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Old 27th April 2019, 22:22   #1
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Default An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

Preface

My fascination for bikes is rather fascinating for me too, as I had always been a car-guy a cager for life and bikes always received step-motherly treatment from me. I bought my Apache RTR 160 more than a decade ago, and I still have very minimal connect with that bike - though it still is in my garage. It was quite vibey and I never really enjoyed long journeys on the Apache. I never knew how to ride a geared two-wheeler back then, so I asked my close friend to test ride the bikes to help me choose a bike. He somehow kept raving about the Apache even though he had a Pulsar himself, so I got the bike. But something was always amiss and I could never really get my biking chapter roll like I wanted to. Driving was second nature to me, and it feels very natural to me to drive a car, somehow riding my Apache never felt that way. All the way from 2008 to 2015, I would probably have ridden 3-4k km at a maximum and I probably would not have ridden any other bike apart from my Apache. As I usually never borrow any automobile from anyone else as a policy.

All was set to change in 2015, when I got bored of my sedentary and rather boring home-office-home lifestyle and decided to hire a Royal Enfield and head out for a 800 km solo trip to attend a friend's wedding. It was in May 2015, so many people tried to turn that idea down. Responses from kith and kin for this trip included "You will get a stroke from this summer heat", "Don't go alone, at least not on your first trip", "Why a Royal Enfield, how would you fix that thing? It breaks down very often", "You are going to faint off", "You must be really stupid!" But I am really fortunate that I did not listen to any of those and still went ahead with that trip. The ergonomics on the Classic 500 were really spot on, and I thoroughly enjoyed that journey, and came back refreshed and rejuvenated. That was also the moment that I realized that I wasn't actually a horrible rider like I used to think, but I actually had a bike that did not really complement the rider in me. I also understood what was that something that I was always missing with the Apache - its the flawed ergonomics that was keeping my unhappy all these years.

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I have to admit that the quality of this image is appalling, but this was during the solo trip that kick-started my two-wheeled revolution

I decided to turn that spark into a fire, and sometime in August 2015 we hired a Harley Davidson Street 750 and a Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 and went out for a 400 km weekend trip from Chennai to Pondicherry. And it took just a few kilometers to learn that the HD Street 750 was not the bike for me, the ergonomics were totally not what I was comfortable with. The Conti GT535 on the other hand felt quite good on the ergonomics front, but the engine left a lot to be desired, especially when accompanying a fast Harley Davidson, the short comings were even more apparent.

The reason why I did not walk into a Royal Enfield store with a cheque book in my hand after the 'enlightening' trip on the Classic 500 was because of this very same reason.. the vibrations At speeds over 85-90 kmph the Classic 500 shook too much, and and triple digit speeds, the bike's composure was being affected because of these impact-drill like vibrations. In comparison, my vibrator (ahem!) Apache's vibes felt like a faint buzz. So I decided to buy a smooth highway mile-muncher to keep that spark alive, and after much online research (Yup, I am a lazy couch potato) I understood that the Duke wont work for me, Classic and Thunderbird 500 were too vibey, the CGT535 has 2 bhp more and also was 2 levels higher on the richter scale for vibrations, and there were not too many options in my budget, so I settled for a used CBR 250R. I also got to know my riding preference over the years, and a high-strung machine was not my cup of tea. I enjoy low rpm, smooth rides over long distances the most, and revving a bike to get moving was not my comfort zone.

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-cbr.jpg
I never realized that there was a camouflaged XUV300 in the background until today!!

