It marks the return of one of Royal Enfield’s most loved classic motorcycles. Hailing from a time when all that mattered was that the California sun was out and the surf was up, the new Interceptor retains every bit of charm that made it a legend. Here is the story of its revival.
ROYAL ENFIELD 650CC TWINS
The new engine is a complete ground up effort and the company stresses that it has nothing to do with the firm s existing single cylinder engines. First, let’s address the capacity. 650cc (the exact capacity is not yet revealed) was the planned displacement from day one, so all the talk of 750cc or higher engines just turned out to be internet conjecture. Royal Enfield says that they wanted their new bikes to be aspiring, but also affordable and the 650cc capacity is at a sweet spot where it makes for a good upgrade from the 350 and 500 singles, but is not a step too far. Another advantage is that with this level of power, the engine slots under Europe s learner legal A2 licence regulations, thus opening up the potential to tap into new riders as well.
The engine will be air-cooled to stick with Royal Enfield s heritage and the cases have been designed after the Mark II Interceptor. An oil cooler is employed for additional engine thermal management. The engine uses a four valve SOHC layout and a 270-degree forged crank. The 270-degree firing order helps balance secondary vibrations while a balancer shafts takes care of primary vibrations. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a new 6-speed transmission that uses a slip assist clutch for easier modulation. The clutch is a heavy duty unit, as is the alternator which is beefed up to handle the additional load from running any accessories.
Peak power is a healthy 47hp at 7,000rpm while a maximum of 53Nm arrives at a low 4,000rpm.These figures and the rpm they arrive at hint at strong, but unstressed performance. Royal Enfield says that this bike doesn’t have the trademark thump of its singles, but instead produces a signature rumble thanks to that 270-degree firing order. From the little that we heard in the teaser video MD and CEO Siddhartha Lal shared in his video on Instagram, the motorcycle emits a deep and throaty rumble – quite nice indeed.
The motor is still in the pre-production stage and we were given a surprise treat of watching it fly by when we were touring the test track near RE s new, high-tech test centre at Bruntingthorpe. The bike was carrying considerable pace and it was hard to grab a clear photograph. RE says that it can hold a pace of 130-145kph without feeling overstrained , so it looks safe to estimate to a top speed upwards of 160kph. Royal Enfield says they’ve put in over 10 lakh test kilometers in multiple environments including India and Europe. The Indian team and the team at the UK test centre are equally involved with the development and RE is confident that its testing regime is up there with the most stringent in the world. The result should be significantly higher levels of quality than we’ve seen with previous products. We’ve had a tour of Royal Enfield’s new test centre and it’s an advanced facility that will no doubt contribute to improving upcoming products in terms of performance and quality.