Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 vs BMW G310R vs KTM 390 Duke: Comparison Review

11 January 2019, 05:57 PM Pratheek Kunder

Introduction

For the purpose of this review, we have three motorcycles that were launched to redefine the Indian two-wheeler segment in their own ways. The oldest of the lot, the KTM 390 Duke, has been ruling its segment with some outstanding features and performance, and a design that is widely accepted. Then, there’s the BMW G310R, a motorcycle made in India by TVS, but it promises a 100 per cent BMW experience. The last is the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650– the only parallel twin motorcycle that is fully manufactured in India. The reason this bike is part of this review because of its price point and purpose, something that shocked the world at the time of its launch. 

Looks & Styling

Looks are subjective, that’s true. But there comes a time when a motorcycle is liked by all for its no-frills styling and design. The Interceptor is one such bike. It’s inspired from the past, but has been couched in modern elements. The round headlamp, curved fuel tank and a single long seat look neat. The exposed frame and sub-frame place it squarely in the genre of modern-classics. The toppings to this visual feast are spoke wheels and a generous use of chrome. 

The G310R from BMW, on the other hand, gets a very balanced design. It’s not too loud, nor very sober. The Germans have managed to arrive upon a design that is liked by all age groups. In fact, the G310R’s styling has been inspired from the R 1250R. The sharp headlamp and tank design, neatly done radiator covers and the five-spoke alloys make the bike look good. The gold fork tubes are a nice touch.

The 390 Duke is a very aggressive looking motorcycle, and suggestive of the company’s racing heritage. From the headlamp and all the way to the tail section, the design language looks combative. The exposed trellis frame and its multi-colour touch add to its attitude. 

Ergonomics & Quality

The Interceptor scores the most points here, thanks to great riding ergonomics. Its wide seating triangle makes the Interceptor a near-ideal companion for long rides. The raised handlebar is nice to hold on to. Even though there isn’t space for the knee to rest, the combination of accessible seat height and slightly rear-set footpegs generates a good experience. It’s the same story with the G310R. The neutral riding position, coupled with a great seat makes riding for long hours easy and comfortable. The only downside with this bike is that the rider’s seat doesn’t offer much space to move around. But the curved seat design does help the tail bone. The 390 Duke, on the other hand, gets a bit of an aggressive stance. The ergonomics is a tad sporty, and the rider sits quite close to the instrument cluster.  

Ex-showroom, Mumbai

 2,49,724

When it comes to overall quality, the Interceptor takes the top spot. The overall paint finish, the way the frames have been welded and the quality of hardware have been done really well. The G310R and the 390 Duke have great quality too. But it loses a point due to the quality of the plastic around the clocks. It definitely could have been better. 

Features & Technology

Royal Enfield went a bit lazy when shopping for Interceptor’s features. It doesn’t get LED headlamps or turn indicators, nor does it get a modern instrument cluster. It lacks tubeless tyres – a feature that is seen in most entry-level motorcycles these days. The BMW G310R is better equipped than the Interceptor. It gets a decently designed digital instrument cluster, upside-down forks, tubeless tyres and liquid-cooling. The KTM 390 Duke is the most equipped bike among the three with a class leading instrument cluster, ABS modes, ride-by-wire, USD forks, LED headlamps, turn indicators and backlight switchgear. 

Engine & Performance

Before heading out to some smoothly paved highways, we spent a lot of time with these bikes in the city. The Interceptor with its 650cc parallel twin motor that is known for having plenty of torque, moved easily past the ever growing traffic. The slick gearbox, and the light clutch worked like a breeze. On the highways too, the air-cooled motor didn’t sweat. In fact, it didn’t show any signs of stress nor was its refinement affected in anyway. Thanks to the tonnes of torque, the bike can stay at 120kmph for hours. 

The G310R, with its 310cc single-cylinder engine, is a modern one in every way. The refinement, the character and the performance all add up to a nice riding experience. It’s the least powerful bike in this game with just 33bhp and 28Nm of peak torque, but even with this figure, the G310R does its job quite willingly. The mid-range is strong, and that sorts one’s life in city as well as on the highways. But post 5500rpm, the vibes can be felt easily on the tank and the pegs. 

The 390 Duke churns out 43bhp in a linear manner. The throttle response is crisp, thanks to the presence of ride-by-wire. The motor is refined, but sounds a bit crude at higher revs. Due to the nature of the bike, the bike doesn’t feel happy below 4000rpm, and that is slightly bothersome while riding in city. Post 5000rpm, the 390 Duke is very quick and has the capability to reach triple digit speeds in no time. Here again, there are vibes, yes, but limited only to the pegs.  

