Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 (2018-on) Review
- Amazingly good value for money
- Classic styling, air-cooled engine
- But modern in all the important ways
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£270|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
As an overall package, the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 impresses. The engine is lively without being intimidating, the handling is fun without being patronising, and the finish is good without breaking the bank.
- Related: See this bike in our best A2 motorcycles article
- Related: New Royal Enfield 650 cruiser spotted
- Related: Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 on MCN long-term test fleet
- Related: listen to these Zard exhausts for the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650
When you take into account the price, it really is a suspension overhaul away from being a five-star bike. I’ve saved the best bit till last too: the average age of an Enfield owner in India is 27. If they can repeat that trick over here, we could be looking at the bike that saves the sport.
And thanks to its relatively low cost, the Interceptor makes a great base for a custom bike, with plenty of parts available. Jump to the Equipment section for more.
Owners in the UK are able to join the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Owners Group on Facebook.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The Royal Enfield test riders say their brief for this bike was to make it fun and they’ve succeeded. Because it doesn’t make huge amounts of power, you can rev the nuts off it and spend the whole day stretching your throttle cables without feeling like you’ve had the stuffing knocked out of you.
When a corner approaches, the Bybre brakes scrub off speed well with a decent bite and good modulation – hell even the budget Pirellis do a great job of sticking to the road.
Riding along you start wondering where they’ve saved the money, then you come across some challenging corners and it all becomes painfully apparent.
When you really start to push on, the budget suspension starts to struggle. The Interceptor is very soft, at the request of the Indian market, and can wallow on fast, sweeping roads.
When you do hit a bump, it’s under damped so it blows straight through the first part of the suspension and pops back with a jolt.
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650: seriously good value
When you consider the price, you can forgive the bike a few faults – there are more expensive bikes with naff suspension too – but it’s still disappointing.
In truth, a suspension swap wouldn’t be the hardest job in the world nor the most expensive, and Enfield did hint that posher suspension options might find their way into the catalogue in the near future, but for now it does mar the finish on an otherwise great bike.
We had an Interceptor 650 in the 2020 MCN Fleet and have swapped the tyres to Continental Road Attack 3 (you have to get the rear in a 130/80 instead of the 130/70 that comes as standard) and upgraded the suspension with K-tech rear shocks and fork cartridges.
The new parts have transformed the bike’s handling from adequate to sharp without sacrificing comfort, read more in our full long-term test.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The Interceptor is fitted with Enfield’s brand new, air-cooled 650 parallel twin, also used in the Royal Enfield Continental GT. It doesn’t make huge amounts of power or torque, but that’s not really the point and it has ‘enough’.
Down low there’s a reasonable amount of torque with most of it arriving before 2500rpm, so you can chug it out of corners but you can rev it too without it ever feeling like it’s going to bite. The throttle is lovely and smooth too, plus it’s A2 compliant.
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 will do 100mph
Holding on to gears brings you a bit more power while also rewarding you with a fantastic exhaust note. It sounds like it’s straight out of the ‘60s, which is a miracle in a Euro4 strangled world – there are even some S&S cans coming for noisy types.
The new six-speed gearbox (an Enfield first!) is slick and if you keep feeding it gears it will clamber all the way to the magic ton.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
For the brief 150 miles we rode the bike on the launch in September 2018, nothing broke. In all seriousness Enfield doesn’t have the best rep for reliability but that’s something they want to change.
All the new bikes that come off the line will have gone through a 1007-point-check, which Enfield said took over six hours to complete. If that’s not enough, every new bike came with a three-year unlimited mileage warranty, so there was peace of mind when purchasing an Interceptor, too.
Speaking personally – we wouldn’t have any concerns about buying one and it falling apart on the ride home.
To find out what the Interceptor's reliability is like over the course of a year, we're running one on the MCN long-term fleet during 2020.
In May 2020 a recall was issued for this bike due to corroding Bybre brake calipers.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Royal Enfield are known for the budget bikes and the Interceptor continues that crusade, starting at just £5500 for the standard 'Orange Crush' model, rising to £5990 for the 'Glitter Dust' option.
A brand new 650cc twin bike with a three-year unlimited mileage warranty for under £6000. Sounds like a bargain to us.
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 vs Triumph Street Twin
Forget everything you know about old Royal Enfields because the new Interceptor 650 is in a different league. It still oozes old-school Enfield simplicity, but it’s well-built, classily finished and packed with well thought-out detail touches. It’s light, easy to ride, fun and handles incredibly well. At normal MCN250 road speeds, it’s as capable as any retro roaster, but at a fraction of the price.
Slicker, with funkier styling, more equipment, presence and more of a big bike feel, the Triumph is a class act and, compared to the BMWs and Ducatis of the world, decent value. It’s packed with character, superb handling, grunt, speed with easy road manners.
It’s worth some of the extra cash over the Interceptor 650 for all its niceties, but for the pure riding experience there’s little to separate the two, which just goes to show what an incredible job Royal Enfield have done and why the 650 is our winner.
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 vs Kawasaki W800
Attracted to retros for a taste of classic motorcycling? Kawasaki’s W800 hits the spot. Actually, it does more than that. Yes, it has the sensations and charisma of a British classic, but build quality and finish are far superior to how bikes used to be. And though its focus is on leisurely outings, the engine and chassis are more than capable of dealing with the frantic modern world.
Royal Enfield’s Interceptor also has traditional appeal, but in a package capable of more all-round use. It’s got the famous old name, classic looks and ample authenticity, enhanced by its basic nature and the fact it’s built to a price. But the 650 has far more grab-it-and-go versatility than the 800 – and is the best value retro on the market, too.
For laid-back Sunday morning thrums, sun-drenched evening pootles to the local meet and touchy-feely garage encounters, buy the Kawasaki. If you want a practical, affordable, jump-on-and-ride bike with plenty of old-school appeal, go for the Enfield.
Despite its budget price there’s some decent kit. Brakes are from Brembo subsidiary ByBre and they’re paired with Bosch’s two-channel ABS. Pirelli provide the tyres (although 18" sizes don’t leave many aftermarket options).
The retro clocks are nice too and they’ve even got a fuel gauge, although they’re not as feature rich as the ones on the Royal Enfield Himalayan, which is a bit of a shame. The fit and finish of the rest of the bike isn’t bad either – the only thing that really lets it down is the budget suspension.
Royal Enfield Interceptor collector and dealer, Jeremy Pendergast, has been riding Royal Enfields since the '90s. Watch the video above to hear Jeremy talk about the golden age of the Interceptor and how he celebrates the bike's greatest following on the American West Coast.
The bike's available in six tank colours: Orange Crush, Mark Three or Silver Spectre (all £5699), Baker Express - below - or Ravishing Red (both £5899), and Glitter and Dust, which costs £6199. See the full range of colours here.
This roadster is a great base for a custom build. There are myriad options out there to make the Interceptor your own.
- Related: best custom base motorcycles
In fact, even Royal Enfield themselves offer a range of mods for the Interceptor. You can pick from parts like bar end kits, Scorpion exhausts, engine guards, taller windscreens and bike covers at their website.
Watch and listen: Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 with S&S slip-on pipes and air filter kit
|Engine type||Air-cooled 4v parallel twin|
|Frame type||Steel twin spar|
|Fuel capacity||13.7 litres|
|Front suspension||Non-adjustable 41mm RWU forks, 110mm travel|
|Rear suspension||Preload adjustable twin shocks, 88mm travel|
|Front brake||Single 320mm disc, dual piston caliper|
|Rear brake||240mm disc, dual piston caliper|
|Front tyre size||100/90 – 18|
|Rear tyre size||130/70 – 18|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£270|
|Used price||£4,300 - £5,500|
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||46 bhp|
|Max torque||38 ft-lb|
|Top speed||105 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
The Interceptor 650 was launched in 2017, which was debuted at EICMA, Milan by Royal Enfield CEO Siddhartha Lal and President, Rudratej Singh. Powered by an air-oil cooled parallel 650 twin, the 2017 Interceptor came with 7" headlight, twin clock front and quilted twin seat. The narrow tank is stamped with a classic badge and topped with a Monza-style fuel cap. A dual cradle frame with a rear loop makes up the core, by way of a nod to the original Interceptor.
There is also a Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 new for 2018, which is very similar to the Interceptor 650.
MCN Long term test reports
MCN Fleet: Shockingly good move
There isn’t a lot wrong with the way the Interceptor rides. That’s clear by the sales figures as much as anything else – it was among the UK’s best-selling bikes during June 2020. Sure, it’s cheap, but that sort of success doesn’t come off the back of a low list price alone. Related: In-depth, expe…
Owners' reviews for the ENFIELD INTERCEPTOR 650 (2018 - on)
6 owners have reviewed their ENFIELD INTERCEPTOR 650 (2018 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£270|
Annual servicing cost: £250
Great looking bike that does what it sets out to do at a budget price.
It’s not built for touring but great for 100 miles or so. Much longer and it gets a bit tiring. Breaks are as good as I’ve had over the years. Seat a little hard for long rides out but fine for an hour or two at a push.
Probably the best bit of this bike. Surprising torque for a relatively low powered bike. No problems pulling away and overtaking.
Nearly a year in and no faults to report.
A bit pricey to service at my local dealer.
It’s got the basics.
Buying experience: Bought from a local dealer at full retail price. Their knowledge of the bike however was woeful and after sales non existent.
Annual servicing cost: £160
45 years on motorcycles, had every R1,last two bikes , new zx10r and carbon H2. Don't be put off by this little 650. it does everything it is supposed to do. twin throttle bodies give it plenty of grunt even two up. Its a whole different type of biking, jeans ,jacket, country roads at traffic speeds and above. A three year warranty on a 6 grand bike!. It takes me back to my days of the RD400,s and a more simple biking experience, no full leathers,, feeling you need to race everyone on the road. take it easy on the interceptor, enjoy the countryside and the noise of the bike. I've had no problems at all over 2000 miles on it. Ride it all day and struggle to get 10 quids worth of fuel in the tank..really sips fuels after nailing super bikes
Great ride , smiles all the way, my 23 year old police woman daughter loves coming out on it, we go all over the place. Bum ache starts at about 200 miles . stop and have a breakfast and your good to go.
The engine pulls perfectly fine and runs with no hassle. sounds great too. I've ridden mine really hard because I thought if its gonna blow up then best to do it now but it is spot on. Pull up somewhere on a new H2 and nobody even cares, pull up anywhere on the interceptor and people want to talk about it. typical!! I have put a 16 tooth final drive sprocket on it which made it a bit more long legged but still pulls fine, I mean, be reasonable, it not a zx10r but it is a lovely little engine that is bigger than the sum of its parts
Out of all the bikes enfield churn out it stands to reason someone somewhere is gonna get a fault. Mine has been fine. I changed the plugs and serviced it. took the top off and did the valve clearances. no problems. Its a pretty basic bike. 3 year warranty will take care of anyhting I would hope. Accessories and parts are dirt cheap
6000 mile service interval which is only oil,filter, easy valve clearances and plugs, hardly gonna break the bank. even though I had already serviced it the dealer had to do it again for the warranty, paid £160
well what do you need?. fuel gauge works, lights work, if you want silly gadgets and rider aids buy a GS and go to the other end of the spectrum where you're completley lost by all the modes and switches.
Buying experience: Dealer was ok. I think the oil filter is over priced . You have to give credit where credit is due. The indians have knocked out a good bike, the sales prove that. idiots moaning about silly little niggles should'nt deter you from buying one. I like to do all my own servicing but if you want to keep the warranty then you have no choice but to let someone else touch it, but you can check the bike over again in your own workshop after..no big deal
Annual servicing cost: £350
Only good thing is the price poor build quality, terrible dealers network with a few exceptions Unhelpful importer that gives no regard to its dealers performance
Pulls well bit underpowered
ongoing electrical problems, faulty batteries and ignition switch these are common problems RE are aware of the problems but seam reluctant to resolve the problems
Expensive to service, no standard service cost It's a dealer free for all
Basic but acceptable, cheap switchgear clock misting which Moto GB won't accept as a warranty issue
Buying experience: Original purchase was good, after sales service is non existant
Annual servicing cost: £400
Loses 1 point due to mis-placed clutch entry into right side of engine cases which sticks into your knee if you are 5ft 7ins otherwise a damned good bike with no faults in almost a year of riding, a simple uncluttered handlebar area, some bikes have got more buttons on handlebars than home pc!.
Does what it says on tin!
Had it serviced regular, no problems
Price of service depends on mileage
USB socket which I had fitted(poor quality bracket sadly) would be good option for mobile or sat Nav, don't waste your money on m/c sat nav a standard £200 Garmin does the job with bracket from ebay & cut-off rubber glove finger to stop balljoint slipping, lights could be better
Buying experience: Dealer
Annual servicing cost: £200
I have fitted bar risers, a screen and a seat from a GT to make the bike right for me, otherwise everything is good. I have started using the Interceptor more than the BM 12 GS.
Handling is fine especially two up. We can easily cover 150 miles without a break. Brakes are good with plenty of feel.
Smoooooooth for a twin and enough power to keep in front of traffic.
Only covered 1400 miles but in all weathers and so far the finish is really good.
Although the book says service and oil/filter change every 3000, I have been told that the oil/filter change can be at 6000. A service only takes a couple of hours at the main dealers at a cost of £120 to £180
Good tyres which grip well both wet and dry. Basic equipment but non the worse for it.
Buying experience: Bought from Eddys Moto of Shipley. Brilliant. Very friendly and helpful with good after sales. At £5500 on the road whats not to like??
Version: Orange Crush
This bike is very friendly, relaxed and cheerful: it just makes you smile. I use it for commuting a mix of rural and urban roads and it is comfortable and smooth, but, if you do need to overtake, a quick twist and it’s whooshing and purring past whatever that was. At weekends it asks to be taken out for a swoosh around a few bends but it is not a bike that makes you ride fast, so your wife probably doesn’t mind that.
I am 6ft3 and find the riding position very comfortable. Cruising at 60mph is very relaxed, I have not been on motorways much to comment on 70mph but did not feel any vibrations on the brief bits of motorway I have done so far.
Smooth as anything with lovely, fairly linear torque delivery so you can be lazy on gear selection at anything over 30mph and it’ll just work. If you really twist on you’ll find some vibration but that’ll just mean you’re in a silly gear or far beyond the speed limit and it really isn’t that kind of bike; you’ll just be grinning long before you get near the speed limit.
This is a review after only two weeks and 500 miles so nothing whatsoever to report. Purrs into life as expected every morning and gets me to work!
Clean and simple so you can enjoy some pure riding zen. My favourite feature of the bike is that smile it puts on your face when you ride it, which came as standard.
Buying experience: £5500 OTR new from dealer.