps.
It’s off for a set of Pirelli Scorpions next week ... as close to a matched pair of road tyres i can find.

Would i buy one again .... 100% ....
Love it.

If i’m riding off road it’s because i’ve crashed !! :D
 

Aitrus

Getting there...
Location
NW USA
Interesting feedback, guys. Much appreciated.

Napom, your perspective here - as well in your New Member post - gives me a lot more food for thought. I'm leaning towards selling the Vulcan (would love to keep her, but it's probably not in the cards) and giving the Himi a shot. I'll see if I can find one to test ride this coming spring before I sell the Vucan, just in case.
 

VStarRider

Finally made it
Your riding sounds very similar to mine - just swap out the Vulcan with a Gold Wing, and camping with hotels. The questions I can answer are in red:

So some questions I have for the audience:

- Is this bike a good daily rider for commuting purposes over local non-Interstate streets?
Yes.
- Is this bike good for multi-day cruising on two-lane roads where a traditional cruiser tends to shine?
Yes - ideal in fact. I expected a single to generate at least some vibration and noise - it is surprisingly smooth and quiet at 60 mph, and other speeds. Very little vibration. This bike is very easy to handle and maneuverable. It is slow, but it has enough pep while accelerating to easily and safely accelerate with and ahead of traffic. Mine has 450 miles on it, and is loosening up a bit and it has a nice little torquey shove right around 3500-4500 rpm. The upside of slow acceleration is taking the time to smell the roses, and make the ride more stress-free.
- Is this bike easy to work on for an average do-it-yourself rider? Meaning, somebody who's not a novice and can change his own friggin' oil and bolt on parts when modifying the ride to suit, but who's not capable of doing an engine rebuild.
I have not done any maintenance yet, but the oil change and wheel removal look pretty simple. These bikes require more maintenance than my GW. Everything is very accessible.
- Does this bike handle long periods of wet weather well? I read that it's become a popular ride in the UK which has me thinking it handles rain well, but I haven't found any long-term owner reports on this aspect of the machine. The only negative is an occasional report of condensation in the speedometer case.
Don't know.
- What are common issues and complaints about the bike? Any recurring or common mechanical issues to be aware of?
I have nothing to offer beyond what others may contribute. The bike feels pretty well put together for the price.
- What are common improvements made to the bike? For example, on the Vulcan 900: a lot of riders put on bigger rear tires and front and/or rear pulleys (more or fewer teeth) to get lower revs / less vibration at highway speeds; a lot will do some amount of debaffle work to deepen the tone of the machine; etc.
- I've seen reports of both a 450 and 650 version of the Himalayan in the works. Any truth to the rumors?
Prolly true, but I don't know anymore than the next jackass.
- If the Himalayan isn't for me, what other rides do you suggest I look at?
I cannot say for sure, but I can share the bikes I would be looking at if I didn't buy the Himmy ... Kawasaki KLR 650, Versys 650, Suzuki VStrom 650, Honda CB500X.

Thanks for taking the time to read, as well as for responding (for those that choose to do so).
 

kwj23452

Well travelled
I bought my 2018 on 1 Nov 2021. Flew to Dallas from KC to buy her. She had 351 miles on the clock, she now has 3500 miles. From Dallas, I put 550 miles on her using the slowest highways, Oklahoma red dirt and gravel roads, and other two-lane roads. I had over four hours of rain, some at night, and 40-degree weather. On that ride, she didn't burp, belch, snort, fart, or any other such nasty endeavors at all! She went forward, left, right, and stopped when I wanted her to. I kept it below 5K rpm as much as possible and put gas in her, nothing more. I've since ridden on the same types of roads within 100 miles of my house in KC. The lowest temp was about 25 degrees, but clear roads. I did my first oil change and it was so simple, I screwed it up (added too much oil because reading is for girls). I've read through a lot of posts here and other places online, and you won't find a simpler bike, for what you want, to work on. You can add crap to it until the cows come home, and as long as you're solo, you'll be hard-pressed to overload her. I too road bikes that were either old school, some that were fast, and a Barco lounger GW. Retired Navy in '01.
There's me and what I've done so far on her.
IMHO, What not to do:
1. Buy it to go anywhere fast.
2. Ride it without paying attention (like any bike) because the brakes will not stop you in a flash.
3. Buy it to load down and go two up.
If you're looking to live the life of leisure in the slow lane on two wheels, stop looking and start buying. You found your bike. Super easy to ride, tons of fun, and you're going to have a hard time screwing her up. Whether your an idiot (like me by adding too much oil on the first oil change) or you want to expand your horizons and do some more dirt time (where you WILL eventually drop her), you can't screw it up. It's a simple machine that is fun and parts are cheap by comparison. (If you're not sure about that, just plug part "x" into your google search under different manufacturers and see for yourself).
Sooo, I just put all that in there to say, you're probably overthinking this thing. Buy one brand new for under $5500 or buy one used between $4K to $5K. If you find out I'm full of crap, sell it for about what you paid for it!
If you're wanting to consider something else, it's gonna cost you. And I'm not sure you sound like the kind of guy that wants to put out twice as much money on a hunch. Buy your Hima, knock the rust off your riding skills, determine if life is better with her in it, then divorce her if that's not the case and find you a money-grubbing new two-wheel bride!
Thanks for your inquiry, good luck with your decision, stay safe, and ride on my friend! Oh yeah, congrats on becoming a "silly-vilian" again! :cool:
 

Aitrus

Getting there...
Location
NW USA
VStarRider / kwj / johnny42 - thanks for the comments and thoughts. I think you're right - this is the bike for me. Really looking forward to getting it after I make the move to Georgia (date still yet TBD).

