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Old 2nd May 2021, 01:51   #1
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Default 5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true

WTH: Why the Himalayan


In 2015, My 2011 Pulsar 180 started to show its age. It was ridden enthusiastically and worshipped when it came to maintenance. It was around 70000kms on the odometer and one thing was clear either I have to sell it or if you want to keep it always with you get another motorcycle and start preserving this.

I was pretty clear about what I wanted from a new bike. I wanted something on which can be used for long highway runs(800-1000kms in a day).
Being longer than 6 feet ergonomics were a priority(This is where the KTM's got cancelled).
The motorcycle should not be 500cc (nothing more than that was available in 3 Lacs budget)

Essentially there were two options:
Mahindra Mojo: was eliminated because of a lack of service network.

Royal Enfield 500s: To be honest the looks of Desert Storm seduced me, way before I was planning to buy a bike. But every ride just made me realised the value of my Pulsar in terms of performance. The vibrations, poor brakes, and lack of basic features like a fuel gauge just cancelled the deal for me.



I was following the leaks of Himalayan and decided to wait for its launch. I had ridden my friend's impulse and was expecting Himalayan's ride quality to be on a similar level. A few months later Royal Enfield announced the Himalayan launch event in the last week of March 2019. By this time I was pretty sure, that I would book the bike on the launch day if I like it.

Royal Enfield did pull off a great launch event. The messaging was clear and it was pretty much the bike I was looking for.

During the launch event, someone from Royal Enfield shared that they do have a fuel-injected motorcycle ready and they'll release it once BS4 is mandated by the law they'll release the bike. It made me postpone the purchase to it once the new model is released.

A month later a colleague asked me if I can join him in picking up his new Classic 350 and I said yes. I saw Himalayan there and asked for a test drive. The bike was bang on for my requirements. On enquiring about the waiting time, the showroom guys informed me it was 3 months.
I was still not sure if I want to wait for an electronically fuel-injected version. I asked the booking amount they said its Refundable 5000.
I booked it immediately with the thought of making the final decision in the next couple of months.

Post Booking Dilemma


By June 2016 stories of issues in the Himalayan were started to surface online. I had never owned a Royal Enfiled in the past, but for someone who doesn't own an Enfield, the image is the bikes last long forever. I considered the reports to be unique cases and proceeded with the delivery.

Delivery and Break-in


The Delivery was without any issues. On a fine August morning, they delivered the motorcycle5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true-img_0695.jpg

Break-In a new vehicle can be a boring thing, luckily staying in Pune means that'll you can do a proper break-in on the curves nearby without getting bored. In a couple of months, the break-in period was finished and that means I can start planning long trips.

First few Highway Trips


In November I was planning to visit my home town(Pune to Bhopal approx 850 km one side ), generally, I use public transport, but one day before my trip I cancelled my ticket and planned to ride solo to Bhopal. I had chosen the Pune-Ahmednagar-Bhopal.
Ahmednagar Bypass used to be in very bad shape those days and that's where the bike shined. I was able to keep the pace and everyone else on road was surprised that how easily I was able to keep my pace. This is where the long-travel suspension shines.
5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true-14540467_308164872888887_2509362259327713280_n.jpg
Once I reached home in Bhopal and knocked on the door and told my parents that I have come on the bike they laughed, even though I was in riding gears.
Even the return journey was uneventful and me immense confidence on the bike. Just waiting to loose it in the few days
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Old 2nd May 2021, 18:42   #2
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Default re: 5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true

Initial Minor Issues



Stiff Handlebar and alignment issues.

As soon as I started to take her offroad the issues started.
The first issue I faced on the Himalayan was the bike getting pulled in one direction. This was due to rusted T-Stem and cone set bearings. But the service centre guys didn't even think of that, I don't blame them bike was a couple of months old then. No one expects to catch rust on the greased parts in a couple of months not even Royal Enfield. All they thought was misaligned forks and It took me around 2 weeks two get this in usable condition. It was never fully fixed but and require frequent greasing of the T-Stem.

During Rider Mania 2016 Goa, Royal Enfield had brought their best mechanics to fix the problems of Himalayan. The skilled hands of engineers were able to solve this problem by 90%. They said there is a minor bend in the chassis, that is causing it and nothing can be done.

