find out who wins the top spot

It might have taken a long period of time, but finally, Royal Enfield has come up with an all new generation motorcycle which completely deciphers the pre-conceived notions attached with Royal Enfields. With the Himalayan, Royal Enfield has carved out a very niche segment of motorcycles, which is indeed a special and exclusive one, yet is the most practical one for the Indian conditions – that of adventure tourers. The segment which was restricted only in the higher end segments with Triumph and BMW Motorrad being the only major players has now become much more accessible, affordable and practical with the Royal Enfield Himalayan.

The Royal Enfield Himalayan is a much more refined and practical motorcycle to live with when compared to the other Royal Enfield motorcycles. It is a motorcycle which promises a lot with its ability of off-road as well as long distance touring, without compromising on the daily duties as well. It indeed is a one-of-its-kind motorcycles currently in the price band to which it belongs right now, but then, some of its attributes are being shared with some other motorcycles. Here in question is the ability of touring, which are already being accomplished by two other motorcycles in its class (apart from the entire Royal Enfield lineup, which will not be discussed here) – Mahindra Mojo and CBR 250R.

Last year, Mahindra did finally put up an end to all the anticipations and doubts revolving around its Mojo project, by launching the much awaited Mojo, which has received rave reviews for its mechanical prowess and long distance touring abilities. Not to forget the Honda CBR 250R, the only fully faired sports tourer in this price, which was the first motorcycle in this price bracket to trigger the want of touring motorcycles with its punchy and refined engine as well as comfortable ergonomics.

In this story, we are going to compare the Royal Enfield Himalayan, Mahindra Mojo and CBR 250R, and find out which motorcycle emerges out to be the best of all the worlds, with the touring abilities being the topmost priority. Here we go:-

STYLING

Comparison – Royal Enfield Himalayan vs Mahindra Mojo vs Honda CBR 250R Exterior
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Comparison – Royal Enfield Himalayan vs Mahindra Mojo vs Honda CBR 250R Exterior
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Comparison – Royal Enfield Himalayan vs Mahindra Mojo vs Honda CBR 250R Exterior
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Adventure motorcycles have never been known for their looks, but what they are designed for is the amount of practicality they can squeeze out at most. Same can be said about the Royal Enfield Himalayan – this particular motorcycle is not at all for those buyers who want a snazzy and sharp looking motorcycle. But then, the Himalayan proves its functionality with its simple yet a thoughtful design. Take for instance its tall stance from the front with the windshield sitting atop the headlamp, the nicely designed fuel tank with thoughtfully designed knee recesses to make the rider comfortable when standing while riding, the jerry can holders around the fuel tank and the rear platform for providing mounts for panniers – each and every bit on the Himalayan has been designed for some purpose. The motorcycle is well kitted too, and comes with proper off-road tyres, spoke wheels, LED tail lamp, disc brakes at both ends, mono-shock (first for a Royal Enfield) and part digital meters, which are the most comprehensive ones in this segment and also get a digital compass. In short, the Royal Enfield Himalayan may not have been designed for winning beauty contests, but then, its bare bones design is indeed a practical one.

Mahindra shocked everyone when it previewed the Mojo for the very first time during the Auto Expo 2012. The concept bike, which was a mixed bag of design cues, looked like a blend of so many confused ideas. Thankfully, Mahindra refined the design of the motorcycle for the production model, which though still remains a bit quirky when compared to the competition. Though for its size and price point, the Mahindra Mojo looks quite suitable and fits the bill of a large sport tourer. The design bits, such as dual round headlamps, large 21 liter fuel tank and dual golden ribs below the fuel tank surely manage to give the Mojo a very unique identity. The Mojo is also the only bike in this segment to come with daytime LED lamps and twin exhausts, which further raise its uniqueness. The fuss-free design of the rear section of the bike though looks a bit pale and Mahindra could have made it a bit more aggressive. Nevertheless, with a promising big bike feel and top notch build quality, the Mojo is a huge leap going by the standards and mettle of Mahindra as a new manufacturer which restricted itself till date an entry level bike maker.

