Buying an older BS3 Hima - what to look for

sam2019

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21. May 2021, 13:00

The carb Himas of 2016/2017 are available in some countries but mainly in India. Their prices range from 60.000 rp to 130.000 rp depending on state of maintenance and km driven.
I want to list a few things I learned while I "updated" my four 2016 Himas (one of which I sold already) so you guys know what to be aware of.
Generally I think it is a very good idea to get an older model for a good price and invest the saved money into upgrades and stuff you like to add - vs. buying a shiny new one that will cost 100% more money and will only be shining for 3-6 month if properly used.
OK, here we go. Stuff you MUST change or at least be aware of:
  • The first batch had a head problem. It was solved on warranty then but make sure yours was already fixed by the showroom tech.
  • The first batch also had a problem with the swingarm - they would rip and break off at the contact to the droplinks - very dangerous. RE fixed that in 2018 so new swingarms are OK - change it for a new one, they are only 3300 rp. and while you do this make sure the droplinks and the triangle that attaches them are fully immersed ("packed") in water resistant high quality marine grease, not the shit RE normally uses for grease. Buy your own from Amazon and give it to the tech guy if needed.
  • Look at the stator - if is is colored deep brown get a new one - actually get 2 new ones and keep one at home because they do fail with clockwork regularity about every 10.000km if you go on high speed runs on a highway. It probably is a heat problem. RE never fixed that and the BS4/EFI models have a different stator that does not have this problem.
  • Absolutely take off the entire head/steering assembly and check the bearings. Most likely they will be worn. If you can afford it buy new ones from overseas, e.g. Germany or GB - the Indian SKF bearings are sub standard in hardness and keep failing. Also here use the best marine rated grease only and lots of it. If your model does not yet have the RE newly introduced steering seals make sure you get them and use them.
  • Change the wheel bearings and grease the new ones. Never trust the factory grease is high quality and/or done properly.
  • If the bike has over 30.000km remember the timing chain is due for exchange at that time.
  • This is not specific to old Himas but to ALL Himas. Their frames can break at the head. re-inforce them like shown in this video:
  • If you still have tyres from 2016 change them. Indian tyres are sub standard when new. When old they are outright dangerous because rubber hardens with time and even if the profile looks good the grip will not be good. There are no good tyres made in India for the Hima that I know of. Some say TIMSUN, made in Taiwan, are the best you can get. I have not tested them (yet).
  • The seat likely will be kind of mushy if the bike was used a lot. Do not upholster it because the upholsterers mostly use cheap foam that is very uncomfy on long rides. Buy a good long distance seat new, there are various offers on Amazon. We use a brand from Delhi on all our bikes that is very good.
  • Finally get a high handlebar. It is a big advantage in off road situations, the quality is better than OEM (which easily bends) and even on the road it is better to sit upright than bent down with the short OEM handle bar.
These are must-have changes - some nice-to-have farkles will be in the next message ....
 

sam2019

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Part II - older Himas - nice-to-have stuff:

