The Royal Enfield Himalayan is a great bike - but what about the aftersales accessories?
We’re going to have a look at a couple of the more popular items here and work out whether they are worth getting directly from the manufacturer, plus some aftermarket options that could be equally suitable.
Royal Enfield Himalayan Offical Panniers
There are some – myself included – that feel an adventure bike ought to look like an adventure bike all the time. And part of any adventure bike’s essential wardrobe is a pair of panniers like these Lomo Dry Bags.
Many will also wear a top box, but for me, a pair of panniers offer a great carry capacity in their own right and also allow you more to be added by strapping a rollbag or other luggage across the top, forming a stable platform in the process.
Related: Triumph Tiger 900 luggage reviewed
There are many manufacturers of both hard and soft panniers to fit a variety of bikes, but one of the most inexpensive options for the Royal Enfield Himalayan come from Enfield itself. This pair of aluminium panniers are available in either silver or black as seen here and with the necessary mounting frames, costs just £569.99.
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That might seem like a lot of money but compare it with a sports-tourer from a Japanese manufacturer where plastic panniers and the mounting kit can easily add £1000 to the price of the bike...
Like the bike itself, the panniers and mounts are uncomplicated but effective. The frames bolt to the side of the bike. This requires the indicators to be relocated from the plastic bodywork to brackets on a new rear-light housing but other than that, it’s simple.
The frames are a basic, rectangular shape of tubular steel and the panniers fit with a mount point in each corner. The bottom two simply hook onto the frames, while the top two have swinging bars on the outside that are tightened from inside to hold them against the top of the frame. The panniers each have a lock on the clasp, and there are four lashing points on top of each to mount an additional kit or luggage.
The panniers hinge from one end and open from the other. Typically, the locking mechanism would be located at the rear to protect them from the weather. This means that they open forward and have a rough capacity of 30 litres each, based on their dimensions – the capacity is not published anywhere. The sides of the panniers are in 2mm aluminium and thicker material is used on the base – 2.6mm - for extra strength and protection if stood on the ground.
They are a decent size – 30-odd litre is a good capacity. Yet unlike many touring panniers, they open from the top, not the side. This may make loading a little more difficult, but it does mean that you don’t scatter the contents over the ground when you do open them.
Sadly, they are not big enough for a spare helmet, but I can get my usual commuting Alpinestars laptop rucksack in one pannier, and in the other, all manner of stuff; clothes for a day in the office, locks, chains, visor cleaning gear, luggage straps, spare visor. I could probably fit some sandwiches in there, even...
The published limits are fairly low, as they are on many bikes, to ensure stability. A warning sticker inside states no more than 5kg in each pannier (two-and-a-half bags of sugar or 2L bottles of water) and no more than 70mph on the road. You may… ahem… be able to carry quite a lot more than that in each pannier and perhaps… ahem… go a little quicker than that and notice no ill-effects whatsoever but clearly, that is your personal choice. Ahem…
Adding the panniers to the bare bike inevitably adds some width and indeed, they are slightly wider than the bars at the front – about 10mm on each side. But like a cat, if the bars go through a gap, then they almost certainly will too. This is generally fine, for example filtering between lanes in heavy traffic but you do need to be aware that there is extra width behind you before you go piling through waves of traffic or attempt to squeeze between narrow gaps while turning.
You’ll notice from the photos that the tops of the panniers appear to be almost perfectly in line with the luggage rack on the tock bike. Whether by design or coincidence, it does make a very stable platform to start loading additional luggage on.
In fact, I recently did a 420-mile two-day round trip with both panniers full and a 50-litre roll bag, also full, strapped across the back and with the exception of the fuel consumption (which was more down to motorways instead of rural lanes than load, I suspect) the bike felt virtually no different.
Admittedly I haven’t tried any other panniers, but I really like the genuine Enfield ones. They look the part, seem well made (although the hard-edged catches inevitably wear the paint on the mounting frames) and hold what I need them to for commuting or longer trips.
According to Enfield, they are not waterproof (the brand suggests optional drybags) but other than one washing incident, I haven’t had any water leaks and I’ve been through some horrific weather. They’re not cheap but then, no decent luggage is but I feel they are an investment worth making.
Add around 60 litres of luggage capacity
Look the part and appear well made
Easy to load and lockable
Catches wear mounting rails and may cause corrosion