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Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 BS6: First Ride Review

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Anuj Mishra

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Introduction

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 action

The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is one of the most admired motorcycles here at BikeWale. We have ridden it extensively in stock form, with a bunch of accessories and a few other alterations, and it never failed to impress us. Now, in a bid to comply with the new BS6 emission norms and be a bit more environment-friendly, the Interceptor’s engine has received a few internal changes. So does it feel any different now? With an aim to answer this question and mainly to recount how desirable of a bike it is, we spent some time with the Interceptor 650 BS6.

The Visuals

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Front Three Quarter

Royal Enfield has retained the styling of its flagship offering and we are not complaining at all. It's already a beautiful and proportionate-looking motorcycle, whichever angle you look at it from. While the minimalistic and elegant design exudes sheer nostalgia, the Baker Express colour we had, has just the right amount of aesthetic funk and modern appeal. The impressive build quality and the top-notch paint finish have also stayed the same.

The Package

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Left Front Three Quarter

The Interceptor has been left majorly untouched in terms of the overall package too, except for the 649cc, parallel twin engine, which emits cleaner gases now. What's noteworthy is that the increased constraints in emissions haven’t resulted in a considerable drop in its power output of 47bhp and 52Nm. Transmission duties are taken care of by a six-speed gearbox with a slipper clutch.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Head Light

One subtle addition in the BS6 trim is that of a small LED beneath the halogen headlamp, while the lens is also clearer now. Whereas, the rest of the elements such as a 13.7-litre fuel tank, 18 inch spoke wheels shod with Pirelli rubber, telescopic forks, dual springs, and disc brakes are all identical to the BS4 iteration.

The Ride

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 action

The real centerpiece of the Interceptor is undoubtedly its engine which continues to be a gem of a motor. In fact, the BS6 derivative feels smoother and more refined while the crisper throttle response only elevates the fun and makes it more engaging. Right from the word go, you are treated with a vigorous shove of torque in every gear and almost across the rev band. The motor feels stress-free throughout, even if you do over 100kmph of speeds all day long.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 action

But mind you, it's not just fast and quick. The power delivery is also linear and tractable enough to be easily manageable. The relaxed nature of the engine lets you comfortably cruise at speeds of around 45kmph even in the sixth gear. In a nutshell, the INT’s engine is lively enough to entertain a seasoned rider while also being friendly to not scare a novice.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 action

The six-speed transmission is precise as the gears shift with the slightest effort while the slipper clutch is fairly light. However, the cogs malfunction at times by not shifting completely, but that’s mainly after a long stint of riding. During the whole process, you are accompanied by the sweet rumble of the mill which has gotten slightly softer now, while the pleasant wheezing sound is more pronounced.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 action

Now, although the engine urges you to keep pushing on the slick tarmac, large bumps and potholes are where things get slightly tricky. Due to the softly-sprung suspension, especially the rear, the ride starts to feel rumbly over bad patches of road and the dampers tend to bottom out quickly. This also affects the cornering stability as it loses composure over mid-corner undulations. However, run it over minor hindrances like road joints, pebbles, and rumble strips, and the motorcycle glides away fluidly.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 action

The Pirelli tyres do a commendable job of staying glued to the tarmac. And it may not be the best handler in town, but considering its hefty kerb weight of 202kgs, the Interceptor is fairly agile and sure-footed. No complaints on the braking front either as the discs shed speed in no time and have gallops of bite and feel. Furthermore, the Interceptor is welcoming in the ergonomics department, as you sit in an upright and commanding posture with the knees properly locked in the fuel tank. The only niggle is the positioning of the rider foot pegs which jut out and foul with your calf while tip toeing in traffic.

Our Take

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Fuel Tank

Royal Enfield had launched the Interceptor 650 with a very enticing price tag. Along its two year journey, the motorcycle has witnessed multiple price hikes, but that has not dampened its fabulous value-for-money factor at all. While its styling, handling, braking, and ride quality are impressive, the real party piece is the 650cc, parallel-twin engine which has only gotten smoother and better with the BS6 update. Considering all this, the starting price of Rs 2.67 lakh (ex-showroom) makes the Interceptor 650 no less than a steal. We would have loved more features but that’s arguable since it’s a retro-inspired offering and follows the theme of simplicity.

Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi

Gallery

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Left Front Three Quarter
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Left Rear Three Quarter
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Left Side View
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Front View
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Front Three Quarter
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Rear Three Quarter
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Rear View
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Instrument Cluster
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Bike Seat

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