Royal Enfield 650 Interceptor and Continental GT test

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Authentic (r) evolution

Twin-cylinder in-line, 648 cm3, 47 hp and 52 Nm, 198 kg dry, double tubular cradle frame

At the end of 2018, Santa Claus is Indian and brings us, in advance, his new machines, much awaited. Like kids, here we are in front of the Royal Enfield Interceptor and Continental GT Twin 650. Being able to attend the presentation of complete novelties from the oldest motorcycle manufacturer in the world is a privilege. The two original models date from 1963 and 1965. The first, the Interceptor, was already a 736cc twin cylinder dedicated to the American market with commercial success accompanying the wind of freedom blowing over California. The other 250cc single-cylinder bombinette, the Anglo-Indian brand’s bestseller, hits Europe with the Cafe Racer.

Both are therefore returning at the end of 2018, identically equipped with a 648 cm3 twin. Authentic is the right word to describe these machines. Both through the historical legitimacy of the brand and through the aesthetic and mechanical lineage of new products. Returning to the twin, the Chennai manufacturer unveils two machines which, in static, already give the level of commitment of the brand. Quality of manufacture, design and engine unit mixing classicism and modernity already give the Indians an almost magnetic aura. And the tariffs announced for North America reinforce this attraction if necessary…. They also demonstrate the will to invest with force in a promising market..

The Royal Enfield 650 Interceptor

Discovery

For many bikers, Royal Enfield is a firm with a taste of mothballs and museums, all tinged with a touch of exoticism. As for its production, it boils down to the iconic Bullet, machine with outdated style and performance. In short, 100% old school vintage. That is to say…. For a fringe of connoisseurs, the reality is very different. If indeed the machines are perfectly and authentically outdated on the points mentioned, they combine a number of qualities: reliable, economical and financially accessible. They lacked only a little more driving force and modernity. Always contained because, at Enfield, "We never do too much – We never do too much". In short: no fuss, no unnecessary.

It is clear that the 650 Twins were born from this spirit, combining historical links and major developments. How not to recognize, at first glance, their glorious origins. Interceptor and Continental GT express their DNA with elegance. Let us first detail their differences. Self-proclaimed sports car, the GT takes up the magnificent design of the fire tank model 535, containing 12.5 liters. Barely domed, hollowed out by slender indentations, it imposes its presence. The saddle is capped with a hood and half-handlebars embellish the cafe racer style. Compact, collected, the machine delivers an obvious dynamic style.

Review of the Royal Enfield 650 Continental GT

Cooler atmosphere, Californian in short, on the Interceptor. Here too, THE aesthetic point is the 13.7-liter can mimicking that of 1963. More chubby, its curves bear the reworked metal emblem of the Indian manufacturer. A long flat saddle, a wide handlebar with raised lugs, chrome mirrors and a passenger grab handle…. It’s time to go to the beach with Pamela, along the Pacific coast.

Royal Enfield 650 Interceptor

Aesthetically divergent, the machines share their mechanics and cycle parts. The latter is composed of a double-cradle tubular steel frame designed by the Harris company, specializing in classic frames and belonging to Enfield. Weighing 20.4 kg, this structure mainly incorporates THE highlight of these novelties: a brand new parallel twin of 648 cm3. Imposing, it seems oversized compared to the general smoothness. Polished aluminum side casings and cylinder head cover, massive cylinder head cut with large cooling fins, the 70 kg Enfield block impresses with its dimensions and aesthetics.

The tubular frame of the Royal Enfield 650

Its design is not to be outdone, mixing tradition and modernity. Simple, cooled by air and oil to simplify production, it nevertheless incorporates a high engine with 4 valves per cylinder actuated by a single camshaft. And, technical refinement, the rockers feature wheels at the point of contact with cams with slightly concave surfaces…. Thus provided, the Enfield twin engine develops 47 horses at 7,250 rpm and 5.2 daNm of torque at 5,250 revolutions per minute. Its super square bore-stroke ratio of 78 x 67.8 mm lets predict good revs. The oil circuit is optimized and jets target the hottest points in the cylinder head. Double injection bodies and ignition are controlled by Bosch electronics. The mechanics are Euro 4 certified and planned for Euro 5 without major changes. Raised towards the sky, integrating the catalysts, the large barrels of the cigar-type silencers provide additional sportiness and cafe racer spirit..

