Royal En­field launch two new 650 twins, and we ride them

O Royal En­field shift up a gear with new 650 twins

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Contents - By Jor­dan Gib­bons MCN SE­NIOR RE­PORTER

Nearly 12 months af­ter first un­veil­ing them, Royal En­field have launched two new bikes: the Con­ti­nen­tal GT 650 and the In­ter­cep­tor 650. Shar­ing the same pow­er­train and chas­sis, the main dif­fer­ence be­tween the two is styling and rid­ing po­si­tion – one’s a café racer, the other a more tra­di­tional road­ster – but the de­liv­ery is essen­tially the same.

Ready to rum­ble

The bur­bling heart of both is En­field’s new air-cooled 648cc par­al­lel twin, which pro­duces 47bhp and 38ftlb of torque. While that’s not go­ing to blow your wig off, it’s enough to com­fort­ably reach 100mph, one of En­field’s goals. It’s also a con­sid­er­able in­crease over the 28bhp of the old 535cc sin­gle.

It also has a 270-de­gree fir­ing order, which gives the de­liv­ery, char­ac­ter and sound of a V-twin. En­field say they orig­i­nally con­sid­ered a 600 be­fore in­creas­ing to 650, so it was a step up from their cur­rent bikes. The six-speed gear­box is also new and there is a ‘slip-as­sist’ clutch, to give a lighter pull at the lever. Both also have a brand-new, tubu­lar steel cra­dle frame de­signed by En­field-owned Har­ris Per­for­mance.

Twists and turns

The Con­ti­nen­tal GT is ar­guably En­field’s most well-known model, with its good looks and sporty rid­ing po­si­tion. The ex­ist­ing sin­gle cylin­der ver­sion was al­ready fuel in­jected and had ABS and, although around 95% of the parts have changed and im­proved in qual­ity, the bike’s de­liv­ery re­mains the same – pure Café Racer.

Charg­ing around the hills in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia, its clip-ons and rearsets pitch your weight much fur­ther for­ward than the In­ter­cep­tor. This gives the steer­ing a more di­rect feel and seems to help mask the ‘floaty’ feel of the bud­get sus­pen­sion – although it does come at the ex­pense of a lit­tle com­fort.

Other than that, it turns, stops and goes just like a bike should and it’s not long be­fore you’re flat out with your chin on the tank. As a fun Sun­day af­ter­noon bike it’s great and if the price is right (cur­rently un­con­firmed, but ex­pected to be around £5995), it could leave cur­rent Tri­umph Street Cup own­ers feel­ing a lit­tle sick.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.