My time spent with the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 made me fall in love with it! It looked great (especially the tank with the chrome finish), the performance was fantastic and it was an easy bike to live with. Now, I requested Royal Enfield if I could have the BS6 Interceptor 650 and well, the company provided me with one, with a request to return in it in a week. Three weeks later, I am yet to return the motorcycle. Read on to find out why!
Also Read: BS6 Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 Review
Absolutely nothing changes on the BS6 Interceptor 650 in terms of design and it is perfectly alright! It is a modern classic roadster with neat, minimalist overtones that lean more towards elegance. The colour on our test bike is 'Ravishing Red' and it is one of the better colours that you get on the Interceptor 650. The motorcycle will grab attention, whether you park it in a basement or ride it on the road. The Interceptor 650 will get admiring glances from men and women alike! I cannot help but think that the Interceptor 650, fitted with the chrome-finished tank of the Continental GT 650 will be one beautiful-looking motorcycle. The Interceptor 650 does get a chrome colour option called 'Glitter and dust', but I like the shape of the fuel tank on the Continental GT more. That shape is something else!
Engine and performance
The 648 cc parallel-twin motor is the same from the Continental GT 650 and yes it is BS6 compliant. It makes 47 bhp at 7,150 rpm and there is 52 Nm of torque, which comes in at 5,250 rpm. The USP is in the way it delivers power. Between 2,200 and 4,500 rpm, you are riding this wave of torque which is enough to propel you ahead of slow moving vehicles with ease. This is one of those motorcycles on which you love overtaking others.
Because it is so darn easy! There is an immediate surge as you twist the throttle and that surge will stay as long as you want it to. The Interceptor 650 doesn't run out of juice even if you accelerate after you have reached triple digit speeds. The parallel-twin engine offers almost 80 per cent of its maximum torque 2,500 rpm onwards and that is what makes the engine such a delightful unit. The delivery of power is seamless and at no point does the motorcycle feel out of breath! It is perhaps the best engine to have come from Royal Enfield. It is butter smooth, with the barest hint of vibrations and feels like it was built to last.
The tractability of the engine is one of the highlights as it offers enough to keep you moving forward even when riding at 50 kmph in the sixth gear. The motorcycle can effortlessly sit at 100 kmph+ all day, in case you are on a highway run. The 6-speed gearbox is smooth now with the addition of a slipper clutch, the motorcycle becomes even more rider friendly. Overall, your riding experience on the BS6 Interceptor 650 will always be a happy one.
Ride and handling
The motorcycle is not razor sharp when it comes to handling and filtering through traffic may not be easy as a breeze. Nonetheless, it is not too lazy either and doesn't make you work overly hard to change directions quickly. And the suspension, particularly the rear shock absorbers, bottom out quite often, which results in a bouncy ride, especially over sharp-edged undulations on the tarmac. One won't even feel the small undulations on the road. With 202 kg of dry weight, the bike is not light but once you get on it and start moving, you tend to forget about the weight. The grip from the Pirelli rubber could have been better though. For all RE customers and enthusiasts, there are a bunch of aftermarket options when it comes to tyres and suspension, even exhausts for that matter.
The ergonomics on the Interceptor 650 are sorted more or less, thanks to the wide handlebar and an upright seating position. But there are a couple of issues that could have been better. The seat, for example, is narrow. On long highway rides, it is going to be a problem, even for those who do not have an ample backside, unlike me! Secondly, the footpegs for the rider are placed awkwardly, in a sense that every time you set your feet down or want to drag the bike backwards while sitting, you are going to hit your shins against the footpegs. Now, wearing calf-length riding boots will keep your shins injury-free. But most riders are not going to wear those shoes and your shins are going to get bruised. So, it is going to take some time getting used to but footpegs could have been positioned better, a little rearset maybe.
Rivals and pricing
Keeping the prices and the specifications in mind, the BS6 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 goes up against the KTM 390 Duke and the BMW G 310 R. Prices for the Interceptor 650 start at ₹ 2.67 lakh and go up to ₹ 2.87 lakh, depending on the colour that you buy. The KTM 390 Duke is priced at ₹ 2.57 lakh and the updated BMW G 310 R is priced at ₹ 2.45 lakh. All prices are ex-showroom, Delhi.
So, the reason why I am delaying the inevitable, (returning the bike that is) is because the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is possibly all the bike you ever need till the time you stick to tarmac. It looks good. The quality of fit and finish is commendable and the performance is solid too. The engine is one of the finest we have seen in recent times, on a middleweight motorcycle. Yes! It has a couple of chinks in its armour, but nothing that could be a deal-breaker. It works wonderfully as a daily ride and will be good company on your occasional highway jaunts too. It may not have the features that its rivals offer, but as a motorcycle, it is easy to live with and what is more important is the fact that it gives you that joy of riding, every time you go out and ride the motorcycle.