Classic Royal Enfield strikes a cord

Mogens JohansenThe West Australian
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650
Camera IconRoyal Enfield Interceptor 650 Credit: Mogens Johansen/The West Australian

It’s a flashback to the soundtrack of yesteryear when I wind on the throttle of the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 I’ve just picked up from MotoMAX in Osborne Park.

This is a distinctively classic-looking and sounding bike and the parallel twin-cylinder engine that rumbles away beneath me is already striking a chord, though I’ve only just got on.

Royal Enfield celebrates 120 years of motorcycle production this year, and the new $10,790 Interceptor 650 is the latest addition to its line-up.

It’s a fully redesigned and rebuilt motorcycle, even though it looks much like the original Interceptors first released back in 1960s.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650
Camera IconRoyal Enfield Interceptor 650 Credit: Mogens Johansen/The West Australian

The hallmark Interceptor design features like the teardrop tank, twin exhausts and the beautiful big twin engine are still there. But on closer inspection, there are many modern improvements. The dual cradle frame is a totally new design. There are disc brakes front and back, improved suspension and the old-school carburettors has been replaced with electronic fuel injectors.

All the improvements have been cleverly integrated so as not to detract from the retro look that Royal Enfield is known and loved for. The analogue clocks mounted above the classic round headlight, the quilted twin seat, spoked wheels and the swept-up exhausts make the bike look like a real classic.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650
Camera IconRoyal Enfield Interceptor 650 Credit: Mogens Johansen/The West Australian

THE RIDE

I take the bike for a nice long spin through the Hills behind Perth and can’t wipe the smile off my face. It’s no rocket, but it is just so much fun to ride! It’s back to basics — there’s no traction control, ride modes, heated grips or other electronic aides that you get on many bikes these days. It’s all about the ride and feeling the wind in your face. It reminds me of my first bike — everything is pared back but you have what you need.

The power curve is quite steep … just about all the torque is there as soon as I wind on the throttle, so I can get away from the lights and traffic easily. The upright riding position is nice and comfortable. The bike tips easily into the turns and holds its line nicely as I roll along the twisty roads in the Perth Hills. Back down in the city, it feels nice and agile in the traffic.

The suspension and the brakes feel a bit below par after coming off my Triumph Tiger adventure bike but given the price point of the Interceptor and where it is likely to be ridden, they are more than adequate. To my mind, this is a perfect city/commuter bike but it will handle a nice country run without any dramas.

Riding a classic Royal Enfield is just good, old-fashioned fun and it draws lots of admiring looks from fellow motorists. But, be prepared for a lot of chat whenever you stop. Everyone wants to know what it is. Like the two Kiwi Harley-Davidson riders I park next to in Kings Park: “What sort of bike is that, bro?”

“It’s a real bike,” I think to myself before launching into what turns out to be a very pleasant chat about bikes.

Mogens Johansen on the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650
Camera IconMogens Johansen on the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Credit: Stephen Scourfield/The West Australian

The lowdown

The Royal Enfield starts from $10,790 but be prepared to spend a bit extra on some very cool custom accessories to personalise your ride.

Engine: Four-stroke, single overhead cam, air cooled, parallel twin.

Displacement: 648cc.

Fuel capacity: 13.7 litres.

Maximum power: 47 bhp @ 7100 rpm.

Maximum torque: 52 Nm @ 4000 rpm.

Fuel supply: EFI

Front brake: 320mm disc with ABS

Rear brake: 240mm disc with ABS

Weight: 202kg.

Disclaimer: The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 was lent to Mogens Johansen by MotoMax in Osborne Park. They have not seen or approved this story.

For more information about Royal Enfield bikes, you can visit MotoMax at 25A Hutton Street in Osborne Park or check out royalenfield.com.au.

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