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Old 21st June 2017, 22:59   #16
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Default Re: Welding defect in Royal Enfield Himalayan; frame cracks!

I have heard enough horror stories of the Himalayan failing in different areas of its build.
I read somewhere (maybe here on TBHP) RE have started doing a routine checklist on every Himalayan that comes in for service and replacing the faulty part/component with a good one. Too little too late?

Last edited by moralfibre : 22nd June 2017 at 09:13. Reason: Typo
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Old 23rd June 2017, 06:19   #17
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Default Re: Welding defect in Royal Enfield Himalayan; frame cracks!

Like others have already said, it looks like poor welding penetration. Also, there is a chance of welding bead position is not correct. So that the entire filler material got deposited on one part (the flat portion) which weakens the bond between the filler and pipe portion.

Normally prior to welding, the parent metals have to clean from other contaminants. There are some contaminants which reduce the welding strength. Even this could be a reason for such failures.

I assume that the bike is same in all images and images are taken from both sides. The tearing of metal might have happened over a period of time.

Say initially there were four joints and out of them, one failed. Now the load is being shared between remaining three joints. But as these three remaining joints are strong, the weakest member (the metal part) might have started tearing off.

Scary indeed.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 23rd June 2017 at 07:06. Reason: Typo.
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Old 23rd June 2017, 18:25   #18
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Default Re: Welding defect in Royal Enfield Himalayan; frame cracks!

Oh my God..! So scary on just looking at these pictures. I own a RE Thunderbird and on seeing these type of scary defects in the main frame of the bike is just giving me the vibes inside saying not so be confident on your bike, even though I have not faced any issues till now by God's grace I hope!

I accept that RE is taking things very easily as we are not seeing any recalls that is happening on their end even after so many open posts on the defects. I just now read a news that KTM has recalled their bikes in Europe for a faulty headlight assembly. And here we are speaking about the frame of the bike just coming apart and still no statements from the manufacturer. Its just ridiculous!!
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Old 27th June 2017, 10:52   #19
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Default Re: Welding defect in Royal Enfield Himalayan; frame cracks!

I saw a breakage in the same area on a 2014 model Bullet 350 here locally, and it doesn't seem to be an isolated case on those either. Just very poor weld penetration. Welds are very neat and must be robotic (vs. earlier Enfields), but the strength just isn't there due to poor setup of the machines (too low an amperage, presumably).

I've got photos (and video) of that one if anyone's interested. RE just seems to have a hard time, despite all their apparently good intentions, of keeping quality up, in any number of respects.

-Eric
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Old 27th June 2017, 22:54   #20
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Default Re: The Royal Enfield Himalayan Test-Ride Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArizonaJim View Post
My comments about this incident are posted in the other topic about it but, the rider in this case failed to notice the obvious damage which started long before the frame totally failed.

Things like this are not unique to Royal Enfields. They happen to all of the various brands and it just reinforces the idea that each and every one of you readers who ride must examine the frame and its weld joints at regular intervals.
Actually with the weld penetration being so poor, it would be very prone to giving away suddenly, then highly stressing / cracking the other, now unsupported frame member almost immediately. This IMO isn't something that happened over much time, as is the case with more common fatigue-related failures. I acknowledge the rust but I've seen that in other (inferior) weld-joints that gave way suddenly. Anyway once one corner of the "triangle" is broken, everything else is going to give way fast. There are tremendous forces at work on the rest of the frame once that headstock is detached.

The weld at the headstock looks perfect from the top, but the failure was underneath the bead - and as such it is highly unlikely that a prior inspection would have revealed anything at all - which is what makes this sort of failure (and the related manufacturing defect) particularly dangerous. It should also be kept in mind that not all joints / frame components are even inspect-able without a complete teardown of the bike... Not against basic inspecting, but that is really not a solution. The solution is for RE to get their backsides in gear and solve some of these long-standing issues. Hire a welding engineer maybe??? Calibrate/certify their welding equipment more often? How is it that what was manifesting on 2014 (and earlier?) models of their manufacture is still presenting itself today?

