It’s been a little over a month that the Royal Enfield (RE) Interceptor 650 joined Express Drives’ long term fleet. We rode it for the first time during its media ride in Goa in November, 2018 and were very much convinced that the Interceptor is one supremely capable motorcycle and is the next big thing by RE that will shine on the sales charts. Months later, this turned out to be true and the bike is still selling like hot-cakes.
In fact, the sales numbers for the 650 twins at present are even higher than some of the lower displacement performance bikes combined. With a new member in our garage, now was the time to see how the Interceptor 650 is to live with and in order to make things a little more interesting, we made it meet the Queen! Well, the Queen of Hills – Mussoorie!
But first, a quick recap at the design! Staying true to the modern classic design philosophy, there isn’t much drama going on. The front gets a sober-looking rounded headlamp, the fuel tank is clean & simple and the chrome is used just at the right places like on the twin exhausts and the rearview mirrors.
Despite all these humble steps, the Interceptor 650 still manages to look fantastic. The twin-pod instrument cluster with a small digital screen goes well with the overall design but we wish for some more information as bits like gear position indicator and range to empty reading are missing.
Our Mussoorie trip was intended to see how the bike feels on highways and also to observe its behaviour in the colder temperatures. We started at 8 am from Noida and were soon on the highway. The brilliant 649cc parallel-twin engine feels buttery smooth and tempts you to twist the throttle whenever there is an empty stretch ahead. The straight-line stability is commendable even at speeds of 120 kmph and this coupled to the fact that the refinement level stays intact even at the said pace, the Interceptor 650 makes for a great highway machine.
We reached Dehradun in close to 3 hours and the city welcomed us with some showers. After taking a short break, we headed to our destination to Mussoorie and midway, we got the news that the city has received its first snowfall of the year. While we were excited enough to hear this, this meant good news and bad news at the same time! Good being, of course, the thoughts of experiencing snow-capped mountains and roads were making us quite eager while the bad one being, the high chances of a roadblock. And we were right!
Just three kilometres before Mussoorie, the road was congested with heavy traffic and it took over 3 hours for us to cover just 3 km. With the black ice on roads, the tyres had lost traction and were giving up on grip even with slight acceleration and braking. Hence, we decided to reduce the tyre pressure a bit and this actually helped! While the bike was still slipping over the surface, it was now feeling a bit more manageable. The place where our stay was finalised was almost 4 km upwards of Library Chowk but the roads ahead were heavily covered in snow which meant the bike couldn’t go further.
So, we parked the bike at Library Chowk parking after which a long walk to our destination began. Not used to such kind of temperatures and high altitude, we started feeling exhausted soon but somehow managed to reach our place. And frankly, even after reaching the place, it took us almost an hour to get back to normal temperatures with blowers and hot water coming to the rescue. The temperature dropped till -3 degrees that night and I was wondering how the bike will react to this chill. But thankfully, it didn’t disappoint!
The next morning, when I thumbed the starter, the bike came to life at one go which meant that the bike was actually dealing with the cold better than us. So, the return journey started at 2 in the afternoon and the roads till Dehradun had a good set of twisties. The Pirellis after getting slightly warm post 40 minutes of riding started instilling confidence in corners. Even in the wet conditions, the tyres do not give up on the grip, which actually proved to be beneficial.
By 9 PM, we reached Noida and I was wondering how a brilliant motorcycle can make road trips so much fun and turn out to be a great companion! Well, to know more about the bike, stay tuned with us as we will be putting the focus on fuel efficiency, seat comfort and other aspects in our next report. Until next time, ride safe and always wear a helmet while riding!
Kilometres done – 1,550 km
Average fuel efficiency – 33 kmpl
Fuel consumed – 46-litres (approx)
Faults or problems occurred – None
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