The twin-cylinder of the Royal Enfield 650

Yet another modernity for the Chennai firm, which for the first time developed a 6-speed gearbox, dedicated to the 650 Twin. It even enlists the services of an assisted limited-slip clutch. Not much to envy the competing production so…

Simplicity and accuracy again for the suspension. A 41mm telescopic fork with 110mm travel, non-adjustable, hides its stanchions behind bellows for added style. It is associated with double shock absorbers sliding on 88 mm, adjustable in preload. The whole is camped on tubular spoked rims in aluminum alloy of 18 inches, paved from Pirelli Phantom sportscomp in 100 and 130 mm. The Bosch two-channel ABS controls the work of the Bybre (Brembo) calipers. At the front two pistons pinch a 320 mm disc and the opposite single piston retarder clamps a 240 mm fret.

The 650 are shod in Pirelli Phantom

All the machines, Interceptor and Continental GT, present a most acceptable finish. If the welds of the frame are quite ordinary, they remain discreet. In the end, we will regret more of the edging of paint that can be improved (if we linger with our nose on it), the presence of a plastic front fender instead of a metal element and an empty space behind the cylinder block where appears in addition a hose. More qualitative, we appreciate the front headlight surrounded by brushed metal and the rubber-sheathed pilot and passenger footrests. The arrangement of the various elements calls for no criticism, as do the various coatings of the metal parts and supports. More attractive, the Interceptor is equipped with a passenger support bar, a central stand and a handle near the saddle to facilitate maneuvering. Both machines have a small storage space in the right cover under the saddle. There is also a zipper to unlock the saddle.

Continental GT flagship

Finally, if you had any doubts about reliability, know that Royal Enfield does not shy away from quality control. 5,000 test units have been built, tested over several hundred thousand kilometers, in the factory as well as outside, particularly in Belgium, on paved roads for long-distance tests. Trials in India and Europe, where roads and traffic are more suited for these high average speed tests. Each of these pre-production 650 Twins has undergone twice 6 hours of verification in 1007 static and dynamic points, by two different operators…. Reassured? No ? So the brand guarantees these machines for three years ….!

In the saddle

Arsouille or relaxation atmosphere, the false Indian twins offer opposite ergonomics. When the GT’s rear controls tilt the rider on his half-handlebars, the Interceptor offers a more relaxed position. Its wide hanger reinforced with a cross bar naturally accommodates the hands. But both do not impose an extreme. Starting with their saddle height: 790 and 804 mm; the seat of the cool roadster being thicker. Ditto for bending the legs, even the tallest. The handlebar-footrest-saddle triangle does not require a strenuous gymkhana. In addition, particularly narrow despite a large engine, the 650 Twin is particularly accessible. The Interceptor tank is, however, significantly larger.

The driving position remains quite natural

No frills on board, but no lack of taste either. Unpretentious, the brand logo upper triple clamp is pleasing to the eye, covered in solid black paint. Surrounded by chrome plastic, the analog instruments benefit from a pleasant and readable design, if not fun. Tachometer on the right and, on the left, in the tachometer unit, a digital window displays a fuel gauge and successively, via a discreet button, the odometer and two partials. Here we are. The levers are not adjustable in spacing, but their size seems ideal for any size. With cable, the clutch control is also in the simplicity.

Royal Enfield 650 counter

In the city

Finally, we can take control of the new Enfield products! The seduction continues from the start of the Indian twin. This one plays a mechanical interpretation of the New World symphony in Indian style. Discreet at idle, it cracks at the slightest rotation of the accelerator. The two chrome cigars deliver a discreet vapor in the humid freshness of the Californian air. History of being connected with the morning fog.

The Interceptor on the road

With a good turning radius, 37.5 ° and the masses of their engine placed at the lowest, the Enfield play urban traffic. U-turns, interfile, slalom between American pick-ups with high-sounding V8s, the Indians are at their ease. On the other hand, the mirrors return a blurred image, but also distorted.