One of the tour company guys up here ran a fleet of Machismos earlier and never once, in nine years of use on some of the nation's worst roads, saw a frame failure. They had obviously less neat (but apparently stronger) hand-welded frames then, vs. the present robotics. But the same guy, with the same class of riders on the same roads, has seen quite a number of these problems with the later model Bullets, and now it's showing up on the Himalayan it seems.

Not actually sure it happens "with all the brands" - certainly not with all the models, though it's not unknown with the Dukes and even my old KB125 had it happen once (materials in the case of 1997, too, were far worse than they had been earlier, as reflected in my 1992 model in so many ways). Thing is, Enfield should be doing better than this by now, if they have any sort of concept of "continuous improvement".

-Eric

Last edited by ringoism : 27th June 2017 at 23:06.
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Old 30th June 2017, 16:27   #21
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Old 30th June 2017, 20:37   #22
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Default Re: Welding defect in Royal Enfield Himalayan; frame cracks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ringoism View Post
The weld at the headstock looks perfect from the top, but the failure was underneath the bead -
-Eric
Hi Eric,
As you have rightly said, the weld looked perfect, in fact better than most of the welds we see on RE frames. So most probably

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxTorque View Post
Also, there is a chance of welding bead position is not correct. So that the entire filler material got deposited on one part (the flat portion)
Bad setup of the automated welding machine. And since machines welds are highly consistent ...

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 1st July 2017, 05:28   #23
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Default Re: Welding defect in Royal Enfield Himalayan; frame cracks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post

Bad setup of the automated welding machine. And since machines welds are highly consistent ...

Regards
Sutripta
In that case this problem we will see in many bikes.

I am not sure how many bikes have been affected by this problem.
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Old 1st July 2017, 11:39   #24
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Default Re: The Royal Enfield Himalayan Test-Ride Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by ringoism View Post
Enfield should be doing better than this by now, if they have any sort of concept of "continuous improvement".
Sorry to quote myself here, but a thought occurred:

RE as a whole might be so busy trying to keep up with broader demand and develop products towards global aspirations that they've hardly got time to breathe... Failure reproduction and analysis takes time and resources (besides the will), and being a niche-market offering till now, one wonders how much of these have been devoted since early on in Himalayan production. In the case of the Bullet (nowadays 40,000+ units per month of the Classic 350 alone!), every flaw and problem has always proved completely forgivable, because it has long been and still is, unconditionally and sometimes irrationally, India's dream-bike for the masses.

In contrast, the Himalayan, as with every other innovative new product in the market, is under a lot more scrutiny - and its failures will not be overlooked. RE's existing customer base (and a fair portion of the potential market in general) was already doubting enough just because it didn't look/handle/feel/run like a Bullet - that would've been true even if it had proved perfectly trouble-free.

In retrospect, being that none of the alleged KTM/BMW/Suzuki adventure offerings have actually yet materialized, RE would've done well to have spent another six or eight months testing / proving / making sure the thing was truly bulletproof before passing it on to the consumers. Hey, they could've given ME one to thrash on daily for half a year up here - that might've turned up a few issues!!!

I met a Dutchman a week back who'd rented a pair of these bikes for himself and a friend to tour the high ranges with. He had two stators fail, amongst other things, I guess in the course of a month or less.

On an advrider(dotcom) thread I saw, one biker, after viewing RE's earlier Himalayan promo video, mused: "I don't know what's worse - that the footpeg clearly broke off upon landing that jump, or that RE thought it was acceptable to include such footage in a promo video".

'Nuff said!

But in all fairness: There really are some comparatively very costly, and much higher-status motor-vehicles out there in the world that also are not immune to failures / breakages:

I've heard of at least a couple BMW-tourers breaking their swingarms, having bearings fail, or even having engine problems up here (stranding owners for many days whilst awaiting spares from abroad). Porsche, for all their engineering pride and innovation, has known some ridiculous and universal failure-modes (an unlubricated camshaft bearing in 911's several years back); There was a service bulletin for my E32 BMW that acknowledged issues with pistons of a certain manufacture that they'd used, that were undersized and causing noise from "piston slap"; Their "update" (the Europeans don't like to speak of recalls!) outlined the solution: replace all the pistons with their "updated" (in truth non-defective) ones! There were problems with the valve guides prematurely wearing out on Mercedes 300E's way back (another "update" solved it - often at the owner's expense!). V8 M3's have rod bearings showing undue wear in as little as 15,000mi... And we needn't get started on the manifold woes that some luxury-model Land Rover owners have been afflicted with...

