A few weeks back, I got another chance to try my hand on the latest flagship motorcycle by Royal Enfield – the Interceptor 650. Last time, when I rode the twin (Interceptor and the Continental GT) beauties were at the launch event held in Goa. This was during Rider Mania in November 2018. This time, me and my friend Pawan Kumar had planned to ride through the mighty Himalayas and it was a fabulous ride we had.
How it started:
We started from Gurgaon towards Dehradun before the dawn break and the Interceptor was as always exceptional on the tarmac. We were cruising at the speed of 130-150 kmph on the highway and it was super easy. The undoubtedly refined engine made sure there wasn’t much rumbling noise. And of course, the power delivery was also quite smooth and effortless. Cutting short, without much jerks or any sort of hassle the Interceptor 650 was above expectations on the Indian roads. The ABS worked quite well helping us at a lot of moments wherein was ease to ride along. The shock absorbers, both front and back do their job pretty well by not passing many jerks the rider and unnecessarily tiring the rider.
Within no time we were at Dehradun which was bliss and we also beat the heat. Post sipping a coffee at a local coffee shop in Dehradoon, it was time to take the bike on the winding road of Mussoorie. Finally to reach Dhanaulti, which was our first stop on our trip. We had various luggage options with us, I had a luggage backpack on my backseat and the other Interceptor 650 which Pawan was riding had a pillion on the backseat. This was a perfect combination for us to see how capable these machines are for touring. The Interceptor was quite smooth and better than expected when it came to leisure riding on the twisty roads. Without much gear changes, it easily hogged altitude. Maneuvering was at ease even with luggage and a pillion. The gearshifts are precise and effortless. The engine pulls from as low as 2,000rpm, is smooth and reminds you of the huge amount of torque it carries.
Leaving from Dhanaulti the next morning, we had to reach Rishikesh by the end of the day. So we had a lot of time for photo shoots en route. As we crossed Chamba, to our surprise the road was at it’s worst conditions. They were building the road and the current state was no less than the route that you might find in Spiti. With gravels and mud on the route instead of tarmac, it was a test of endurance for Interceptor. As we started riding, I was thinking how would the Pirelli Phantom SportComps take on the gravels? Just to give you an idea, it was a 60 km patch carved in the mountain, so constant bends and a deep valley next to you. Interceptor had no problem in keeping up with the power and maneuvering. Since the tires were not meant for such roads it was a bit bumpy and slippery ride. I felt the handling was a bit stiff at this moment. Maybe it was because I was used to bigger tires on my Himalayan.
Just to wrap up, even in a situation when there was no road, Interceptor had a decent performance. Finally, we made it to Rishikesh without back pain and sore hands. We reached before sunset to soak our feet into mighty Ganga and relax for the day.
After an exceptional stay at Rishikesh, it was time to get back to Delhi as I had a flight to catch for Mumbai. The road was not in good shape and traffic was enough to make you go mad. Switching lanes and moving between the cars was not much of a hassle for Interceptor. The ambient temperature was unbearable, and Interceptors made sure we cut the time short and beat google maps on the estimated time to reach Delhi.
While the classic elegant look and the new powerful twin 650 engine always excite me. A question kept popping up repeatedly in my head if this could be the all in one classic motorcycle? A motorcycle which not only impresses you with her looks but also with 360-degree performance. After riding it at launch and now 800 kms into the Himalayas, I am sure Interceptor is a perfect machine to ride in the city and your occasional long-distance touring.
Words- Akshay Sakhare