The mounts in T-Stem for forks are made of aluminium. It makes a lot of a difference if you torque them according to spec in the crisis cross pattern. I had not seen any service centre to use a torque wrench, but from this point that all critical bolts on my bike are getting tight as per the torque specs.

For the next two years, the cone-set bearings were replaced as goodwill on almost every service centre visit. Eventually, they did start applying marine grease instead of regular over the shelf grease for Cone set bearings.
They spray painted the T-Steam and eventually add a protective cap for the cone set. This is something which is present in almost all bikes including the 100cc commuter.

Hard Clutch
The bike had a hard clutch and it is present in almost all bikes. Royal Enfield did offer the replacement clutch kit but it didn't solve much. They eventually found out the problem is the clutch cable bracket design on the clutch case.
They eventually changed it on all bikes.

Low life of rear tyre
To be honest no one knew at the launch of Himalayan about dual sports. Their maintenance, how they behave, their limits. Royal Enfiled advertised it as one bike you'll ever need which for sure it was not. People were not expecting the rear tyres to go bald very soon. My First rear was 80% used in approx 4500kms which was very less compared to the regular tyre life on Indian motorcycles.
The stock CEAT gripper was probably the first dual sport tyre coming as OEM fitment in India(in a mass-market product). No one knew in the initial years what should be the expected tyre life and we get free replacement tyres as well under warranty. Later we all get accustomed to that kind of tyre usage.
5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true-14582263_1007237432736666_3190525591229038592_n.jpg

Within 6-9 months we knew that this is going to take a serious TLC, but we were happy because of the capabilities of the bikes. I'll move on to the offroad experience before coming to the serious issue we were about to experience.

5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true-14482234_1303258296374588_6582792432075669504_n.jpg
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Old 2nd May 2021, 20:20   #3
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Default re: 5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true

Offroad and Trail Rides



In my hands, the bike was being used more like a dual sport and less like an adventure tourer. In plain English, it was doing approximately equal on and off the road.


The journey offroad on the bike was evolutionary, 95% of riders in the bikers groups were entering the offroad life for the first time. The owner groups were more focused on the offroad than on tours. There were fewer riders who understand riding and even fewer riding offroad.
The owner manual asks you to clean and grease almost all bearings after every ride, everyone learnt it hard way.

Living in Pune is a boon if you want to ride offroad. There are tons of trails where you can go. From basic trails, one can start trying to go to explore more on the enduro side.

In the back of my mind, I always wanted to do Raid De Himalaya and I started to take the offroad rides more seriously and tried to push a little more on every ride.

With the time being passed the level of difficulty on trails getting increased. Also, the trails in western ghats are a lot rocky which means they can be done on a heavy motorcycle and you necessarily don't need a lighter motorcycle

I'll split the Offroading Experience as per the terrain.

Dry Hard/Rocky Surfaces Surfaces


5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true-58113813_323791164998863_1784492834998803376_n.jpg
This is the place where Himalayan suspension shows its mettle. The setup from the factory is okay and the springs are on the softer side. But they offer value for money.


You can actually hit triple-digit speeds on hard-pack surfaces. (Do not perform such things on village roads). On Rocky trails, you can easily manage good enough speed to don't feel bored.

Technical Teerrains and Enduro


5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true-70032510_505479683604140_6576415281196042781_n.jpg

If you are planning to take this bike on technical terrain without wearing proper motocross gear you are inviting trouble. The bike is just too heavy and even in good hands, you are bound to fall. The torque low down allows you to do a ton of mistake and still make out of tricky condition. If you are looking for serious enduro it's simply not the bike for it. You'll be better off with an Xpulse or Impulse.
5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true-_mg_07482.jpg


Clay and Mud


5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true-37683321_282130732520710_3367808239046492160_n.jpg
You'll find yourself struggling to pick up the bike if you fell on muddy terrains. The Bike is just too heavy. So if you are planning to go into a slushy trail don't go alone. Even with all tricks, you need good biceps to pull it. It's like pulling out a heavy pig from the mud.