Enjoy the ride, my friends.

4095
 

Kiwiscoot

Well travelled
Ok I have done 30 000 kms on my 2018 Himalayan from new. I have had no issues at all. I do my maintenance myself, easy and simple. Did an oil and filter change in 15 minutes at a leisurely pace just before this ride last weekend.

This bike really does what is "stated on the box", here is a video of my first trip in 2018, a multiday trip on some remote back country trails. Even dropped it in a river crossing, but it started up straight away. And I came from road bikes.
 

madbiker

Well travelled
Location
United Kingdom
Hi Aitrus.

I have owned my Himalayan for about 2 and one half years now. I have done over 28,000 miles (43,000 km) on it. It will easily meet all of the requirements that you specified in your initial post. One of the things that I found is that the rear suspension and sprocket carrier bearing need to be looked at regularly if riding in wet weather as if they are not kept well greased water can get in them causing wear, especially if the bike is usually washed with a power hose.

Other than that, regular maintenance is a doddle for a basic mechanic, tyre choice is a personal preference. Only had one real issue where the engine seized but that seems to have been a fluke rather than a design or maintenance issue.

Its a heavy, rugged, low powered bike that will go most places that you take it. A bit like a two wheeled equivalent of a Land Rover.
One last point, and others have touched on it here, the standard steering head bearings fitted to the bike are not the best and even with stripping down and re-greasing as I did at 3,000 miles, I have now replaced mine at 28,500 miles.
 
Hi Aitrus.

I have owned my Himalayan for about 2 and one half years now. I have done over 28,000 miles (43,000 km) on it. It will easily meet all of the requirements that you specified in your initial post. One of the things that I found is that the rear suspension and sprocket carrier bearing need to be looked at regularly if riding in wet weather as if they are not kept well greased water can get in them causing wear, especially if the bike is usually washed with a power hose.

Other than that, regular maintenance is a doddle for a basic mechanic, tyre choice is a personal preference. Only had one real issue where the engine seized but that seems to have been a fluke rather than a design or maintenance issue.

Its a heavy, rugged, low powered bike that will go most places that you take it. A bit like a two wheeled equivalent of a Land Rover.
One last point, and others have touched on it here, the standard steering head bearings fitted to the bike are not the best and even with stripping down and re-greasing as I did at 3,000 miles, I have now replaced mine at 28,500 miles.
Respect ... i’ve just hit 11000 miles ...At what milage did you change the chain and sprockets ..?
 

Roy Gavin

Well travelled
Yep , just replaced the chain and sprockets and the sprocket carrier bearing was shot.
The size 6005 is in the parts list , but not the grade, which is C3.
Seal size is 47 X 31 X 7 which is not in the list.
Bearing was tight in the carrier and comes out and is replaced a lot easier with the carrier hot, around boiling point is sufficient.
Mine looked to have been turning on the spacer so I used a bit Loctite bearing fit and on the sprocket nuts too.
 

Morgan60

Well travelled
Location
NW USA
Aitrus,
I’m a long distance rider and have several Cruisers in my stable. The Himmy is really a great bike and my 2018 never fails to put a smile on my face every time I take it out. The longest one day ride on it was 650 miles. I was a bit tired coming off of it at the end of the day but I had no pain anywhere. I’m also in my med 60s in age. And yes I would buy one again with out hesitation.
 

madbiker

Well travelled
Location
United Kingdom
Respect ... i’ve just hit 11000 miles ...At what milage did you change the chain and sprockets ..?
Hi Landsurfer. I ditched the OEM chain at 16,000 as it was completely knackered. I put on a 525DID X Ring (I know, bigger and heavier than standard) but I have not had to adjust it once since fitting. Sprockets are still OEM and still good. When I get around to upgrading the camshaft I shall put on a new 16 tooth gearbox sprocket. I use a Scottoiler so that's why they are still serviceable without a lot of wear.
 

Kiwiscoot

Well travelled
Second the DID525X chain. Got 15000 kms from factory chain with a Tutoro auto oiler because the link was not greased by the factory. Had to adjust the factory chain a few times. This DID chain has needed no adjustments for the entire 15 000kms. Well worth it.
 

Bluestrom13

Well travelled
Location
UK
Hitchcocks sell JT brand X-Link. Had same make on my V-Strom with absolutely no complaints.(Used a Scottoiler).
It's actually cheaper than RE own brand from them.
Using a "Loobman" oiler (£22) on my still standard chain, 6000 miles, no adjustment required (Yet!!!).
 
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