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Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Alloy Wheel TVS Eurogrip Protorq Extreme Tyres Review: Track Test

24 March 2021, 06:51 PM Vikrant Singh

Introduction

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We switched the aluminium spoke wheels on the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 with a set of alloys. We went down a size on the rims to 17 inches. And got ourselves a set of lighter, sportier, gripper, and good looking tyres in the form of the TVS Eurogrip Protorq Extremes.  

We weighed the new setup and observed a significant reduction in unsprung weight compared to the stock setup. We then spent time riding the 17-inched, Protorq-shod, Interceptor in the city, and loved the new found agility and lightness in its responses.  We did lose some ground clearance and seat height in the process. And, now have to live with a speedometer that over-reads. But, overall, it’s a switch that works wonderfully well in the city. 

However, what we wanted with this change was to have a modern classic that handled like any of the new-age motorcycles. And what better way to test the handling prowess of a motorcycle than on a race track!

Getting there

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We chose MMRT or the Madras Motorsport Race Track on the outskirts of Chennai as our proving ground. But getting there from Mumbai was nearly a 1500km run through some well-paved, some broken, and some seriously ill-paved tarmac. We chose the long way round via Solahpur, Hyderabad, and Vijaywada, en route to Chennai. This route also meant searing heat, maddening traffic, and some gorgeous scenery. Now, the run was an effortless one with neither the wheels, the tyres, or the reduced ground clearance causing any issues whatsoever. The only issue so to speak was the weave the Interceptor would get into at three digit speeds. That, of course, was down to the over 10kg packed into the top box sitting behind the rear axle. 

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

  • Displacement648 cc
  • Mileage - Owner Reported23.5 kmpl
  • Max Power(bhp)47 bhp
  • Kerb Weight202 kg
  • ;

Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 2,72,260

Track Ride

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Finally, we were at MMRT. Now, our Interceptor 650 runs adjustable YSS Suspension both front and back. But, we decided, to get a proper feel of the wheel and tyre combo, we ought to leave the suspension in the same setting as the road. In fact, we didn’t alter the tyre pressures for the track either, and ran the exact same cold tyre pressures as we do on the road. And immediately, barely into a few corners, the change to the smaller wheels and the grippier, lighter tyres began to show immense promise. We gave it two laps to get our bearings, and to get the tyres up to temperature before we started pushing the Protorq Extreme shod Interceptor 650. The first obvious benefit was at corner entry.  The Protorqs offer so much grip and feel at the front that one can lean heavily onto the brake entering the corner. The turn-in is lighter as well. And, the linearity and predictability with which the Interceptor drops into corners with the Eurogrip Protorq Extremes, gives you both the confidence to lean more, and stay calm.  

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We did this a few times, built our confidence up, and soon enough, we found the Interceptor scraping its header pipes on the tarmac! Now, our Interceptor 650 has more cornering clearance than a stock INT on account of us running Continental GT650 footpegs. But, even so, the lean angles the Protorqs were helping the motorcycle achieve was fantastic.

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 Even mid-corner, the grip and feedback and the absolute reluctance on part of the tyres to move about, allowed us to get on the throttle early and a bit more aggressively than we had first thought possible. Even through the longer and bumpier corners, the motorcycle remained flat and plush and quite talkative throughout.  Plus, with the Interceptor’s meaty and well-spread torque curve, corner exits were wonderfully easy and perky.

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The only challenge we found was through the quick essess after corner number three. On the Interceptor, you keep the throttle pinned throughout the section. Make one upshift. And work the handlebar left-right-left to make it through. We found the our bike to squirm a bit through here. Nothing alarming, but not as steadfast as it proved through other sections of the track. 

Conclusion

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So, after days of commuting, taking a near 3,000km road trip, and spending a day belting it out on a racetrack, what did we learn?  

Two things. 

One. Tyres make all the difference. These literally make your motorcycle world go round. These are, after all, your only contact with the road. And therefore, things like grip, lack of weight, suppleness, and - as unscientific as it might sound - feel, can completely transform how you ride your motorcycle. 

Two. Even though these were the two most expensive upgrades I made to the Interceptor, it was certainly worth it. Switching to smaller alloy wheels meant I could opt for the Protorqs, which have been a revelation. Smaller wheels also meant easier flickability, quicker turn-in, and lowered centre of mass.  The other big / expensive change was moving to YSS suspension, both front and back. Just the fact that I could set the motorcycle’s suspension sag for my weight, made a big difference in the way the motorcycle rode and handled. And then with added adjustability, I could play around and move closer to a setting of my liking. Overall then, was the effort, time, and money we put into this project bike worth it all? Absolutely. I wouldn’t have it any other way.  

Product Details

Make: TVS Eurogrip 

Type: Performance Tyres 

Model: Protorq Extreme Radial 

Size: 110/70 ZR17 Front; 150/60 ZR17 Rear 

Price: Rs 4,500 Front; Rs 6500 Rear 

Photography by Pramukh Bajaj

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