5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true-66181299_359165728070836_6184236592478035388_n.jpg
The long-stroke engine provides enough grunt and gearing is perfect for offroad use. Personally, iI sticks to second gear in slippery situations. The second gear is decent from 20-60kmph with moderate clutch use. And it forgives you when you get cocky with the throttle.


Sands Deserts and Beaches



Unless you are used to riding in sands don't plan to take this on dunes or even the sands of the desert. You may be able to climb moderate dunes. But the hell would break loose on you once you managed to crash. It's even more difficult to pick her by yourself. Going solo inside the desert is surely a suicide attempt.
With proper practice, you should be able to manage the sandy trails near the beaches5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true-0520afdc852d4007bd4ada2d21f3db6a.jpg

Last edited by ambarkhan : 2nd May 2021 at 21:00.
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Old 2nd May 2021, 22:49   #4
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Default re: 5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true

The Nightmares


After the first 8-9 months the issues of the bikes started popping up. On our Himalayan owners, WhatsApp group every other day one owner was complaining about something. Every few weeks there was an upgraded part.
The feeling was we were are doing testing for the Royal Enfield.
The bike used to visit the service centre at least alternate week if not more. While planning for our Ladakh trip were carrying a lot more than the common spares. Who carries a magnetic coil, oil hoses on a trip?

Here comes the list of major failures on my bike.

The Erratic Ignition Swithces

The ignition switch on the bike is prone to the soldering getting weak and they randomly cut off in between. If this happens during offroad or an overtake, your guardian angels will send you good bye.

The Magnetic Coil
One of the issues you while almost 100% of the owners of BS3 and BS4 Himalayan failed. Basically, a coil lasts on Himalayan somewhere between 8000-15000kms. Luckily it doesn't fail and the bike stops, but it starts reducing the output voltage and you start seeing the battery warning light. The battery loses its charge after around 100-150kms. You have to find a replacement in that riding range. Don't use self-start, headlight or horn during that duration. In the last couple of years, the quality of the coil is improved but it is still far away from being on par with other manufacturers. I'll still carry a spare one if I am going into the wild or doing an overland trip.

The Chassis Crack
5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true-royalenfieldhimalayanwhite1.jpg
My chassis cracked when the chassis getting on Himalayan was not the new normal. My chassis didn't get cracked from the neck as well. It was cracked where the swing arm is mounted. This crack happened well within the first year of ownership well before it was ridden hard.
The root cause of the crack was, the Suspension linkages were never lubricated nor did the swingarm mounting. As a result when the sing arm didn't move and the chassis took the force of compression and cracked.
At 1:10 you can hear it snap.


Royal Enfield Did Provide me with a chassis from the BS4 model (BS4 bikes weren't released then)


The Engine Failure
5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true-19986050_115860909048514_765493666138554368_n.jpg

In the 12th month of ownership. I with a couple of riders from Pune went to a trail near Rajmachi. at the end of the trail approx 10 km from the civilization in the slushy trail. My engine died out of the blue. We tried almost everything one can on a trail. With the sudden failure, we suspected some electrical failure but on checking every electrical component it was decided to tow the bike
Our plan was we'll tow the bike to the highway and from there Road Side Assistance will help us.

But the RSA was entirely useless. They said they can't ship the bike to any service centre because it's Sunday and all service centres were closed. ANd I can choose any place within 100kms to send the bike. I said ship it in front of the service centre in Pune as it would save me the hassle of bringing the dead bike back to the service centre. They said if I want to ship it in front of a service centre they'll send it to Panvel Service Centre, where it will not be taken inside of the workshop today and it will be accepted by the service centre the next day.

After wasting almost an hour on phone I decided to handle the bike transport ourselves. We towed it on the trail and from the highway, it was sent via a tempo to the service centre.


By this time I was done with the bike. I sent an email to Royal Enfield support keeping all their top management on cc to take back the bike and return me the amount of my motorcycle on depreciated value otherwise I'll take this to court

Eventually, because the service centre manager was a friend I agreed on an engine swap and extended warranty.

The new engine was provided from newer BS4 models and it was shipped by air. In less than a week I had got a new engine.