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En-route to Kolli hills sometime in June 2018

Till date I have covered more than 22k kms on the CBR and it is a very nice all-rounder that is also very reliable, I had my first big crash while astride the CBR, and though I ended up broken, the CBR came out unscathed and was ridden back home by a colleague, and worked well about 45 days after the crash when I was fit enough to ride it. Astonishing, that thing could face a nuclear explosion and still keep riding, I thought to myself. The Japanese sure are the masters of such reliable petrol motors, I tip my hat to those hard working engineers back in Japan

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-cbr-ridef.jpg
An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-cbr2.jpg
With love, from the land of the rising sun

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Old 27th April 2019, 22:59   #2
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Default re: An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

The Royal itch:

Despite having a very dependable, smooth, highway capable CBR 250R at home, my heart still yearned for a Royal Enfield. It is like having a very good, caring, supportive, dependable and responsible wife who does everything for you without raising a ruckus and still thinking of your notoriously naggy and shor-tempered ex-girl friend It seems stupid to the mind, but the heart doesn't know all that logic. All shortcomings known, the Royal Enfield still had a soul and character that the CBR could only dream of. Even today, if I someone asks me what my best 10 seconds of riding is, my memory instantly goes to that slow thump-thump-thump ride I did on a deserted lane beside the beach in Pondicherry on that Classic 500. Enfields are over-priced and that is because Royal Enfield charges a good amount for the charisma their motorcycles have - I convinced myself.

And late 2015 is when we started to hear rumours about a 750cc twin cylinder motorcycle from Royal Enfield. There was a raging fire in me the moment I grasped that idea, well why not? a neatly balanced twin cylinder engine is all that is needed to make the Classic a complete package. There was also a picture on our forum where people were all debating if it was a mod-job or if actually as RE waking up and getting serious with a twin cylinder engine. But I set my heart on that motorcycle.

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The Enfield Twin dream:
Believe it or not, I fell in love with that idea right there and decided that I will buy that motorcycle whenever it gets launched. I started saving up and frequented that very thread so many times and kept checking online if there was some news about that upcoming bike. And even before I got engaged, I told me then-fiance that I was saving up for an expensive bike, which would be my third bike, and she should not have any complaints about it later. I got married, and my wife used to keep asking me every once in a while if that bike had launched. When the Himalayan launched, she asked me again, I said no it wasn't it. Se again asked when the Thunderbird 350X and 500X launched, then when Himalayan Sleet launched, then the Pegasus, then the Signals, then the Bullet ES, oh come on Royal Enfield - for God's sake launch the twin already I used to keep thinking all this while. It was getting tougher and tougher for me to explain my wife, than actually wait for RE to launch the bike Finally towards the middle of 2017 some spy pictures started dripping in from Spain, and the thread got active here on team-bhp yet again. Then in November 2017 Royal Enfield finally made some announcement to clear the air, and the twins were unveiled to the world. Phew, it was like a mother meeting her child after 9 months of dreaming, just that my wait was a lot longer. I was a bit disappointed that RE chose to reuse lot of bits from the CGT 535 like the lighting kit, the instrument console, wheels, switch-gear and lot of other visual bits. I felt RE put a foot wrong by giving its flagship models lesser kit that its own stablemates the Himalayan and the Thunderbird.

But the agonizing wait to the launch still continued, and the press release from the EICMA in November 2017 said the bikes should be available in April or May 2018. Sometime in February 2018 I got very impatient and got the 2D scale model of the Interceptor - no idea why I did that though, it was a rather impulsive buy. Maybe I bought it because I had already saved up enough money for the Interceptor, but the scale model was the only thing I could actually buy.

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-interceptor-2d.jpg

Then news of delays and more delays kept adding insult to my injury, but at least the Enfield twins thread on our forum was active and engaging in conversations and debates with lot of Enfield owners, lovers and haters kept my spirit going. It might seem like I am exaggerating, but I actually used to go online, google for "Interceptor 650" and filter for results in the last 24 hours for daily (maybe hourly) updates while I kept waiting. Finally found out that the media rides had been planned for September 2017 in California. I mopped up almost all the reviews that came out, and then soaked in the key words from those reviews while still waiting for the Indian launch to happen. I had also decided on the Baker Express colour with the limited pictures I could find of that colour.

