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Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 vs Interceptor 650: Comparison Test Review

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Neil Nair

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Introduction

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Left Side View

The Super Meteor 650 and the Interceptor 650 have changed the perspective of what Royal Enfield stands for in recent times. Both offer a refined engine with relatively fewer vibrations and good build quality too. While the Interceptor spiked sales for the company in international markets, the Super Meteor 650 is only going to push it further.

Now, the two motorcycles, although based on the same platform with different bodystyles, offer similar abilities- or do they? To find out, we rode both back-to-back to tell you which of the two would better suit your needs and which one should you pick.

Styling and Quality

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View

Now, it is pretty evident in just one look that the Super Meteor and the Interceptor are different motorcycles. The Super Meteor has been moulded with inspiration from the classic American cruiser. Think of the Harley-Davidson Street Glide or even the Bonneville Speedmaster from the British.

Yes, it is arguably also closer in design to the smaller Meteor 350 but the colour schemes offered with the Super Meteor, especially the dual-tone options, bring back the nostalgia of the 80s. And thanks to the stretched wheelbase, bulbous fuel tank and side panels, and those long and low exhaust pipes, the motorcycle looks imposing and has immense road presence. You wouldn’t be able to miss out on the chrome glaring at you in the sun either but it does come with a few blacked-out parts for a flake of modernity.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View

The Interceptor 650 has almost equal amounts of chrome too. It even gets spoke wheels instead of alloys. But, unlike the Super Meteor, its design leans more towards the modern-retro side of things. Its comparatively edgy and minimal bodywork deceptively hides its kerb weight - the sign of a proper retro street motorcycle. However, when it comes to quality, both motorcycles feel well built. The plastics are well fitted, look sturdy and do look like they would stand the test of time. Even the paint finish looks and feels premium while the welds and even the wiring that pop out aren’t an eye sore.

Ergonomics and Comfort

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View

The mark of a typcial cruiser is to offer luscious amounts of comfort from its seat, a laid-back ride with no threat of discomfort even to crippling knees and a handlebar that is shaped like it was served to you on a platter. The Super Meteor 650 ticks all of those boxes with the smoothness of an ink pen.

Its seat feels nice and cushy and the riding triangle is effortless to be on. Even the pillion comfort is spot on here. The seat is wide and accommodating, and you’d even get the backrest if you choose the touring variant.Getting on and off isn’t an issue here, nor is having your feet on the ground. But if you are under 5’7, that would pose a challenge on the Interceptor.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View

Now, Interceptor on the other hand is true to its character and offers a relatively straight-up riding posture. This comes from its straight bars and neutral-set footpegs. As for its seat, the Interceptor’s unit is not as comfortable. It is slim near the tank and would be slightly uneasy for larger riders.

That said, you would find the footpegs digging into your shin when you have both feet down in traffic. Well, that is not the case with the Super Meteor. However, you would definitely feel the heft of the 240kg motorcycle with your feet down. All of this weight seems to be centered around the engine itself, making it difficult to move around and put it on the main stand easily. Comparatively, the Interceptor is lighter. While it still is heavy, the weight isn’t as intimidating.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View

The ergonomics of the Super Meteor 650 is a good package for the well-paved, poster highways and scenic views by the side. So it damps the dips and crests in the roads well. Although, with a stiff setup and almost no room to adjust preload at the rear the suspension kicks back making for an extremely uncomfortable ride over patches in the tarmac and potholed roads. Even the addition of a near 70kg pillion did not sort things out much. On the other hand, the Interceptor’s suspension setup is relatively pliant at the rear and is manageable over bad roads and bridge joints. Don’t get me wrong - it still feels stiff but won’t threaten to throw you off the motorcycle.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View

Now, one of the major downsides to the Super Meteor 650 is its low ground clearance. While it isn’t a challenge when riding solo, the 135mm on offer runs out with a pillion on board. The same is not the case with the Interceptor which has considerable amount of room underneath.

While there are very few vibrations on both motorcycles, the wind buffeting on the Super Meteor despite the large windscreen was a horrid experience. We have given an affordable solution to this in the roadtest video. Surprisingly, the Interceptor felt much more comfortable to ride on the highway without any protection.

Features and Tech

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Front View

Now, when it comes to features, the Super Meteor 650 is two steps ahead of the Interceptor 650. Royal Enfield has upped their game with the cruiser and for the first time ever, equipped their motorcycle with an LED headlamp. Also, as a first for any Royal Enfield motorcycle, the Super Meteor comes with upside down forks. Other than these pieces of equipment the list of features also includes the Tripper Navigation System which the rest of the 650 range misses out on.

While the Interceptor might not get the fancy navigation system, it also does not get LED lighting, the upside down forks or the alloy wheels even as optional equipment. Royal Enfield will surely introduce these soon, but as of now, the extra equipment gives the Super Meteor an edge.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Instrument Cluster

Nevertheless, Royal Enfield hasn’t skimped out on offering a whole range of accessories for both motorcycles that would change the comfort and style of both.

The Celestial variant that we have here comes with this touring windscreen, touring seat and backrest as standard. The Interceptor, meanwhile, does not have a specific variant as such and would require you to specifically pick out the accessories you want to put on.

Performance and Handling

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View

Both the Super Meteor and the Interceptor 650 come with the same 648cc, parallel-twin engine. However, the intake ports and exhaust canisters on both are different which gives them each a distinctive sound. Now, the character of the engine on the Super Meteor and the Interceptor are nearly the same. It feels refined for the most part and has ample amounts of torque available across the rev range to keep you entertained with brisk acceleration almost every time you dial in the throttle.

What’s more, the gearboxes are super slick and you wouldn’t experience the frustration of not finding neutral, which comes in with a nice soft click. The motor is also useful at slow speeds, willing to tread as low as 30kmph in fourth gear without much of a shudder. Out on open stretches of road, the Super Meteor as well as the Interceptor feels unstrained upto 120kmph.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View

After this, there is a minor buzz on the handlebar which is more on the Super Meteor than the Interceptor thanks to the windscreen fitment. That said, the Super Meteor 650’s heft is visible during acceleration. There is only a slight bit of lag, but the difference is evident when compared to the Interceptor which is a whole 40kg lighter.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View

Nevertheless, the Super Meteor handles like a charm around corners. It tips in effortlessly despite its weight and commits to its line. You do have to coax it just a bit, but once there, the bike’s low centre of gravity and long wheelbase will have you flowing through corners. Meanwhile, the Interceptor is relatively peppier in its handling. It feels nimble and easy to manoeuvre even in tight traffic - a place where the Super Meteor struggles. On corners too, the Interceptor feels confidence-inspiring and a treat to be on.

Which one should you buy?

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View

To put things into perspective, let’s look at the pricing first. The Super Meteor is priced from Rs 3.49 lakh for the base model. The top-spec one you see here retails at Rs 3.79 lakh, ex-showroom. On the other hand, the base model of the Interceptor costs a whole Rs 61,000 lesser than the base of the Super Meteor 650.

So which is a better buy for you? Clearly, you’d have to pay a premium for the Super Meteor. But for the extra money, you get upside down forks, LED lighting, a navigation system and a slightly larger fuel tank. In addition to this, the Super Meteor offers comfier riding ergos compared to the Interceptor and a guarantee to turn heads.

But if you want something that is lighter, has more ground clearance and better ride quality- the Interceptor is your pick. In fact, it is also a better handling motorcycle and offers peppier engine performance too.

Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi

Gallery

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Instrument Cluster
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Front View
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Left Side View
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Right Side View

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