Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Twin & Continental Gt 650 Twin Revealed

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After a year of speculation, hints and motorcycling press snapshots of drab test bikes, Royal Enfield have officially shown off their long-anticipated twin cylinder motorcycles at the Milan EICMA Motorcycle Show. The Interceptor 650 Twin and the Continental GT 650 Twin are planned for release in September 2018.

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The two bikes will have a brand new 650 cc parallel-twin engine, marking the first time in half a century that Royal Enfield has such a bike on it's product line. Both the Interceptor and the Continental GT 650 are modern classics with a delightful profile evocative of the 1950's and 60's.

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The new Interceptor 650 shows its bloodlines clearly, harking back to the original Interceptor Mark I. The Interceptor and the Continental GT 650 use the same chassis and the engine.
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The Interceptor is more of an old-school roadster style motorcycle

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The Continental GT 650 is a full-blown café racer

According to Siddhartha Lal, the CEO of Royal Enfield;

The bikes are in last stage of production. We expect to launch in some markets starting April next year and then through the year across various global other global geographies. Royal Enfield aims to lead and expand the mid weight (250 cc -750 cc) motorcycle segment globally. These two new bikes would help grow this segment.

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The Royal Enfield Interceptor and Continental GT 650 are powered by an all-new air and oil-cooled 648 cc twin-cylinder engine that generates 47 bhp of power and 53 NM of torque.

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Developed at Royal Enfield’s UK technology centre in Leicestershire, the engine is intended to carry the classic Royal Enfield legacy and styling into a 21st century context.

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Sep 19, 2006
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I think they Look Fantastic! The Interceptor looks a lot Nicer than the GT, Shame it is such a low HP Engine but Looking forward to seeing one in the Flesh and the Thailand Prices!!!
 

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The new 47 BHP 650cc "low HP engine" is actually pretty grunty compared to the latest;
  • 900cc Triumph T100 and Street Twin has a very modest 54 HP - approx 15 HP less than a Versys
  • 1200cc Triumph Speedmaster is only 77 HP - approx 8 HP more than a Versys...
I think the focus has been keeping the Royal Enfield's performance just inside the EU / UK motorcycle license rules; Age 19-20 - 47 bhp max: the A2 licence.

That's quite a large market segment, and it makes perfect sense not to exclude the bike from that market.
 
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jimboy

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A detailed review, "Ridden: Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 & Continental GT 650 Twin," is available on the Indian forum Team-BHP.com. From November 2018 customer bikes have been delivered within India. So far, the bikes have been met with relatively few criticisms and quite a bit of astonishment. A vibration free Royal Enfield? It can't be!

The Interceptor 650 looks like competition for the basic Triumph Bonneville. Royal Enfield in Chiang Mai is expecting the 650 twins to arrive in March. It will be interesting to ride the bike to see how it compares to more expensive competition.

The launch bike featured in worldwide press had an orange tank - "Orange Crush" - which evokes a Seventies feeling. Personally I like the look of the standard "Mark Three" black, and the special "Glitter and Dust" chrome finishes.

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RE appear to have captured the essence of a classic twin. According to reports RE's acquisition of the UK's Harris Performance has paid off since the Harris team were involved in engineering the majority of the bike. There have been exemplary reports about the frame and geometry, the gearbox, and the engine.

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As for the price of the 650 Twins in Thailand, they are very competitive. It's tempting to trade-in a PCX as a deposit for a 650cc.
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GTR-Admin

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I've been closely watching the 650 Twins story unfold since the first rumours started circulating online. Whilst I'd love a vintage bike, I lack the technical expertise of guys like Ian Yonok which is essential to keep such a bike running. I'd like a retro-styled bike and the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 ticks all the boxes in terms of the marque's authenticity, historical appeal and close reproduction of an earlier model etc. And as Ian Bungy states - the price is "a fantastic bargain!"

Unlike Ian, my shed is probably big enough to fit one in... I came awfully close to buying a RE Classic 500 a year ago. The Rebel 500 won on the day because of the extra horsepower - and I could not bear to wait another 18 months for the release of the 650 Interceptor!

In terms of kerb appeal, the 650 Interceptor is a lovely looking bike. The reviews I've pored over are, with few exceptions, very positive in all respects. Like jimboy, I like the look of the standard "Mark Three" black, and the special "Glitter and Dust" chrome finishes and would be hard-pressed to make the choice between them! ;)
 
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Apr 23, 2006
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I've been closely watching the 650 Twins story unfold since the first rumours started circulating online. Whilst I'd love a vintage bike, I lack the technical expertise of guys like Ian Yonok which is essential to keep such a bike running. I'd like a retro-styled bike and the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 ticks all the boxes in terms of the marque's authenticity, historical appeal and close reproduction of an earlier model etc. And as Ian Bungy states - the price is "a fantastic bargain!"

