The Royal Enfield 650 twins will soon be joined by a third family member in the form of a cruiser
The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650 duo quickly earned a reputation for being excellent value for money, not just in India but also in several international markets. They are positioned at the affordable end of the medium displacement spectrum and have been playing a crucial role in boosting RE’s brand image in the international scene.
No more Pirelli tyres
Both 650 cc motorcycles came equipped with Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp tyres as factory fitment, forming an important part of their overall appeal. However, we have learnt that Royal Enfield has quietly switched to CEAT tyres of same dimensions since November 2020. This change has been confirmed by a few dealers, as well as RE 650 Twins’ owners across India. Hat tip to Vignesh for sharing this update.
It is to be noted that Pirelli doesn’t have a production facility in India and hence the tyres need to be imported. Given the extraordinary disruption in international logistics effected by the ongoing pandemic, Royal Enfield’s decision to switch to CEAT tyres could be driven by supply chain constraints.
It is also possible that the switch was made in an attempt to compensate for rising input costs. The price difference between the Pirelli and CEAT tyres is estimated to be considerable.
That said, the tyre swap need not necessarily mean a bad thing. Obviously, CEAT brand does not enjoy the same admiration from enthusiasts as its compatriot Pirelli, but its been a few months since the swap and we would have picked up on it earlier if the customers had any grievances with the overall performance.
As per Abdul Raheman, who owns a new 650 Interceptor with CEAT tyres, “the CEAT tyres are of soft compound and gives Great grip. They also offer good grip in wet conditions as Pirelli. I’ve completed 1,200 kms and still great grip, and never lost confidence at higher speeds and ghats.”
New Royal Enfield 650 cruiser coming
As you know, Royal Enfield is working on adding a third member to its flagship 650 family. The cruiser has been spotted testing several times recently, indicating that the development work is going on full swing. The prototypes are equipped with inverted front telescopic forks, a first for a Royal Enfield in the modern era.
Other notable features are alloy wheels, digi-analog instrument console which is mostly likely to feature Tripper Navigation, a simple fuel tank with old-school filler cap and circular headlamp, taillight and turn indicators.
The motorcycle will carry forward the much appreciated 648 cc twin-cylinder, air-cooled engine which offers 47 hp and 52 Nm of torque. The 6-speed transmission is expected to receive subtle tweaks to suit the cruiser’s relaxed riding character.
While several components will be shared with the Interceptor and Continental GT 650, it remains to be seen if the upcoming cruiser will be equipped with Pirelli tyres or go for CEAT units from the beginning. RE is also planning on giving the 650 Twins a facelift soon, along with an alloy wheel option.
Royal Enfield is also close to introducing the eagerly anticipated next generation Classic 350 which will be based on the new platform that debuted on the Meteor 350. Expect improved refinement, additional features and better performance compared to the outgoing model.