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-baker-express12.jpg
One of the earliest images of the Baker Express colour that I found on the internet.
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An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-baker-express6.jpg  


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Old 27th April 2019, 23:42   #3
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Default re: An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

The Interceptor Chapter:

Though my Interceptor decision was taken years before Royal Enfield even unveiled it, the actual story of my Baker Express Interceptor began when I booked it on 19th November, 5 days after launch. I had to wait 5 days to book mine, as I wanted to book my Interceptor at my home town Coimbatore. The reason might sound silly, but since I grew up in Coimbatore seeing TN-37 on all of our vehicle's number plates I wanted to book it there and get that particular registration. So I took a bus and went there for the weekend and made my booking that weekend, and they told me the bike should be delivered by end of January or the beginning of February, and I was fine with that. I felt relieved, as I finally could answer my wife regarding my bike purchase

And while I made my booking, the Coimbatore dealership did not even have a display vehicle back then, forget about test ride bikes. So after reaching Chennai, I visited two different RE dealerships and both of them offered long test rides and very extremely welcoming and courteous even though I told them upfront that I had a booking back in Coimbatore, and I was visiting just for a test ride. Many car dealerships can take a leaf out of RE's marketing and sales teams to improve their dealership experience. Full marks to the sales teams and the dealership experiences at all the three different place I had been to.

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-interceptor-1.jpg
When Bullet Singh visited the Royal Enfield company store in Adyar, Chennai to get a feel of the Interceptor

Having read lot of feedback about the foot-peg issue on our forum, I went in with that in mind and I somehow re-calibrated and never had an issue after the first 2-3 km of knowing what is where. I took test rides of both the Interceptor and the Continental GT 650, but I din't really take the bikes anywhere near their limits. I also hated the hooligan crowd of customers at the dealership that was revving the nuts off the bikes and creating quite a racket while at it. But I thanked Rudra Motors at Arumbakkam for the extended test rides without any limitations and returned home a happy man.

I fell in love with it even before I had heard the name, I decided to buy even before I saw the motorcycle was unveiled, started saving up before RE finished testing it, decided the colour even before they launched the bike, and also booked it off even before I saw one in person.

So, understandably it was a little unsettling for me to read the food peg issues and other critic reviews on our forum. So when I finally took a test ride and felt comfortable with the way the Interceptor complemented me, I felt rather relieved. And so, I decided to hold on to my booking. But the deliveries of custom colours were taking time and the Orange bikes were being delivered first. Later when they started delivering the Ravishing Red colour, I was in two minds and almost changed my booking to that one. But since I already had two red bikes in my garage, I decided to stick with Baker Express to keep the garage interesting.

On the 20th of March I got a call from the Royal Enfield Store in Coimbatore that they have received few Baker Express Interceptors and that I can make the full payment to make one of them my own. The entire process was handled really smoothly, I requested for a particular number - 6889, and they told me the list of documents they require to get the registration done, and I sent them over through courier as I was in Chennai. And then transferred the money to Royal Enfield's account directly and shared a screenshot to get the invoicing done. Then they also got the registration activity completed on the second week of April, and told me the bike was ready for delivery. I visited the dealership yard and took delivery on the 12th of April. Met 2-3 different people at the yard, where each one had a set of procedures or do's and don'ts to explain about the motorcycle and riding in general. It was quite elaborate and would've helped a noob, but it was repetitive for me - like engine specifications, the fuel injection routine, etc., come on guys - I had memorized these specs long long ago, just let me ride! And since my wife was accompanying me, she got her special instructions on foot placement and how to avoid the exhaust heat, how to get on the bike, etc.

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-trip-starts-here.jpg
And, finally we took off! But there was no cake cutting, or no glitter and glam like you see on this picture. It is photo-shopped, and the glitter you see on this image is as fake as my sunglasses in the image.

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-baker-t_c3.jpg
I made myself a custom t-shirt with this image I modified, to wear on the special day. Now you scrolled-up to have a closer look at my T shirt from the photo above didn't you?

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-img20190412wa0034-1.jpg
My lovely little niece was much more excited about the motorcycle delivery than me

I had taken a week off from work to go get my dream, and I had to return to office in a week. So I had a target to achieve, I had to complete the 500 km, get the first service done and then slowly ride back to Chennai - as the run-in instructions on the owner's manual extends to 2,000 km. Also, since it was not advisable to keep the engine on the same rpm or keep riding long hours in one go, I decided to explore the outskirts of Coimbatore through the charismatic country roads with breaks every now and then (which also allowed good time to take some decent pictures). So, every morning I would set out and cover about 100 km on the odo and return with some lovely pictures, wearing a nice smile after my breezy morning ride. I really wish I could break the routine monotony in my life, take a break and ride my heart out before I get too old and health issues along with family commitments come and get the better of me. A ride all the way to Leh-Ladakh from Chennai has been on my bucket list for sometime now, lets see what the future holds.

