Friday, May 10, 2019

What Jay Leno said about the Royal Enfield 650 twins

Jay Leno riding a Royal Enfield motorcycle.
Jay Leno rides the new Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 twin.
Celebrity automotive and motorcycle enthusiast Jay Leno took the new Royal Enfield 650 twin for a "Sunday ride" and came away impressed.

The May 5 episode of Jay Leno's Garage left him less impressed with horsepower numbers — high enough, in Jay's opinion — than with the relatively small number of dollars in the purchase price.

Rod Copes, American president for Royal Enfield, showed Jay three new Royal Enfield motorcycles: the Himalayan, the INT650 twin, and the Continental GT 650 twin.

Leno called Royal Enfield "one of the most storied brands," and applauded the long line of single-cylinder Royal Enfields built in India (he owns one) as utilitarian. Nice, but "nothing for the performance enthusiast."

Copes introduced him to the Himalayan dual-sport, noting that it alone doubled sales of Royal Enfields in America.

But Leno couldn't get his eyes off the new 650 twins.

"British twins were always a huge thing of mine," he said. And these fit the bill:

"I like motorcycles that look like motorcycles... I like motorcycles that are made out of metal..."

"They have a classic motorcycle look that I like..."

"I don't want a step-through thing. I don't want a centrifugal clutch. RrrrrrrrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRrrrr!"

And "this will go as fast as you want to go," Leno said of the twins' advertised 48 horsepower.

"What we like to say is it's back to what motorcycling used to be. Fun, cool and simple and affordable," Copes said. That means about $5,800 for the INT650 and $6,000 for the Continental GT 650, with three-year unlimited warranty and roadside assistance.

"I tend to go for this one a little more," Leno said, mounting the Continental GT 650 cafe racer. He started it up, and it sounded great.

Then he turned to the INT650, the visual reincarnation of the famous Royal Enfield Interceptor of the 1960s.

"It was 1970 this is what bikes looked like. It doesn't get any more classic looking than this... this is the definition of retro to me." Later he would mention that he likes the twins' spoked wheels and chain drive.

Retro, yes, but also more accessible than awesome — intended to draw new riders to the hobby rather than scare them off.

"This is the sweet spot that's coming back," Copes said.

Leno talked about modern motorcycles with confusing software "modes" for different road conditions — consult the owners manual to figure them out.

"Sometimes you just want to go for a ride."

The twin Leno wanted to ride was the Continental GT 650. He wanted to see if the cafe style handlebars suited him.

The GT "looks aggressive but doesn't force you to have a lot of weight on your arms," Copes assured him.

Through his helmet mic we here Leno's comments as he rides:

"You know I think I like this bike. Very smooth. Seems like a very understressed motor...

"I don't need a gear indicator (there isn't one)...

"Throttle response is excellent...

"I do like the height of these handlebars...

"Engine is very balanced, very smooth...

"It doesn't throw excessive heat...

"I like it a lot..."

"If I can save 10 grand (a reference to its affordability)..."

"For $6,000 it's a real British motorcycle."

1 comment:

  1. RE has a home run on their hands. Glad he recognized that you don't need 140hp. I noticed that he didn't focus on the Himalayan. I don't think you "get" that bike until you've ridden it. Then it is a pleasant surprise


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