Roadster or cafe racer, the two machines benefit from pleasant ergonomics. Even the GT lets itself be carried away without thinking about it, the position of its half-handlebars not being excessive. Even more agile, the Interceptor is obvious in town with its wide arch making it easier to maneuver. For little, it feels like riding a CB500. A feeling amplified by the behavior of the Chennai twin. More available than that of the Honda, with 80% of its maximum torque from 2,300 revolutions, it allows to evolve in fourth or more on a trickle of gas, to a little more than 2,000 revolutions. Combined with the softness of the clutch and the selector, moving between the walls is an easy exercise for our frames. But these are capable of much more, as the vigor of the engine already demonstrates. And with an opener that isn’t a slack in the grip, we don’t have to wait long to judge the dynamic capabilities of the 660 Twins..

The Continental GT on the road

Motorway and expressways

No highway on the program, but the coastal road where we can fully express the voluntary character of the Indian bloc. Gentle in town, it presents a more dynamic face at a faster pace past 5,000 laps, on its peak torque. Without being a thunderbolt, the twin will easily seek the final graduations of the tachometer and the maximum power before the red zone and the breaker at 7,500 revolutions. Reaching 160 km / h, it is capable of more than 180 peaks if pushed longer. And without interest, the mechanics being then at its limits.

The Interceptor on the Fast Lane

It is on the handlebars of the cafe racer that one appreciates the fast long distance trips best. Switched gently on the meters, the pilot benefits from a more comfortable position to endure the air pressure. Note that a windscreen is available as an option. On board the Interceptor, we hold on more to the handlebars. But a more comfortable saddle compensates for these efforts. It should also be noted that no painful vibration disturbs the crew, whatever the speed. Only the good trepidations of the twin-cylinder accompany our evolutions, proof of the mechanical balance and the quality of design. Thus, the forged crankshaft and its imposing balancing masses combine with two other balances placed on a secondary balance shaft. The result is clear, giving the unit an appreciable smoothness of operation..

At the legal motorway, the twin rumbles at 5,400 rpm on the last report. The retakes are then correct in 6th to double. At 110 km / h, we will enter a report for more dynamism. And so as not to fall asleep, it is on the secondary network that we will best taste the beauties of Chennai.

The Continental GT on the fast track

Departmental

Here the main qualities of the 650 Twin Interceptor and Continental GT are revealed. It is the latter that gives me the most pleasure. I prefer its "sport" ergonomics, more inclined to make me believe I’m driving a "vintage" Enfield. The classic roadster does not deserve, quite the contrary, its wide handlebars optimizing the ease to switch on the angle. In addition, their closed column angle, 24 ° and a reduced wheelbase, 1,400 mm, give them appreciable liveliness. The two machines are also sensitive to the pressure on the footrests, a pleasant point for precise steering. One feature demonstrating good weight distribution is appreciable agility, greatly facilitated by a 130mm rear tire. And as the Italian compounds heat up in a few kilometers, ensuring flawless grip, it doesn’t take long to push our midsizes to their limits. Far more distant than one might think.

The Continental GT in a corner

Cut to twirl in the small curves of the Californian forests, Interceptor and GT take off at a very good pace. Of course, their cycle part does not make them absolute benchmarks in terms of rigidity, but you really have to abuse them to put them at fault and ride well beyond their claim. Flexible, comfortable, the suspensions correctly filter the defects of the bitumen, becoming drier on the most important compressions.

They lack a bit of agreement when the rhythm increases. But motorcycles are still very healthy. If, by default, it lacks a little rigor on uneven surface in bends, more preloading the springs significantly changes the behavior of the new Enfield. Turning at a single block, the 650 Twins benefit from correct precision, even at a lively pace. A bleeding in the road, full angle, with grip of the front brake does not destabilize the GT in any way. Neither gets up or freezes outrageously when braking in a corner. And you can spin in a big curve at high speed with peace of mind. Admittedly, motorcycles move a little, there is life on board. A personality.

