Friday, August 31, 2018

Specs show Royal Enfield 650 twins fit the bill

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 twin measures up.
Complete specifications are at Team-BHP.com
Reader John Donlon of Illinois has his eye on owning a new Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 twin — with the chrome tank, please.

So John took note when India's Team-BHP.com forum printed the specifications of the new Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650 twins.

Like most of the forum's readers, John generally liked what he saw. He writes:

"David:  I hit the metric conversion table as I scribbled down the specs most people look for when they're scoping out a bike...

"The new Interceptor has as follows:

47 bhp at 7100 rpm

Wheelbase of 55 inches

Tank capacity of 3.62 gallons

Dry weight of 445 pounds

Seat height of 31.7 inches

Six-speed gearbox

18-inch tires front/rear

"What you have is a a motorcycle that parallels the specs very closely of the 1976 Triumph Bonneville.

"The new bike is about 20 pounds heavier than a 1970 Interceptor with the same seat height. Tank capacity is roughly the same. Claimed brake horsepower is somewhat less than the 1970 Interceptor but the new bike also has six gears while the 1970 model had four.

"In my opinion what you have is a bike with power and ergonomics similar to a mid-1970s Triumph  Bonneville or, on a cc for cc basis, a mid-1960s BSA A-65 Spitfire. Both were and still are very competent on the highway at highway speeds.

"With electronic ignition, fuel injection, six-speed gearbox and an oil cooler the new Interceptor should do well in any type of general purpose riding environment.

"If the quality control is there, then people should flock to these machines. As for me, this bike is most assuredly my last bike so I hope it delivers what I've lusted after for 48 years."

Does John have any concerns? Well here is one: the new Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 can't be labelled as such in the United States.

"The one thing I have made mention of many times is that since Royal Enfield did not protect the 'Interceptor' moniker for the motorcycle, they have to import the bike and badge it as 'Int 650.'

"That name, in my opinion, belongs on the shipping crate, not the bike," John said.

He even has thoughts about what could be the next 650 twin: a new Royal Enfield Constellation, as the showpiece of the line.

"I hope they have had the upfront sense  to renew the trademark on 'Constellation,' since that would be a logical progression of a bike with parts and manufacturing available now.

"This could be the high-end version of the twin with a kick-starter, siamesed pipes and the nacelled front end.  The classic seat and large fuel tank complement the bike, which could easily become Royal Enfied's equivalent of a 1970s BMW R series."

5 comments:

  1. Rose-colored goggles: If you build a new bike from scratch in 2018 that is comparable in many ways to a bike built 52 years ago, how proud can you be? If there was not a huge group of young guys who'll buy anything that whispers "authenticity," who would buy one of these new miracle twins? Suggesting that those old British 650s were fully capable of highway pace ignores the speeds on today's interstates and suburban roads. You would destroy a perfectly restored 60s Triumph or BSA twin cruising at an honest 80mph while mommies in vans passed you right and left, darting from lane to lane and chatting excitedly on phones.

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    1. I am surprised at their design parameters as well. A 20 year old, carburated Ducati M750 Monster sports 65+ horsepower with sub-390# weight... which I may own beside a 1970 Interceptor and 1968 Moto Guzzi V700. While all my bikes are daily riders and while my classics are quite literally the apple of my eye, I want a legitimately modern bike from RE with *some* power that looks the part as well. Why is the 'market' so difficult (design/engineering --> manufacturers --> consumers)? At least Norton is working on a stonking great 650 twin and Indian is revealing the FTR 1200 soon... Different price brackets; certainly, no questions there! The RE will be far less expensive. But if I want 445 pounds and 48 horsepower I will GLADLY take my electronic ignition'ed, LED'ed, alternator'ed, shaft-driven V700 for a dead-reliable 300-mile spin and get the James May 'fizz' instead of departing with the same amount of cash for a bike that will induce equal-or-lesser-to the same "What-is-that?" conversations at the fuel stop. I readily wish them well, but 445#? Where's the solid-lead ingots stored?

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  2. The 1960s BSA and the 1970s Triumph can hold their own at 65 mph, (1976 Bonneville-3500 rpm at 65 mph) which is way more than can be said for a Bullet. Even if I had a bike capable of 150 mph, dealing with speeders and idiots on cellphones are among the occupational hazards I accept when I ride.

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  3. Sounds like the perfect opportunity for someone to make an aftermarket badge.

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  4. Nice looking bike. Must admit I like it.

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