Egged on by the Interceptor’s simplistic appeal, I’d announced all of my ambitious plans with it the last time it was featured on this page. Then, a week passed by without a trace of activity and I began to worry. Thankfully – and to continue with my uncalled-for discourse on great motorcycles from the last time – coming up with a ruse to justify an unreasonably long absence from the office came to me rather naturally. The first such instance saw me cram a clean 2,700km in a matter of four riding days, with a three-day track event wedged in between.
SPRING SEASON: Simple, rugged suspension offers great all-round ride quality.
The Interceptor’s character makes you forget it’s a cut-price twin-cylinder motorcycle (perhaps the cheapest of its sort anywhere in the reasonable world), and its abilities turn even a string of tightly packed, long-distance riding days into an easy-going feature film. And because riding it is so comfortable, I found myself feeling rested and refreshed even on the go, stopping only for fuel or to take a photograph of the bike against something agreeable.
TYRE-D OF IT: Tyre removal, when a puncture strikes, is a nightmare.
Alright, so to call that ride ‘perfect’ would be inaccurate because I have discovered the Interceptor’s Achilles heel – the tyre configuration. Before you misinterpret that, let me assure you that the Pirelli rubber it runs is absolutely ample (although it holds a liberal view on small powerslides over concrete roads). The problem is regarding the ease of tyre removal in case of a puncture. At present, given the rim design, the only way to effectively remove the tyre is with the help of a pneumatic machine – which, as many of you would know, isn’t exactly commonplace in India. In the two instances I picked up (a total of five) punctures, I spent a few hours each time just to access the tube – and then another hour or so re-mounting the tyre. It’s frustrating, no doubt, but in a place with negligible assistance, it can mean deep trouble. Now Royal Enfield was kind enough to loan me a new set of tubes, but in the long run, it’s probably advisable to switch to alloys with suitable tubeless tyres; Royal Enfield is going to offer such a setup as an accessory fitment in the time to come, and as much as it takes away from the bike’s classical aesthetics, it’s worth all the trouble you’ll have saved.
I have bigger trouble at hand now, though. While I was daydreaming about yet another ride, Hormazd helped himself to the Interceptor’s keys (erm, along with the motorcycle); and if his enthusiastic weekend plans are anything to go by, I suppose my time with this lovely motorcycle is up. So long, then!
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 long term review, first report