Like Bullets, these vehicles have proven fully forgivable - just "because". Their image - the status - the pleasure of driving / riding them when they're actually running right. And if they're German... well, obviously German engineering is the best in the world (please don't confuse me with the facts...). It is not really a deserved status, but in one way you could say that all these problems are ultimately consumer-driven... they have not been demanding anything better from these companies (incl. RE), and they keep buying their products no matter what.

We probably shouldn't write off the Himalayan just yet... the bikes really are cheap by world standards; some issues have allegedly been settled already, and they'll probably improve significantly... in time. I just hope the bike's great potential won't go unrealized due to a market failure, before everything can be sorted.

-Eric

Last edited by ringoism : 1st July 2017 at 11:41.
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Old 1st July 2017, 12:16   #25
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Default Re: Welding defect in Royal Enfield Himalayan; frame cracks!

(P.S.):

On the one hand (in the words of a very wise [and fabulously rich] - king of old):


"Pride comes before a fall" (the oh-so-glorious German Engineers, whom I feel right in exposing, being part German - and an engineer turned tinkerer!)


And on the other:


"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might"... (Which would be an admirable goal for all of us, manufacturers included).


Which in this discussion is to say:

Attitudes of both humility and conscientious hard work would go a long way towards creating for us truly superior products of near-universal appeal.

Just think of the implications here: potential shortcomings would be quickly identified / openly acknowledged (communicated), and serious efforts towards correcting them would be immediately forthcoming. Customer confidence and satisfaction would surge, strong ongoing sales figures would be observed... And finally everyone would be happy and content... as they were designed to be.


-Eric

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Old 9th August 2017, 21:42   #26
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Default Re: Welding defect in Royal Enfield Himalayan; frame cracks!

It is not surprising to find something like this about a new product. The welding technology is much advanced than what it was 20 years ago. A 3 lakh tonne super tanker is actually welded together. On older ships which I have dry docked, the material failure used to be both on the welds as well as in the steel itself. The way it works is that a welding process is accepted and certified for a certain job and then it is randomly tested for quality. It would be impossible to X-ray or ultrasound the hundreds of thousands of kilometers of welds on a ship. Therefore in any industry, the quality control is done on random selection. It is therefore impossible for RE to test each and every bike and its welds. Once the process is accepted, tested and certified, it is not changed unless the random QC checks show a higher failure rate. What the acceptable failure rate is, depends on the manufacturer and the independent inspector.
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Old 10th August 2017, 18:24   #27
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Default Re: Welding defect in Royal Enfield Himalayan; frame cracks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by aabhimanyu04 View Post
I read somewhere RE have started doing a routine checklist on every Himalayan that comes in for service and replacing the faulty part/component with a good one
RE?? Don't make me soil my pants laughing plz

The only "routine checklist" RE engineers follow, is patiently explaining to you that "this is normal on a Bullttt only" and that it's all part of the charm and character of an Enfield, when you bring your running RE in, suspecting some major fault in progress. Then when the bike completely and totally breaks down, they begrudgingly do the absolute bare minimum just to get it running again enough to where you can make the ride home, before which they hand you an exorbitant repair bill. Then they lie back and relax with some chai, knowing full well you'll be back in a few days when the bike breaks down again.

Wow, so much character! Such charm! Amazing heritage! etc. *tips fedora*

And the end result of running a business like this: record sales year-after-year. Why? Because the bulk of their sales are people that love the rustic old school WWII era look, or think that a Bullet makes them macho badasses. And abroad, unshaven vinyl-record playing hipsters who buy it like the fashion accessory it very much is.

