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2019 Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 And Interceptor 650 Review – First Ride : One platform; two personalities

2019 Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 And Interceptor 650 Review – First Ride : One platform; two personalities


Ever since my interview final December with Rod Copes, President of Royal Enfield North America, I’ve been wanting ahead to experiencing the brand new 650 Twin the corporate developed for the Continental GT 650 and the Interceptor 650. The widespread engine and chassis underlying these two fashions symbolize simply certainly one of “several” platforms slated to be launched by RE within the subsequent Three-5 years, in response to Copes. Moreover, Copes claims that these platforms will all be aimed on the 400-700cc class as a result of Royal Enfield needs to be the worldwide chief within the middle-weight phase, which he thinks is underutilized as most producers have been exploiting the heavy-weight market with its wider revenue margins. Since I’m a fan of each middle-weights and parallel Twins, these have been heady statements to obtain. 

With these ideas in thoughts, I arrived in Santa Cruz, California the place Royal Enfield had gathered over 100 members of the worldwide moto-press for two days of driving the Continental GT 650 and Interceptor 650. Would the 650 Twin be sufficient to propel Royal Enfield out of the area of interest it’s occupied within the U.S. with its funky small displacement Singles? TheHimalayan has definitely turned heads in current months and has proved well-liked with the MO employees. I might hardly wait to get within the saddles. 

The 650 Twin

Whereas Royal Enfield’s 650 Twin Might look dated, it’s a decidedly trendy unit – even with the air/oil-cooling. Each side of the engine’s character was thought-about in the course of the improvement. For instance, three mule engines have been constructed early on in order that the kind of crankshaft might be thought-about. Improvement riders and RE officers have been capable of journey bikes with a 180-, 270-, and 360-degree cranks back-to-back to immediately decide which achieved the right character and sound they desired. In the long run, a 270-degree crankshaft was settled upon. 

A pair of pistons with a 78mm x 67.8mm bore and stroke brings the precise displacement to 648cc and breathes via a four-valve head. Every of the rocker arms within the SOHC head contains a rolling follower to relay the valve timing to two valves by way of a pair of fingers. Adjustment is by way of screw and locknut for straightforward upkeep. Contained in the cylinders, the compression ratio is stored to a comparatively tame 9.5:1. Lastly, the dual pistons have their inherent vibrations quelled by a gear-driven counter-balancer. 

The sweetness is on the within, too. Notice the counterbalancer on the underside left. Every of the rocker arms has two fingers to actuate the valves.

Though the counterbalanced 411cc Single within the Himalayan ought to have ready me for the primary time I eased out the 650’s clutch and pulled into visitors, I used to be nonetheless shocked at how smooth the brand new engine was. It’s onerous to shake the impression left by the older 535 Singles. However, the 650 is sort of smooth. In truth, vibrations don’t make their means into the pegs till the tachometer hits 5,500 rpm or the grips at about 6,200 rpm. The vibrations by no means turn out to be objectionable even when he engine is about to faucet its 7,500 rpm redline. However I’m getting forward of myself. 

Negotiating what passes for visitors in Santa Cruz, the RE’s engine purred alongside, giving a pleasant burble from its twin exhausts. The engine’s torque even allowed me to tug alongside at about 1,500 rpm with out downshifting once I felt lazy within the slow-moving visitors. Between 2,000 and a couple of,500 rpm, 80% of the engines claimed 38.four lb-ft of torque can be found. The slip help clutch is remarkably straightforward to modulate, and I recognize the non-adjustable lever’s ease of use. For instance, at one level in the course of the second day’s journey, we obtained caught behind a truck portray strains on a slender two-lane street. For nearly 15 minutes, we crept alongside in first gear at roughly 5 mph, working the friction zone the complete time. The slip help clutch saved the day! Commuters will thank Royal Enfield for together with it. 

When it got here time to shift gears, the cogs change easily, although perhaps not as buttery as one of the best Japanese fashions. Nevertheless, I by no means missed a shift, even when banging clutchless upshifts. 

The gasoline metering from the twin throttle our bodies is spot on. Regardless of the rpm or whether or not the engine is accelerating or decelerating, the throttle transitions are silky-smooth. I can’t emphasize what a pleasure this engine is to comb up and down via the rpm vary. Because the velocity will increase and the wind noise begins to drown out the exhaust word, a cool mechanical whine from the engine’s main begins to fill the rider’s ears. Candy. That is one enjoyable engine. 

Sure, the 650 Twin solely makes a claimed 47 hp, so bigger engines might rip its lungs out. Nevertheless, that’s not the purpose of this Twin. Just like the larger-displaced Ducati Scrambler, the Royal Enfield’s Twin is about elemental motorcycling or simply plain enjoyable. You’ll be able to burble alongside having fun with the view and unintimidating energy, or you possibly can crouch down and wring the rpms out, having fun with the pleasures of driving a sluggish bike quick. 

2019 Royal Enfield Continental GT 650.

The Royal Enfield Continental GT 650.

