Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 BS6 review: Feel-good bike and very un-RE-like characteristics

There has been a hike in Rs 9,000 for the BS4 to BS6 conversion but this seems like a worthwhile investment in a motorcycle that is priced fantastically and is value-for-money.

By:October 28, 2020 5:19 PM

It is no secret that we at Express Drives love the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650. It is unlike any Royal Enfield bike we have experienced so far. It is smooth, vibe-free, largely reliable, and has a feel-good factor around it. There were a few niggles like the fuel gauge calibration and a few parts that required attention like the clutch wire clamps fitted on to the frame. So, when the BS6 models arrived and with minimal price hikes, we were wondering if RE had actually changed anything to give its near-two-year old models a revamp. The wait was long for us to get a test bike mainly due to you-know-who. But, finally, we got our hands on the BS6 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and it sure didn’t disappoint. We found out new things about the bike as well. Read on to find out in our review what these are.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 BS6 good bits

The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is one beautiful looking machine and will age well

The bike looks the same as before and this is a good thing. We’ve appreciated the way the bike was styled and even the goodies it came with. Nowhere is it evident that this is a BS6 bike except for on the vehicle papers. However, if you notice closely, the pilot lamp is a LED now whereas the headlight is a clear lens halogen unit (works quite well at night). The bike comes with a slipper clutch and it is a boon. The effort required to clutch in is much lower and helps a lot if you commute in the city. So, no visible changes in the bike though we wish there was a LED taillight and a much elaborate meter console.

We wish the tail light was updated to a LED unit.
The halogen headlight has a good throw in the night whereas a new LED pilot lamp has been added to the BS6 model.
The 648cc, parallel-twin engine is a gem and should set the benchmark for all upcoming powertrains from RE.

The engine is the star here and the 648cc, parallel-twin, air as well as oil-cooled motor still produces 47hp of power and 52Nm. This engine is paired to a decently smooth-shifting 6-speed gearbox. The RE is also quick to start with just half a touch to the electric starter more than enough to wake up the engine. The engine also feels a tad bit refined than before. This being said, the bike doesn’t like low revs too much and so you will often find yourself in first or second gear in traffic. However, the engine revs cleanly till 6,500rpm and picks up pace rapidly. It is no match for a Z650 for example but in the end it is a Royal Enfield. More of a leisurely enjoyed product than one for outright acceleration.

Straight-line stability of this 202kg bike is quite good though at speeds after 120kmph, you won’t feel as confident pushing it

 

The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is very easy to tip into corners.

 

The Pirelli rubber has a very good grip whereas the disc brakes at both ends with dual-channel ABS ensures braking distances are shorter and executed in a safe manner

Maintaining a speed of 120kmph is a no issues affair with the Interceptor BS6 and it can even hit a top speed in excess of 150kmph if shown an empty road. However, anything above 120kmph and the front feels a bit unsteady. This will rob you of the confidence to push harder. We quite liked the brakes too. They are sharp and offer good feedback from the levers too. The Pirelli tyres too offer good grip. It is also easy to tip the RE into corners. Ride quality is decent as well with only the sharpest of potholes catching it unaware.

The bike though could have done with a throatier-sounding exhaust. The rear suspension is a bit too soft but can be pre-load dialled to be stiffer.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 BS6 not-so-good bits

Refinement is good but with this BS6 bike, we found the mirrors to vibrate a bit after 100kmph.
The basic instrument console doesn’t show time whereas the fuel gauge is still erratic.

With the BS6, the vibrations seem to have crept in a bit. These can be felt in the mirror vibrations which creep in after 100kmph. There are also minor vibrations through the tank. Perhaps it could be limited to this particular unit. One ends up constantly shuffling in the seat after a few hundred kilometres. Thankfully, RE is aware about this and offers a Tourer seat at a price. This one is suited better for long distances.

Also Read Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Touring seat review

Unfortunately, the erring fuel gauge hasn’t been fixed. It still fluctuates badly and the only two ways of knowing how much fuel is left is by opening the cap and checking it. The second method is to check the kilometres covered. However, on this particular test bike, we noticed that the efficiency too was a tad low. In the city, the Interceptor BS6 returned around 18kmpl whereas on the highway, the number went up to 21kmpl.

The seat is comfortable only for short distances.

In city speeds, one will also particularly notice the heft of the motorcycle. In fact, during this test, we found out that the BS6 Interceptor was a bit hard to put on the main stand (it explains why all the images are with the side stand on). We also found out that the clutch wire routing points are much better clamped than before.

Should you buy the Royal Enfield Interceptor BS6?

This is a must-buy if you are on the lookout for a retro-classic themed bike with ample grunt, refinement and reliability. While the traditional RE rider might not take a liking to the Interceptor 650, everyone else who is riding it for the first time will be pleasantly surprised. The Rs 2.64 lakh – Rs 2.84 lakh price band is way lower than what you pay for some single-cylinder engines with lesser power. This is the right stepping stone to the twin-cylinder territory and given RE’s widespread service network, will be taken care off in a better fashion too.

Images by Donald Dsouza

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