Technical specifications: Royal Enfield 650 twins

It’s been about six decades since Royal Enfield last had twin-cylinder bikes.

The once-British and now Indian-owned-and-operated company is back with two 650cc parallel twins: the Interceptor (pictured) and the Continental GT.

The only differences between the two neo-classics are that the GT has a sports riding position and does not have a centre stand.

Both feature a substantial improvement in build quality over previous single-cylinder Royal Enfields. I pulled the locked seat off and was pleased to find the paint extends right down the tank where you can't see it and the welds are neat. Wiring and cabling is tidy, plastics are smooth, the vinyl seat is good quality and even the foot pegs are sturdy rubber and alloy units.

The only build fault I could find was a slightly gummy weld joint where the headers leave the cylinder on both the Interceptor and GT.

Those who love the retro look will appreciate that Royal Enfield didn’t go to town on the chrome which the original ‘50s/ ‘60s cafe racers didn’t have. Instead, the engine casings and wheel rims are brushed alloy (black rims on some models) which looks understated yet stunning.

Royal Enfield kept the prices down around $10,000 by making this a lo-fi bike. No fancy traction controls and electronic wizardry, although it does have ABS, of course.

The instruments are basic with just two analogue pods (speedo and tacho) and a small LCD screen with readouts only for odometer, trip A and B and a voltmeter when idling. Indicators and taillight are also basic, and the mirrors are cheap units that come loose over rough roads and blur at highway speed.

Yet these bargain bikes also have quite a few niceties and extras such as twin instrument pods with a tachometer, comprehensive toolkit, lockable fuel cap and retro-style Pirelli Phantom tyres.

Tech specs

  • Interceptor prices: $9790 (solid colours); $9990 (two-tone); $10,290 (chrome tank)
  • Continental GT prices: $9990 (solid); $10,190 (two-tone); $10,490 (chrome)
  • Warranty/service: 3 years/unlimited km, 10,000km service
  • Engine: 4 stroke, single overhead cam, 8-valve, 648cc parallel twin
  • Power: 35kW @ 7100rpm
  • Torque: 52Nm @ 4000rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed
  • Fuel tank: 12.5 litres
  • Economy: 3.6 litres/100km (tested)
  • Chassis: twin cradle tubular steel
  • Suspension: conventional forks, twin Gabriel shocks
  • Tyres: Pirelli Phantom Sportcomp, 100/90-18 front, 130/70-18 rear
  • Brakes: Bybre 320mm single front disc, 240mm rear disc, ABS
  • Kerb weight: 202kg (Interceptor), 198kg (Continental GT)

Find out the ride impressions.

By Mark Hinchliffe