Riding, to me, is simply a much better way to live

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-img20190416wa0024.jpg
Taken while on my maiden 'two-up ride' on the Interceptor with my wife.

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Old 1st May 2019, 21:08   #4
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Default re: An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

As a review, I will try to stay away from the generic points that most of the reviews have already beaten to death and beyond.
And, I promise I won't exclaim "This is the best Royal Enfield ever" as that is a very stupid thing to say, and I find this phrase from too many reviews. Its like saying that a particular cake is the best from a certain bakery, which means nothing to the customer, if the bakery next door makes better cakes for the price! Moreover, that is what any flagship has to be anyway - better than the line-up that it leads.

I strongly believe that what a person finds good or bad in any product is hugely influenced by where the person comes from. As a CBR and Apache owner, the Interceptor is quick, smooth and with very relaxed ergonomics to me. But it might be not-so-quick and with sportier yet flawed ergonomics to a Duke 390 owner.

The Good bits:

> Powertrain:
It is certainly the star of the show, and rightly so. The power delivery is very linear and smooth and is also very satisfying to ride through the revs. However, it is not 'zero-vibe' as many reviews claim it to be. Whoever calls is completely free of vibrations should have been wearing really thick gloves, or have a weak sensory system! The Interceptor still has some buzz on the bars at certain engine rpms and that annoyingly is at 80 in 6th gear, so 90 is a much more comfortable spot to be cruising in. And there is ample torque everywhere in the usable rpm range.

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> Ride Quality:
After riding the CBR250R, the soft suspension setup on the Interceptor is a welcome change. Most potholes that would shock me while on the CBR or the Apache are dispatched without escalating to the rider's notice. I am sure that the soft seat too has a role to play here in cushioning the rider. But since the rider sits almost upright, bumps cause a lot of vertical movement. And since I have not ridden on three digit speed extensively, I have no clue about the high-speed shortcomings that the experienced reviewers had mentioned about in their reviews.

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> Brakes:
Though I am not a rider who squeezes the brakes often, there was one particular occasion where a truck in front of me hit the brakes hard to save a stray dog, and since the truck had no working brake lights I lost crucial reaction time to even reach for the brakes. But the Interceptor dropped anchors and shed speed rapidly to 'almost' stop in time. I had to change my line and I stopped beside the truck, not behind it though - but that was more because I did not tug the brake lever hard enough, as this is my first ABS two wheeler. Maybe I have to re-calibrate while riding the Interceptor, and more importantly not learn ABS inspired braking and carry it onto my other bikes!

The Could-have-been-Better:

> Transmission:
I have covered almost 1200 km as I write this review, but I still cannot take my mind off the gear ratios whenever I am cruising. There is literally no difference between the 5th and the 6th gears. I mean, 6th could have been much taller with the sort of torque that the engine produces. It would have definitely made the highway cruise much more calmer and that much better too.

Figure this out - 3000 rpm is 5th gear is 70 km/hr, and 3000 rpm in 6th gear is 75 km/hr ! Its that unnecessarily close. For comparison 5000 rpm in 5th and 6th gears on the CBR is 70 & 80 km/hr. And since the difference in the gear ratios is so tiny, there is not enough sensory points to pick-up and get a feel of the gear like you would. I have ridden bikes where 4th and 5th are close, but the 6th usually brings a sense of calm and makes the rider realize they are in the highest gear. Not so with this Interceptor.

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> The instrument console:
I miss the gear position indicator. While all reviews pointed this out, I thought that was just nit-picking as my CBR with 6 gears never had one and I never really missed one too. So I thought I would never actually miss this feature. But since the gear ratios are so close, there is no sensory difference between the gears, so many a times, I would be cruising smoothly at say 80 km/hr and the rpm would be on the slightly higher side, and I would then realize that I am not yet in 6th! Very confusing.