  • There are foam handle bar "hand cushions" that are very cheap but make riding long distance that much more comfy when the raw and hard rubber of the stock handle would transmit vibrations without any dampening effect. Get 2 pairs as they deteriorate relatively quickly so you have replacements handy.
  • You absolutely need a voltmeter, it will warn you of an impending failure of the stator and can safe the day if you are far off service stations. If you have LED main lights the voltage should not go below 14V while the engine is running and not below 13 Volts if you have the old fashioned bulbs.
    The cheap ones from Amazon like this one are sufficient if you place them in the middle under the instrument panel with super glue. Make sure you encase them with some rubbery normal glue to keep moisture off.
    https://www.amazon.in/Absolute-Native-Electronics-Voltmeter-Vehicles/dp/B00P7QC8PW/
  • You may want to get a 21 litre fuel tank (either make it yourself or buy one from us) or at the very least purchase a holder for metal Jerry Cans - do NOT Fall for the flashy red plastic cans, they deteriorate quickly, are hard to impossible to open after a while and the nozzles are not fuel resistant which means they fall apart inside the canister(!!!). We had them for 2 years so we know! Why those additional fuel sources? Because in Ladakh gas stations are rare and some stretches you must take extra fuel unless you have a big tank that gives endurance of 500 km. And NEVER EVER hang those thin water canisters from the rear of your bike. One fall and they burst - douching you in fuel. Then one spark and you have your private little funeral pyre.
  • Crash guards are many, the RE one is tragic at best and laughable at worst, it bends at the slightest fall. The fancy ones from GIVI and others are NOT the best. They may LOOK the best but when it comes to falling from slow speed you do not want your leg crushed by the guard which is protecting your engine but not your leg. Get a modified Bullet guard, they are the best (and we sell them because of that!).
  • Put a 12V plug under the seat (or install it somewhere on the handle bar). It will allow for external charging e.g. with a small solar panel (very useful for long time parking at airports) or a small charger to keep the battery from dying which it will after 3-6 weeks of unattended parking. There are a few small built in gadgets (like the gear sensor and the clock) that suck up some miliamps but over time that is enough to kill any lead acid battery (which irrecoverably dies when going under ca. 10V).
  • I had a cow fight it out with my parked bike and in the process the oil cooler was bent and broke. Took 2 weeks for a replacement to arrive and that was before lockdown. Get a protective shield for it, from RE or Amazon (or us).
  • The standard horn is pathetic. Get a relais operated Bosch double horn. They are cheap and announce your presence like a car - which is very helpful when approaching from the rear.
  • If you ever plan to ride in India in the night (and I hope you do NOT) absolutely get the brightest LED front light (or bulb) you can get. Also add 2 extra bright LED lights to your crash guard. There is never enough light at night on streets with potholes as deep as I have seen on even new Indian roads.
  • If it is time to change your front brake pads get them from Yamaha for the FZ16/FZS models. They fit but are sintered and have better grip. They are also cheaper.
  • Get these cheap aluminum valve covers. If properly screwed on they will keep the air in the tyre even if the valve itself leaks. They also do not deteriorate and you wont lose them as easily.
    https://www.amazon.in/Aluminum-Wheel-Valve-Cover-Truck/dp/B08P8HTBNF/
  • I have not mentioned tyres although they arguably would be one of the most important changes to the bike but unfortunately there are no good Indian brands. If you are semi rich try TIMSUN (dealerships in Delhi - they ship to anywhere) and if you are very rich have some Heidenau or Metzler come from Germany - but even I shy away from that kind of expense and make do with Apollo (although I will change to Timsun at the next opportunity). While Michelin makes a reasonable street tyre that fits the rear wheel it is a 100% street tyre and utterly useless off road.
OK, that's it for today - if you have some additional ideas please share them here!
 

sam2019

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Part III - older Himas - nice-to-have stuff 2:

In India the 477cc engine upgrade is dirt cheap. Before venturing into changing the exhaust (more noise but not really more power) or the air filter (little bit more power but bigger particles get into the engine) consider going 477. With the exchange program for the old cylinder it is even cheaper. This is the *one* upgrade that REALLY gives your bike more UMPFF. Highly recommended (I know I am touting my own horn here but believe me, I would do it if it wasn't my product).

If you consider hard cases avoid those mounted on the carrier on top of the back. Apart from looking awful they also make the bike unstable by shifting the center of gravity to the rear and up - both are bad.

The company boxes are expensive - but to be honest they are the most practical of the lot. We tried 3 different ones of which KONNEN where the worst (stay away from those - hyped but cheap quality and very impractical). The RE boxes mount/dismount fairly fast, even if almost full (not if packed, then you have to unpack some stuff from the top) and they are the lightest and of solid built.

Of course cheap metal boxes made by a local boxmaker do a great job as well and we used those for years. Its a matter of looks and although you could add a lock its relatively cumbersome, But price wise it is top. About 1/10th of the company boxes.

Soft bags do a great job as well but do not protect you when you fall. Also the content is not as protected (computer and such). But otherwise a good choice if you fix them properly when riding so they do not slush around.
 

sam2019

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As it turns out (after 3 more years): the "broken head" issue seems limited (by a margin of 90%) to the 2018 batch of Himas.
While I know of only one case in the USA all other cases I have seen or heard of happened in India. BUT in India 99% of all Himas are running.
 

Dool

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As it turns out (after 3 more years): the "broken head" issue seems limited (by a margin of 90%) to the 2018 batch of Himas.
While I know of only one case in the USA all other cases I have seen or heard of happened in India. BUT in India 99% of all Himas are running.
All well to point this out now, I bought a later model with EFI and ABS fearing the earlier Carby model was suspect based on the suggestions that the Frame was a problem, now Im stuck with Fuel injection and funny brakes, Im seeking compensation 🙃
 
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