2023 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650 review: What’s changed

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In 2018, Royal Enfield launched the Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650, sweeping the market. Commonly known as 650 Twins, these motorcycles have been very successful not only in India but globally. The 650 Twins haven’t received any major updates since its launch. Nearly five years later, Royal Enfield has decided to give the Continental GT 650 and Interceptor 650 some important updates. We rode both motorcycles for a few days and here are our thoughts.

go through: Pas Cattery
| Updated on: July 15, 2023 at 16:43

The new color scheme does look attractive.

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2023 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650: Cosmetic updates

For 2023, Royal Enfield introduces new black versions of both motorcycles. The Interceptor has Black Ray and Barcelona Blue, while the Continental GT has Slipstream Blue and Apex Grey. The black version features black headers, exhaust and engine housing elements. There are also some new color options, with the Interceptor offering Black Pearl and Cali Green, and the Continental GT offering Dux Deluxe.

2023 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650: Finally! !alloy wheels

The Continental GT rides on Vredestein Centauro ST tires suited to its character. Alloy wheels are lighter than spoked wheels and have the benefits of tubeless tires.
The Continental GT rides on Vredestein Centauro ST tires suited to its character. Alloy wheels are lighter than spoked wheels and have the benefits of tubeless tires.

The black version of the 650 Twins comes standard with alloy wheels. However, the rest of the variants still come with spoked wheels. If you’re an existing 650 Twins owner, then you’ll have to wait for Royal Enfield to introduce the alloy wheels as official fitment. However, one workaround the owner found was to order a set of alloy wheels from Royal Enfield as a spare, which they then retrofitted into the motorcycle.

2023 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650: The engine is the highlight

The highlight of the 650 Twins remains the engine. It was a 647.95 cc in-line twin-cylinder engine that was air-oil cooled. It puts out 46.80 bhp at 7,250 rpm and peak torque of 52.3 Nm at 5,150 rpm. The engine is a gem of a pulling powerhouse. The power delivery is linear, the exhaust note is nice, and the engine has plenty of torque, so constant gear changes aren’t necessary. Speaking of shifting, the transmission is a 6-speed unit with a slip assist clutch. The clutch action is heavier, but the transmission is smooth and has positive feedback. Plus, rev matching is easy.

The engine casing, headers and exhaust pipes of the new all-black model have been completely blacked out.
The engine casing, headers and exhaust pipes of the new all-black model have been completely blacked out.

The beauty of this engine is that it always has plenty of torque in reserve, so just twist the throttle and the bike will start pulling. Due to its nature, it is also capable of excursions. In sixth gear, the engine revs to just 4,000 rpm at 100 km/h and 5,000 rpm at 120 km/h. It can maintain those speeds throughout the day without any stress, and still have enough power reserve for quick overtaking.

However, there appears to be a slight increase in engine heat and vibration. The increased vibration could be because the engine is new, and the heat issue could be because of the black powder coat. Other than that, there is a slight hesitation in the transition of the throttle switch. I noticed this because I own an Interceptor 650 BS6 with almost 10,000km on it, so new owners probably won’t mind these.

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2023 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650: What’s New

Royal Enfield transferred some features from the Super Meteor 650 to the 650 Twins. The headlights are now LED units, but not very bright. Then there are the adjustable levers, which are a nice touch because it’s easier to grab them than before. The handles and switchgear are also new. Using the pass switch can be a bit difficult as it sits fairly high up so there will be some adjustment period.

Royal Enfield has also added a USB port to charge mobile devices. It is conveniently placed under the clutch. It would be nice if the manufacturer updated the screen with more information. Then there’s the fuel gauge which is still a bit erratic.

Despite being LED, it wasn't as bright as we'd like it to be.
Despite being LED, it wasn’t as bright as we’d like it to be.

The beauty of this engine is that it always has plenty of torque in reserve, so just twist the throttle and the bike will start pulling. Due to its nature, it is also capable of excursions. In sixth gear, the engine revs to just 4,000 rpm at 100 km/h and 5,000 rpm at 120 km/h. It can maintain those speeds throughout the day without any stress, and still have enough power reserve for quick overtaking.

However, there appears to be a slight increase in engine heat and vibration. The increased vibration could be because the engine is new, and the heat issue could be because of the black powder coat. Other than that, there is a slight hesitation in the transition of the throttle switch. I noticed this because I own an Interceptor 650 BS6 with almost 10,000km on it, so new owners probably won’t mind these.

2023 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650: What’s New

Royal Enfield transferred some features from the Super Meteor 650 to the 650 Twins. The headlights are now LED units, but not very bright. Then there are the adjustable levers, which are a nice touch because it’s easier to grab them than before. The handles and switchgear are also new. Using the pass switch can be a bit difficult as it sits fairly high up so there will be some adjustment period.

Royal Enfield has also added a USB port to charge mobile devices. It is conveniently placed under the clutch. It would be nice if the manufacturer updated the screen with more information. Then there’s the fuel gauge which is still a bit erratic.

The Continental GT 650 is one of the most beautiful motorcycles on the market.
The Continental GT 650 is one of the most beautiful motorcycles on the market.

Finally, there are new tires. The black version rides on tubeless tires, the Interceptor uses Ceat Zoom Cruz, and the GT uses Vredestein Centauro ST. The main talking point here is the new Vredestein, which inspires great confidence in corners with good grip. Existing Interceptor owners can replace them by purchasing Vredesteins at their local dealer.

2023 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650: Comfort

The Interceptor 650’s comfort isn’t just about the seat. It’s narrow and too soft, but the manufacturer offers several accessory seats that can be purchased. Then, the pedals can injure the cyclist’s lower legs when moving the bike in a parking space. The GT, on the other hand, has a firm riding stance because it is a cafe race car. As a result, heavy traffic becomes a problem, as does long-distance travel. The important thing to note is that if you sit too close to the tank you can feel the heat and even burn yourself.

2023 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 vs Continental GT 650: Verdict

Despite the price hike, the 650 Twins are still great value, especially if you want a twin-cylinder motorcycle. The engine is the main highlight of this kit. Torque is well distributed and can be used for city tasks as well as driving on the highway without too many gear changes. Also, it always has reserve power. Yes, there are some shortcomings in comfort, but they can be fixed.

First published date: Jul 15, 2023 at 16:43 PM U.S. Standard Time

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