I miss the clock too. I usually keep a track of time and distance to go and run several calculations and iterations while on the highway. But now there is not scope for all that. And with my riding jacket and gloves on, even my watch hides at times, keeping me guessing. Looking at the sun and taking a guess at the time is proper old-school (stone-age actually!)

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And, I also have only a vague idea of the speed I am doing. On digital displays its more like 63, 77, 81, etc., but now it is more like yeah 60 something, 80 something, etc. Its not a concern, but just getting used to the old-times again.

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-analogue-clocks.jpg
All said, I still love these analog gauges and the cool-white back-lit console. It adds a nice flavour to the retro-theme of the motorcycle.

> Ergonomics:
I had already re-calibrated while the test-ride so the foot pegs are not an issue anymore and I like the slight bent-forward position to reach the handle bars too, quite sporty without being demanding at all. What I have an issue with, is the clutch actuation bit on the huge engine cover, the shin of my leg occasionally makes contact with it and it is quite bothersome whenever I use the rear brake lever.

Ergonomics for the pillion is a disaster, and anyone over 5 and a half feet will not be able to sit behind for a long ride. My wife did not complain after a 110 km ride, but I am guessing that is because of the new bike enthusiasm and the energy she had for the ride. I don't think she will tag along for too many rides on the Interceptor - which is a good thing for me, as I like riding alone. But with the torque wave and the low seating point for the pillion, it feels far more natural to carry a pillion on the Interceptor than on the CBR where you definitely feel the pillion affecting the dynamics of the bike.

> Equipment:
I cannot understand how Royal Enfield decided to skip lots of modern equipment for their flagship offering. Don't get me wrong, I am not asking for ride-by-wire, traction control or other fancy equipment, but for relatively humble kit. The Thunderbird gets LED DRL rings with projector headlamps and LED tail lights, the Thunderbird X gets alloy wheels, the Himalayan gets LED lights too, along with a much better looking and much better specified instrument cluster. I understand the cost aspect of the business, but why not give these things as an option or have a different variant. Like say VXi and ZXi, let the customer choose what he wants. They played it out well with the 'Pure riding' and back to the basics kind of marketing and sold it off to the media, but come on its not as if the LED tail lamp was going to make the riding experience impure anyway! They really could have nailed the market with a well-equipped Interceptor ZXi IMHO.

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The Ugly bit:

Actually not with the product, but with the service experience. At the first service, they wanted to change the cylinder head gasket - at least that is what the service advisor explained to me. And since I trusted them, I did not object or complain about it. And the morning after getting the bike back from service, both my Interceptor and me were left fuming on the road !! There was an oil leak from the cylinder head that was dripping onto the exhaust, burning there and fuming wildly when I parked the motorcycle after riding a few kilometers, to take few photos.

So I had to ride back to the service centre, sit there for an hour and get the issue sorted. The excuse given to me was that the trained technician who usually works on the twin was not available. Not acceptable, what if he quits his job? Why should the customer suffer for the dealership's lack of trained technicians? Besides, it wasn't a unique issue it was routine servicing. I did not buy that excuse.

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-1555653535897.jpg
This left me fuming, and with a bitter first experience for RE's service

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Candid click by one of my closest buddies, while I was finding the source of the white smoke. He saw me while on his way to office, and thought I had parked by the road and admiring my new acquisition. He owns a Classic 500 Desert Storm, he really should have known better about the 'Enfield experience'

Few key observations:

Royal Enfield had 360 degrees to choose from to put an ugly screw that secures the headlamp to the housing. And they chose to put it bang at the centre, on top to spoil the view for the rider!
An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-ugly-screw.jpg
Its hard to un-see this screw, once you notice it

The rear brake lever is strangely the same as the gear shift lever. Not seen on any other bike so far, and I presume that this could be one of the cost-cut measures they would have used to arrive at the mouth-watering price tag.