The chassis

2019 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

Editor Rating:86.zero%

Engine 17.zero/20 Suspension/Dealing with 12.5/15 Transmission/Clutch eight.75/10 Brakes eight.zero/10 Devices/Controls Three.5/5 Ergonomics/Consolation 9.zero/10 Look/High quality 9.zero/10 Desirability 9.zero/10 Worth 9.25/10 General Rating 86/100

A metal spine body with twin cradles help the engine. The rake is a fairly sporty  24°. Up entrance, a 41 mm, non-adjustable conventional fork negates the bumps whereas, out again, twin, preload adjustable, coil-over reservoir shocks management the rear wheel. Wheel journey is four.5 inches and three.5 inches entrance and rear, respectively. The wheels themselves are 18-inch spoked gadgets with bespoke tubed Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp RS tires. 

On the street at average speeds, the suspenders are of their pleased place, gobbling up street irregularities. Because the tempo will increase, nevertheless, their means to deal with bumps will get examined. General, the suspenders are capable of deal with the preliminary impression fairly nicely. It’s the rebound that poses the issue. 

The Royal Enfield’s boingy experience is clearly contributed to by the shortage of rebound within the fork. I’m much less clear about what’s going on within the rear. In a late night time dialogue with one other journalist that had us outdoors the lodge bouncing an Interceptor on its suspension, he tried to persuade me that the again finish was truly packing (i. e. not extending shortly sufficient from bump to bump, leading to much less obtainable suspension journey).  Whereas the suspension forces we have been capable of generate by hand did have the again of the bike uncompressing a lot slower than the entrance, the sensations I’ve gotten from the seat informed me that, after high-speed compression, the again rebounds too shortly. Clearly, I have to get some extra seat time on this bike to make certain. Nevertheless, I really feel that the truth that I’m having this inner debate in any respect factors to how properly the suspension on the Royal Enfield Twins works for bikes on this worth vary. 

The dual shocks are adjustable for preload solely, by way of a ramped adjuster.

With 18-inch wheels entrance and rear, I used to be ready for probably staid steering dynamics. I used to be flawed. The leverage offered by the Interceptor’s extensive bar and the GT’s clip-ons allowed me to bend the bikes right into a collection of tight corners with shocking alacrity. Whereas not the snap of a hyper-sports bike, it nonetheless supplies the sure-footedness of a sporty commonplace. Our route ran the gamut from high-speed sweepers to tight-n-twisty first- and second-gear corners, so I used to be capable of check the bikes in a very good number of circumstances. (I hear we handed some superb surroundings out within the rolling hills and thru the maze of redwoods, however I used to be too enthralled with the experience to note.)

The dual shocks are adjustable for preload solely, by way of a ramped adjuster.

Except for the extreme rebound I’ve already mentioned, the one dealing with challenge I observed is an occasional tendency to wobble at excessive speeds. On each the Interceptor and the GT, this wobble briefly seems within the area between peak braking pressure and the flip in level of a nook. As soon as the bikes are banked over within the nook it tracks true. Moreover, on the Interceptor, I additionally skilled the wobble underneath acceleration when cresting a hill a excessive velocity, lightening the entrance wheel. I consider the Interceptor’s extra upright driving place places barely much less weight on he entrance wheel, making it extra susceptible to the wobble. Regardless, the wobble happens at occasions when the entrance suspension is uncompressing, so I feel the symptom is said to the extreme fork rebound. Whereas each bikes by no means do something flawed, the wobble is unsettling the primary few occasions it occurs. I feel it’s simply the bikes’ approach of letting me know I used to be exceeding their comfortable place. 

I need to praise Royal Enfield on its number of the testing routes for the Interceptor and the Continental GT. The place some producers may choose roads with solely the smoothest pavement with a purpose to masks any shortcomings of their motorbike, my two days of driving coated the complete gamut of surfaces from billiard desk smooth to bumpy tight corners and every little thing in between. Clearly, Royal Enfield was assured of their 650 Twins’ capabilities. 

The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650. The flyscreen is an adjunct.

Interceptor 650

Whereas the chassis is strictly the identical for the Twins, some particulars make the Interceptor distinctive. First, the handlebar locations the rider in a cushty upright place. The pegs help on this by putting the rider’s toes adjoining to the rear of the engine for a particularly snug rider triangle. Royal Enfield has given the bikes a retro styling that persistently performs throughout the motorbike. The flat, couch-like seat presents loads of room for two and appears like it might have been at house through the period of the Common Japanese Motorbike – and that’s precisely what impressed Royal Enfield. 

The period that the Interceptor’s designers have been impressed by comes from the years 1960-1970 through which the California youth lifestyle-inspired Interceptor 700 was manufactured.  Though clearly a modernized imaginative and prescient of the 700, the Interceptor 650 feels true to its inspiration.  When wanting on the Interceptor 650, the resemblance is obvious from the headlight to the chrome wheels to the fork gaiters to the seat form and the twin shocks. Royal Enfield has created the correct mixture of recent and retro.