Coming to the Honda CBR 250R, the quarter liter Honda is the only faired sport tourer in this segment, which adds in few special brownie points towards its favor, considering the obsession of faired motorcycles among the motorcycle enthusiasts in the country. Though the VFR-inspired bodywork is less aggressive as what the actual big CBRs look like. Also, the now five year old design of the motorcycle, which hasn’t gone any significant change till date, now looks a bit pale when compared to the fresh competition and loses on the factor of novelty. The CBR 250R, though, has a proper big bike stance one would demand from this segment, with a large V-shaped headlamp with twin pilot lamps, fully faired bodywork, part-digital instrument console, large fuel tank and large dimensions rounding of the package. The bike doesn’t come with any distinctive design element or cosmetic feature, which may set it apart from the rest of the bikes mentioned here.

Out of all the three bikes mentioned here, if you want a fully faired sport tourer, you have no option but to go for the Honda CBR 250R. But the motorcycle lacks in features and equipment, something which the other two motorcycles have as their advantage. Whereas the Royal Enfield Himalayan surely has a very distinctive charm which no other motorcycle possess in this price bracket, the Mojo proves out itself as a mix of features and design elements from the other two bikes mentioned here – sportiness of the CBR 250R and functionality of the Himalayan, which makes it a balanced proposition.

Feature Royal Enfield Himalayan Mahindra Mojo Honda CBR 250R
LED daytime running lamps No Yes No
Engine kill switch and electric start Yes Yes Yes
Clip-on handlebars No No Yes
Digital meters Yes Yes Yes
Split pillion grab rails No Yes Yes
LED tail lamp Yes Yes No
Monoshock Yes Yes Yes
Pilot lamps No Yes Yes
Split seats Yes No Yes

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE

Comparison – Royal Enfield Himalayan vs Mahindra Mojo vs Honda CBR 250R Exterior
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It is not only the design which makes the Royal Enfield Himalayan an entirely different motorcycle, but is the powertrain combination as well, which makes it a machine in a league of its own. Powering the Royal Enfield Himalayan is a four stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 411cc engine, which produces a maximum power output of 24.6 PS and a maximum torque output of 32 Nm. This long stroke LS410 motor which the Royal Enfield Himalayan is equipped with is the largest motor in this business, and is easily the most powerful, refined and practical powerhouse which Royal Enfield has ever designed for a motorcycle. The engine is coupled to a 5-speed gearbox, which has longer gearing to make the use of the abundance of torque available on tap. The refinements are well controlled as well, which separates it apart from other motorcycles of Royal Enfield, but then, the high speed vibrations are still something which rob off the finesse generated by this motorcycle.

Mahindra has worked hard to make its first shot in making a big bike engine successful, which to a large extent, has managed to make a positive impact. The Mojo comes with a four stroke, single cylinder, liquid cooled, fuel injected, 295cc engine, which puts up 27 bhp of maximum power and 30 Nm of maximum torque. Mated to a 6-speed gearbox, the engine has abundance of torque in the lower as well as middle rev range, which makes it a very lively motorcycle to ride on all kinds of roads. The refinement levels too are quite commendable.

The Honda CBR 250R has the most experience in this block of competition, when it comes to sporty and fast engines in this segment. The bike comes with a four stroke, single cylinder, liquid cooled, fuel injected, 249.6cc engine, which is mated to a 6-speed gearbox and churns out 26.2 bhp of power and 22.9 Nm of torque, which makes it quite a powerful engine, if not the most powerful, in this segment. The engine has been fine tuned to make the motorcycle stress free across the rev range, with the motorcycle doesn’t running out of power at any point in the rev range.

Out of all the engines mentioned here, the most touring friendly engine comes out to be of the Royal Enfield Himalayan. If you want an outright relaxed engine which is torque-filled, and yet doesn’t disappoint you when you are in the mood of wringing the throttle on open stretches, the Himalayan is just for you. Similarly, if you love your motorcycle to be a speed junkie sometimes, but a mile muncher most of the times, the Mojo too isn’t too far from the Himalayan. The Honda CBR 250R, though powerful and torquey enough, trail behind the Mojo and Himalayan when it comes to touring credentials.

