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Royal Enfield surprises with 650 twins

Royal Enfield 650 twins factory axe gap 2019
Royal Enfield 650 twins

Royal Enfield has surprised everyone with a pair of 650 twins, rather than the expected 750cc Interceptor.

The Interceptor INT 650 and Continental GT 650 were unveiled overnight at the EICVMA motorcycle show in  Milan after they had revealed the engine at their UK Technical Centre at Bruntingthorpe.

Royal Enfield claims the 648cc, single-overhead-cam, eight-valve, air/oil-cooled parallel twins are married to a six-speed gearbox with assist clutch.

Output is 35kW (47hp) of power and 51Nm of torque making the bike capable of 160km/h.

That compares with the Classic 500 at 20kW and 41.3Nm with a top speed of a little over 100km/h.

In Australia the 650 models would still be learner-approved.

The engine uses a 270-degree forged crank that the company claims produces a “rumble” sound rather than the classic thumper sound.

They claim it is not only Euro4 complaint but will be able to meet coming Euro5 standards.

Royal Enfield boss Siddhartha Lal says they didn’t want to produce a 750cc engine because there is a “lot of clutter in the 650cc above category, where many players are vying for the market”.

“From our research and understanding, we found that consumers, especially in India, find it the 650cc plus segment a bit inaccessible,” he says.

Lal says the bikes will go on sale in Europe first from April 2018 before worldwide distribution.

Royal Enfield Interceptor INT 650 twins
Interceptor INT 650

The NT 650 is a traditional English-style motorcycle with wide bars, an upright riding position, flat bench seat, twin low pipes and twin instruments pods.

Sporting a more cafe racer style, the Continental GT 650 has a solo seat with rear hump and clip-on bars.

Royal Enfield Continenal GT 650 twins
Royal Enfield Continenal GT 650

Both have single front brake discs with ABS, 18-inch front wheels, Pirelli Phantom tyres (as used on the new Bonnevilles and Ducati Sport Classics) and twin rear shocks with separate oil reserve.