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Royal Enfield's motorcycles hold a special place in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people. There's just something about these motorcycles that make people cling to them. But enthusiasts tried their level best to stay away from RE motorcycles, until November 2018.
In November 2018, Royal Enfield launched two motorcycles that turned things around for the brand - The Interceptor 650 & Continental GT 650. The 650 twins as they were fondly called, managed to convince even critics like me, that Royal Enfield and its motorcycles had changed for the good.
We rode the Interceptor 650 back then and we were mighty impressed as you can read in our review of the 2018 Interceptor 650 BS4. It has been more than two and a half years since then, and Royal Enfield has sold thousands of units of the Interceptor 650. A few things have changed in the past couple of years.
We got on the saddle of the 2021 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 BS6 to find out if it still feels as good as it did back then. Here's our review of the RE Interceptor 650.
Design & Style
Not much has changed on the Interceptor 650 when it comes to the styling. It carries forward the same retro design with the circular headlamp up front and clean, chiseled lines all over. The devil they say is in the detail and so it is with the BS6 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650.
The motorcycle sports a circular headlamp up front finished in Chrome. Upon looking closely, you will find that inside the Halogen-powered headlamp is a small LED position lamp. However, the Interceptor 650 comes with the Always Headlamp On (AHO) feature and as a result, the little LED light is always overpowered by the bright halogen bulb.
Placed above the headlamp is the digital analogue instrument cluster. To the left is the speedometer and to the right is the tachometer. Inside the tachometer binnacle are a few tell-tale lights, and inside the speedometer binnacle is a little LCD screen that displays the fuel gauge, trip meters and odometer.
The fork gators on the front suspension make the front end look complete while the chromed mirrors lend it a premium feel. When viewed from the side profile, there are many design elements that stand out, and the fuel tank is the one that grabs most eyeballs.
The Interceptor 650 gets a beautifully finished fuel tank with the Royal Enfield Emblem on both sides. The Monza-style fuel filler cap is finished in Chrome. We got the Ventura Blue colour and it sure is a head-turner. The motorcycle comes with a long single-piece seat that is shaped in a way that enhances the design of the motorcycle. We will come to how comfortable it is later in the review.
Following the fuel tank in the eyeball grabbing competition is the engine unit and the exhaust. The large parallel-twin engine and the twin exhaust pipes finished in Chrome also play a big role in the aesthetics of the Interceptor 650.
The side covers of the engine are finished in chrome while the cylinders are finished in Black and the engine head is finished in silver. This creates a beautiful contrast. The side panels are finished in Black and get the Interceptor logo on them.
At the rear, the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 comes with a rather simple setup. The halogen bulb-powered tail lamp and indicators along with the registration number plate are mounted on the rear fender. When viewed from the rear, the twin upswept exhaust outlets lend the 650 a big bike look.
On the whole, the RE Interceptor 650 looks great and the designers have kept things simple and classy.
Engine & Performance
The 2021 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 BS6 is powered by an air and oil-cooled, 648cc, parallel-twin engine. Despite being BS6 emissions norms compliant, the power and torque output remains the same. It has a maximum power output of 47bhp at 7,150rpm and a peak torque output of 52Nm at 5,250rpm.
It is an under-stressed engine and is easy-going. Thumb the starter, and you are greeted by a bassy rumble as the parallel-twin comes to life. Twist the throttle though, and it turns into an aggressive, throaty noise.
Transmission duties are handled by a 6-speed gearbox assisted by a slipper clutch. Royal Enfield has really worked on making things easier for the rider, and the light feel on the clutch lever stands testimony to this.
It makes a clanking sound when it is slotted into the first gear, much like big cruiser motorcycles would. Slowly release the clutch lever and the motorcycle gets going even without any throttle input thanks to the low-end torque produced by the parallel-twin motor.
More than 80 percent of the torque comes in at below 3,000rpm and this makes it a joy at low speeds. Also, picking up speed is pretty easy in any gear. If revving the engine is your thing, the Interceptor 650 doesn't shy away from that as well. One can shift through all the gears while revving the engine and see that the speed builds up without a fuss.
However, it is out on the highway that this engine really comes into its own. 100km/h comes in at just around 4,200rpm and at 120km/h, the engine sticks to 5,000rpm in sixth gear. Even at this speed, the engine has enough grunt in it to perform overtakes with ease.
The 0-100km/h run takes about 7 seconds and the Interceptor 650 has a top speed of around 160km/h on a long stretch of road. Reaching cruising speeds of 120-130km/h is a piece of cake and the motorcycle can stay at those speeds all day long. In the city, it returned a fuel efficiency of 23km/l and this goes up to around 28km/l out on the highway.
