Ride review: Royal Enfield Twins 650 cc Interceptor & Continental GT
While most of Goa is busy prepping for Christmas, made visible by the lit lanterns hanging colourfully from almost all the houses, North Goa was bustling with activities coupled with a familiar 'thumping' note. Royal Enfield's Rider Mania was in town the last weekend and if that wasn't enough for the petrolheads who come from all the nooks and corners of the world, it was even more special this year. The iconic motorcycle manufacturers, known for their 350 and 500 cc bikes officially launched their new machines -- the 650 cc powered Interceptor and Continental GT.
Out of many aspects the Twins share, the one that puts a smile on a biking aficionado's face is how they've retained the legacy of their ancestors. While the Interceptor takes inspiration from the 60's ride of the same name that got itself a fan following in California, the Continental GT is an ode to the cafe racer culture of the 50s. As far as the looks are concerned, Interceptor sports a teardrop tank, diamond quilt patterned twin seat and braced handlebar. Continental GT on the other hand, keeping its cafe racer genes in mind, has a weight-forward stance, rear set footrests and clip-on bars.
Both the bikes feature a twin cradle, tubular steel frame, gas-charged twin shock absorbers, 36 spoke aluminium alloy rims, specially developed Pirelli Phantom Sportcomp tyres and Bosch powered dual-channel ABS. For the first time, Royal Enfield has come up with a six-speed gearbox. The 4 stroke engines are air-oil cooled and padded up with fuel injection and digital spark ignition.
After riding both of them for a little less than 300 km, it's apparent that the Continental is well suited for the city streets and the Interceptor is what I'll bet on for the highways. With clip-on bars, the Continental's ergonomics offer an easy reach thereby resulting in better control. The footrests' placement makes one crouch ahead improving the cornering clearance and also giving it a sporty feel. Interceptor dons a wide handlebar that translates into an upright riding position. This keeps the handling comfortable even at high speeds.
The Twins might not have the regular Bullet's thump and you'll know the reason the moment you start cruising in triple-digit speeds. Unlike its predecessors, the Twins feel at home at speeds where the other Royal Enfield variants usually vibrate vehemently. Speaking of vibrations, you wouldn't need after-market side mirrors resting in the far extremes of the handlebar to give an idea of what's lurking behind as the lesser quivering means the stock mirrors itself would give a clear picture.
The throttle-response is completely un-RE like and the bike slices through decent numbers even in the lesser gears. Even as the speedometer denote bigger numerals, the engine doesn't feel stressed. If left to nitpick, we would've loved to see an advanced instrument panel and some LED lights. But they aren't deal-breakers considering the competitive pricing RE has opted for the Twins which are sure to bring in more affordable competitors in this segment.