The Interceptor on the road

Just like the one who lives in the Indian twin. What a flavor…. Set at 270 °, the crank pins give an irregular ignition for mechanical character. At 80 km / h, the twin quietly revives the crew on the last gear. A bit tight to try an efficient overtaking. But if we keep the machines beyond 4,500 laps in fourth, it’s a pleasure at all times. Fast-paced, the exhausts strongly underline the dynamic evolutions and the revivals are more lively. Frank, the revs do not let perceive any weakness, up to the breaker. If the power is modest, the mechanical sensations are much greater. When downshifting, the tremors vibrate the air and you can stack gears without fear, the limited-slip clutch avoiding any wheel lock..

In coiled driving, we appreciate the homogeneity of both the GT and the Interceptor. Then again, the fourth gear can do it all, driving the machines with gusto. And Indian mechanics, which does not lack spices, always exude its seductive charm. The relative and pleasant inertia of the moving crew brings this charm lacking in the more pointed midsize engines of Japanese productions..

The Continental GT 650 on a curve

Part-cycle

Simple, but healthy, perfectly designed and adapted, the classic cycle part allows the 650 Twins dynamic evolutions of the first order. Economical, the suspensions do the job, sometimes letting Interceptor and Continental GT live on the corner. No problem. Agility and correct precision for the whole are at the rendezvous.

Royal Enfield 650 rear shock absorber

Braking

Efficient at the usual rate, progressive and sufficiently powerful, the equipment is flawless. On the strongest decelerations, we might want a more demonstrative front caliper. With nearly 215 to 220 kg to stop, so do not hesitate to use the rear brake. The latter is present, easily letting the pilot adjust the pressure, especially in curves. Good setting, ABS intervenes wisely.

Front brake of Royal Enfield 650

Comfort / Duo

If you plan to take Pamela to the coast to wrap up, the Interceptor will be more suitable. Our test Continental GT was fitted with an optional single seat. But, two-seater as standard, it will easily take your conquest, which, in addition, will have to cling to your powerful chest. A good way to heat up the atmosphere before stealing your heart.

For long journeys, I have no reservations about comfort. Our 250 km daily test did not in any way affect our enthusiasm or our foundation.

Consumption

Without being able to make an accurate reading, I estimate the range at 300 kilometers. At least. The gauge seemed reluctant to drop, presaging a great economy in super weighted with taxes. But it will be necessary to confirm this value.

Interceptor 650 tank

Conclusion

What good surprises these new Royal Enfield 650 Twin Interceptor and Continental GT are! Forget everything you knew or thought you knew about the Chennai brand. Without denying his personality, the Indian manufacturer enters the era of modernity, contained, but effective.

The choice of the 600 cm3 segment corresponds, according to the management team, to the desire to fill an existing void in the face of significant demand for simple, affordable and efficient machines. With its production power and the vast supporting Indian market, Royal Enfield can thus offer two quality machines, with identical specifications for the whole world..

Test drive of the Royal Enfield 650 Interceptor

Intended for daily peri-urban use as much as for much more ambitious trips, the stylish Indian roadsters are sure to make established brands cough. We are of course thinking of an English brand, Triumph and its Street Twin asking for € 9,200. But also to the Italians; Moto Guzzi and its V7s starting at € 8,549 and Ducati with the Scrambler 800 Icon at € 9,350. Finally, the Yamaha XSR 700 is exchanged for € 7,999.

Not easy for these brands, because in addition to being successful, the 650 Twins have an unparalleled performance / price ratio: the entry-level Continental GT asks for $ 5,999, the Interceptor $ 5,799. And three-year guarantees !

Not final for France, these figures give an idea of ​​the possible differential. And many variations are possible, including a scrambler. Finally, the mechanics can, without worries, go up to 750 or even 850 cm… .. Let us add that the Royal Enfields are ideal for A2 licenses, motorcycle schools, bikers with little means and those wanting a second solid motorcycle in history. as in mechanics…. that makes strong theoretical sales volumes.

Review of the Royal Enfield 650 Continental GT

On the New World has revealed itself a New World to come…. at a great price. Normal for an old brand of weapons, whose flagship model was the Bullet (bullet) and whose historical base line of its motorcycle production remains: "Made like a gun". What to knock down the market ?

