Himalayan 450 & 411 go on a trip: KTM 390 ADV owner shares observations


Will I trade my KTM Adv 390 for this? Well yes, if someone offers a flat exchange.

BHPian Jaggu recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

So after a long wait, I finally got my hands on the New Himalayan Sherpa over the weekend. Thanks to ex-mod Khan_Sultan who has picked up one, so along with his Gen 1 Himalayan we did a ride of Uttarakhand hills. Starting from Noida > Abbott Mount > Munsiyari > Almora > Noida. This gave a good mix of all terrains and roads that one would encounter during ownership. These are my notes and the easiest comparison would be with the 390 Adv I own, comparing it to the GSA 1200 (my other bike) would be unfair I guess.

Chassis and handling

This is one area where the bike has really trumped the cards, compared to the old bike, the new Sherpa is leagues apart. Though the bike may feel top-heavy (which it is), it is just a brilliant handler. Almost as nimble as the KTM, but more mature Vs the hooligan nature of the KTM. Personally, I prefer this, slightly heavier feel which gives it a big bike feel. Yes, it will need a little more effort during prolonged curve carving but what a bike! I would give 8.5/10 for this. Even in city use the handling is very friendly as long as you are moving. The larger size of the bike helps with longer visibility and respect from other fellow commuters.

Suspension

Again one of the good things, it’s sprung on the stiffer side but kind of takes on any kind of terrain without a fuzz. The bike was running slightly higher pressure since Khan had done a tubeless conversion and wanted to put some buffer during the testing phase. Still, it was pretty good, though at higher highway speeds bike did float a bit, just like the KTM’s. Crosswinds were high, so I really can’t blame the bike, plus higher pressure. All day sitting at 100-120 Kmph should be a breeze for this suspension.

Brakes

Look Ma I finally have brakes! We were swapping bikes and moving from new to old Himalayan is outright scary. The new one brakes on the dot, very precise. Add rear brakes and it can be quite grabby also for those emergency stops. Fortunately, we did not have any panic brake situations, but am sure they will work just fine. Regarding the feel of the brakes I would rate the New Himalayan better than the KTM Adv 390.

Engine & Gearbox

This is one major upgrade, but honestly apart from the power I was not really impressed. The said bike has upgrades done that include 1) Fuel X piggy back 2) exhaust expansion box delete on stock end can and 3) free flow air filter. These mods are 100% recommended!

Stock map (at setting 3) bike feels vibe like hell, left pegs vibrate more than the right, so it is not even vibed lol. Even a 20-30 kms on the stock map was downright irritating on the plains. Move the setting to 8 and the bike just transforms, not only does the initial response improve by two fold, but the vibes reduce to a very very acceptable level. I think it is the new BS6 norms that are the culprit here. If they sort this, the engine would be a lovely one. Mind you, it is not a high-revving 12k rpm motor like KTM. Just let the revs goto about 6-7 k RPM and work through that smooth gearbox for a fun-filled ride. People who are used to Gen 1 Himalayan gearbox would take some good time to get used to the nature of the new 6-speed box. One has to really work it and keep the engine in the right revs to have some good pace.

Side stand

Yes, this needs a special mention under the flops! Thanks to the design of the central stand and placement, the side stand is weirdly bent. It looks cool, but the bike ends up being too low on the side. Add the top-heavy nature, and the bike is a real pain in the arsu, rather than legs and hands to lift up. If there is a slight incline to the left, then you are done! with some luggage on top, well you can dial a friend for help. One of the worst designs one can have on a touring bike. Khan is contemplating removing the central stand and designing a longer more upright side stand, which is the level of pain. For me being used to the big fat cow, could manage. But trust me if you are of small build and for fellow lady riders, this could be a real downer while making the purchase decision.

Rider fitting

Royal Enfield really needs to learn here. This bike has a riser fitted so the handlebars were kinda sorted. But hello if you need to adjust the switch gear to sync up with new handlebar position or even lever positions, you can’t! The switch gear has a small plastic locator stub, that goes into a corresponding hole at the bar end. Smart Alecs in RE never thought that people actually need to adjust levers and switch gears for comfort and safety. Yes, one can file off the plastic stub and then tighten the switch console back while adding some 3M tape, but how lame can this be??!!

Next is the gear lever, the lever end is almost 1/4 inch taller than foot pegs (with rubber), with riding boots one has to lift legs and kick the lever down More impressive is the way in which the lever is attached to the shifter rod. The adjustment is as old school as it can be, one has to remove the whole pedal off the splines and reinsert it. Which is fine, but once you remove the bolt the lever just refuses to come out. You will need a lever or thick screwdriver to be shown inside the clamp side and spread the hole to get it off. We did not have this, so had to put back the bolt and ride on with that awkwardly positioned lever. Compared to this the old Himalayan has a nice adjustable link which can be used to set the lever position by undoing the bolt with an open 10 mm spanner!

Seats though they are firm (my liking), are not comfortable over long rides. Not even as comfy as the bare bench 390 adv. The reason being 1) the seat is tilted and one will land up sliding down. 2) The bigger issue, the rear part of the front seat which is wide and where your bum should be… the scoop of the plastic base pokes the bum hard exactly there. The cushion just doesn’t have any place to flex and the plastic eventually leaves its mark on your bum. This can be fixed by a good seat guy, and Khan is planning for something.

Overall verdict

I loved it minus the engine! but what Khan has done has kinda made it good. This can be a good one-bike solution for 200-400km/day touring and city use. I would not dare say, it can compete with 800 to 1200 cc bikes, that would be just Khayali pulao (wishful thinking), but is a good “read economical” alternative… if you don’t want to spend a fortune, procuring even preowned big bikes that cost more.

Is it a KTM Adv killer? Not really, coz the character is very different. This bike may not really be to the liking of younger or a real fast rider if you ask me. KTM is much more refined and polished overall and a hoot to ride.

Will I trade my KTM Adv 390 for this? Well yes if someone offers a flat exchange to my bike with this. But I will definitely get those tweaks copied from Khan’s bike.

PS: A big thanks to Khan_Sultan for letting me ride this beauty and his old Himalayan! Love you bro and this was yet another awesome ride.

Classic example of side stand, the old Himalayan wouldn’t park proper at this incline if it’s facing the other way around like Sherpa. Which is the way it should be. Where as Sherpa nicely sitting down even with raised road bank on that side. Also to lock the steering to opp side to lift the bike off, you will need some serious muscle thanks to the front and top heaviness of the bike.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.





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