Figures Royal Enfield Himalayan Mahindra Mojo Honda CBR 250R
Power 24.6 PS 27 bhp 26.2 bhp
Torque 32 Nm 30 Nm 22.9 Nm
Gearbox 5-speed 6-speed 6-speed

RIDE AND HANDLING

Comparison – Royal Enfield Himalayan vs Mahindra Mojo vs Honda CBR 250R Exterior
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It is in this particular department, where the Himalayan comes out as a game changer, as the mechanicals it comes equipped with simply make it the king of off-road touring in this particular segment, without compromising much on on-road manners as well. The motorcycle comes with a half-duplex split cradle frame under its skin, with 41mm telescopic forks and 21-inch wheel at the front and linked monoshock with 17-inch wheel at the rear. These large wheels are wrapped around with proper off-road tyres, thus making the combination of suspension and tyres the best in this comparison when it comes to touring of all kinds. In terms of stopping power too, the Himalayan comes fitted with 300mm disc at the front and a 240mm disc at the rear, but sadly, the absence of ABS does make this overall mechanical combination of Himalayan slightly behind from being ‘the perfect one’.

When it comes to the touring friendly set of ergonomics and chassis, nothing can beat the Mahindra Mojo. The bike comes with the best of hardware – upside down telescopic front forks, gas charged monoshock, soft compound Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres and disc brakes at both front and rear, all of which are fine tuned for making your touring experiences the most comfortable of the lot.

The Honda CBR 250R too comes with a brilliant set of mechanical hardware – telescopic forks at front, spring loaded monoshock at rear and disc brakes at the front. The CBR 250R surely has an advantage over others in terms of brakes, as it is the only bike here which offers ABS an option.

So, given the details, it is almost clear that when it comes to off-road riding credentials, the Himalayan is the most apt motorcycle in this class, and for long distance touring which is mostly on supple highways, the CBR 250R is the one. The Mojo, meanwhile, tries to fit itself in between both these motorcycles, by sharing the traits of Himalayan’s off-road abilities as well as CBR 250R’s long distance touring abilities.

Figures Royal Enfield Himalayan Mahindra Mojo Honda CBR 250R
Front suspension Telescopic Upside down telescopic Telescopic
Rear suspension Linked monoshock Gas charged monoshock Hydraulic monoshock
Front brake 300mm disc 320mm disc 296mm disc
Rear brake 240mm disc 240mm disc 220mm disc

CONCLUSION

Comparison – Royal Enfield Himalayan vs Mahindra Mojo vs Honda CBR 250R Exterior
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On the third position comes the Honda CBR 250R. No doubt, the CBR 250R has the advantage of the only bike in this class to come with a full fairing and optional ABS, which helps the motorcycle a lot while riding on triple digit speeds. But then, the dated design, lack of cosmetic features and negligible amount of improvement in performance all these years has reduced its appeal as a desirable sport tourer. But if you want a fully faired motorcycle which is at home on both city streets and long highways, look no further – the CBR 250R is the bike for you.

The second spot has been clinched by the Mahindra Mojo. The motorcycle does have its fair share of shortcomings – the overall styling is not too eye-capturing like the rest of the bikes mentioned above, and Mahindra doesn’t have a sorted experience in making big bikes, like KTM and Honda do. But then, it is the sincerity of Mahindra towards developing the Mojo that has paid them rewards. The Mojo, despite being the first ever big bike from Mahindra, has shocked everyone with its premium fit and finish, refined and powerful engine and premium suspension, brakes and tyres, which has made the motorcycle very much desirable. Not only this, with comfortable ride quality and sorted suspension, it successfully ticks all the boxes when it comes to the sole purpose it has been designed for – touring. But then, the customers of this segment do want more, something which has been fulfilled by the motorcycle at the first position.

This brings us to the Himalayan – a motorcycle which is nothing short of revolutionary. Being an all new Royal Enfield motorcycle which makes new fans apart from satisfying the traditional Royal Enfield fans is a tough job indeed, something which the Himalayan has done with great poise. The motorcycle is clearly not in the race of beautification, as the overall design is not contemporary (some may even term it as ugly), but then its functionality and practicality are of highest order. Adding to it, the new long stroke motor of the Himalayan is easily the best engine in this business, with abundance of torque to pull you out from the fuss of city traffic as well as mud slashes and rocky terrains. And then, there is the fabulous combination of suspension, brakes and chassis, which is the toughest of the lot and makes the overall dynamic credentials as well as ride quality the best in class. The segment of touring is all about function rather than form, and due to this, the Himalayan bags the first position in this segment.

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