We review the Latest, most awaited, the fastest production motorcycle yet from Royal Enfield. The Royal Enfield 650 Twins – Interceptor 650 and the Continental GT 650.
The term “Modern Classics” has a new definition. The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650. When Royal Enfield unveiled the bikes in EICMA 2017, most of us would have had a hard time picking up our jaws from the floor. The Twins are the most powerful Royal Enfield bikes on sale globally. The demand for modern classic bikes are ever increasing, and it was only about time that Royal Enfield made an entry or should I say, re-entry into the segment. Without a doubt, the twins were the most anticipated middleweight bikes of 2018.
But, a lot of questions had to be answered with this venture into the middleweight segment. The product has to appeal for a global audience, irrespective of age groups and riding experience. Quality niggles with respect to fit and finish and engine vibrations were a different story altogether. After endless waiting, numerous spy shots and rumoured stories later, the Twins have arrived, and in style. Have they delivered? Are the Twins worth the hype that was created around them? Has Royal Enfield managed to get this package correct? We find out in this review.
Looks and Design
The design of the Royal Enfield 650 twins is very simple yet subtle. The GT 650, with its sculpted fuel tank, looks more aggressive, purposeful and ready-to-attack from the word go. The Interceptor, on the other hand, looks like the good boy next door. While both the bikes look clean in terms of overall design, there is very little that make the bikes stand out. But, people do make note of your presence, thanks to the burbly exhaust note.
The Twin pod instrument cluster houses the analogue speedometer, tachometer and digital readouts for Trip-meter, Fuel indicator and odometer. There are also tell-tale lights for low beam, high beam, ABS warning, engine warning, battery status. Sadly, there is no gear indicator, which would have been much appreciated. The needles do a full sweep upon turning on the ignition. The Royal Enfield badging on the tank varies for the Interceptor and the Continental GT.
Both the bikes share the same steel tubular, double cradle chassis, 18-inch wheels, suspension setup and brakes. The fuel tank has a slightly higher capacity in the Interceptor at 13.7 Litres as opposed to 12.5 litres in the GT 650. The GT tips the scale at 198 kgs without fuel, while the Interceptor weighs in at 202 kgs.
There are gentle touches of chrome on the headlamp and the dual upswept exhausts, crankcase, and the engine head cover. The paint quality is top notch and there are a variety of options to choose from, including a chrome finish. The headlights are dispersion types with regular halogen bulbs and they just about light the road ahead. The turn indicators, brake lights are regular halogen units too, and they add up the retro-modern touch that the twins are aimed at. Electronics are very minimal, aimed at keeping the price low.
Powering the Royal Enfield 650 Twins is a 648 CC, air/oil cooled parallel twin engine, which was developed from scratch. The engine has a 270-degree firing order for the bassy burble and is counterbalanced to keep the vibrations at bay. This is where the Twins shine as the engine is the single greatest area where the team has done a stellar job. There are no vibrations and it is at par with other middleweights in the segment.
The engine produces 47 horsepower at 7250 rpm and 52 Nm torque at 5250 rpm. Almost 80% of torque is available from as low as 2500 rpm, which means, it can pull away cleanly with a twist of the wrist, without needing for frequent gear changes. Power delivery is linear, across the rev range and the fuelling is precise, and thanks to Bosch fuel Injection unit, the bike responds even to the smallest differences to throttle inputs.
Turn on the ignition, crank it and the engine comes to life at once. The engine produces a deep, bassy burble at idle and is music to ears. The clutch feels light to use and should not be a problem at city traffic. This is the first time that a Royal Enfield comes equipped with a 6 speed gearbox, developed specifically for the Royal Enfield 650 twins. The gear ratios are perfect, and the gearbox feels as smooth as a hot knife in butter. No false neutrals encountered during our test ride and the gearbox has a slipper clutch with assist feature, thus enabling for a lighter lever feel and easy downshifts. This is one gem of an engine they have got and we expect it to power future Royal Enfields.
Braking on the Twins is taken care of by a single 320mm disc at the front and 240mm disc at the rear. Dual channel ABS is offered as standard and it inspires confidence to the rider. The ABS unit by Bosch should keep you safe just in case you employ emergency and/or panic braking. ABS kicks in during hard braking and there is no fishtailing, which is a boon to first-timers riding a larger capacity motorcycle. There is no drama under emergency braking and the bike comes to a stop in a straight line.
The suspension is 41 mm telescopic forks with 110 mm of travel at the front and twin gas charged units at the rear. The rear shock absorber by Gabriel is 5 step preload adjustable for the comfort and damping to suit your taste. The Interceptor has a softer suspension setup, aimed at comfortable riding. On the other hand, the Continental GT 650, which we tested, came with harder suspension setup, to aid in the handling. The suspension setup in general, is just about right, neither too soft and supple nor too hard so that it manages the ever-changing road conditions in our country with ease.
Now, this is what is differentiating factor between the two bikes, apart from which they are identical. The seating position on the Interceptor is relaxed and laid back in nature, allowing for comfortable cruising, with higher set handlebars and more comfortably placed foot pegs. With a proper kit, the Interceptor has the potential to be an excellent tourer. The Continental GT 650 on the other hand, has a more committed seating position, due to the lower set clip-on handlebars, rear-set footpegs and a slightly longer fuel tank, staying true to its café racer heredity. You will find yourself pushing the Continental GT 650 more so, than the Interceptor, which leaves you wanting for more after some time at the saddle.
What is it like to ride?
The Twins are composed to ride and confidence inspiring, both to experienced riders and newcomers alike. The bikes are very forgiving, to say the least. They pull very cleanly from a standstill. 100kmph comes in no time and you don’t realize that you’ve hit the ton until you see the speedometer. We were able to easily touch the 140kmph mark during our test drive. It pulls clearly past 6000 rpm all the way to the rev limit.
There is very minimal buzz past 6000 rpm, felt through the handlebars and the footpegs. But, they are neither bothering nor a deal breaker. The engine is high revving in nature and it can effortlessly cruise at 120+ kmph all day long. The most important thing, it feels unstressed at higher speeds. You can do some cornering without the fear of scraping the foot pegs or the exhaust pipes, courtesy 175mm ground clearance.
The Royal Enfield 650 Twins are priced at 2.5 Lacs (ex-showroom) for the Interceptor and 2.65 lacs (ex-showroom) for the GT 650. This translates to about 3 – 3.2 lac on road price based on the city you are in. The pricing is introductory and might go up in the near future. For what it offers, the pricing is spot-on and the Royal Enfield 650 Twins are the most affordable Twin Cylinder bikes that money can buy in India. Sure, they are a ton of fun indeed.
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