Can the Interceptor 650 be transformed into an off-road motorcycle?

My other bikes include a BMW G 310 GS and Hero Xpulse hence my riding style has been tuned accordingly.

BHPian nasirkaka recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Can the Interceptor be modified as an off-roader?

Let's see...

Some years back, I was in the same dilemma. I had bought an Interceptor and I always desired it to be a bit more versatile. My other bikes being 310 GS and Xpulse, my riding style was tuned accordingly, for eg, raising my butt and riding over broken patches, where the Interceptor in stock had its share of limitations. Over time, I have managed to make some mods which have helped my cause. Will try and share them here just in case they are helpful to others.


The biggest pain point of Interceptor is its stock suspension. It does ok on good roads, but take it on badly broken roads and one can feel the smallest of undulations, esp if one is spoilt by the long-travel suspension of bikes like Zpulse/GS. Imported suspension upgrades like YSS / OHLINS are very expensive and are more tuned towards precision in handling and less on comfort.

We tried playing around with the front suspension with Himalayan springs, suspension oil of various grades, spacer lengths etc and finally settled with the front suspension kit from way-2-speed. This kit comprises of preload adjuster, a new set of longer springs with variable compression, thicker oil, 15mm spacer to increase suspension travel. The kit did help with improving the front suspension as well as raising the front end, increasing the ground clearance. But that was a job only half done, as there was nothing much available for the rear suspension for a reasonable price.

Until recently where a friend experimented with swapping suspension from CB350 on his Interceptor. I rode his bike, liked it and went for the same (think I had posted about this some months back). Now with the rear suspension from the CB350, and the front from Kit from way-2-speed, the bike is much more comfortable over bad-broken roads and ends my hunt for a suspension upgrade.


2nd major issue I had with Interceptor was riding geometry / ergonomics esp while standing and riding trails. Many experiments were tried over time with various handlebars, risers, seat mods, pegs etc. Now the bike feels as comfortable and upright as a GS while sitting or saddling.

The setup is a 2" pivot riser + a taller pull-back handlebar and lowering of foot peg position by 40 mm. Lowering of foot-peg was a bit challenging where I fabricated the new setup taking Himalayan pegs as a base and making brackets etc. Been a couple of years and touch-wood, it's all been holding well. A flat and wider seat with a forward slope reduced also helps. I feel there is some more scope to further improve the seat for all-day riding comfort.


This is a big issue if one is riding off the road. AEW exhaust helped me shed 6-7 kgs. I could clearly make out the difference when I installed them first. Bike felt much lighter and flick-able. I have also not installed too many heavy accessories like saddle stays etc, which helps keep the weight in check.


I have converted the tyre setup to Tubeless and have been using Timsun tubeless dual sport tyres. They are good for on road as well as on trails. Taller tyre profile also helps with further bumping the GC.


Interceptor is a bike where the center of mass is towards the lower side, which is good to have. The torquey nature of the engine also helps off the road, where the engine is much more tractable. Don't need to frequently shift gears.


So with all these mods over the last few years, can Interceptor work as an offroader? The answer is a restricted yes. It can do trails, bad roads, no roads, gravel, etc fairly well in good control and comfort. But when it comes to gnarly technical trails, high angle ascents and descents with loose stones gravel, etc I would not dare attempt them, whereas I could give it try on my Xpulse.

The mods have definitely solved my purpose, where I can stand and ride for long on badly broken roads, don't have to slow down on speed breakers, etc. Also not to mention the fact that I have been subjecting the bike to a fair bit of torture by going hard over undulations, jumping speed breakers, and the bike's been mechanically holding well. Hope it continues that way.

All in all, I am very happy with the bike now as it complements my requirements well.

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