Our Bike Of The Year enters our long-term garage!
The difference between a good motorcycle and a great one is simple. On a good motorcycle, you enjoy the ride, but on a great one, you daydream in excitement about the what the future holds. The Interceptor 650 belongs to the latter classification – in my book, at least. In one moment, I’d picked it up, freshly serviced at the local RE dealership, and about half an hour later, I had my riding calendar blocked until about July this year. I’d have already returned from a fast, near-3,000km trip to the racetrack by the time you read this; and right after, it’s going to be pointed in the direction of a seaside retreat, where I will lovingly keep it within sight as I bury myself into a musty old book while hazardously plonked into a hammock. See what I’m on about? The Interceptor is that sort of motorcycle.
SMOOTH OPERATOR: RE’s first modern parallel-twin is a delight whether you want to relax or go all guns blazing.
To begin with, I’m glad we got issued the Silver Spectre paint because it does justice to the retro styling. RE was also kind enough to slap on the optional Touring seat as well as that well-finished fly screen which, more than anything else, keeps those ungainly bolts under the instrument cluster out of plain sight. I also made a quick dash to the local gear shop and got my hands on a magnetic tank bag (the joys of a metal fuel tank!) large enough to carry everyday essentials for a family of two.
SUSPENSION ORDER: Twin-shocks offer a good ride, especially on bad roads, and can be firmed up for better cornering.
Thereafter, I’ve simply been riding it everywhere – often without reason, too! In addition to neatly executing my daily commute, the Interceptor has tempted me to meet friends I haven’t met in a decade, take the longest route home (or just about anywhere) and clock really long hours at work just so I can set off for home in the dead of night, because it looks great in pictures on Mumbai’s rarely empty streets.
A PILLION DREAMS…..of a more ergonomic seat-and-foot-peg configuration. At present, it’s best for short rides.
The best (or worst) part is, I’m not the only one bitten by the Interceptor bug. Before it joined us full-time, even Hormazd had a go on one and rode it all around town for nearly a week. He’s already made riding plans with his friends – and he hasn’t been tempted to ride a motorcycle in two decades! That should tell you a great deal about the kind of impact Royal Enfield has made on the Indian enthusiast.
REFLECT ACTION: Cool, well-finished mirrors could do with a better mechanism for adjustability on the go.
What’s worrying, however, is that I suspect a lot of my colleagues are going to want to borrow it under various pretexts, so I hope we get issued a bunch of long-term Ferraris, Porsches and Mercedes-AMGs soon enough.