The root cause was either a cracked crankshaft or the mounting of magnetic coil on the connecting rod of crank shaft.
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Old 2nd May 2021, 23:02   #5
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Default re: 5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true

The Motorsports Experience (Dream)



Post the engine swap I had almost an entirely new bike. At least all the functional parts were new.
By early 2018 the bike was almost reliable and regained confidence in it.
In 2018 I started to use the bike to run for rallies and It served really well.
I started with Indian National Rally Championship and later used the bike for Raid De Himalaya as well.
I have used almost near stock bike with the follwing modifications.
  • Royal Enfield Offroad Exhaust
  • ROyal ENfield WIder Handle Bar
  • Free Flow Air filter
  • Iridium Spark pulgs

5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true-122757905_3693270204038598_4341077965412820677_n.jpg

5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true-33397283_2045433615730640_4627046638249050112_n.jpg

5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true-51591425_128054268246111_6048900483136304876_n.jpg

5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true-161724373_269630211399497_810933041397253789_n.jpg
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Old 2nd May 2021, 23:08   #6
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Default re: 5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true

Tyres


I have used the following tyres. Maybe there can be a separate thread for dual-sport and motocross tyres

Front
  • MRF Racing Mocross 80/100-21
  • Ralco Motocross 90/90-21
  • Ceat Gripp XL 90/90-21



Rear
  • MRF Mogrip Meteor Gen1 120/80-17
  • MRF Mogrip Meteor Gen2 120/80-17
  • Ceat Gripp XL 120/90-17
  • Apollo Actigrip 120/90-17
  • Ralco Gripper 100/90-17
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Old 3rd May 2021, 06:39   #7
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Default Re: 5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Motorcycle section. Thanks for sharing!

Going to our homepage today
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Old 3rd May 2021, 08:45   #8
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Default Re: 5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true

Great write-up, and interesting to hear from one of the beta-testers for the Himalayan I've stayed away from this otherwise seemingly-perfect bike (in it's BS4 and 6 avatars of course) for its weight issues. I'm not a weakling, but I don't fancy starting my day by huffing and puffing out of my portico, no sir. Sticking to the current crop of Pulsars and Apaches till RE do something about their well-fed offerings.

That said, you're probably one of the few Himalayan owners who do justice to the dual-sport tag of the bike, with your off-road and trail excursions. Wishing you many more happy miles on both road and dirt.
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Old 3rd May 2021, 10:47   #9
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Default Re: 5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true

Great Write-Up. As a Himalayan owner myself I am envious of the extent to which you have been able to use it's "all road and no roads" ability. Being a BS-IV owner, I am yet to face any major issues, probably thanks to guys like you who have taken the motorcycle to it's limits and pointed out the issues to RE.

I have a few queries though.
- What Engine Oil are you using on the BS-IV engine?
- For mostly adventure touring use, which tyre do you think will be better than the stock CEAT ones?
- With all the performance modifications, have you felt the need for a re-map or a piggyback ECU like Powertronic?
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Old 3rd May 2021, 10:59   #10
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Default Re: 5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true

Awesome thread, feels like I was on a rollercoaster journey with you!

I knew the BS3 Himalayas had issues, but I didn't know it was to this extent, reminds of the 2019 Tata Harrier

But I'm glad things are fixed and it's serving you well, here's to many more safe and fun miles!!!!
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Old 3rd May 2021, 11:33   #11
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Default Re: 5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true

Great writeup. Sums up everything that I had gone through when I had the Himalayan BS4 for a little over 1.5years. Eventually, I got fed up with the cone-set issue arising every month, oh and let's not ponder over its unusual shutting down and its useless tube tyres.

I use to be a regular Pune-Mumbai guy thrice a month for over 4 years (Wednesday) as my wife stayed and worked in Mumbai. I do not recall the number of punctures the Himalayan had between Panvel and Khopoli. At once, I literally felt like abandoning the motorcycle since it was very difficult to procure a 21inch tube and the weight to tow or drag to the nearest tyre repair shop. Later on, I started carrying extra spares but then my wife use to super tensed during this transit. Too much of an adventure for covering 120kms in a week, and then the numerous trips to the SVC for cone set. Luckily, I stay pretty close to Kings SVC (baner - Pune) but most Saturday first half used to be spent there fixing broken pieces or part failure.

