Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 review
What is it?
Royal Enfield’s most powerful and polished motorcycle yet.
Design & Build
- The Interceptor is a typical British modern classic – retro and understated. It looks like a mini Triumph Bonneville and that’s a good thing.
- The rear look is particularly interesting with that dual exhaust design. However, I do believe that a fatter rear tyre would have given the motorcycle a bit more character.
- The build quality, while much better than the Bullet and Classic, is still not perfect. Our test unit, which was merely 2 months old, already had a few rusted bits. Not a good sign at all!
- The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 weighs 202 kg, which makes it pretty heavy. However, the weight distribution is quite good.
- The twin-pod instrument cluster of the bike is a bit too basic. Aside from the speed and RPM, it only displays dual trip metres and odometer. On a premium bike like this, additional information like distance-to-empty, average fuel economy and a clock should have been there.
- The Interceptor 650’s riding posture is fairly upright, but there’s a slight lean angle here. If you are graduating from the Classic, you’d definitely feel the riding posture a bit aggressive for a modern classic.
- If you plan to buy this motorcycle for frequent long trips, please ensure to take a test ride first and get familiar with its riding posture.
Engine, Exhaust Note and Gearbox
- The 648 cc parallel-twin engine of the Interceptor 650 is the most impressive aspect of the Interceptor 650. It generates 47 bhp and 52 Nm and comes mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox.
- Refinement levels of this engine remain really impressive. It is quite vibe-free, unless, of course, you redline it. While cruising on highway speeds, some vibrations seep in at around 100-110 km/h in 6th gear, but they never get bothersome.
- The engine is not overly rev-friendly, but that is to be expected from a modern classic. Where this bike shines is the mid-range. The torque band is so wide and accessible that you hardly have to downshift.
- The clutch action and the gear shifts are pretty snappy. However, false neutrals are not very uncommon. Also, the clutch may be a bit tiresome in city traffic.
- The heat management of the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is quite well contained on highways. However, since it’s a big engine, it does get warm in the city. So, during heavy traffic in peak summers, it will roast your legs!
- The exhaust note of the motorcycle is quite pleasing, but do not expect the iconic thump of the old Bullet engine. For a really distinctive sound, an aftermarket exhaust would be your best bet.
Ride & Handling
- The suspension setup of the bike is well optimised for Indian roads. It’s not overly cushiony, but not firm either. Over a majority of bumps and potholes, the bike won’t break a sweat.
- However, the seat is pretty underwhelming. It lacks padding and is small as well. The pillion comfort also suffers because of this seat. So, over long distances, you’d surely want to upgrade to the optional touring seat.
- Coming to handling, the Interceptor 650 is undoubtedly one of Royal Enfield’s best efforts yet. It’s predictable, safe and easily manageable. The bulk of the bike is well contained around corners, unless, of course, you push it too hard.
- The Pirelli-sourced tyres on the bike offer very good levels of grip.
- The dual-disc brake setup of this motorcycle is really confidence-inspiring. The brakes have a lot of bite, which in turn, make cruising an effortless affair.
- Dual-channel ABS also comes standard on this bike. Since the Interceptor has no fancy electronics, the ABS cannot be disabled.
- For around Rs 2.7 lakh (ex-showroom), the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is the most affordable 650 cc bike in India. However, it’s not just the low price that makes it recommendable, but its merits are pretty strong as well.
- The motorcycle looks good, has an awesome engine and is pretty nice to ride as well. Sure, the seat could have been better, and Royal Enfield needs better quality control.
- Still, the Interceptor is one of the best bikes you can buy below Rs 3 lakh. You can also consider the KTM 390 Duke in this price range, but that’s a completely different and sportier motorcycle that’s targeted towards a younger audience.
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