Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 vs rivals: Specifications comparison

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 vs rivals: Specifications comparison

15th Nov 2018 7:00 am

We compare the newly launched Interceptor 650 to the KTM 390 Duke, Kawasaki Ninja 300 and the Harley-Davidson Street 750.

Royal Enfield unveiled its 650 twins at the EICMA motorcycle show last year. At that time, we had no idea how the company would price the motorcycles and that's the reason why we compared it to the likes of the Kawasaki Z650 and Harley-Davidson Street 750. But, Royal Enfield has priced the bikes significantly cheaper (starting at just Rs 2.50 lakh, ex-showroom!) than expected and that's why we have put it up against the similarly priced KTM 390 Duke and Kawasaki Ninja 300. We've also brought the Harley-Davidson Street 750 into the mix since it is also a mid-displacement twin-cylinder bike.

Powertrain

The engines on all four bikes have very different characteristics. The Interceptor 650 has a not-so-high-revving 648cc parallel-twin unit. It is a torquey motor and makes its healthy peak torque figure of 52Nm at just 5,250rpm. That said, it is not shy when it comes to horsepower as well, and makes 47hp at 7,250rpm. The Royal Enfield is also the only bike in this comparison that is air-cooled. Every other motorcycle is liquid-cooled. The 390 Duke, meanwhile, is powered by a high compression, single-cylinder engine. This motor produces an impressive 43.5hp and 37Nm from just 373.2cc. That said, higher-capacity, single-cylinder motorcycles aren’t known to be the smoothest.

Kawasaki’s Ninja 300 also uses a parallel-twin layout like the Royal Enfield. But, that’s where the differences end. This motor is high-revving and produces peak power and torque very high in the rev range unlike the Interceptor 650. Harley’s Street 750 is a definitive cruiser. The large 749cc, V-twin motor makes the highest (in this comparison) torque figure at 59Nm and it comes in at just 3,750rpm. All four motorcycles feature a 6-speed gearbox, and the Street 750 is the only bike to miss out on a slipper clutch.

Powertrain
Interceptor 650390 DukeNinja 300Street 750
Displacement648cc373.2cc 296cc749cc
Engine layoutParallel-twinSingle-cylinderParallel-twinV-twin
Power47hp at 7,250rpm43.5hp at 9,000rpm39hp at 11,000rpm-
Torque52Nm at 5,250rpm37Nm at 7,000rpm27Nm at 10,000rpm59Nm at 3,750rpm
Gearbox6-speed6-speed6-speed6-speed
Power-to-weight ratio232.6hp/tonne*291.9hp/tonne**217.8hp/tonne-

*Without fuel

**Dry weight

Features

The new Royal Enfield is a pretty simple motorcycle when it comes to features and equipment. This isn’t one of those retro motorcycles with cheeky modern touches in the form of fancy LED lighting or a fully digital dash. Instead, what you get is a twin-pod instrument console with a small digital screen that displays the fuel level, two trips and the odometer. Beyond that, the analogue dials show how fast you’re going and how high your engine is revving. The bike misses out on adjustable levers, a clock and a gear position indicator.

With respect to features, the KTM 390 Duke is head and shoulders above its competitors in this comparison. The bike is equipped with all-LED lighting, adjustable levers and a TFT instrument display. This full-colour display not only shows all the relevant information such as speed, distance, fuel consumption, gear position indicator but also pairs with smartphones via Bluetooth and can display received text messages, incoming calls, and even lets you answer them using the mode navigation switches on the left handlebar.

The Ninja 300 features a semi-digital instrument console which has a large analogue tachometer and a digital dash for information like the speed, odo, fuel level, trip meter and clock. The console, however, doesn’t display information like fuel consumption or gear position. The Kawasaki also misses out on adjustable levers.

The Street 750 is also very basic in terms of features and equipment. It sports a single-pod analogue instrument cluster that shows the speed and a small digital screen that displays the odometer and two trips. This Harley is also missing a fuel gauge and only makes do with a reserve light. Adjustable levers are also not part of the equipment list.

While all four bikes come equipped with dual-channel ABS, it is only the 390 Duke that has disengageable ABS.

 

 

Styling

As with the engines, these four motorcycles are very different when it comes to styling. The RE Interceptor 650 is a retro-styled street motorcycle and is straightforward in its layout. It features a simple tank design and flat seat. A conventional handlebar and mildly rear-set footpegs make for an upright, comfortable riding stance.

The KTM is a hardcore, modern sport-naked motorcycle. In terms of styling, it features sharp and aggressive lines complemented by bright colour schemes. The riding position on the 390 Duke is sporty, with rear-set footpegs and a near-flat handlebar. However, the new 390 Duke offers better rider comfort compared to its predecessor with a larger and better-cushioned saddle, along with revised riding ergonomics.

