Rumbling across 1200 km of Indian coastline on Interceptor 650: Royal Enfield Konkan Chase 2020

A 1200 km ride across the great Indian coastline on a brilliant motorcycle, well, that's what Royal Enfield Konkan Chase 2020 was all about. Here is our experience!

By:Updated: February 25, 2020 8:11:14 PM

Motorcycling is not just about going from one place to another on two wheels, rather, it’s an emotion, a spirit that deserves to be celebrated and when it comes to celebrating this spirit, Royal Enfield knows it the best! Out of the numerous rides that the company conducts during the year, in India and abroad, Konkan Chase was one that concluded recently and Express Drives was the only publication to be a part of it. So, the mission was to cover the Indian coastline very next to the sea over 7 days of riding, visit some beautiful places, try the Konkani food and of course, have fun. Here is our experience of how the Konkan Chase 2020 turned out for us!

Day 1 – Mumbai to Shrivardhan – 160 km

Route: Mumbai – Alibaug – Kashid – Murud – Mandad – Mhasala – Shrivardhan

Ferry crossing: Bhaucha Dhakka – Mandwa (45 min)

Our ride was flagged off at 8:30 in the morning from Hotel Taj Palace in Mumbai where our stay for the previous day was organised. After a brief ride of 5 km, it was time to catch a ferry to reach Alibaug. Once the ferry started its journey in the Arabian sea, we were accompanied by some beautiful seagulls that stayed with us for a few kilometres.

Some curious ones offered food to these birds and it was amazing to see how these winged creatures catch their food mid-air with their beak. One thing worth mentioning here is the way how the bikes are loaded and unloaded on the ferry. A group of 5 to 6 men do this with the help of just a wooden plank and handling this 200+ kg bike is quite a task but these people seem to be the masters of what they do.

After a 45-minute ferry, it was now time to get back to riding. The roads ahead were reasonably smooth and empty and after riding for almost 90 minutes, it was time for a lunch break. Now, after crossing Murud, you will find some good twisties but sadly, due to badly broken roads, you can’t enjoy them to the fullest. This continued all the way till we reached our destination on day 1 when we reached Shrivardhan but witnessing a beautiful sunset on the way seemed like it came to compensate for the rough riding.

Day 2 – Shrivardhan to Ganpatipule – 185 km

Route: Shrivardhan – Velas – Kelshi – Anjarle – Dapoli – Dabhol – Guhagar – Velneshwar – Tavsal – Jaigad – Ganpatipule

Ferry crossings: Harihareshwar to Vesvi (10 min), Dabhol to Veldur (10 min), Tavsal to Jaigad (15 min)

After a quick briefing session that happened every day before the ride, the riders geared up to start their journey again. Sadly, the story of bad roads continued on the second day as well. After leaving Shrivardhan and riding for a few kilometres, we encountered bad roads again and one major reason behind was the ongiong construction work at multiple places in between. On this day, we had to take a total of three ferries but unlike the previous day, taking the bike on and off the ferries was not a task anymore as the riders had to simply ride their bikes onto the ferries.

As these ferries were at regular intervals throughout the day, the ride was a pretty much-relaxed one in which the riders got to enjoy the beautiful sunrise and then the lovely view of the sea. After getting off the third ferry, we finally reached Jaigad which is just 20 km from Ganpatipule. The road to our final destination for the day from here on offered some good twisties with smooth tarmac and we reached Ganpatiphule very much on time, which meant we had an entire evening to relax.

Day 3 – Ganpatipule to Kunkeshwar – 130 km

Route: Ganpatipule – Ratnagiri – Vijaydurg – Devgad – Mithmumbari – Kunkeshwar

The road to Ratnagiri, a city famous for its Alphonso mangoes and cashews is quite smooth and nice. After taking a stop here for refuelling, the riders headed to Vijaydurg which is a historic monument. As the name suggests, this place has a majestic fort that holds numerous stories within. Another reason why this fort is famous for is the beautiful view of the sea you get from the top. After a brief visit of the fort and of course clicking some pictures, we had lip-smacking Konkani food and were back on the saddle again.

Vijaydurg to Kunkeshwar which was our destination for the day was a 35 km ride and the said route consisted of free-flowing twisties which are certainly a biker’s delight. We reached Kunkeshwar at around 4 in the evening and here Royal Enfield had planned a surprise for us. We were invited to a nearby beach in the evening for a bonfire and dinner by the beachside. After enjoying an evening full of fun and laughter, the riders headed back to the hotel to have sleep and get recharged for the next day’s ride.

Day 4 – Kunkeshwar to Palolem, Goa – 215 km

Route: Kunkeshwar – Malvan – Devbag – Parule – Vengurla – Shiroda – Aronda – Arambol – Mandrem – Siolim – Vagator – Royal Enfield Garage Cafe, Baga – Panjim – Palolem

The fourth day of the Royal Enfield Konkan Chase 2020 was mostly about free-flowing roads that pierce through wide-open grasslands. These roads are not straight throughout and you will encounter twisties in between. The day was pretty good in terms of the tarmac as most of the surface on which we rode was smooth.

On the other hand, the remaining portion didn’t trouble us much, all thanks to the suspension set up of the Interceptor 650 which is set on a slightly softer side. After a few kilometers crossing Arambol, you will find a nice and smooth four-lane expressway, which was good for a change as we were riding only on twisties and narrow roads for the last few days.

As a cherry on top, the brilliant 649cc parallel-twin engine of the Interceptor 650 made the ride more enjoyable, especially with its high level of refinement. Even at speeds of 120 kmph, the bike feels so much alive and the sound of the rumble coming from the exhaust note whenever you twist the throttle is nothing less than a melody to the ears. With 80 km remaining for our destination for the day – Palolem in South Goa, we finally entered the city.

