Himalayan – Second Thoughts

We are still in the middle of the Coronavirus lockdown and my thoughts are turning to my future motorcycling.

The Himmie is a good bike, and it is new.  My other bike, my BMW R65LS is also a good bike, but is not new.  It is now thirty six years old. I have had it for twenty seven years. Do I need two bikes?

No I don’t need more than one bike. Actually I don’t need any bikes at all. But I do like motorcycling. 

If I do any travelling, it is unlikely to be on green roads or gravel roads.  I have never ridden on them, and at 72 years old it is probably too late to learn.  Minor roads are fine and there are lots of them in Cornwall where I live. Either bike would do for these roads. But on the major roads the BMW will be far better simply because it has twice the horsepower of the Himmie and will cruise effortlessly at the maximum speed limit all day long, up hill and down.  It also has storage space on the bike itself for all necessary tools and spares as well as two quickly detachable large panniers.
I don’t know how the Himmie will perform on the major roads.  It is still in the running in period with about 650 miles to do and maximum recommended speed is 50mph. The A30 in Cornwall is mostly dual carriageway with a 70mph speed limit and is quite hilly. 
As far as I can read on forums the Himmie will struggle to maintain 70mph- even after it is run in. But that is not really a big deal. 60mph will be fine.

I don’t need two bikes which are similar for the type of riding I do and I don’t think I’d part with the BMW, so the Himmie has to go!!

Update 11/5/2020
In two days, lockdown rules change and I’ll be able to take the bikes out. Since lockdown all I have managed is one trip to Tesco on each bike. 

Just before the lockdown the BMW, which had not been a happy starter, decided not to start at all.  I tracked it down to a defective coil so I replaced it with a new one and the bike started immediately.
But we were in lockdown then so I could not try it out on the road.  I finally took it up to Tesco last week and starting was bad again.  They are the original (1984) HT leads and spark plug caps and I wonder if something is defective here which may be damaging the coil.  Anyway I am now waiting for new leads and caps to be delivered.

Next trip to Tesco was issue free on the Himmie. I’d forgot how nice it was to ride.

Update 17/5/2020

Changing the BMW’s HT leads and plug caps seems to have done the trick. It is possible that the old ones damaged the coil.
I have now had a run on the Himmie. I really need to take them out one after another on the same day.

Current thinking is that I won’t have the Himmie in a few months.

Update 21/5/2020
I took both bikes out for the same ride, about an hour each, one after the other along the type of country roads I normally ride on.  I found the BMW vibrated more, especially when cold and I could hear the cam chain rattling.  But even with that it sounded better than the Himmie.
Both performed well enough, but the extra acceleration from the BMW, especially for overtaking, was very welcome.
The BMW’s seat was far more comfortable, although my feet seemed in a more comfortable position on the Himmie.

SO, I have ordered a new cam chain kit for the BMW and  the Himmie will be up for sale soon. Not much to take off it.  Only the battery connection for the compressor.

The Bullet was nice, but I feel it was a bit of an old timer’s bike, a pretend classic.  More for show and appreciative looks and talks from older folk who had bikes in their youth.
At 72, I guess I am an old timer, but I really don’t see myself as a pipe smoking, Belstaff clad beardy, reminiscing about the good old days of “proper bikes”

The Himalayan is a bike which would have been good if I were 40-50 years younger and lived in an area with lots of trails or green roads.  Well I’m not, and there isn’t so really it’s a poser’s bike as far as I’m concerned.

The BMW is the bike which is more like me, old, no nonsense, honest, and  simple. And it’s great good for short and long distance touring on any roads. 

If I do get a second bike, I could do with a lighter one.  A 250 or even a 125cc would be fine.  I quite like the look of the Mutt Mongrel, or Herald Classic, but I’ll probably just keep an eye on Gumtree.  No rush.

One issue I have is when I have to go backwards when I’m either parking or getting out of a parking space or simply backing the bike out of the garage.  The BMW is bad enough as it is quite heavy and the seat is a bit high for easy manouvering while astride the bike.  The Himalayan is a bit lighter, but the COG is higher, and the seat feels higher too. This makes it worse than the BMW to reverse.  The Bullet was quite easy, being lighter than the Himalayan and with a seat about an inch an a half lower. Maybe a lighter lower older bike, covered an ACF 50 and simply left outside would be ideal.

Update 8/6/2020
The best laid plans etc. etc
I took the BMW for a short run and when I got back and turned off the ignition there was an ominous clatter from the engine.  Then when I tried to start it the starter simply spun without turning the engine,
When I removed the starter, I found the flywheel has become detached from the crank.  Fixing this will be a big and probably expensive job.  It looks like the Himmie ain’t going nowhere just yet..

It’s not so bad as I thought. The flywheel has a ring gear riveted to it which engages with the starter.  The rivets have sheared and the ring gear is hanging loose.  Now waiting for a new flywheel.
In the meantime I have mounted my old Givi box on the Himalayan so I have some carrying capacity and a place for a helmet (or two).

Soul Searching

  1. Why do you need more than one motorcycle?
    Beats the hell out of me
  2. What sort of roads do you ride on?
    Nowadays, A, B, and C roads.
  3. What sort of speed do you want?
    Over 70mph, attainable on moderate hills – for overtaking on fast A roads.
  4. Do you need off-tarmac capability
  5. What mileage will I clock up?
    Maybe 2000-5000 per year.
  6. Are you looking to go on an adventure, or even a long trip?
    Not now – those days are gone.
  7.  The BMW ticks all of these boxes. What is bugging you?
    I guess the igntion going pear shaped followed within a few hundred miles by the starter ring gear detaching has made me question the reliability.  I have not been able to keep it running long enough to properly balance the carbs.
  8. Would you sell the BMW?
    It would be painfull.
  9. Would you sell the Himmie
  10. Why is the Himmie not up for sale?
    I’m waiting to get the BM operational again, then ride it for at least a month, maybe more.
  11. What will you do if the BMW continues to have issues?
    Probably mothball it and ride another bike?
  12. Is the BMW likely to have issues?
    The $24,000 question.  It is 34 years old and mostly original. But it has only done 45,000 miles which is not a lot for a BMW but probably a huge amount for a Royal Enfield.  Over the next 45,000 miles the BMW would probably be more reliable.
  13. Would the Himmie be the other bike?
    Probably not.
  14. What is the problem with the Himmie?
    A bit high – could be fixed with drop links £165
    Side stand is crap – could be made better – £40
    No panniers – could be fixed.- or stick with top box.
    The COG is high – which make its feel heavier than the BMW
    SO, £200 could sort it.
    It’s not pretty.
    It’s not as easy to work on as the BMW.
    As a single bike it’s fine, as an addition to a reliable BMW- No
  15. So what is good about the Himmie?
    Nice to ride
    Very good petrol consumption (so I read)
  16. So is the Himmie going?