It’s been some time since we last had some new parallel twins from Royal Enfield, and it seems like they’ve spent all of this time putting together an incredible pair of bikes. Whether you’re more in to the cruising on country lanes, or a slightly sportier ride on the twisties – Royal Enfield will have you covered.
Both bikes from Royal Enfield share the same parallel twin 648cc air cooled engine, inspired by the legendary parallel-twins from the 1960s – in fact these are the first twin cylinder bikes from Royal Enfield for 50+ years. The engine delivers “oodles of torque” across the power-band and provides an absolutely incredible (and unique) exhaust-note to match.
The two twins are A2 licence friendly with their power not exceeding the 47BHP limit, although that doesn’t make them any less entertaining to ride. I’d imagine there may be some of you full licence holders thinking that the 47bhp won’t be enough, we can assure you it is!
The slipper clutch you get with these bikes is incredible, allowing you to be quite free and loose with your shifting both up and down. You get Bybre brakes here as standard too, which work well to give stopping power to the bike with ease and comfort. The 3 year unlimited mileage warranty is a huge bonus too, Royal Enfield clearly have a lot of faith in the parts they’ve used on these twins.
When it comes to figuring out which one you want to ride, the twins naturally share some aspects (like the engine, chassis, brakes) but are different in others (with different seat positioning, and overall style).
Speaking to Moonraker Motorcycles, a local dealer in Norwich, it seems like every single person who has been able to take one of these for a test ride has basically come back with a wad of cash in hand for the deposit. If you’re looking for a retro bike with modern technology, this could well be worth a test, but just be ready to not want to give the bike back!
Being the more “relaxed” of the twins, if you can even say that, the Interceptior has a more upright riding style not too dissimilar to the naked bikes of today – but with that stunning style which harks back to the classic British motorcycles of old. Its direct inspiration was the iconic 60s Interceptor, with it’s history draped in the sun-drenched Californian west coast beach lifestyle. A truly timeless style.
You get some striking colour options on this machine, with the most eye-catching being the “Glitter and Dust” chrome finish – or my personal favourite “Ravishing Red”. It’s not often you can buy a chrome bike for such value!
Watch our interview about the Interceptor with Aiden from Moonraker Motorcycles:
Continental GT 650
My favourite out of the two, and the more “café racer” styled twin, is the Continental GT. It does share the same engine and chassis as it’s sibling, but the Continental GT does have you leaning forward a slight bit more with a more tucked in riding position – comfy enough for mid-distance journeys, but you do put a bit more weight in your wrists on the clip-on bars. So a long-distance trip may mean a few stops on the way! The rear sets are positioned well to get you comfier in the saddle, and overall help that sporty “at one” feel with the bike.
There is some nice colour options on this bike as well, “Mister Clean” as the chrome variant, and my favourite being the Ventura Blue. I came across quite a heart-warming story with the Ventura Blue whilst looking in to these bikes - the Ventura Blue name isn’t a reference to the ocean running alongside Ventura County in California, but in fact to a late Royal Enfield team member Paul Ventura.
Paul was a part of the journey the 650 twins took finding their way on to our roads, but sadly lost his life at 42 years old in a collision when motorcycling near his home in June 2018. The Ventura Blue colour scheme is a tribute to Paul, who unofficially gave the names of the Interceptor and Continental GT colour schemes after the various team members working on the bikes which then stuck – the team decided that Paul having his own colour is a perfect tribute for his legacy to continue with the bikes.
Here's our interview with Aiden from Moonraker Motorcycles for the Continental GT:
In terms of price, the two twins are set at astonishing value, included with that warranty could mean that younger riders may spot quite the deal here, they could get a perfect learner bike with buckets of style, and at a great price of around £5500 (depending on colour choice). That, when paired with the vast options for accessories, leaves you with a bike you can truly make your own.
Royal Enfield could be on to a winner here, and we could yet see the rebirth of a true classic biking brand in the UK.