However, the configuration that you get (Posture/Comfort/Power) for that price bracket is unmatched. I mean the moment you swing your leg over, the bike feels at home. I never encountered any problems steering this behemoth in the city, even with the panniers being 24/7. Maintenace was dirt cheap for the Himalayan, a paid service costed not more than 3k for over a period of 6 months.

In the tenure, I only went for 1 long ride - Pune to Guj. Had a nasty puncture while coming back in Saputara, the decision for me to sell off the bike. I sold off the bike to friends of Kavita (Greenboneville), have seen her riding the motorcycle multiple times, with caution. :P

Here are some pics of my Himalayan.

Edit - I owned a Duke 390 from 2014 to 2018, then got a Himalayan in 2018, and now back to the Duke 390 from 2019.
Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by EshanS : 3rd May 2021 at 11:52.
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Old 3rd May 2021, 11:38   #12
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Default Re: 5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true

ambarkhan WOW, this was a very very good read and the pictures don't do justice to what you would have experienced.

I was almost to book the same in 2018 but prevented myself from doing so because of the issues and niggles. You just proved me wrong.

We can live with the niggles if we are able to have fun with it. The ownership is nice with an added silver lining of the Service manger being a friend else it would have been a huge pain.

Keep riding
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Old 3rd May 2021, 12:41   #13
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Default Re: 5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true

Awesome writeup!! I am so glad to see enthusiasts like you helping a brand get rid of its niggles and faults. It is a first for me that a company has changed the chassis as well as the engine of a bike, essentially making it as good as a new bike.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ambarkhan View Post
But the service centre guys didn't even think of that, I don't blame them bike was a couple of months old then. No one expects to catch rust on the greased parts in a couple of months not even Royal Enfield.
Since it was their first time in this segment, they might've been confused about it. But to be honest, they should've known that a dual purpose motorcycle has a lot more checkpoints than a normal street bike. It would be great if you could share some basic/important checkpoints to keep such bikes in good shape.
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Old 3rd May 2021, 12:43   #14
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Default Re: 5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true

I've always wondered how the 1st gen (pre BS4) owners have dealt with so many issues. Such a wonderful ownership review, you've utilised this motorcycle to the fullest, loved reading your experience. Most of my acquaintances gave up 1st gen model. Most journalists mentioned that with the BS6 launch, RE has tried to resolve most of the issues, I hope this is true as this is one motorcycle that is very desiring for most beginner ADV enthusiasts out there. Cheers.
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Old 3rd May 2021, 15:00   #15
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Default Re: 5 years with a Royal Enfield Himalayan | Nightmare to a dream come true

Thanks for the detailed ownership of the first-gen Himalayan. Specifically, the part regarding the problems brought a lot of painful memories back. A lot of young people around me put their hard-earned savings on this same machine and ended up losing most of it along with their mental peace for a few months. For the place I am from, 1.5 lakh rupees means a lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gamerk View Post

I knew the BS3 Himalayas had issues, but I didn't know it was to this extent, reminds of the 2019 Tata Harrier
IIRC, the saga of issues regarding the first generation Himalayans can put any other niggled car to shame. In my nearest biking group, almost 25% of Himalayans were resold within one year of ownership.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ambarkhan View Post

The Nightmares




Here comes the list of major failures on my bike.

The Erratic Ignition Swithces

The ignition switch on the bike is prone to the soldering getting weak and they randomly cut off in between. If this happens during offroad or an overtake, your guardian angels will send you good bye.

The Magnetic Coil
One of the issues you while almost 100% of the owners of BS3 and BS4 Himalayan failed. Basically, a coil lasts on Himalayan somewhere between 8000-15000kms. Luckily it doesn't fail and the bike stops, but it starts reducing the output voltage and you start seeing the battery warning light. The battery loses its charge after around 100-150kms. You have to find a replacement in that riding range. Don't use self-start, headlight or horn during that duration. In the last couple of years, the quality of the coil is improved but it is still far away from being on par with other manufacturers. I'll still carry a spare one if I am going into the wild or doing an overland trip.
I am guessing these are the same issues that this guy described. This video of him has caused a good number of guys to stay away from Himalayan; it has close to 400k views:

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