Strong points

  • Strong Continental GT aesthetics
  • Superior Interceptor comfort
  • Engine availability
  • Ideal A2 license
  • Quality erasers
  • Narrow tires
  • Precise and gentle selection
  • Limited slip clutch
  • Flattering sound
  • Overall efficiency
  • Unbeatable performance / price ratio

Weak points

  • A little shy instrument graphics
  • Distorting and vibrating rear-view mirrors
  • Plastic front mudguard

The technical sheet of the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650

The technical sheet of the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

Test conditions

  • Itinerary: winding roads with variable surfaces and expressways
  • Motorcycle mileage: 500 km
  • Problem encountered: low battery

Colors

  • Standard
  • Custom
  • Chromium

Availablity

  • Early 2019

Equipments

  • Standard: Assisted clutch, ABS
  • Optional: single seat, canvas luggage, aluminum parts, S&S exhaust silencer

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28 thoughts on “Royal Enfield 650 Interceptor and Continental GT test

  1. Beautiful motorcycle that deserves success. But

    Why did you reduce the capacity of the tank?

  2. I myself have a Corsaro Veloce: a motorcycle of sensations and emotions!

    We will admire the attention to detail of the tester or Morini motorcycle. The color of the jumpsuit matches the livery of the beauty. Who is the manufacturer?

  3. The decoration of the motorcycle which makes one think of the old ones is quite pretty I think.

    To think that I was thinking of taking one of the first 1200 Corsaro … For every day….

    I think of nothing sometimes. : -}

  4. yum the good ground clearance !!

    A great comeback from this great brand for, I hope, a long time.

  5. Ah it sure makes you want to go a little far and it is reassuring … really successful. After, I stay on the network, the after-sales service, the parts, that’s frankly what dissuades me ” acquire this granny that I guess coupleuse and capable of pretty cool stuff, like a big piece of track after Ouarzazate, where it goes up and it turns (you have to be careful of badgers in 4×4 convoys) there I hurt myself , take

  6. A motorcycle above all designed for aesthetics and style.

    Because from a functional point of view, to make

    all-terrain even quiet:

    – The radiator appears to be very exposed in the event of a fall

    – The inverted fork without any protection will appreciate the stones

    – 119 hp with nipple tires ?!

    – And then 220 kg

  7. You’re right Eljeh … but let’s say that with a few accessories (radiator protection and crankcase protection) you should be able to go a little into the pampas .

    On the other hand, it is true that the reverse, that sucks a little, would need the mini fork sleeves .

    When it comes to weight, it’s still okay when you compare to the grannies in the category (Jeesse-Likouide-Beumeuh and Ixxetaiazedde-Yamama) especially those with the lockers of swimming pool lockers who pushed them around the anus …..

    But hey, I’m not very objective, I find her quite nice …..

  8. I find her downright beautiful.

    In 2014, it will be either this one or the v-strom 1000.

  9. This bike is like frozen nougat. Except that instead of pieces of nougat, there are pieces of Dakar inside (yes I know, deprived of desert and other c *** eries) If yes, look closely ……

  10. 1 Nm less than the electric TS Bravo, according to the mechanics experts who operate here, therefore, it will accelerate less strongly than the latter since "acceleration is torque and power, top speed" 😂

    Beautiful beast otherwise, despite a slightly cracked price it is nice to see models against the tide come out even nowadays.

  11. I don’t find her very beautiful. For me she makes a lot of very expensive parts.

  12. to smile

    I could see a beautiful fork crown around this round headlight, me…

    Reasonable price, easy maintenance, a few accessories like saddlebags or luggage racks, I wonder if these motorcycles would not be my solution in case of too much loss of points.

    Finally, a double disc in the front….

    It is clear that the Ducati, Guzzi, V7 and Triumph will suffer with their crazy prices. So much the better.gnarf

  13. QuoteGodzilla
    question

    5,000 copies of tests…?

    It’s not a lot…?angel

    This is their speech. to smile

    Considering the production power, why not. But we don’t know what that takes into account. They would have done a lot of pre-series…

    QuoteGodzilla
    to smile

    I could see a beautiful fork crown around this round headlight, me…

    Ah, you too… cool

    QuoteGodzilla
    Reasonable price, easy maintenance, a few accessories like saddlebags or luggage racks, I wonder if these motorcycles would not be my solution in case of too much loss of points.