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This is the gear shift lever, looks quite normal

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And this is the rear brake lever! Quite strange eh?

This is Royal Enfield's attempt to prevent the rusting of the exhaust tips that was reported from the initial batches. I noticed the rusting on the test ride motorcycles.

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-left-exhaust.jpg
They managed to do an okay job to cover up the left exhaust port

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-right-exhaust.jpg
But failed to cover the right exhaust outlet, and when I pointed this to the service centre during first service they missed to get it addressed. And now I have rust on my one-month old Interceptor!

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-exhaust-coating.jpg
A look at the coating applied on all the weld areas on the large chrome exhausts

And then there is this unpleasant looking gap on the top triple clamp, that also shows the screws holding it on the inside. Hopefully it wont start rusting later in life.

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-console-gap.jpg
Looks closely and you even see small tampering marks, and I swear I din't do them!

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-centre-console-gap.jpg
It is there on the centre of the triple clamp too. Enfield could certainly have done better here

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-clutch-thingy.jpg
I have no clue what this thing is supposed to do. I assume it is to hold that clutch cable screw mechanism in place and prevent it from unscrewing itself.

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-grip-texture.jpg
Many have complained, but I quite like this knurled finish on the grip, and I mostly ride with my gloves anyway. So it helps me grip better

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-seat.jpg
A closer look at the quilted seat which is as soft as a bean bag

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-seat-branding.jpg
This subtle branding at the rear of the seat mostly goes unnoticed. Royal Enfield could have used some white stitching and put their logo a bit bigger to make full advantage of that seat's contours and market themselves

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-indicator.jpg
Yes, the indicators are not befitting of a bike costing almost 3 lakhs. But we pay for that engine, not for the indicators - evidently.


An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-img_0257.jpg
The glorious twin-cylinder dream of an engine that we paid for..

Last edited by aravind.anand : 25th May 2019 at 16:50.
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Default re: An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

Some photos and riding moments, that I think are worthy of being shared on team-bhp...

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-rain.jpg
I might have gone overboard with the post processing and killed the charm of the above photo, but the photo evokes fond memories in my mind. This was during my ride from Coimbatore to Chennai. It was just another hot summer afternoon and suddenly, out of no where came clouds and then they rumbled and thundered and started pouring. I ran for cover t protect my mobile and camera, and took shelter under a small thatched roof of a shop, quickly two other guys on a bike stopped near me and came running to join me for shelter. Seeing us three folks, a gentleman who owned a small shop nearby came forward and invited us to his shop as the rain showed no signs of stopping. The possibly uneducated gentleman asked if I was riding the Jawa, I said no it was one of the Enfields, the Interceptor. He then asked about the fuel efficiency, I told him it is just about 25-28 kmpl, to which he replied that Jawa returns a similar figure too. I nodded and then said it was quite low for a 300 cc, that is when he corrected me and told the Jawa was 297cc. I was shocked, as I did not expect this number crunching from an unassuming puncture shop owner in the middle of nowhere! And soon all 4 of us started chatting away and we had nice conversations for about 2 hours with the rain playing background music. Later when the rain ceased, we bid adieu and set off once again, on our ways again. This unpredictability is the beauty of travelling on two-wheels. In a car, I would have switched the wipers on, changed to a nice melodious song to go well with the rainy weather and simply carried on... Missing such beautiful moments and memories. That is where bike rides are special, they create such strong memories that evoke a smile when you turn back and relive such moments.

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-56437538_359497204916117_2933740505312253743_n.jpg
Such a beautiful sight, no? It was even better from under that thatched roof enjoying the shower and the chill-breeze, while trying not to get drenched

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-img20190420wa0010.jpg
This was on a sunny summer afternoon en-route to Chennai, and unbelievably, this was few moments before the cloud cover came up and poured cats and dogs to cool down the summer heat

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-57134540_132150691186503_7528708891577745117_n.jpg
Look carefully, and you will spot a gorgeous peacock in full flight in the background!

