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ADV Bikes5 Essential Off-Road Upgrades for the Royal Enfield Himalayan

5 Essential Off-Road Upgrades for the Royal Enfield Himalayan

What we’ve learned about the Himalayan pushing its limits for nearly a year.

Published on 01.07.2019

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.

1. Turn Signals

EDS Tuff Lites – $140

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.

2. Mirrors

Double Take Enduro – $101.00

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!

3. Handguards

Acerbis Rally Profile – $46.88

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.

4. Handlebars

Mika Metals Hybrid – $109.99

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 height as stock but with less sweep for more aggressive enduro ergos.

5. Exhaust

GPR Furore Nero – $323.00

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.

Author: Rob Dabney

Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Mexico, North Africa, Europe, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.

Author: Rob Dabney

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35 thoughts on “5 Essential Off-Road Upgrades for the Royal Enfield Himalayan

  1. Great article! Good suggestions, but where I live in Germany there would undoubtedly be some problems adding things like blinkers and the exhaust unless they were approved for use here. The inspectors aren’t the most flexible of folks!

    • Hi Eric.

      Not sure about any aftermarket options for levers. Your best bet is probably replacing with stock and then getting some hand guards to help prevent braking them in the future. Also, wrap the handle bar with a layer of plumbing tape under your master cylinder and clutch perches, then tighten just enough so they stay in place but not so much that they won’t slip to take up some of the force in a fall.

  2. I want to replace the front suspension completely… which one would you guys suggest . .I heard husquarna wp suspension is great fit …or would u suggest any other which fits perfect ….I need the triple clamp set up which might fit Himalayan

    • Not sure about that one. But you might be better off talking to a suspension shop that can upgrade the internals of the existing forks rather than trying to bolt on a set of forks that were not designed for this bike. Good luck with the project though!

  3. How did you get the Acerbis Rallys to fit/attach around the brake reservoir? I’m having a heck of a time.

      • Thanks for the reminder on the bar ends. There is a lot of vibration without them.

        Seriously, how did you get the stock mount past the brake reservoir? With the bar ends in place the inside mount bracket lines up directly in front of the line coming out of the brake res. Do you have any pics you could share?

        • We ran the steel brake line through the plastic bar clamp. There is a slot it fits into and Its pretty malleable plastic so it all fits together nicely. But it does limit your adjustment of the guard in relationship to the master cylinder.

            • I tried those but it’s impossible to have them fit on the right side they hit the visor and even the console. I don’t have bar-end weight and have the stock handlebar.

              • We haven’t tried these with the stock bars but try it with the bar-end weights installed and it should space the guards out a little more. Hopefully that will give you more room with the windshield.

              • So just so that everyone knows, my garage are morons. They removed the weight and tried to install without them. I trusted them but then I tried by myself and was able to install those properly without much problem on the stock bars. It’s just a bit tricky with the metal pipe of the brake liquid but they fit very well.

  4. This has been the most informative and thorough review of the Himalayan I’ve seen yet! I only came across it after taking a spill on mine and found myself needing to replace 3 of the 5 parts suggested in the article. It was too easy to click the link, add the items you suggested to my cart, pay for them and get them shipped! And boy was I glad to see that the handle bars I bent, turn signal I busted and mirror that I cracked were all parts suggested for replacement. It definitely made me feel better about breaking those items and for about $400 I should have all the parts I need to have a better bike than I started with!

    Thank you so much for making it this easy to get all the necessary information to purchase the suggested upgrades without too much fluff! You are great and I sincerely appreciate it!

    • Glad to hear this story was helpful for you Ron and thanks for the kind words! Hope to see you and your Himalayan out there on the road!

  5. This article is really helpful. Question about the Hybrid bar– I’m guessing you had no trouble fitting the controls on the wider OD bar? Any worries about snapping plastic? Also, do you have an opinion on how high one can go? Does there appear to be adequate slack in the cabling?

  6. Nothing about the shocks? They are the second thing to change after the awful and low seat. The back shock is way to soft and the front is also too slow and dives hard. It’s a cheap bike so worth spending a little. Anyone looked at this? Looks of spring kids around for it. Other than it’s a great bike for the money.

    • Not sure if you are expecting dirt bike level suspension from this bike but the forks and rear shock perform admirably at this price point. If you are a heavier rider or you carry heavy loads, it may feel undersprung. In that case, having the suspension tuned for your custom requirements would be well worth the investment. But for the average rider, it offers a pretty good suspension. If you are a taller rider or experienced off-road, a tall aftermarket seat would be a nice upgrade. But many riders who are going to be looking at this bike (e.g. entry level, smaller-statured riders) will find the lower seat height to be a bonus – especially for travelling. Looks like Seat Concept offers a tall seat (

  7. Great and helpful article! However, I noticed that you didn’t include any mention of additional guards for items like the rear master brake cylinder and reservoir, oil cooler, headlight, etc., i.e all the little knick-knacks that SRC has come up with to keep off-roaders from becoming stranded miles from the tarmac. Do you consider these unnecessary or just secondary upgrades?

    • Hi Carson. SRC makes nice stuff for the Himalayan. Those guards are not essential but also not unnecessary. “Secondary upgrades” is a good way to put it. Probably the engine guards and header guard would be the most important. If you’ve got the money to invest, it’s good insurance.

  8. What is your opinion about the Ohlins suspension for the Himalayan, will it lead to markedly improved handling, and, ride quality on road as well as off road.

    • Possibly, but it looks like the Ohlins fork and shock kits (FSK 144 and RE 907) are tuned for street riding. Not sure how much they would improve it off-road. Although, the damping adjustments on the shock would be nice. It’s a $1000 upgrade on an inexpensive bike so might think twice about it. The stock suspension is pretty good on the Himalayan for most situations, so consider sending it off to a shop to have it revalved and resprung if you are having specific problems with it. That could be a more cost effective way to get the result you are looking for.

  9. Based on the recommendation in the article, I bought the Mika handlebars (CR High bar – #918) for my 2019 Himma, but the bars do not have enough length on the ends to fit the grips and controls.

    The Mika bars taper up from 7/8″ to the 1-1/8″ diameter quite quickly, leaving the 7/8″ area nearly an inch short of the space needed for grips, controls, and mirrors.


    • Hi Tom. Sorry to hear you are having trouble with the bars. We did not have problems with the width of the controls on the Mika Metals #918 bar. Not sure if something changed with the controls from 2018 to 2019, or with the handlebar possibly. But here’s a picture of our setup:

    • Hi Jennifer,
      I bought boots with a big shoe and then elevator inserts. With them the bike is a dream boat, without it would be a nightmare.

  10. Jennifer, the German company Matisse is making a lowering set with new drop links for 200,- € … goes down 40 mm. But I would recommend to start with the seat and take some foam of than loosing ground clearance!

  11. I was wondering if you had to make any mods to the windshield or any of the brake lines/clutch lines on the handlebars to make the Acerbis hand guards fit? they just simply dont fit on my Himalayan. They also dont allow the handlebars to full turn because they hit the windshield.

  12. Front fork springs from Norman Hyde, K Tech and hitchcocks- all need some feedback for those looking at making the ride a little more cofortable.


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