Friday, September 14, 2018

Imagine riding the new Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

The new Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 twin is coming to the United States. Are you ready?
We often think of wars  — however awful — as drivers of technological progress. World War II, for instance, is credited with giving us advanced radar, vital improvements in trauma care and new airports in out-of-the-way locations all over the world. (Forget, for the moment, the atomic bomb.)

I've read, however, that World War I may actually have crippled advances in aviation. Yet thousands of airplanes were built, and they obviously got better as the war progressed.

Militaries always want more airplanes. Yes, they should fly faster, farther and higher than previous designs. But conservative ministries tend to believe the new planes ought to at least look reassuringly like the planes they replace.

And, more importantly, the thousands of pilots already trained at great risk and expense to fly the old planes must be able to fly the new ones.

I'm finding notions like this actually reassuring right now, as Royal Enfield has invited me to the launch of its new Interceptor 650 this month in California.

I am just an old iron-barrel Bullet pilot. Yet I hope to ride the bright, shiny and more powerful Royal Enfield Int 650, as it's called.

And I am reasonably sure I will do it comfortably, as the same thinking that supplied a stick-and-pedals in the Sopwith Camel supplied something similar in the Concorde.

This is the first time in my motorcycling life that I will experience a six-speed gearbox and anti-lock brakes.

Still, I expect the new Royal Enfield 650s twins to be torquey, forgiving and friendly. They'll say "You've been here before on a Royal Enfield; you just wanted a bit more power and style (and better brakes). Now you've got 'em. Enjoy."

After all, Royal Enfield has many thousands of customers in India already greatly satisfied with the Bullet and its classically styled off-shoots. This enormous audience naturally wants something better — yet familiar.

And it helps that the Royal Enfield 650 twins are themselves retro looking designs. I recognize them as looking much like the great motorcycles of my youth (not that I could afford them at the time). As such, they haven't lost any of their appeal.

I'm sure they will be just as wonderful now as I imagined then — but better.

Disclosure: Royal Enfield will provide transportation, accommodation, food, entertainment and keepsakes to me at this product launch. The above opinions are my own.

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