Really, this Himalayan fiasco is no exception to the rule. Remember the nonsense we all went through with the Thunderbird 500? I'm a former owner of one of those, I could write a series of books chronicling the endless misery it brought me before I came to my senses and realized it doesn't matter how beautiful a bike is if you can't rely on it to actually get you anywhere, and switched to a KTM and never looked back. I don't know about character and heritage and history, all I know is that when you turn the key and press that button on my KTM, the engine starts, and that the most serious problem I've had to date was a loose wire and a rattling license plate holder in two years and 25,000 km of riding my Dook. Poor me, riding such a boring bike /sarcasm

tl;dr Royal Enfield won't change or do anything whatsoever about the Himalayan problems.

In fact I hereby make a prediction: RE's strategy for dealing with the problems with the Himalayan, will be to release the RE 750cc twin. At this point, the ocean of negative press brought by the Himalayan's mechanical problems will be quickly forgotten in lieu of a whole new ocean of negative press brought by the RE 750cc and its mechanical problems. Mark my words.

And thus, the cycle simply continues while RE's sales and profit continue skyrocketing.

p.s. apologies for the rant, I've had too much coffee today and still have nightmares from owning two Royal Enfields in years past when I was younger and stupider

Last edited by marcussantiago : 10th August 2017 at 18:27.
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Old 16th August 2017, 16:17   #28
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Default Re: Welding defect in Royal Enfield Himalayan; frame cracks!

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Originally Posted by marcussantiago View Post
p.s. apologies for the rant, I've had too much coffee today and still have nightmares from owning two Royal Enfields in years past when I was younger and stupider
So true mate, I have also had nightmares with RE service. RE Electra 5s was my 5th motorcycle of the 10 I have owned till date.

Yezdi Roadking > Yamaha Libero>Yamaha RXZ>CBZ Classic>Electra 5S>Karizma R>Duke200>Unicorn>Duke390 (2015)>YZF R3(2017-Present)

IMHO there is no perfect bike and all bikes fail, the frequency is what makes one bike relatively more reliable than another.


Here is my review on the Duke200 ( I sold it at close to 22k Kms on the ODO)

Pros:
1. Extremely agile, sharp on corners, excellent tyres(soft compound used, MRF REVZ)
2. Very decent fuel efficiency (34-35KMPL in city riding), although this is not going to matter to those who are enthusiasts.
3. Very Informative instrument panel with a display that tells you distance to empty, side stand down, real time mileage, clock, engine temperature, oil levels(if low) and a lot more
4. Good top speed of 137-138kmph in very quick time
Cons:
1. Very expensive and unreliable spares(Mainly because of the fact that these parts come out from the Chakkan plant Pune, under strict guidelines from KTM Austria, god knows how strict)
I got my meter console replaced due to display issues within 3k kms of riding, alloy wheel bent on a small pothole(around 9k spent from pocket), chain sprocket replaced at 15k even after timely lubing(every 500kms as advised)
Front fork oil seal breaks on city ride with above average Bangalore roads. Spent 2.5k. Side stand sensor malfunction and a lot more that I cannot recollect at this point in time.
1. Very uncomfortable for the pillion(Yes I did not care about this initially, but you cannot always ride alone, can you?) Hard rubber seats add to the misery
2. Very stiff suspension is a boon on corners but not so comfortable on potholes, feels like you are riding without shocks.
3. Switch panel seems very substandard with poor quality plastics used on handlebar(a comparison with Yamaha R15 and you will know what I mean)
4. This may sound silly but the pillion almost sticks to the rider due the extremely small rear seat(not so good if you plan to oblige your male colleagues for a lift back home)
5. Resale is one aspect I always look at(you dont ride a bike for life do you?) . Bad resale value on KTMs when compared to the CBRs and R15s
My good old Karizma was almost a bullet proof bike(read my review on MS on my Karizma if you like) and upgrading(if I may use that word) was not a good idea at all.

I am not the one who does bike abuse and later cribs and complains, these are genuine issues reported at KTM service on a daily basis
Finally if you have a lot of money and don’t care about the cons then it is a great entertainer.

