Engine Comparo: Royal Enfield 650cc Twin vs...
- Nov 6, 2017
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A few days ago, we witnessed the revival of the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 at the 2017 EICMA in Milan, Italy. First built between 1960 and 1970, the Interceptor has made a return with a brand new heart. But is it strong enough (on paper, at least) to take on modern contemporaries like the Kawasaki's Z650 and the Harley-Davidson's Street 750? Let’s find out.
Harley-Davidson’s Street 750 is the first model from the iconic American bike manufacturer to be built in India and features a 749cc, liquid-cooled, V-Twin engine. The Interceptor 650, on the other hand, gets a 648cc, air-cooled, parallel-twin engine. The Kawasaki Z650 too gets a parallel-twin engine that displaces 649cc. However, the motor on the Japanese street bike is liquid-cooled.
In terms of power and torque figures, the brash American motorcycle churns out 47.6PS and 59Nm, respectively. The Royal Enfield makes a similar power output. However, it is down on torque by 7Nm. The Kawasaki is the most powerful bike here with a power and torque output of 68.2PS and 65.7Nm, respectively. While it may look like the Street 750 and the Interceptor 650 are low on power when compared to the Kawasaki, it should be noted that these motorcycles are built to be long distance tourers, something which the Street 750 does exceptionally well despite being the oldest bike of the lot. It delivers its peak torque at just 3750rpm when compared to the Interceptor’s 4000rpm. All bikes come equipped with a 6-speed gearbox. Coincidentally, this is the first time that a Royal Enfield motorcycle features a 6-speed transmission.
All three motorcycles featured here get halogen headlamps. In terms of instrumentation, the Harley-Davidson gets the most basic setup with just a single analogue speedometer with a small digital screen for various information. The Interceptor gets a very retro twin-analogue setup for the speedometer and tachometer and also features a small digital screen built into the left unit to display other details. The Z650 is the most modern motorcycle of the lot with a colourful, semi-circular speedometer with several lights for warnings and turn indicators along with a digital screen. Barring ABS, which comes as standard on the Interceptor 650, none of the motorcycles feature any fancy electronic gizmos.
Dimensions and Cycle Parts:
The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 gets a steel tubular, double cradle frame to help reduce production costs. The chassis is suspended on 41mm front forks and twin coil-over shock absorbers at the rear. The bike has a kerb weight of 202kg, which makes it the lightest among the three. Braking is done by 320mm disc brake at the front and a 240mm unit at the rear. As mentioned before, the Interceptor offers ABS as standard. 18-inch spoke wheels complete the retro look. The Interceptor 650 has a ground clearance of 174mm, while the seat height is tallest at 804mm. While the high ground clearance is certainly a boon in our country, it remains to be seen if the tall seat height is ideal for Indian riders.
The Harley-Davidson Street 750 gets a steel double cradle frame and weighs a hefty 223kg (dry). The increased weight is due to the fact that it packs a heavy V-twin motor. The telescopic forks at the front get gaiters to keep dust away while the dual shock absorbers at the rear provide adequate damping for our road conditions. The Street 750 gets disc brakes on either end, but ABS is optional. The 17-inch front and 15-inch rear alloy wheels give the Street 750 the characteristic look that we’ve come to associate with Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The seat height stands at 720mm while the ground clearance is measured at 145mm.
The Kawasaki Z650 is based on a high-tensile trellis frame that is built to withstand a lot of pressure. With a kerb weight of 208kg, the Z650 treads the middle ground here. Suspension duties are handled by 41mm telescopic forks at the front and a monoshock with adjustable preload at the rear. With dual 300mm petal discs at the front, it is the only motorcycle here to offer a twin-disc setup. At the rear, it utilises a single-piston 220mm petal disc. While the base version does not feature ABS, it does come as standard on the higher-spec variant. The Z650 is equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels at the front and rear and, at 130mm, it has the least ground clearance. The 790mm saddle height is ideal for most riders.
Royal Enfield is well known for its aggressive pricing. This is partly due to the fact that the Chennai-based manufacturer using more affordable components to make sure that their motorcycles remain accessible to a larger audience. Our estimates suggest that the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 should cost anywhere between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 3.5 lakh. While the Interceptor will be launched in Europe in April next year, we will probably have to wait until the end of 2018 to get our hands on one. Thanks to the higher specs and the iconic brand name, the Harley-Davidson Street 750 comes at a price of Rs 5.14 lakh (ex-showroom pan-India). Being the most modern motorcycle among the trio, the Kawasaki Z650 is priced at Rs 5.20 lakh.
If pricing is a factor that influences your decision, then it’s quite obvious that the RE Interceptor 650 that offers the most bang for your buck. Although all three motorcycles are targeted at different buyers, the Interceptor seems like it could outperform the other two when it comes to sales figures thanks to its lower cost of ownership and Royal Enfield’s vast dealer and service network.
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