Ride & Handling
Since the time it was launched, the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 has always been subtle and understated when it comes to handling. It doesn't look like it can take corners well, but surprisingly so, it feels right at home in the twisties. If you're not careful, you might end up scraping the exhausts on the twisties.
It really is a fun-to-ride motorcycle and makes for an enjoyable riding experience. However, it feels more at home out on the highway. When it was first launched in 2018, the 650 twins rode on Pirelli Phantom SportComp tyres. Now though, thanks to tyre import restrictions, the Pirellis have been replaced by Ceat tyres.
The Ceat Zoom Cruz tyres at first seem like a huge step down from the Pirellis, but they offer good grip levels. On dry tarmac, the tyres are great and the grip levels decrease only slightly when the roads are wet.
Suspension duties are handled by a telescopic fork up front and twin shocks at the rear. The rear shocks are adjustable for preload. Bumps and potholes are soaked up well at lower speeds while it does get a bit bumpy at higher speeds.
Braking is done via a 320mm disc up front and a 240mm disc at the rear from Bybre. The brakes are powerful enough and offer enough feedback from the levers. It also comes equipped with a dual-channel ABS system as standard equipment.
The riding position is pretty straightforward and upright. In the city, this gives the rider the needed flexibility to maneuver the fairly large bike through tight spaces. Out on the highway, it translates into being able to cover long distances with ease.
We rode the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 for just over 300 kilometres while it was with us on test, and we always felt like we could keep going. However, we must say that the seat could have been a little wider and softer, as this would aid the rider in covering longer distances more easily. Royal Enfield does offer a touring seat as an optional extra.
On the whole, the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 remains a brilliant motorcycle to ride irrespective of the road conditions.
On the features front, the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 unfortunately hasn't changed much in nearly three years. It still gets a minimalistic range of features. Up front, it gets the aforementioned digital-analogue instrumentation. The little LCD screen inside the speedometer is the only bit that reminds us that it is a motorcycle from 2021.
We did end up wishing for a bigger LCD or even TFT unit, complete with Royal Enfield's very own Tripper navigation system. Maybe Royal Enfield is saving this for a generational update that could come out in a couple of years.
The paint job and colour options are usually not counted as a feature, but to the target audience of the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650, colour options matter. Royal Enfield has a wide variety of colours for the Interceptor 650. We rode the Ventura Blue colour, which is one of the four new colours that were added to the lineup just this year.
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Colour Options:
- Canyon Red
- Ventura Blue
- Orange Crush
- Downtown Drag
- Baker Express
- Sunset Strip
The Downtown Drag colour scheme in our opinion looks the best. But of course, it depends on each one's personal taste. Prices for the motorcycle also depend on the colour opted for.
In terms of the competition, the only direct rival to the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is its twin - The Royal Enfield Continental GT 650. With the price taken into consideration, the Interceptor 650 competes with the likes of the KTM 390 Duke and Kawasaki Ninja 300. However, this is like comparing apples with oranges. These motorcycles are vastly different when compared to the 650.
In terms of the character and the way the motorcycle is built, RE Interceptor 650 goes up against the likes of the Kawasaki W800, Triumph Street Twin, etc. These motorcycles are more than twice as expensive as the Interceptor 650 and that simply means, there is no competition it faces.
Price, Warranty & Roadside Assistance
As aforementioned, the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is priced according to the colour one opts for.
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Prices:
|2021 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Colour||Price|
|RE Interceptor 650 Canyon Red||₹2.81 Lakh|
|RE Interceptor 650 Orange Crush||₹2.81 Lakh|
|RE Interceptor 650 Ventura Blue||₹2.81 Lakh|
|RE Interceptor 650 Sunset Strip||₹2.89 Lakh|
|RE Interceptor 650 Downtown Drag||₹2.89 Lakh|
|RE Interceptor 650 Baker Express||₹2.89 Lakh|
|RE Interceptor 650 Mark 2||₹3.03 Lakh|
The motorcycle comes with a 2-year/40,000 kilometre warranty as standard and buyers can opt for a 2-Year/20,000 kilometre extended warranty. The motorcycle also comes with a 1-Year roadside assistance package as standard.
Royal Enfield also has the Make It Yours customisation program. Buyers of the Interceptor 650 can customise the motorcycle with a variety of accessories to suit their taste.
When we rode the motorcycle back in 2018, we had said it was the beginning of a winning chapter for Royal Enfield. Well, it turns out we were right. The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 does everything right and it looks brilliant as well.
We do wish for Royal Enfield to equip it with more technologies like LED lighting and a TFT screen. With these two feature additions, the Interceptor 650 will be unstoppable and might just become our favourite motorcycle.