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-sportsday.jpg
It is an unforgivable sin to ride around Coimbatore, and not visit the mecca of auto-enthusiasts in this part of the country - The Kari Motor Speedway

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-img_0132.jpg
If you have visited Coimbatore, you would have most probably seen this colourful bridge across Avinashi road. I have walked across this bridge a million times during my college days :')

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Breezy morning rides to the beach, this is precisely what Royal Enfield had envisioned for the Interceptor

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-beac-rear.jpg
The twin exhausts might look pretty huge and obtrusive, but the way they sound would most certainly make you fall in love with them

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-sunnyride.jpg
Don't you think Royal Enfield would be proud of this photo?

Overall, the Interceptor, does have its share of flaws along with its longer list of positives. But I strongly believe that one must have a positive outlook to get used to the shortcomings and learn to appreciate the good points. That to me will make life simpler and joyful, instead of looking at the flaws and brooding over them. So, I have fallen in love with my Anglo-Indian lady love "Mayo" and I hope we explore several new roads, cities and places together and create memories and stories which can evoke a small smile when I relive them decades later as an old man on a rocking chair

And if you have reached all the way to this line, then I wholeheartedly thank you for your time, patience and also the enthusiasm you have shown towards this review.

Last edited by GTO : 27th May 2019 at 08:10. Reason: Taking live
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Old 27th May 2019, 08:15   #6
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Default Re: An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Motorcycle Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 27th May 2019, 09:44   #7
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Default Re: An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

Let me be the first one on Team-BHP to congratulate you on your latest acquisition. Quite frankly, having known you for a while, its as surprising for me as it was for you to discover that you had this passionate rider in you, having personally heard from you the woes and fears of riding your RTR that I still remember when you bought your Bluebolt (1.6S and BTW how less is she taken out now ), and I cannot be more pleased. There's nothing to bring more happiness to your life than having your heart-sold automobile bought and parked in your garage and to give it that last look before you leave, with a smile that doesn't fade away for the next few hrs.

Wishing you several miles of smiles on your Interceptor 650 and I hope to have a ride along next time we have a chance to meet up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aravind.anand View Post
[And if you have reached all the way to this line, then I wholeheartedly thank you for your time, patience and also the enthusiasm you have shown towards this review.

Well, the subtle humor that you've flavoured in your thread (along with those meme pics) quite ensures each reader is entertained till the end.

Cheers,
Vijay
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Old 27th May 2019, 10:18   #8
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Default Re: An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

Congrats on the bike!

Well written review with a nice dose of humour! Love the Baker Express colour option, and is quite a refreshing change from the Orange that seems to be the most popular colour option, by far.

Quote:
Ergonomics for the pillion is a disaster, and anyone over 5 and a half feet will not be able to sit behind for a long ride.
Something almost every Interceptor owner is complaining about! Wonder how RE messed up so bad in this, considering the fact that the Bullet was always considered to be one of the best bikes for pillion comfort.
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Old 27th May 2019, 10:40   #9
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Default Re: An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

Enjoyed reading your post with its occasional bursts of humour. I believe the interceptor was bottoming out at humps and now gets an extra ring. They're doing this fix for all owners.
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Old 27th May 2019, 11:31   #10
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Default Re: An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

Quote:
Originally Posted by vvijay View Post
Let me be the first one on Team-BHP to congratulate you on your latest acquisition.
.
.
There's nothing to bring more happiness to your life than having your heart-sold automobile bought and parked in your garage and to give it that last look before you leave, with a smile that doesn't fade away for the next few hrs.

Wishing you several miles of smiles on your Interceptor 650 and I hope to have a ride along next time we have a chance to meet up.

Well, the subtle humor that you've flavoured in your thread (along with those meme pics) quite ensures each reader is entertained till the end.
Thank you Vijay, yes we should meet up soon

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Congrats on the bike!

Well written review with a nice dose of humour! Love the Baker Express colour option, and is quite a refreshing change from the Orange that seems to be the most popular colour option, by far.
Thank you, as Interceptor reviews and the technical specs are available everywhere, I wanted to keep it short and not bore everybody with yet another 'me-too' review.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebring View Post
Enjoyed reading your post with its occasional bursts of humour. I believe the interceptor was bottoming out at humps and now gets an extra ring. They're doing this fix for all owners.
Thank you. As I have not yet reached triple digit speeds, and since I am over-cautious over bad roads with the new bike, I have not bottomed her out yet. But by default, RE sends the Interceptor out with the softest setting on the dampener, as you can see in the image below. So maybe bumping it up should also help.