Last edited by aabhimanyu04 : 16th August 2017 at 16:20. Reason: spelling
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Old 16th August 2017, 19:31   #29
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Default Re: Welding defect in Royal Enfield Himalayan; frame cracks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by aabhimanyu04 View Post
So true mate, I have also had nightmares with RE service. RE Electra 5s was my 5th motorcycle of the 10 I have owned till date.

Yezdi Roadking > Yamaha Libero>Yamaha RXZ>CBZ Classic>Electra 5S>Karizma R>Duke200>Unicorn>Duke390 (2015)>YZF R3(2017-Present)

IMHO there is no perfect bike and all bikes fail, the frequency is what makes one bike relatively more reliable than another.


Here is my review on the Duke200 ( I sold it at close to 22k Kms on the ODO)

Pros:
1. Extremely agile, sharp on corners, excellent tyres(soft compound used, MRF REVZ)
2. Very decent fuel efficiency (34-35KMPL in city riding), although this is not going to matter to those who are enthusiasts.
3. Very Informative instrument panel with a display that tells you distance to empty, side stand down, real time mileage, clock, engine temperature, oil levels(if low) and a lot more
4. Good top speed of 137-138kmph in very quick time
Cons:
1. Very expensive and unreliable spares(Mainly because of the fact that these parts come out from the Chakkan plant Pune, under strict guidelines from KTM Austria, god knows how strict)
I got my meter console replaced due to display issues within 3k kms of riding, alloy wheel bent on a small pothole(around 9k spent from pocket), chain sprocket replaced at 15k even after timely lubing(every 500kms as advised)
Front fork oil seal breaks on city ride with above average Bangalore roads. Spent 2.5k. Side stand sensor malfunction and a lot more that I cannot recollect at this point in time.
1. Very uncomfortable for the pillion(Yes I did not care about this initially, but you cannot always ride alone, can you?) Hard rubber seats add to the misery
2. Very stiff suspension is a boon on corners but not so comfortable on potholes, feels like you are riding without shocks.
3. Switch panel seems very substandard with poor quality plastics used on handlebar(a comparison with Yamaha R15 and you will know what I mean)
4. This may sound silly but the pillion almost sticks to the rider due the extremely small rear seat(not so good if you plan to oblige your male colleagues for a lift back home)
5. Resale is one aspect I always look at(you dont ride a bike for life do you?) . Bad resale value on KTMs when compared to the CBRs and R15s
My good old Karizma was almost a bullet proof bike(read my review on MS on my Karizma if you like) and upgrading(if I may use that word) was not a good idea at all.

I am not the one who does bike abuse and later cribs and complains, these are genuine issues reported at KTM service on a daily basis
Finally if you have a lot of money and donít care about the cons then it is a great entertainer.
It's true, especially the early Dukes had problems with rims cracking. However I'm pretty sure they sorted this problems out in the first few generations, and it's now a thing of the past.

As for spares, I personally have not had any serious problems with getting spares to date. But then again until now I haven't had any serious issues (currently ticking over to 25k on the ODO over about 2 years of ownership).

The rest of the cons are all fair and true. The sport suspension is absolutely fantastic on the highways and carving corners on the racetrack but of course you can't have everything, the same traits mean rough roads and potholes will leave you sore. Can't say anything about the switchgear, the only bikes I've owned to date are two Royal Enfields, two Dukes and one UM Sport Renegade to compare it to.

It's also true that pillion comfort is dodgy at best, and the pillion tends to stick to your back like a big hot backpack, it's uncomfortable for everyone involved LOL.

That said, I took my wife on a ~300 km highway ride for Independence Day, and she got used to it pretty quickly. On the highways it's reasonable (nothing compared to say, an RE or a Harley of course) but she said she was fine. Discomfort set in when dealing with heavy traffic, or running over a bump or pothole (painful for both rider and pillion). So while it's no highway tourer for a couple, it's actually doable

The powerful brakes, ABS and sticky tires came in handy when a big truck suddenly cut us off without warning. If I was on my UM or RE and the same thing happened, I'm certain my wife and I would have been turned into a chappati on the highway. So at that moment we were both very glad we were on a KTM and not our old Enfield.
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