The EICMA show in Milan has seen the launch of a pair of new 650cc Royal Enfield twins.
The long-awaited bikes were developed at the firm’s new UK-based R&D department, under the watchful eye of former Triumph man Simon Warburton. Styling comes from another man with some Triumphs in his past, Mark Wells. And with many other former Triumph employees under contract at Royal Enfield’s newly-built British base, it’s not surprising to see these twins as serious competition for the Bonneville.
Except while Triumph’s latest Bonnie is either 900cc or 1200cc, and water-cooled, the new Royal Enfields are air-cooled 648cc twins.
In terms of performance they’ll be a league below the Triumph rivals. But we’re expecting the Royal Enfield twins to be much cheaper than any Bonneville.
The new engine is claimed to make 47hp at 7100rpm, and has a fairly square bore and stroke (78mm bore, 67.8mm stroke) to endow it with plenty of low-end torque. It peaks with 52Nm at just 4000rpm. A low 9.5:1 compression ratio again hints at the engine’s low state of tune, perhaps all the better to ensure it runs well even on poor-quality fuel, which is injected via a Bosch system. A 270 degree crank means there’s a V-twin-style power pulse.
There are two Enfield twins on offer; a classically retro-styled model, the Interceptor, and a Continental GT café racer. Both have identical steel frames and the same engine and suspension spec, so the only real difference is in appearance and riding position.
Style-wise, the Interceptor uses a traditional teardrop tank, relatively high, wide bars and a flat, quilted seat. In contrast the Continental GT features a more squared-off tank and a hump-backed seat. Rear-set pegs and dropped bars give the authentic café-racer riding pose.
Remember, Royal Enfield also owns frame-design specialists Harris Performance in the UK, so claims that the new bikes have ‘superb handling and ride’ might turn out to be near the mark.
Prices will be all important to these bikes’ success, but the signs so far are promising.
- Type: 4 stroke, single overhead cam, air-oil cooled, 648 cc parallel twin
- Power: 47 bhp @ 7100 rpm
- Torque: 52 Nm @ 4000 rpm
- Bore x Stroke: 78 mm x 67.8 mm
- Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
- Gearbox: 6 speed
- Fuel Management: Fuel injection
- Ignition: Digital spark ignition – TCI
- Frame: Steel tubular, double cradle frame
- Front Suspension: 41 mm front fork, 110 mm travel
- Rear Suspension: Twin coil-over shocks, 88 mm travel
- Rake: 24 degrees
- Front Wheel: 2.50×18”
- Rear Wheel: 3.50×18”
- Length: 2122 mm
- Height: 1165 mm (1024mm for Continental)
- Width: 789 mm (744mm for Continental)
- Ground Clearance: 174 mm
- Seat Height: 804 mm (790mm for Continental, or 793mm for Continental with dual seat)
- Tank Capacity: 13.7 Litres (12.5 Litres for Continental)
- Kerb Weight (no fuel): 202 kg (198kg for Continental)
- Payload: 200 kg
- Front Tyre: 100/90-18
- Rear Tyre: 130/70-18
- Front Brake: 320 mm disc, ABS
- Rear Brake: 240 mm disc, ABS