After test riding the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 today I’m convinced that the motorcycle isn’t a Royal Enfield. In many respects, it doesn’t come even close to what a Royal Enfield is supposed to be.
Power: There is more than enough of it. In all gears. On a straight stretch I opened the throttle wide open and reached 140 kmph rather quickly. Like I said, this isn’t a Royal Enfield.
Sound: There is no thump. The thump is dead. Like I said, this isn’t a Royal Enfield. But the dual exhaust note is a different kind of music to the ears. I love it. Hardcore thump lovers will not.
Vibrations: There are none. Like I said, this isn’t a Royal Enfield.
Riding Posture: Gently leaning forward, which is nice. But if you plan long distance highway cruising, you may need handlebar risers to straighten the posture. But that depends on your height and personal preference.
Build Quality: Good. Like I said, this isn’t a Royal Enfield.
However, I would wait for six months to pass judgment on the chrome quality. The chrome on the pipes of all the test ride bikes has already started to peel off. Maybe this is a Royal Enfield after all.
Instrument Cluster: Simple. Maybe a little too simple. A gear indicator would have been helpful.
Handling: Great. The riding posture and power of the engine begs you to lean into corners. Like I said, this isn’t a Royal Enfield.
Brakes: Excellent. Like I said, this isn’t a Royal Enfield.
Suspension: Excellent for good tarmac. Should be fine for bad roads as well. Like I said, this isn’t a Royal Enfield.
Design Aesthetic: Excellent! 10 on 10. Royal Enfield should stop wasting money on marketing this motorcycle. Just keep it in every dealership. It will sell, just because the way it looks.
Attention to Detail: Good. Nice looking welds. Clean geometry. It’s a visually appealing motorcycle. Like I said, this isn’t a Royal Enfield.
However, there are couple of things that can be improved. The side stand crashes into the chassis. Either, there is no rubber bushing to soften the blow or its not effective. The main stand retracts gracefully. After the test ride, I brought this to the attention of members of the Royal Enfield UK R&D team who were present. They looked at the motorcycle and admitted that they hadn’t noticed the problem. It’s an easy fix, though.
I also think the gap between the fuel cap and the tank could be eliminated. It doesn’t look good and sticks out like a sore thumb right under your nose.
I would recommend that Royal Enfield completely redesigned the tank. Not only because of the weird looking gap, but also because the odd protruding shape of the fuel tank lid is going to cause a problem for tank bags.
Verdict: The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 isn’t what a Royal Enfield is supposed to be. But I’m hoping that it is what Royal Enfields are going to be from here on. The product looks amazing, inspires desire and offers great value for money. Its a no-brainer upgrade for all existing owners of Royal Enfield 350’s and 500’s, unless the thump is an absolute requirement.
Now the only thing left to be determined is the reliability of the product. Essentially, the quality and reliability of critical components that make up this motorcycle. And that will tell us whether the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is truly a Royal Enfield or not.