Continental GT 650

The distinction between the driving place on the Interceptor and the Continental GT is pronounced however not radical. Whereas the rider’s physique is canted ahead, the attain to the clip-ons just isn’t uncomfortable. The angle truly helps the rider fight the wind blast of highway-speed driving. With the higher physique inclined ahead, the ft naturally transfer rearward, and to compensate for this, the pegs have been relocated roughly 1.5 inches again. 

All the modifications for the Continental GT (save one) proven in a single photograph: clip-on bars, reshaped (smaller) tank, and funky solo seat.

In the event you look intently on the photograph above, there are solely two different modifications between the two fashions to notice. First, the fuel tank is just not the teardrop of the Interceptor however quite it’s narrower with a better again for a extra cafe racer form. This does come at a zero.Three gallon value, making the GT’s capability Three.Three gallons. The opposite change is the seat, which is shorter, flatter, thinner, and has a sporty hump. This, too, has a slight value. On this case, the seat is firmer and its edges minimize into my thighs because the miles racked up. Nonetheless, that is solely a minor quibble that hasn’t stored me from requesting the Continental GT to make use of in a shootout. 

The decision 

I’ll say once more that I used to be stunned by the standard of the engine powering the Interceptor 650 and the Continental GT 650. Nothing, not even the Himalayan, had ready me for the smoothness when it comes to each vibration and EFI that I encountered throughout my two days of driving. Royal Enfield took purpose at a gap in what it perceived that the most important motorbike producers have been providing to the worldwide markets and determined to ship a product that might be bought unaltered in each market. What this implies is that the identical motorbike is each EPA and Euro-5 compliant, in addition to authorized in lots of different nations, which lessens the price of manufacturing and distribution.

The opposite objective for the 650 Twins was to cost them competitively. Final yr, Copes informed me that they hoped to get them in for beneath $7,000. I don’t assume that even probably the most optimistic of us might’ve anticipated that the bottom worth for the Continental GT can be a mere $5,999 or that the Interceptor 650 can be priced even decrease at a $5,799 base worth. Along with the low worth, RE is providing a 3 yr guarantee on the 650 Twins, full with roadside help.

And that’s not all. Minutes after saying the U.S. Interceptor and Continental GT pricing in a worldwide livestream, Copes sat down with the North American journalists and said that within the subsequent Three-5 years, Royal Enfield can be introducing 2-Three new middleweight platforms (engine and chassis pairings) that might end in a complete of 12 new bikes from the corporate – all ranging in worth from $four,000-$eight,000. Based mostly on what we’ve seen in recent times from the corporate, I consider it. Royal Enfield has gone from producing 50,000 bikes in 2010 to an anticipated 950,000 in 2018. The corporate clearly needs to play an growing position on the worldwide motorbike stage, rising its presence within the extra mature markets, just like the U.S. the place it’s actively increasing its supplier community. If the Continental GT and the Interceptor are examples of what’s to return, we will’t wait to see what’s subsequent.

2019 Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 + Highs

  • Clean engine with broad energy unfold
  • Cafe driving place will increase sporty really feel
  • Loads of motorbike for the worth
– Sighs

  • Suspension defines the bounds of backroads shenanigans
  • Slight entrance finish wobble on nook entry
  • Exhausting-edged touring saddle
2019 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 + Highs

  • Clean engine with broad energy unfold
  • Upright physique place for relaxed driving
  • Shocking match and end for the worth
– Sighs

  • Extreme rebound from suspension
  • Barely extra frequent entrance finish wobble
  • Brakes could possibly be stronger
In Gear

2019 Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 And Interceptor 650

Helmet: Bell SRT-M $350
Jacket: Alpinestars Oscar Charlie Tech-Air Suitable $650
Airbag: Tech-Air Race Airbag System $1,150
Pants: Alpinestars Riffs $300
Boots: Rev’It Regent H2O Boots$350
Gloves: Reax Castor Sport Leather-based Gloves $89

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 Interceptor 650 MSRP $5,999, $6,249 (Customized), $6,749 (Chrome) $5,799, $5,999 (Customized), $6,499 (Chrome) Engine Sort four stroke, air-oil cooled, 648cc parallel twin Bore and Stroke 78mm x 67.8mm Gasoline System EFI Compression Ratio 9.5:1 Valve Practice SOHC, four valves per cylinder Transmission 6-speed Ultimate Drive Chain Entrance Suspension 41mm fork, four.5-in journey Rear Suspension Twin, coil-over shocks, Three.5-in journey Entrance Brake 320mm disc; 2-piston, single action-caliper; ABS Rear Brake 240mm disc, single-action caliper, ABS Entrance Tire 100/90-18 Rear Tire 130/70-18 Rake/Path 24°/NA Wheelbase 55.1 in. Seat Peak 31.1 in. 31.6 in. Curb Weight 435 lb (claimed, dry) 444 lb (claimed, dry) Gasoline Capability Three.Three gal. Three.6 gal. Obtainable Colours Black Magic, Ventura Blue, Mister Clear, Dr. Mayem, Ice Queen Mark III, Glitter & Mud, Orange Crush, Ravishing Purple, Silver Spectre, Baker Categorical

(motorbike.com, https://bit.ly/2Rr4LTe)


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