There the Royal Enfield stands in front of you and you relax at the sight. So that's what motorcycling used to look like? You kind of want to kick against the hoop and say something profound like, "Everything used to be better" or something. Of course, this is not true, because the 650 Interceptor is basic, but modern. What she had to prove in practice.
One of the most difficult tasks in motorcycle design must be to design retro mobile. Where has the line between successful reinterpretation in old-school style and somehow gone wrong (see current Suzuki Katana)? It is very easy to tip out of the saddle with something like this.
But it's different at Royal Enfield. Some people will not call the ancient appearance retro, but want to blame the production in India, they couldn't do better. The BMW G 310 R also experienced similar insults. At best, this is nonsense, to be clear.
The Royal Enfield 650 Interceptor is at the heart of its newly developed Twins, a modern motorcycle, but it is reduced. Reduced to the max, Smart advertised in New German. Not she has to defend herself, soon you're on the defensive: does it really have to be more? Why are only 100 hp considered to be the necessary lower limit? And does a motorcycle really have to have more features than an average smartphone?
The interceptor probably looks like this because no one needs more. One tank, a straight bench, a twin with 48 hp. class, is enough. Also the two colors of the tank, interrupted by a golden line – this looks fine and classy. Stereo struts in chrome with spoke rims please, double chrome bags and a polished motor cover. The all-inclusive menu costs 6,519 euros. Well, to demonstrate what goes on, the sympathetic Enfield dealer gave our test bike the continental seat, various decorative lids, other mirrors and blinkers. Representing a value of around 1,300 euros, no one needs it.
The bike is not very big. Rather so medium, you can easily swing on it. And behold: The two chrome-framed round instruments for speedometer and speed are supplemented by a tiny on-board computer, which inshames shamefully about the temperatures and level of the tank. Was there anything else? Oh yes, an ABS has the 650 Enfield.
Then let's go, look for spring.
Key turned around (thank you, Royal Enfield, you will be the very last company in the world to introduce the theft-prone and otherwise completely useless keyless go), button pressed and satisfied bollering the Twin jumps on. Interceptor is called her, that is, translates interceptor. In front of whose eyes the legendary Spitfire of the British from the Second World War now appears, should sit quietly in the corner again: 47 hp. With 7,100 tours. Torque is also there, 52 Newton meters at 5,250 tours. We don't want to intercept anything today, and the next few years don't look like that either. That's why: stay cool.
But we want to drive, and we do. It is moving forward resolutely and nothing is distracting. You don't do lawns not just because you don't have enough power to do it, but because it would be completely unnecessary. The thin tires, the comfortable but stable chassis – none of this screams in your ear that you should somehow let the sow out now. Your greatest happiness is to mill a scrape into the asphalt in every bend with your footrest? Wrong bike.
You wouldn't call her a Café Racer, but actually it is: you're never, in any situation, wrongly dressed. It's as if the Royal Enfield enjoys puppy protection: anyone who recognizes it will let you go in peace. If you're always waiting for the next challenger on a Ducati, there's no rival waiting for the Royal Enfield.
In a nutshell: comfort good, sportiness rather not, driving behaviour stable, engine drives you forward. Stylish and honest to the last screw. What to forget? Possible, but something exciting was certainly not there.
The Royal Enfield 650 Interceptor makes it easy to like. It's not Superbike, nor Adventure or Naked – it's just a motorcycle like it used to be when all these names didn't exist. She still has everything you need to ride a motorcycle.
It is difficult to determine a competition. Most retro bikes are simply too expensive in comparison. If you base yourself on the price of 6,519 euros, you will quickly end up with the bestsellers Kawasaki Z 650 or Yamaha MT-07. But whether they really take away customers? It's probably as usual: just try it out, if it fits, then it fits. Otherwise, it is not. No drama either.
The test bike was provided to us by the 2 Radhaus Stadie in Pinneberg.