BEST RETRO OF THE YEAR 2019 THE INTERCEPTOR 650
We are delighted to be presented with the much coveted ‘Best Retro of the year’ award by Motorcycle News for 2019. Big-value Interceptor 650 delivers much more than the price tag suggests
Michael Neeves, Chief Road Tester:
“Royal Enfield’s Interceptor 650 is proof you don’t have to spend big money to get your retro Kicks: a shade over five grand is all you need. Developed in the UK then made in India, it’s unashamedly simple, undeniably basic and does without designer chassis labels and fancy electronics. To ride and enjoy, it’s every bit as engaging as the more powerful, lavishly equipped retro roadsters from the likes of BMW, Ducati and Triumph.
Its 47bhp 649cc twin-cylinder motor will never rip your arms off under acceleration but it still gets a wiggle – on and happily gallops past the ton while making all the right Great British rumbling noises. It’s roomy, unthreatening and comfortable, even after hours on its flat, quilted bench seat. Suspension might be built down to a price but it’s set-up to perfection. It
rides smoothly and doesn’t understeer, wobble, or weave. Just tip it into a corner and it obediently rails through. Despite its budge price tag, the Interceptor is nicely finished with classy paintwork and detail touches. We love its uncluttered engine design, spokes wheels, polished megaphone pipes and dished engine covers, plus the Monza – style fuel cap and tasteful old-school speedo and tacho. And we reckon that tank badge is every bit as evocative as a Triumph’s or Norton’s. Old single-cylinder Royal Enfield’s came from the era of the greasy finger nail and could break down or fall apart at the drop of a hat, but things are different now and the fresh new Interceptor 650 hasn’t missed a beat all year in the hands of any of our testers.
Perhaps the Interceptor’s finest moment of 2019 was beating Triumph’s entry-level Street Twin when we pitched them head to head on the MCN250. Despite being down on power, the Royal Enfield was
actually more fun and involving ….”