The brand Royal Enfield stands out for a lot of reasons in the Indian motorcycle market. One of them being, it is the oldest motorcycle brand in continuous production (the company made its first motorcycle way back in the year 1901). The company has seen many ups and down in this long journey, but this is probably the best phase in its existence. The brand has been witnessing massive growth in the last few years and almost all new products launched have seen instant success. In fact it has gone beyond just motorcycles; a case in point being the Rider Mania, an annual biker’s festival the company organises for its owners in Goa. The festival is a melting pot of Royal Enfield owners and enthusiasts. This year, Rider Mania saw a record participation with over 6000 riders and enthusiasts. Like every year the event was themed around Music, Mates and Motorcycling, but there was something more as well.
Reviving its rich twin heritage Royal Enfield showcased its ground-up modern twin motorcycles to its motorcycling community, owners, and riding enthusiasts at the festival. The reveal of the Interceptor INT 650 and the Continental GT 650, that were recently showcased at the EICMA Motor Show in Milan, was an exclusive for the community members who have defined and grown the brand’s culture and popularity over the years.
Interceptor INT 650
The Interceptor INT 650 ushers in the idea of the 1960’s fun, relaxed motorcycles from the sun-drenched California beaches. It has a spectacular history, as the first Royal Enfield that was built specifically for the American market was the Interceptor. It achieved popularity in California where the motorcycle aligned well with the relaxed, hippie and surfer culture. It is this movement, and the original Interceptor, that are the inspiration behind the creation of the new Interceptor INT 650.
The bike has a classic tear-drop shaped fuel-tank, quilted twin-seat and distinctive wide braced handlebars, all of which add to the Roadster traits. RE says an all-new, dedicated steel-tube cradle chassis makes the Interceptor an easy-going, versatile motorcycle which is perfect for riding in the city, as it is for a leisurely weekend cruise. The wide-braced handlebars offer comfortable ergonomics and a confident and commanding riding position. The motorcycle gets with classic 18” front and rear Pirelli tyres and twin shock absorbers, along with front and rear disc brakes with ABS. It has a ground clearance of 174mm and a seat height of 804 mm.
Both the Continental GT 650 and the Interceptor INT 650 will be available in variety of colours and two distinct styles—Standard and Retro Custom.
Continental GT 650
Royal Enfield has also showcased the ground-up, all new Continental GT 650. The motorcycle retains its central cafe racer character while bringing in new engineering and design improvements. It shares its engine, chassis and running parts with the Interceptor but offers completely different ergonomics and style. According to the makers an eager, front-leaning stance gives it a sporty look and a speedy form. The single seat, sculpted tank, and clip on bars contribute to an authentic look. The ergonomics offer easy reach to the mid-level handlebars, for an acceptable blend of steering feel and comfort. Just like the Interceptor, the GT sports disc brakes front and the rear with ABS. The upswept exhaust and rear-set footrests give the motorcycle plenty of lean angle, essential for any true cafe racer.
The Continental GT is an ode to the cafe racers of the 50’s. Café racers were born in the 1950s in keeping with the emerging racing culture of those times. Racers bought stock motorcycles and stripped down the parts to make it light and aerodynamic. The new Continental GT 650 recaptures Royal Enfield’s café racer legacy. It retains the look while improving the ride and handling of the bike.
Talking about the significance of the new twins in Royal Enfield’s global foray, Siddhartha Lal, CEO, Royal Enfield said, “Royal Enfield aims to lead and expand the mid-weight (250-750cc) motorcycle segment globally. The Royal Enfield Interceptor INT 650 and Continental GT 650 will help grow this segment. While for our large customer base in India, the new 650 twins will be a compelling upgrade, we believe it will attract customers from other developing markets in South East Asia and Latin America to graduate to the middle weight segment. In addition, the 650 twins will offer a very evocative option to customers in mature motorcycle markets such as Europe, Australia and North America. For us, this marks the beginning of a new chapter at Royal Enfield”
Both the Continental GT 650 and the Interceptor INT 650 will be available in variety of colours and two distinct styles—Standard and Retro Custom. A total of 11 options have been developed with the objective of appealing to the discerning heritage seeking rider, just as much as the modern rider seeking a classic motorcycle. The company will launch these bikes in the next calendar year, but Indian bikers will have for a bit more as the company will launch the bikes in some International markets to begin with.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars