Royal Enfield SG650 concept: A new direction for much-loved company

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This radical, 650cc, twin cylinder concept cruiser has been created by Royal Enfield to explore possible directions the Indian company’s future bikes might take.

Called the SG650, it’s based on the firm’s popular 650 retro roadsters, was created in-house by a team led by Royal Enfield’s Chief of Design, Mark Wells, and received its public unveiling at EICMA in Milan.

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The idea, according to Wells, was to challenge its design team to explore how Royal Enfield’s bikes might evolve from the traditional, classic-styled machines it has produced until now to more modern ‘digital’ interpretations that could point the way for the company’s future.

Wells said: "We are a company in transition, for so long a representation of the analogue age and now developing new products that keep that same pure soul yet are fully integrated into the digital present.

Royal Enfield SG650 concept right side

"We wanted to develop a project that really gave our design team an opportunity to stretch themselves creatively, to build a unique concept motorcycle that pays homage to Royal Enfield’s rich history but one that wasn’t encumbered by the past. 

"A ‘neo-retro’ interpretation that pushes the boundaries of what a Royal Enfield motorcycle could look like, but at its core still celebrating that iconic Royal Enfield DNA."

As a result, the SG650 is an intriguing mix of new and old. The wheel rims have integrated ABS, for example, there’s inverted front forks while the switch ‘cubes’ and even fuel tank have been precision CNC-milled from solid billet. By contrast, the twin shock rear suspension, classic ‘loop’ frame and hand-stitched leather seat are a nod to Enfield’s past.

 

Royal Enfield SG650 concept front

Representing the ‘near future’, meanwhile – so perhaps giving an enticing hint as to imminent new models – is the bike’s ‘blacked-out’ 650 twin cylinder engine and twin exhausts.

"We’re really excited to unveil this concept and write another chapter in the rapidly evolving story of Royal Enfield design," said Adrian Sellers, Enfield’s Group Manager of Industrial Design.

"It is always exciting to design for a ‘what if...’ scenario, and the brief to create a motorcycle that would both be recognisably Royal Enfield but at the same time push what a Royal Enfield could be was a real challenge."

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Phil West

By Phil West

MCN Contributor and bike tester.