Coming to the Kawasaki, it is a fully faired motorcycle that features the well-loved Ninja design. While it may not be styled like the newer Kawasaki offerings like the Ninja 400 and ZX-6R, it looks sharp despite its age. Being a supersport offering, the riding position of the Ninja 300 is the most committed. However, the raised clip-on handlebar and the mildly rear-set footpegs mean that it isn’t overly sporty like the KTM RC 390.

American cruiser fans will love the Street 750. The feet-forward position and generous saddle results in a comfortable riding stance. However, taller riders might feel cramped and the stock pillion seat is almost non-existent. As for the styling, it is a low-slung cruiser in a modern avatar thanks to the blacked-out styling elements.

Suspension & tyres
Interceptor 650390 DukeNinja 300Street 750
Front suspensionTelescopic forkUpside-down forkTelescopic forkTelescopic fork
Rear suspensionTwin shock absorbersMonoshockMonoshockTwin shock absorbers
Front tyre100/90-18110/70-17110/70-17100/80-17
Rear tyre130/70-18150/60-17140/60-17150/70-15

Underpinnings

The Interceptor 650 uses a new double cradle frame that has been developed by Harris Performance. It is a British company that was also responsible for the frames on the Continental GT 535 and the Himalayan. The bike weighs 202kg (without fuel) and has a fuel tank capacity of 13.7 litres. Royal Enfield has said that the Interceptor 650 is a one-spec bike internationally, which means India will also get the Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp tyres. The suspension and brakes are areas where Royal Enfield has managed to cut costs. What you get is a suspension made by Gabriel instead of the more-premium Paioli rear shock absorbers of the now discontinued Continental GT 535. Similarly, the GT 535 used Brembo brakes instead of the Bybres seen on the 650.

Being the sporty motorcycle it is, the 390 Duke uses a trellis frame that along with other lightweight equipment helps keep the weight of the bike down at 149kg (dry weight). We don’t have the kerb weight figure of the 390, but we are confident that it is the lightest bike in this comparison. The suspension on the 390 consists of a WP-manufactured 43mm upside-down fork and monoshock. The 390 Duke also rides on the Metzeler M5s – the sportiest tyres in this comparison.

The Ninja 300 uses a tubular steel frame and has a kerb weight of 179kg. Fuel tank capacity is a healthy 17 litres and the tyres are MRF-branded. The bike uses a conventional telescopic fork and a pre-load adjustable monoshock. Kawasaki also recently equipped its Ninja 300 with braking hardware from Endurance to cut costs. 

With a kerb weight of 233kg, the Street 750 is the heaviest motorcycle on this list. Despite being a cruiser, the motorcycle has a low fuel-tank capacity of 13.1 litres. Like the Interceptor 650, the Harley uses a double cradle frame. Taking care of suspension is a conventional fork and twin shock absorbers. Harley equipped the Street 750 in 2016 with MRF tyres as part of cost-cutting measures.

The Interceptor 650 and the 390 Duke have the largest front discs at 320mm. The Ninja 300 uses a smaller 290mm front disc, while the Street 750 gets its stopping power from a 292mm front disc. The rear disc sizes are as follows – 240mm for the Interceptor, 230mm for the 390 Duke, 220mm for the Ninja and 260mm for the Street 750.

Dimensions
Interceptor 650390 DukeNinja 300Street 750
Wheelbase1400mm1357mm1405mm1520mm
Kerb weight202kg*149kg**179kg233kg
Fuel capacity13.7 litres13.4 litres17 litres13.1 litres
Seat height804mm830mm785mm720mm

Summing it up

Royal Enfield has launched the Interceptor 650 at a starting price of Rs 2.50 lakh. At this price, it is the most affordable twin-cylinder motorcycle on sale in India. However, one must keep in mind that it comes in a retro package, which means it misses out on modern-day features. As for the 390 Duke (Rs 2.42 lakh), it is leading the charge in terms of performance, handling dynamics and features. However, its performance-focused nature makes it appealing to a narrower target audience.

With the recent price cut, the Kawasaki Ninja 300 (Rs 2.98 lakh) is a well-rounded motorcycle. The refined and adequately punchy motor means that the baby Ninja feels equally comfortable on the highway and the race track.

The Street 750 (Rs 5.31 lakh) is the most expensive bike in this comparison but it also sports one of the most popular and aspirational motorcycle badges on sale in India. It’s also among the most fun to ride Harleys. 

All prices, ex-showroom.

Also see:

2018 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 India review, test ride

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