Royal Enfield, the global leader in the mid-size motorcycle segment, this week opens the latest chapter in an already storied 117-year history of motorcycle production with the initial outing for its highly anticipated twin cylinder machines, the Continental GT 650 Twin and the Interceptor INT 650 Twin.
The first twin cylinder motorcycles to be produced by Royal Enfield since 1970, the new motorcycles recall a golden era for the marque that began in 1948 with the arrival of its first 500 twin that evolved into its famed high-performance models, the Meteor, Super Meteor and, ultimately, the original Interceptor of 1960.
Sold mainly in the U.S.A and Canada, the 700 Interceptor and its 750cc successors quickly became part of California’s sun-drenched culture, serving as two-wheeled expressions of fun, excitement, freedom and optimism in the form of fast and stylish road bikes and as competition machines that enjoyed huge success in scrambles, desert races and flat track events.
And it is Royal Enfield’s historic links with the Golden State that partly inspired the choice of Santa Cruz for the launch of the Continental GT 650 and Interceptor 650 which, as well as marking the revival of twin-cylinder production, also herald the start of the brand’s global expansion.
Launched here today for North America, alongside a first global ride, these motorcycles will be priced at USD 5799 for the Interceptor INT 650, and USD 5999 for the Continental GT 650, for the Standard colourways, making these motorcycles a perfect blend of authentic appeal, contemporary fun ride experience, and accessibility.
The Custom and Chrome colourways will be priced at USD 5999 and USD 6499 for the Interceptor INT 650 and at USD 6249 and USD 6749 for the Continental GT 650 respectively.
Speaking on the launch of the Royal Enfield Twin motorcycles, Siddhartha Lal, CEO, Royal Enfield, said, “We have had an amazing journey at Royal Enfield over the last decade, growing from sales of around 50,000 motorcycles in 2010 to over 820,000 motorcycles in 2017.”
“This unprecedented growth is a result of our focus on making simple, deeply engaging, beautiful motorcycles, that are modern at the core, and building a thriving ecosystem of personal journeys and expressions around them. We are delighted with how the Interceptor INT 650 and the Continental GT 650 have turned out.” he added.
“The Twins are our first truly global line of products and will play a very strategic role in ushering the next set of Royal Enfield owners across the world” he said.
Despite their links to the past, the Continental GT 650 and Interceptor INT 650 are entirely new motorcycles from the ground up, developed jointly by Royal Enfield’s development teams located both in India and at its state-of-the-art technical centre at Bruntingthorpe in UK.
The motorcycles – the Continental GT 650, a sporty cafe racer, and the Interceptor INT 650, a stylish roadster – combine classic looks with carefully considered engineering that has resulted in a brace of machines with a common engine that will inspire confidence in new riders as much as they will satisfy the expectations of more experienced motorcyclists.
Commenting about the launch of the Royal Enfield Twins, Rudratej Singh, President, Royal Enfield “In India, we have over three million Royal Enfield customers of the 350cc and 500cc motorcycles, who have been waiting for the next expression of the pure, simple and fun motorcycling.”
“In international markets the twins will play a strategic role not just for us but for the industry to expand the mid-weight segment and invite new users into the category. We expect the Interceptor INT 650 and the Continental GT 650 to represent the perfect opportunity to upgrade commuters in South East Asia and Latin America, as well as expand the motorcycling segment in USA and Europe” he added.
Air-cooled to simplify maintenance, to produce a gorgeous twin-cylinder exhaust note and to ensure lines that are faithful to a true heritage design, the Continental GT 650 and Interceptor INT 650 are built for real world riding.
The motorcycles come with ample torque available just off idle, enabling them to make light work of city traffic, and with sufficient power to effortlessly cruise on the open road.
Un-fussy motorcycling is what Royal Enfield’s new twins are all about. While offering a more than adequate 47 horsepower, the secret of their ‘ride-ability’ lies in the way their torque is delivered – seamlessly, and from low in the rev range – with 80% of the peak 52Nm torque delivered at 2500rpm – enabling smooth and steady progress without the need for constant gear-changing.
Combine that with an extremely agile chassis developed at Royal Enfield’s UK Technology Centre in conjunction with legendary sports bike frame builder Harris Performance, and the secret of the all-round competence of the new motorcycles begins to reveal itself.
But the Continental GT 650 and the Interceptor INT 650 offer a great deal more than accomplished engineering – they tap-in to the growing popularity of classically-influenced, modern-day motorcycling that has been at the heart of Royal Enfield’s ethos for decades.
The new twins, like the famed, single-cylinder ‘Bullet,’ are motorcycles that are inspired by the past but built for today and designed to remain relevant tomorrow – as such, they reflect the marque’s respect for longevity by being the definition of two-wheeled sustainability in a world where short-term trends, conspicuous consumption and disposable products are fast losing their appeal.
Increasingly, today’s motorcyclists see their machines as extensions of themselves; motorcycles that they can make their own and ride throughout the adventure of life. The Continental GT 650 and Interceptor INT 650 are intended to be just such machines that, though similar at heart, offer very different riding experiences.
The Continental GT 650 will appeal especially to sporting riders with its optional single seat, sculpted fuel tank, rearset footrests and race-style clip-on handlebars. Yet, as much as it is perfect for enjoying high-speed blasts on twisting backroads, its ergonomics enable it to remain comfortable when used as a stylish city bike, for tackling the highway or simply as a means of making weekend escapes to the wilds.
The Interceptor INT 650, meanwhile, harks back to the historic model after which it is named, with its distinctive teardrop tank with traditional knee recesses, comfortable, quilted dual seat and wide, braced handlebars redolent of the street scrambler style that emerged in ’60s California.
Its comfortable and commanding riding position make the Interceptor INT 650 both fun and practical on all types of terrain, from curving coastal roads to the urban jungle, for heading out of town two-up or for cruising down to the beach.
Both the Interceptor INT 650 and the Continental GT 650 are beautifully executed and thoughtfully detailed motorcycles. Their engines, though of up-to-the-minute design, perfectly replicate the classic look, while touches such as forged handlebars, ‘Monza’ fuel caps and carefully finished ancillaries echo the quality to be found inside and out.
With individuality being key to today’s riders, both the Continental GT 650 and the Interceptor INT 650 can be had in Standard or Custom versions with a wide range of retro options ranging from special paint colours and pin stripes to retro-cool bar-end mirrors, optional fly screens and alternative finishes for items such as wheels, lights and suspension components.
Both motorcycles, come with a range of Royal Enfield Gear and apparel that are inspired by the 60’s and reflect the cuts and silhouettes from the cultural contexts and the era of these motorcycles. Comprising of Clymer and Spirit jackets, a curated range of t-shirts, helmets, boots, ankle-high sneakers, and covert Cordura jeans and Streetborn Gloves, the range of Gear, aesthetically fuses classic styling with contemporary functionality.
The Interceptor INT 650 and Continental GT 650, also come with a suite of Genuine Motorcycle Accessories, that in addition to providing comfort, styling and protection, also lend as a means to self expression for the rider.
The range comprises of new functional and protective accessories such as engine guards, lifting handle, pannier mounts and an auxiliary electrical port, and also includes styling accessories such as chrome and stainless steel silencer slip ons, acrylic fly screen, single and twin seat cowls, and soft canvas panniers.
The significance of these machines to the future of Royal Enfield is huge. Just as the original Interceptor made the marque a hit in America, so the Continental GT 650 and Interceptor INT 650 are set to ignite the mid-weight motorcycle segment in emerging markets such as India , South-East Asia and Latin America while providing a new and disruptive option to buyers in Europe, Australia and the United States.