Unlike Ian, my shed is probably big enough to fit one in... I came awfully close to buying a RE Classic 500 a year ago. The Rebel 500 won on the day because of the extra horsepower - and I could not bear to wait another 18 months for the release of the 650 Interceptor!

In terms of kerb appeal, the 650 Interceptor is a lovely looking bike. The reviews I've pored over are, with few exceptions, very positive in all respects. Like jimboy, I like the look of the standard "Mark Three" black, and the special "Glitter and Dust" chrome finishes and would be hard-pressed to make the choice between them! ;)
I think these new ones "should" be quite reliable. The one thing that puts me off is that the dealership is so far away from where I live. 235 kms to travel for purchase servicing etc is a no/no now.
 
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Oct 17, 2006
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Bike was designed and engineered in RE research centre in UK and the frame is a Harris Performance design as RE own Harris
they look fantastic and i cant wait to test one out it will be a tossup between Interceptor or new Benelli 752 twin later this year as backup for my 18 year old Ducati in Thailand
 
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ianyonok

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The new 650 twins look pretty good. I like the classic "see-through" look around the engine. Not sure about the exhaust pipe bends and the fat silencer but easy to replace.
They should sell well at that price. Look forward to seeing one in the metal. The silver chrome Interceptor looks great.
Must say though... the 60's bikes look superb...... haha..
 
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GTR-Admin

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Must say though... the 60's bikes look superb...... haha..
Yes, that '68 RE in Chrome truly is a "Melody in Metal"... However, the problem for us mere mortals is that;
  • the chances of owning one of those is close to zero
  • having the mechanical skills to keep one running is about the same 555
The newly manufactured "retro version" offers a chance to ride a classic style of motorbike with a real 'heritage factor" at a good price point. Plus one which is likely to require minimal mechanical ability to keep it running on long trips. The Bosch fuel injection plus electronic EMS / ECU should contribute to both reliability and economy.

Once upon a time was when you absolutely needed to know HOW things worked, in order to get them working again. :cold_sweat:
- otherwise, motorcycling often involved walking and pushing...

These days, all I want to know about my bike's mechanical aspects is that they all work! Preferably, every time I turn the key on and press the starter button - all the way through the day until I turn the key off again... :cool:
 

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Myself - I would never buy the first series of any brand new bike. Let the dust settle, read some road tests, find out about real world experiences from those who took the plunge. If anything like the 350 and 500 cc singles, first install a large luggage rack and bring lots of bungee cords to strap on all the parts that fall off.
 

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Yesterday, Friday the fifteenth, I had the opportunity to ride the new Royal Enfield Interceptor 650. I like the bike.

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The unstressed 9.5:1, 648cc twin cylinder engine is a peach. There's plenty of pull to nip into gaps between cars, and enough to keep clear of traffic once ahead. The exhaust note and induction sound like they have been carefully tailored to suit the bike. The gearbox is light and precise, quite unlike the industrial designs used by Honda and Yamaha in similarly priced machines. The fueling was one of the better implementations of a Euro 4 compliant specification with none of the dreaded "throttle-off, engine cut" behaviour that has plagued the Japanese manufacturers. There was a pleasing "pop!" in the exhaust on the over-run. The handling on the Interceptor is light, most likely a result of the upright seated position and the twenty-four degree steering angle. Both with and without a pillion passenger, the front and back brakes worked well and inspired confidence. Braided cables come as standard which is a nice touch. Overall, the Interceptor was one of those bikes that feels easy to ride and which cruises at around 4,000rpm effortlessly.

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What of the quality of finish? Analogue clocks match the Seventies style; speed and revs. Who needs to know more? An LCD insert displays mileage and fuel. I would like to have a display of the time. But is it necessary? These days, who doesn't have a wristwatch?

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A full size headlamp with an incandescent bulb fulfills the bike's design ethos. Does it put out enough light? How do I know, the test ride was in brilliant sunshine. Does it look good? Oh yes.

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The switchgear is functional. How well will the plastic age? Will it fade? These are things that experienced RE owners might wish to comment on. As far as operation is concerned, the switches felt positive and naturally positioned.

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There is a preponderance of steel bolts throughout the bike. The fastidious might want to change them for stainless. Aesthetically some of the welds, for example on the swing-arm, aren't pretty. But they are easy to over-look since Royal Enfield have nailed the overall look of the bike so well.

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To me, the crankcase looks like it could do with a final polish. As an owner that's exactly what I would do. There is no doubt there is plenty of room for cosmetic customisation. In my opinion, the base bike is worth the effort.

As for colour schemes, the "standard" colours are available first. According to RE Chiang Mai, the black tank won't be in the first batch of bikes to reach Thailand. And chrome may be up to six months away as RE ramp up their production to meet global demand. On the subject of chrome, a small request to RE's management. It would be good to see chrome mudguards to match the chrome tank option.