Ride & Handling

The Interceptor offers a relaxed and calm ride throughout the day. The soft suspension, wide handlebar and nicely cushioned seat on the Interceptor mean business. Be it bad roads, rumblers or uneven roads, the Interceptor glides over it

With the G310R, BMW has managed to find a perfect balance between a comfortable ride and good handling. Over broken roads and undulations, the 310R doesn’t lose its equanimity. It manages to stay composed and offers a great experience to the rider. On the corners too, it’s fun. The bike is flickable and the added benefit of good grip from the Michelins only makes the G310R all the more enthralling. 

The 390 Duke is built on the stiffer side and that means, getting through Indian roads is a bit of pain. Over prolonged periods, the back hurts. But take this machine to a nicely winding road and the 390 Duke outshines everything other bike in its segment. 

Fuel Efficiency

The Interceptor is decently fuel efficient for its size. It gave us 26kmpl. So with a fuel tank capacity of almost 14-litres, the Interceptor could be ridden for close to 350kms before heading to a fuel pump. The BMW G310R returned 35kmpl, whereas the KTM 390 Duke gave 32kmpl.  Both these bikes have the same kind of riding range. 

Price & Warranty

The Interceptor 650 Custom retails at Rs 3.10 lakhs (on-road Mumbai), whereas the KTM 390 Duke costs Rs 2.94 lakhs. The BMW G310R is the most expensive of the lot at Rs 3.78 lakhs.  

Verdict

There’s a clear winner here and that’s the Royal Enfield Interceptor. It’s just not because of the pricing, but what it offers in that. The bike is extremely comfortable, easy to handle and even with minimalistic styling, it looks stunning. Plus, the brand recall of Royal Enfield is the best in the industry. The KTM 390 Duke takes the second spot. While it excels in performance, tech and styling, the overall usability and practicality leaves much room for improvement. The BMW G310R is a great product and desirable too, but expecting someone to pay close to Rs 4 lakhs for a 310cc motorcycle is difficult to justify. 

Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi

Final Scores

 Parameters/Models  Max Points Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 KTM 390 Duke BMW G310R
 Rank    1 2  3
 Looks & styling  10 8.5 8 7
 Ergonomics & Quality  10 8 7 7,5
 Features & Technology  10  7 9 8
 Engine & Gearbox  10 9 8 7
 Performance  10 7.5 8 7.5
 Ride quality  10 7 6 7.5
 Handling & Braking  10 7.5 8 7.5
 Fuel Efficiency  10 4 4 5
 Price & Warranty  10 7 5 3
 Desirablility  10 8.5 7 6
 Total  100 74 70 66
 Price (OTR, Mumbai)   Rs 3,01,000 Rs 2,94,000   Rs 3,78,000

Specifications

 MAKE Royal Enfield KTM BMW
 Model Interceptor 650 390 Duke

G310R

POWER TRAIN      
 Engine Type Air-cooled Liquid-cooled Liquid-cooled
 Capacity 648cc 373cc 313cc
 Max Power 47bhp 43bhp 34bhp
 Max Torque 52Nm 37Nm 28Nm
 Gearbox 6-speed 6-speed 6-speed
 Fuel Efficiency 26kmpl 32kmpl  35kmpl
 CYCLE PARTS      
 Chassis Tubular Steel Frame Trellis Tubular
 Supension F  Telescopic Upside-Down Forks Upside-Down Forks
 Suspension R Gas-charged Twin Shocks  Monoshock  Monoshock
 Brakes F 320mm Disc 320mm Disc 300mm Disc
 Brakes R 240mm Drum 230mm Drum 240mm Drum
 Tyre F 100/90 - 18 Tube Type 110/70-17 Tubeless 110/70-17 Tubeless
 Tyre R 130/70 - 18 Tube Type 150/60-17 Tubeless 150/60-17 Tubeless
 MEASURES      
 Fuel Tank  12.5 litres 13.4 litres 11 litres
 LxWxH  2122mm x 789mm x 1165mm 2002mm x 873mm x 1274mm 2005mm x 820mm x 1080mm
 Wheelbase  1400mm 1357mm  1374mm 
 Kerb Weight  202kg 163kg  158.5kg 
 COST      
 Price (OTR, Mumbai) Rs 3,01,000 Rs 2,94,000 Rs 3,78,000
 Warranty 2 years/20,000kms   2 years/30,000kms   2 years/Unlimited kms

 

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