Francois' trials in Delhi
Could you tell us a little about the latest Enfield?
This 650cc twin-cylinder engine produces 47 horsepower, a radical change for Royal Enfield, which has limited itself to the small single-cylinders that we are all familiar with for almost 60 years. The beautiful Interceptor is classic and elegant and its proportions are more or less the same as the GT 535 with a very similar chassis. Slim and slender, the Royal Enfield 650 could be the Triumph Bonneville's little sister.
How is the Interceptor different from the Bullet?
The Interceptor 650 and the Bullet are poles apart! The Interceptor is a different bike altogether, in more than one way. A lot of work has been put into the finish and the quality of the materials. The engine and running gears inspire confidence with more powerful, modern mechanics. With this new motor, we dream about long-distance rides, going just that little bit further and little bit faster than on the Bullet, while maintaining that classic motorbike feel. Royal Enfield set itself a new challenge by focusing on middleweight engines and all eyes were on the Indian brand, but it has clearly proved itself with this new motor.
« Going against the current trend of technology and performance, Royal Enfield has stayed true to itself and succeeded in offering a real pleasure motorbike, a classic with character and at a price that beats all competition. »
New bike sensations
You got the chance to try it out, what's your first impression?
It felt like I was riding a strong bike, and I'm not really used to that any more because, since I've been in Asia, I spend my time on a Bullet. I immediately found the engine to be very smooth and handling very easy. Unlike Triumph, which has gone back to neo-retro motorcycles with a heavy Bonneville and an engine that's too linear for my liking, Royal Enfield has kept in line with its tradition of classic, light and vibrant twins. You can't expect to go at lightning speed with less than 50 horsepower, but the engine is smooth and its 270-degree crank gives it the most delightful rumble, typical of classic racers. This bike amazed me with its on-road precision, its powerful disc brakes, steering radius and just how easy it is to handle.
Do you think this new bike is suitable for motorcycle tours?
One thing's certain, this type of bike is a dream to ride, and it is so ergonomic, anyone could ride it. The Continent GT is a little more exclusive as its clip-on handlebars are lower and the footrests are set quite far back. The leaned-forward riding stance means it’s not ideal for motorcycle tours, and even less so for tall bikers. The Royal Enfield 650 Interceptor really is perfect for pleasure riding; you can enjoy a wind- in-hair type of ride at just over 55 miles an hour. It's a bit much for India, but could be great for other destinations.
If you're interested to ride on another model than the Royal Enfield Bullet, we invite you to check our Mongolia motorbike tours where we use Himalayans.
Sophie Squillace / Vintage Rides
Photo credits: Sophie Squillace