Royal Enfield has been one of the most successful motorcycle manufacturers India has ever seen. From shipping the country's first motorcycle in during the war to making large displacement motorcycles easily available to the masses, Royal Enfield has a way with riders in India. The Royal Enfield Classic and Bullet series of motorcycles have been a byword for RE enthusiasts for decades now. While the brand is diversifying, while maintaining its base origins, into younger products like Thunderbird and Himalayan, the Bullet and Classic still remain the core of RE's success in India. Now though, two brand new entrants – Royal Enfield Interceptor INT 650 and Continental GT 650 – are set to enter our market. What now?
The Royal Enfield 650 twins will surely alleviate the company's reputation to more of a premium motorcycle manufacturer but does this mean the slow demise of the Classic and Bullet 500cc motorcycles from its lineup. Will riders be willing to pay a little extra for a 650cc motorcycle rather than a 500cc? And does this mean that the Classic and Bullet 350 motorcycles will remain the prime drivers of Royal Enfield's sales?
The answer is most likely yes. Priced at Rs 1.16 lakh and Rs 1.4 lakh respectively, the Royal Enfield Bullet 350 and Classic 350 will continue to attract thousands of Royal Enfield fans. Those who had been planning on buying a 500cc, however, can wait for the higher displacement motorcycles - Interceptor INT 650 and Continental GT 650 – to arrive in the Indian two-wheeler market and get a better deal for themselves.
However, making the shift may not be as easy for one and all. While the Royal Enfield Bullet 500 and Classic 500 are priced at Rs 1.68 lakh and 1.78 lakh, respectively, expect the Royal Enfield Interceptor INT 650 and Continental GT 650 to be priced well above Rs 2.5 lakh (ex-showroom).
Hence, while some riders will be willing to spend some more for a 650cc Royal Enfield, there will be some who will settle for 500cc Classic and Bullet motorcycles since the price gap could be well above Rs 80,000 on ex-showroom price.
When launched in India, Royal Enfield INterceptor INT 650 and Continental GT 650 will spar with the Harley-Davidson Street 750. What is even more interesting is that the difference in power not be as big as the difference in price tags. While the Street 750 is priced above Rs 5 lakh, the new RE twins will be available at under Rs 3 lakh. Not just this, the service cost and spare parts will be much cheaper for the Interceptor and Continental GT, raising the overall value for money. Unless a rider a hell bound on buying a Harley, sh/she could easily opt for a Royal Enfield Interceptor or Continental GT.
It will not just be higher displacement engines that will shoot the Royal Enfield Interceptor INT 650 and Continental GT 650 to popularity. The two will sport Roadster and Cafe Racer design and styling, which aren't as common on Indian roads as others. Besides design, the new Roya Enfield twins will also be better equipped in terms of electronics. The two will feature a twin-channel ABS.
Royal Enfield Interceptor INT 650 and Continental GT 650 will be powered by a new 648cc, parallel twin engine that makes 47 bhp and 52 Nm and is paired with a six-speed transmission system. The two will also feature a slip and assist clutch and braking duties will be taken care of by a 320mm disc brake up front and a 240mm disc brake at the rear.
Royal Enfield Interceptor INT 650 and Continental GT 650 will primarily challenge the likes of Harley-Davidson Street 750 when launched in our market. Stay tuned to this space for more on the two new Royal Enfield twins, which will be the most powerful RE motorcycles we've seen so far.