Royal Enfield motorcycles have enjoyed extreme popularity, owing to classic looks, reliability, inexpensive to maintain and because of that traditional RE thump that came from the torquey single-cylinder engines. Now though, Royal Enfield is set to introduce a new generation of motorcycles that will be powered by a parallel twin. The objective of the recently unveiled 650cc air-cooled parallel twin, as Royal Enfield says, is to develop a global platform that would carry the Royal Enfield legacy and character into modern context. The brand has clarified that this engine would deliver smooth and unintimidating performance. The engine has been tuned to deliver torque across the rev range, allowing the new RE motorcycle to have a ride as smooth and stable as that of current generation, without having to shift too much even at low speeds.
The new unit is a four-stroke, single overhead cam, air-cooled, 648cc parallel twin cylinder engine, developed by Royal Enfield’s UK Technology Centre and Chennai teams. The new engine produces 47 bhp at 7,100 rpm and 52 Nm at 4,000 rpm, which is considerably higher than that delivered by the current 500cc engine at 27 bhp and 41 Nm.
While Royal Enfield customers in India have seldom had complaints of less power from their 500cc motorcycles, more power will always be welcome. Use of big engine displacement was one of the reasons why RE has been so popular in India, and now the interest would only get higher. According to a report on Overdrive, Royal Enfield will be unveiling two motorcycles with the new powertrain at EICMA. The one seen in the image below and we’ve seen a cafe racer version being tested as well.
If reports are to be believed, the new motorcycle may be called the ‘Interceptor’. The new engine will not only add more oomph to the power figures but also to the motorcycles’ overall personality as the twin pipes and the cooling fins on the classic air-cooled engine will add to its visual impact as well.
The fuel injection fuel system, a compression ratio of 9:5:1 and a six-speed gearbox ensure a broad spread of torque across the revs and power that is accessible. A first for Royal Enfield is a single-piece forged crankshaft, with a 270-degree firing order, which handles torque from the two cylinders.
The entire platform, including the engine and chassis, has undergone rigorous testing during the development programme. It has been subjected to lab and bench tests, in addition to being tested on proving grounds, race tracks and public roads.
The new 650cc motorcycle is expected to break cover at the EICMA Motorcycle Show to be held in Milan on 7th November. The new RE motorcycle had been spied while on test several times in India and was speculated to be powered by a 750cc, however, the brand has clarified otherwise. The motorcycle is said to be in pre-production stage and is likely to launch in India by April 2018.
Now, a scenario this will give rise to is that our market has a 750cc motorcycle with cruiser styling and throttle response that is smooth and unintimidating – Harley-Davidson Street 750. The entry-level Harley motorcycle is slightly more powerful than the upcoming RE by some 6 bhp, and carries a price tag of about Rs 5 lakh. The 650cc Royal Enfield is expected to be priced under Rs 4 lakh, which would give it an edge in the segment. But let’s not draw conclusions before the brand puts a price tag on it.
It had been quite long Royal Enfield motorcycles received a refresh and the new engine will bring about a revolution of refined motorcycles in the brand’s portfolio. Both Royal Enfield and Harley-Davidson have a huge iconic value and it may just that much difficult to pick one of the two if the prices aren’t set very apart. But then, Royal Enfield has risen to a strong cult following in India. This country is steadily growing up in terms of taste in motorcycles and now has types of motorcyclists. There are sports, adventure and cruiser type and then there are riders who are self-proclaimed ‘Royal Enfield type’. How do you beat these kinds of odds?