    Finally, a double disc in the front….

    Absolutely. And the front single disc is very sufficient. Truly. Except driving very / too hard.

    QuoteGodzilla
    It is clear that the Ducati, Guzzi, V7 and Triumph will suffer with their crazy prices. So much the better.gnarf

    On. Especially the Guzzi. The Triumphs, they benefit from an unusual finish.

    But it is not the same product. The Enfields are rational where the Triumphs charge dearly for their superior image / finish. Given the purchasing power of most bikers, Indian women have a bright future ahead of them.

  14. > Older Tank

    sorry.

    Sorry to have aroused a communicative enthusiasm for these machines. Any passage to the act cannot be imputed to me.

    The Continental GT is really cool. It will just be necessary to provide a set of optional aluminum mirrors of better quality and the single-seater saddle that we had for the test..

    And, no, not Auto Plus, thank you. There would be two wheels too many. wink

  15. Great, that makes me want to go try it ASAP to smile to smile

    While we’re at it, let’s dream: will it be possible to harness it?

    Philippe

  16. What pleases me is comfort for a

    Sportive, if we are not broke.

    Then maintenance cost at MV.

    In Essonne, who provides maintenance?

  17. There is no need to say, in terms of design the Italians are indestructible👍👍

    The problem is finding a good dealer.

  18. I envisioned an MV Agusta as my next bike. The criteria: not the ultimate thing, but a motorcycle with which the driving character allows you to have fun, to have a good time, without having to weld and wait for 10000rpm to have a burst of emotion..

    Problem: MV Agusta’s old demons still seem to be there. In particular the great difficulty in having spare parts (it is necessary, according to several testimonies, to count in weeks, even in months), and the distribution network making everything more complex.

    And as written above: it’s even more difficult to find a seller who wants to sell.

    Personal experience: 200m away, in Paris, there is a Ducati dealer and an MV. The Ducati dealership: very good contact, we make an appointment to try the V2, he leaves it to me for an hour, and manages to make an appointment for me in Nanterre to test the 939SS that I wanted to compare (ditto, a test hour)

    At MV: already, the salesperson greets me by saying "you, you come to buy a Dragster". Well no, especially not, sorry. But to try an F3 which tempts me very strongly.

    "So the test, no more than 15 minutes"

    Paris, Avenue de la Gde Armee under construction, 15min, what is it, take a tour of Porte Maillot and come back … no, sorry, I’m not buying a scootering scooter to check that it’s running in traffic jams.

    So I did not try.

    And always ask me the question, concerning this magnificent SuperVeloce: apart from its sculptural aesthetic, is the price difference with the Ducati Panigale V2 at € 20,300 + approximately € 1,500 in concession delivery costs (not ugly either? anyway, but more comparable to the F3 aesthetically speaking, and mechanically very fun) sold at € 18,300 excluding promo / commercial gesture (the seller of MV Paris sent me ch ** when I said these words) is justified ?

    Afterwards, I surely had no luck with this dealer, but to find another one, baahhhh …

  19. Yep.

    And not only do the motorcycles look cool, but the article is very well written wink.

  20. It’s really the bike to go out for show off, I had a bobber, it amused me for a while and then I dumped it

  21. This bike is nice but it’s not a Royal Enfield anymore.

    The essence of a motorcycle can be recognized by the shape of its fuel tank. This is what the designers quite rightly say "… it was only when we put the painted tank on the frame that we knew it was the right one. The RE350 project was coming to life!"

    There is a conplex in the West, wanting to make a Royal Enfield look like a Norton or a Triumph.

    The bobobber attitude is the guy who thinks he is racing and finds himself shopping with his Bobber.

  22. Other info JAWA and Perak

    the indians have renewed the myth of JAWA motorcycles

    with two models: the 42 and the Jawa

    There is also a standard bobber,

    the Perak, attractive for 2200 euros.

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    It shows a tendency towards tribal marketing Harley and R.E. style, and individualism. An Americanization to be deplored.

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