An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650-rear-shocks.jpg
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Old 27th May 2019, 11:43   #11
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Default Re: An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

Congrats Aravind! And thanks for the entertaining review!

Quote:
Originally Posted by aravind.anand View Post
I have no clue what this thing is supposed to do. I assume it is to hold that clutch cable screw mechanism in place and prevent it from unscrewing itself.
Strangely, a Interceptor owner I met at the One Ride event said the clutch cable screw in his bike somehow unscrews itself every 100 kms even with this stopper thingy in place and he had to adjust the screw every time to reset the clutch lever free play. The RE service center wanted him to leave the bike with them for few days to diagnose the root cause.
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Old 27th May 2019, 13:34   #12
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Default Re: An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

Quote:
Originally Posted by Torino View Post
Strangely, a Interceptor owner I met at the One Ride event said the clutch cable screw in his bike somehow unscrews itself every 100 kms even with this stopper thingy in place and he had to adjust the screw every time to reset the clutch lever free play. The RE service center wanted him to leave the bike with them for few days to diagnose the root cause.
That is absolute BS, leaving the motorcycle for "a few days" to solve such a petty issue.

Usually the spiral adjuster shown in the picture is two separate pieces hence it allows you to lock them against each other which prevents them from coming loose.

Recently manufacturers are completely skipping the adjuster at the lever to cut costs I believe, RE seems to have taken a unique route and combined both adjusters into one piece and fabricated a stopper for it, makes no sense but I guess they had their reasons.

A quick fix would be to simply screw the adjuster all the way in and set freeplay at the crankcase. Better that than have to fiddle with the thing every now and then, especially when an average interstate run would be over 500kms at the least.

Also I'd suggest you guys to get a clutch lever boot, thing barely costs 20/- and is universal. But improves clutch cable life drastically on motorcycles that spend a majority of their lives of the interstates.

@Aravind, Congratulations!!!

And better to not let those guys fiddle with the head cover, I doubt these guys use a torque wrench and that is one place you would not want to manhandle considering aluminum construction.

Cheers,
A.P.

Last edited by ashwinprakas : 27th May 2019 at 13:35.
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Old 27th May 2019, 14:14   #13
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Default Re: An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

Congratulations Auto on your new acquisition. I never knew there was such a fantastic writer in you for so many years. I always admired your blue bolt and the red CBR. I also knew that this review was long coming as I stalked you quite a bit on instagram.

The engine oil leak from the head and many more you would face during your ownership are part and parcel of Royal Enfield package. However, I am sure, this will never fail to make you grin after every long ride of yours.

Wish you a million happy miles before you finish saving up for the next one!
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Old 27th May 2019, 15:32   #14
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Default Re: An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

First, Congratulations on your ride, Aravind!!

Excellent review on the interceptor, with right mix of humor. I enjoyed reading it till the end.

Was there an oil leak from the cylinder head? Why did the adviser recommended to change the gasket? I own a 7 year Classic 350 clocked some 80K miles, My Advice - never believe the words of the RE service advisers. I wont ask them to touch anything unless it is necessary.

Enjoy the Ride!
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Old 27th May 2019, 16:59   #15
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Default Re: An Anglo-Indian Love Affair: My Baker Express Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

Congratulations on the latest acquisition, Aravind! Since I was also following the other RE Twins thread closely, I know how keenly you have been waiting for the day. Wishing you many more trouble-free rides on your Anglo-Indian Mayo!

Your report was an interesting read with those occasional memes and the humor thrown in. I loved the picture of your bike in the rains. Absolute bliss! Baker Express is one of my favorite color on the interceptor too.

And lastly, thanks again for the pictures from Coimbatore. I have a lot of memories associated with that place as well.

Ride Safe,
R-Six
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