One criticism of the Interceptor is that the pilot's pegs are splayed a little further from the bike than is normal. It's true but for someone with a 34" inseam, it didn't present a problem. I gather shorter riders may have a problem with the pegs hitting their lower legs when their feet are down.

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Once parts become available, one remedy could be to change to the pegs and levers of the RE Continental GT 650 which sit closer to the frame (and which are set further back).

While a short test drive is insufficient to assess a motorcycle's capabilities fully - given more time my preference would have been a climb over Doi Suthep to get a fuller impression of tyres, handling and braking. The front brake had enough feel and power. The bike had done 650km so the pads had bedded in. The fork compression managed a few strong tugs on the front brake without overdue dive. The rear suspension felt well balanced on a smooth, flat road. Perhaps others can comment on the ride over a rough surface?

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What would I change? Probably the exhaust system to get better efficiency out of the engine. A slight departure from the up-swept angle that apes the 1960's design would also provide room for deeper panniers and reduce the risk of a pillion boot heel melting on the rear can. A custom exhaust system would also save weight, as would removing the center-stand. Swap out the battery for a lithium ion version and the total weight saving should be seven or eight kilos.

From the RE Accessories catalogue I would install a fly screen , a pannier rack, and a Touring seat.
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The 650's share the same frame so the seats are interchangeable. I gather the "Touring Dual Seat" for the Continental is the most comfortable option. Note there is also a different seat with the same name, the Interceptor, "Touring Dual Seat." If neither option appeals, in Thailand it is a simple matter to have a seat made to your own specification.
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Back to the Accessories catalogue and engine protectors, sump protector, and fork gaitors might be useful. A knurled "RE" aluminium oil filler cap is an attractive upgrade.

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As for engine modifications, there should be enough headroom to tweak the compression while keeping an eye on the oil temperature. I gather there have been no problems with engine heat management while riding the Interceptor 650 through sweltering conurbations in India. Combined with a custom exhaust with suitable back-pressure, an uplift in performance shouldn't be hard to achieve. That said, in stock form the 650 Twin feels most satisfactory.

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The inescapable fact is that the Enfield 650 Twins, both the Interceptor and the Continental, are inexpensive relative to motorcycles of the same style such as the 900cc Triumph Bonneville and the new Street Twin (407,000THB). While the quality of finish of the Royal Enfield's is not exemplary it is within acceptable bounds. As for durability, the 650cc platform has been extensively tested for more than two years in an effort to avoid the debacle that was the RE Himalaya's launch.

The Interceptor starts at 213,000THB ($6,800 US) in Thailand. In India, Royal Enfield's home market, the price starts at Rs. 2.50 lakh ($3500 US). Putting aside geopolitical economics, the value becomes obvious in comparison with motorcycles at a similar price. In Thailand, what can one buy new for around 213,000THB? A KTM 390 Duke?

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Of course, a cynic can commend Royal Enfield for finally producing a motorcycle that the Japanese manufacturers made in the 1970's (sans ABS.) A philosopher can ruminate on the fact that motorcycles are fun. The Royal Enfield 650 Twins are motorcycling stripped back to the essentials. An embodied criticism of expensive to replace TFT screens and driver infantilization via ride-by-wire. What is life for anyway?
 

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Tajtom

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Was at PATTAYA bike show yesterday. THAIS jumping all over these old school reliks. THAIS love this style. The price is right to.
Good cruiser but not a sports machine
 
Oct 17, 2006
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Mate of mine in India has had one now for 3 months ,its now done 8700 kms no problems , he has already fitted a lighter . louder exhaust which has also liberated a few extra ponies ,, his only hassle is at night the headlights lens is weak so he has fitted a clear diamond cut lens and a led bulb now he is happy
 
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Dodraugen

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I had a tiny try with the new 650 Interceptor, and a ditto with the Himalayan when the Royal Enfield Chiang Mai branch was in Lampang. It wasnt more than a 2-3 km lap so not like a decent testride though. But I was really impressed with the power and smoothnes of the Interceptor. Very tempting indeed...
The Himalayan on the other hand, I doubt it would make a whole lot better bike than my Crf250. But I could be wrong of course...
 
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im in UK now and will be testing a Interceptor for a 2 hour ride as soon as the weather allows , I have 3 dealers near me who will let me try the demo bike ,, also going to test ride new Benelli Leoncino 500 as my daughter really lies it and wants to buy one ,,,as i like the 300 benelli more cubes must be better
 
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I saw on one of the YouTube reviews that the engine was designed by some ex-Triumph engineers who managed to improve on what Triumph had done with their 650 engine. The Enfield version is smoother than the Triumphs. I've yet to find a bad review of this bike online - it looks set to be a genuine game-changer.

Anyway, for the price, there is nothing that comes close to it. Just got to wait a few weeks for mine to be delivered..
 
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