For this reason, we started encountering significant traffic in between which further extended the time of our journey. A few kilometres before reaching Palolem, the story of twisties started again and this continued till our destination. We reached our hotel at around 5 in the evening and now we had two nights and an entire day to explore the fun capital of India.

Day 5 – Palolem, Goa – Rest Day

Day 5 was the rest day and since we had the company of a brilliant motorcycle, exploring the streets of the city seemed a better idea than just relaxing in the hotel. So we headed first to the Royal Enfield Garage Cafe which we had to skip the previous day. We left at 8 in the morning and took the National Highway 66 for our ride from South Goa to North Goa which is almost 80 km. It is always a great experience to visit the Garage Cafe as there is so much for motorcyclists and Royal Enfield fans. The cafe has a company store that retails everything from motorcycles to apparel, accessories and collectible items. Just outside the store, there are multiple customised bikes – Hipster and Rooster trike are the two bikes that caught my attention the most.

There is a separate area in which you can see some of the company’s oldest models like the original Interceptor that made its debut back in the 1960s along with the 250cc continental GT and the flying flea that was used by the military. If this is not enough for you, there are some more motorcycles on display that are customised by various leading custom houses across India. Moreover, if you are a foodie, you will certainly not get disappointed as the garage cafe has an extensive menu of food and beverages.

After visiting the garage cafe, we decided to explore the streets of Goa and in the process, we also visited Vagator beach. We reached back to the hotel at around 5 in the evening and now, it was time to relax after which we had dinner on the Palolem beach that was located right in front of our hotel. After the day ended, I certainly realized why the smallest state in India is actually big on fun!

Watch our Royal Enfield Konkan Chase 2020 Experience – Episode 01 here:

Day 6 – Palolem, Goa to Gokarna – 110 km

Route: Palolem – Karwar – Madangeri – Gokarna

Palolem to Gokarna was a quite short ride with a little over 100 km to cover. Soon after leaving Goa, we were on National Highway 66. The day was all about highway riding and the said four-lane expressway has minimum traffic that tempted us to push the Interceptor to its limits. With its twin cradle tubular steel frame, the Interceptor 650 remains rock solid even at speeds of 130 kmph and there isn’t any nervousness that the bike has to show.

As they say with great power comes great responsibility, the Interceptor 650 justifies this as it gets a brake set up that you can’t complain about. Both the front and the rear offer decent feedback and bite and the dual-channel ABS works fine too and keeps you safe in panic and tricky situations. As we were doing speeds of 110-120 kmph most of the time and with a relatively shorter distance to cover, we reached Gokarna by lunchtime.

In the evening, some of us decided to go to a nearby cliff while crossing a set of twisties. The serpentine roads seemed inviting every time as the Interceptor 650 offers great handling and the Pirellis enrich the same. Even while tipping the bike from one side to another in fast corners, you don’t need to have any second thoughts. The scenic Gokarna has some lovely beaches and in the evening time, some of us decided to go to a nearby cliff from which the view of the Arabian sea was just breathtaking. Now, with only one day left for the Konkan Chase 2020, the riders started getting mixed feelings as the time for this ride to end was inching closer every second.

Day 7 – Gokarna to Mangalore – 240 km

Route: Gokarna – Murdeshwar – Udupi – Mangalore

The final day of the Royal Enfield Konkan Chase 2020! The ride to Mangalore was a long one and after covering almost 78 km, we took a slight detour towards Murdeshwar beach. Now was the time for some beach riding and it was an amazing experience as most of the riders were riding this close to the waves for the first time. After nearly spending an hour on the beach, the riders were back on the roads to head to the destination. We rode along with the circumference of the beach for a few kilometres after which our bikes were back on NH-66.

Like before, the road was quite nice and smooth and for one last time, we were doing decent speeds with the group that had a great bunch of people. We took a slight detour again after some kilometres and this time the purpose was to check out the beautiful view of the sea again with tall palm trees on both sides of the road. Finally, at 5:30 in the evening, we reached our hotel in Mangalore and after freshening up ourselves, it was time for the closing ceremony. During the closing ceremony, the riders shared their experience and gave feedback for the entire ride. After that, Royal Enfield offered us a token of appreciation that included a certificate of completion as well.

1200 km, 7 days of riding, 3 states, some new friends and a lot of memories! The Konkan Chase 2020 was certainly a memorable ride and the way the ride was planned and organised was applaudable. The Interceptor 650 performed brilliantly throughout the ride and the best part was there was not even a single breakdown despite the fact that the bike was thrashed to the maximum. Royal Enfield conducts its coastal rides around January-February every year.

So, if you love beaches and want to experience the great Indian coastline on a brilliant motorcycle, well, start saving some cash in which lots and lots of fun is guaranteed!

LOGBOOK

Motorcycle – Royal Enfield Interceptor 650
Average fuel efficiency – 32 kmpl
Total distance covered – 1,211 km
Total fuel consumed – 37.8-litres
Duration for the entire ride – 9 Days

Route – Mumbai – Shrivardhan – Ganpatipule – Kunkeshwar – Palolem – Gokarna – Mangalore
Pros – Brilliant engine, handling, tyres, braking
Cons – Seat not apt for long rides as its flat design fails to offer adequate support

Cost for participation – Rs 20,000 for single, Rs 40,000 for couple. Includes stay for all days, breakfast and dinner, service support and first aid!
(All registrations on twin sharing basis)

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