Royal Enfield Interceptor 650: A perfect balance of style and powerPosted On: March 15, 2021 By : AutoLife Team
It was love at first sight when Royal Enfield launched the Interceptor 650 in India. The retro look and vintage charm of the bike kept me on Youtube for hours on end, looking and marvelling at bike reviews. And when I got the chance to take the Interceptor 650 for a spin, I was over the moon. I have always loved Royal Enfield bikes since my childhood. My earliest memory of riding a bike was on a Royal Enfield with my Dad. So I wanted to find out if the latest bike from the hallowed Indian brand stayed true to its roots. How does the most affordable 650cc bike in Nepal ride? Let’s find out.
Design and features
If you had a time machine and brought the Interceptor 650 into the past, it would blend right in. The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 pays homage to bikes of yesteryear with design elements like a flat seat, dispersion-style headlight, twin-pod analogue instrument cluster and classic 18-inch spoke alloy wheels. The Interceptor is a dual seated conventionally-styled roadster with a rounded 13.7-litre fuel tank and gets the classic Royal Enfield badge along with a Monza-style fuel cap.
However, Royal Enfield has added a touch of modernity in the bike with dual-channel ABS as well as disc brakes on both wheels. And the bike also comes with an assist and slipper clutch.
Fit and finish is also much improved from other Royal Enfield models. You will find chrome finishing all over the bike, from the twin exhausts to the crankcases on the engine. Even the rims and the wide handlebars get the chrome treatment. You get tubed tyres as standard with Pirelli rubber to keep the bike planted around corners. The double-cradle chassis was designed with inputs from UK based Harris Performance, who also built the frame for the now discontinued Royal Enfield Continental GT 535. It houses the engine in a compact frame and offers superior balance and handling. According to the company, the chassis ensures the Interceptor 650 us dynamic and responsive, nimble in the city, planted on the highways and agile on the twisties.
The twin exhausts are more than just styling options. It genuinely sounds heavenly. The 270-degree firing order gives the bike a unique exhaust note similar to a V-Twin engine found on a Harley Davidson. It does not have the ‘thump’ of past Royal Enfield models but we found the new throatier exhaust note to be much sexier.
The Interceptor 650 stays true to its classic design with no flashy body panels and clean lines. Royal Enfield has hit a home run in terms of design.
Engine and performance
The Interceptor 650 is powered by a parallel twin-cylinder 648cc, air-oil cooled engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. The engine was specifically built and designed from the ground up for the Interceptor 650. It is the smoothest and most powerful Royal Enfield engine we have ever experienced. The engine smoothly delivers power and is very relaxed due to the low compression ratio of 9.5:1. The engine produces a maximum power of 47.65 PS at 7250RPM and a maximum torque of 52 Nm at 5250RPM.
The company boasted that the bike is their smoothest model yet and we have to agree. The Interceptor simply does not vibrate no matter how much we twisted the throttle. The addition of a counterbalancer also helps in keeping vibrations to a minimum. A parallel twin-cylinder engine typically vibrates less than a single-cylinder.
Thumb the starter, shift into first gear and the bike just pulls like a truck. According to Royal Enfield, around 80 percent of the torque is available from as low as 2500 RPM. The bike revs cleanly and you can hit a top speed of over 60kmph in just the first gear. Shifts are extremely smooth on the 6-speed gearbox and the slipper clutch allows you to downshift aggressively. In second gear, you can hit 100kmph effortlessly and you won’t realise that you are going that fast unless you glance at the speedometer.
Throttle response is excellent thanks to the Bosch fuel-injection unit and even less experienced riders will be able to control the 650cc behemoth of an engine.
It was an unusual experience as other Enfield models were known for their tendency to vibrate so much that nuts and bolts would fall off. Not that we’re complaining.
Another thing we were worried about was the engine heat due to the massive 650cc engine but our worries were unnecessary. The air and oil cooler combination did a fantastic job of keeping the heat in check. With a top speed of 172kmph (speedo indicated), you can easily take this bike on the highways.
Comfort and handling
The Interceptor 650, weighing 202 kg is a very comfortable bike but if you are lean like me, it might be a bit difficult to move around while parking. Even though the bike is heavy, the handlebar is set low, easy to steer and the mirrors provide good coverage. The stock seat of the bike has enough padding to keep your bottom comfortable for longer rides. The fuel capacity of the bike is 13.7 litre.
The suspension is on the softer side with the ‘piggy-back’ gas-charged twin shocks at the rear and 41mm forks at the front. You can also adjust the pre-load at the rear. And with a ground clearance of 174mm, the Interceptor can tackle all kinds of terrain. The riding position is also very comfortable, with the rider sitting upright.
However, one thing that could be improved is the position of the foot brake lever, which is located right next to the massive twin-cylinder engine. The engine protrudes to the sides a fair bit, making it a tad bit uncomfortable for your right foot. I could not use the foot brake lever as easily as on other bikes. If the foot brake lever was a little wider, it would be easier for the rider.
The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is unlike other models from the Indian brand. It has all the characteristics of a Royal Enfield bike, namely the sweet exhaust note and retro styling, but none of their drawbacks like vibrations and a poor finish. It is a well-proportioned bike with simple looks and comfortable ergonomics. We are confident that this bike will age just like fine wine thanks to its classic styling and simple electronics package. You won’t have to worry about expensive repairs and parts will be easily available for years to come. Priced at Rs 1,249,000, the Interceptor 650 is also one of the most affordable machines in its class.
|Engine Type||Parallel twin, 4-stroke, single overhead cam, air/oil-cooled|
|Max Power||47.65 PS @ 7150 rpm|
|Max Torque||52 Nm @ 5250 rpm|
|No. of Cylinders||2|
|Cooling System||Air & Oil Cooled|
|Valve Per Cylinder||4|
|Drive Type||Chain Drive|
|Starting||Self Start Only|
|Fuel Supply||Fuel Injection|
|Ignition||Digital spark ignition – TCI|