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Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Long Term Review: 1200km Highway Test

23 December 2022, 07:38 PM Pratheek Kunder

Intro

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View

In May this year, I bought my 2022 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650, and since then, I have been itching to ride it over long distances. At least a 1,000km plus ride because over the last few years of touring I have realised that this is a good distance to put the bike to the test and understand its limitations. So, when the Rider Mania 2022 invite came through, I decided to ride to Goa on this Interceptor, and this wouldn't be any other 1200km ride. This ride will be filled with smooth highway roads towards Goa, and during the return journey, I had planned to take the dreading old Goa-Mumbai Highway – a perfect place to test every bit of the bike.

Good Things

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

  • Displacement648 cc
  • Mileage - Owner Reported23 kmpl
  • Max Power(bhp)47 bhp
  • Kerb Weight213 kg
  • ;

Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 2,88,107

Let us address the core of the matter first. The 650cc parallel-twin engine of this Royal Enfield is such a gem. It performed flawlessly throughout the ride. While pushing through the early morning truck traffic in Mumbai or while flying through some of the famous NH roads of Maharashtra, this engine offered performance and comfort when I wanted. The combination of strong low- and mid-range allowed me to overtake vehicles as planned, resulting in better overall average time. While I encountered some stop-go traffic in Pune and Goa, the smooth and quick acceleration made me cross almost all the vehicles in no time. On the highways, the 2022 INT can sit at 120kmph-130kmph throughout the day. But sadly, that's also when it starts drinking a lot of fuel, resulting in more fuel stops. That said, this engine keeps the overall fatigue in check as little vibrations creep on the handlebar and the footpegs. 

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View

The Interceptor 650 can also hold a good amount of luggage. I used the Rynox tank bag and a 20-litre tail bag from Dirtsack. The tank is big enough to have a larger bag, but I refrained from doing so to avoid unnecessary scratches (which didn't help). While most INT customers either like to install a top box or saddle bags, I want to keep things simple and not change the overall riding dynamics of the bike. The tail bag allowed me to carry one week of luggage, and the long single touring seat could easily hold the bag flat. 

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View

Now, the seating ergos are suitable for touring. I spent many hours without a stop, and the seating triangle was good enough for me to skip those halts for body stretches. The wide handlebar offered good leverage, and while the footpegs were not centre-set, it still managed to provide good comfort.

Not So Good Things

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View

I have never been a fan of the Interceptor's ride quality, and after riding for almost 1,200km, I don't think I'll ever like the stock setup. The springs at the back are stiff, so with my weight and the luggage, the compression and rebound didn’t work for me. The 10 hours-ride on the old highway almost broke my body and soul. 

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View

Even the pillion comfort is entirely wrong on this bike for two simple reasons: the overall seat width isn't just right, and the seating triangle is too aggressive. Then, the pillion footpegs were placed relatively high, which meant my pillion complained every time he wanted to explore the streets of Goa. 

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View

I wanted to see two other things on this motorcycle – USB charging and a clock. For both these things, I had to rely on my gadgets. A bike that costs almost Rs 4 lakh should have these modern features.

What's Next?

Well, that was my time with the Interceptor. It is getting expensive to use the bike daily as my commute to the office is 130km a day, and I need a pocket-friendly motorcycle for a few months. Nonetheless, I will share my overall experience with this bike in a few weeks. 

Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi

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