Which Royal Enfield 650 Twin to buy in 2024?

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Royal Enfield 650

In my opinion, Royal Enfield makes some of the best middleweight retro bikes on the market, with bags of style, a decent ride and all, typically at a hugely tempting price.

But with four bikes now in their 650 lineup, you might be wondering which one is right for you.

We’ll go through them in price order, ascending, and along the way I’ll tell you the strengths and weaknesses of each, as well as which type of rider they’re perfect for.

Interceptor 650

So let’s start with the entry point at a very impressive 6399 pounds. And that’s the Interceptor 650.

Now this bike is a neutral, upright retro and so it makes for an absolutely fantastic allrounder with probably the most versatility of the bunch.

The 650 parallel twin engine with the 270 degree crank has plenty of torque for lower speed riding, but also just enough power at around 46 horses peak to have a little bit of fun out on the open road.

I’d also say the air and oil cool vibe and feel offer a bit more character and soul than some of the other affordable retro bikes in this part of the market.

Then on top of that, you’ve got this upright riding position that really is very neutral. And again, I think that makes it ideal for both commuting and touring, as well as a countryside blast.

You could also say the same for the handling too, which does feel fairly nimble and agile, but also easy to get on with and reassuringly stable.

I reckon you could easily fit this bike with soft luggage and perhaps a little bit of a windscreen to do some light touring.

I would also say that one of the other things I really like about this bike is the way that it can be customized.

I’ve seen some really quite nice looking modded versions of this bike and I think it’s all because it’s a bit of a blank canvas to start from and so you can really take it in quite a few directions.

There are loads of parts available for these bikes from third party manufacturers, and also with this one being the lowest price in the lineup, it does leave the most budget free for extra bits.

So, yes, definitely go for this one if you like the versatility of a naked bike, but just with Enfield’s signature old school styling and soulful riding experience.

Continental GT 650

An extra couple of hundred quid, though, will get you something much more sporty looking and cafe racer inspired.

And that’s the Continental GT 650 at 6599 pounds. Now, fundamentally, the two bikes are very similar, with the same engine and no real change to the tune. And also quite a lot of the chassis, componentry and spec below

The first thing you’ll notice when you hop on this bike, especially if you got straight off an interceptor, is the substantially different riding position, with some cafe racer style clipon bars that get you a bit lower at the front and into a sporty tuck.

Now, I wouldn’t say it’s quite as aggressive as some of the other cafe racer style bikes on the market.

Certainly not as low and aggressive as a modern sports bike. But it’s just enough to get your elbows in a little.

And I think that can be quite a satisfying position if you’re riding a little bit quicker out on the road.

The other thing that is notably different with this bike is the styling with the elongated fuel tank that’s very typical of cafe racer style bikes, as well as the option of the single seat setup and a much shorter tail section with a nice little hump to finish it off.

For me, I think this is probably the best looking bike in the lineup, with absolutely beautiful proportions, all stemming from that super flat line through the middle of the bike that gives it a real retro cafe look.

In fact, to me, in the rocker red paint job, which is actually one of the more basic, affordable finishes.

And the spoke wheels that come with it, combined with how it feels to ride, this really does give you a sense of retro authenticity.

So, look, this is clearly the most sporty of the bunch in terms of the riding position and the way it looks, and also being the lightest bike.

And given that the engine is pretty much the same in all four bikes, it’ll be the quickest off the line, too. So get this one.

If you’re planning to carve through some sweeping, bendy roads where you’re on and off the throttle, providing you’ve got the flexibility to reach down to those bars.

For anyone who’s a little less supple in the back department, though, especially if you’re going to be commuting or touring, where you do really want to be sat more upright, then perhaps give this one a pass and just go for the interceptor.

Shotgun 650

Now, this is a bit of an interesting one, and it sort of took me by surprise a bit, because, you see, the riding position is a little more like a cruiser, with a big cushy seat, mid position foot pegs and modestly risen bars.

So the rider triangle is a bit more canted back than the interceptor, and certainly than the Continental.

Then also, Enfield were very explicit that the styling, with the black hardware and some of the paintwork and graphics, are also inspired by the custom scene. And they fully expect this bike to be taken and modified.

So really, you’re looking at it and thinking, well, this is a cruiser style bike, and probably a bit cumbersome through turns, but actually out on the road, despite the extra 25 kilos of weight or so versus the other two bikes we just mentioned, it’s really quite nimble and agile.

You see, you’ve got a relatively tall seat height for a cruiser at 795 mm, so you feel like you’re up and over the bars a bit.

And also, there’s an 18 inch wheel at the front, so not particularly huge. And that means it still feels responsive and clickable.

So this one is a great option if you like that kind of Harley sportster or triumph bobber kind of vibe, but you still want something that handles much more like a regular naked.

And I would also say, for only a couple of hundred pounds more than the Continental GT, I think the level of fit and finish is quite a step up.

There are some really nice details on this bike, like the headlight nacelle and the details on the triple clamps.

And it’s also got this really neat trick up its sleeve with a modular tail section that allows you to run it as a single seat bobber two up with the subframe fitted and the seat pad.

Or you can just remove that pad quite easily with a key, and it just serves as a rear rack. So, really, it’s quite a unique combination of a bike.

And as such, I do find it a little bit difficult to pigeonhole it and say who it’s specifically for.

But I think the styling looks quite a bit more modern than the other bikes on this list. And so that’s probably going to be quite a big pull factor for some people.

So all I’ll say is, if that sounds like you, but you’re slightly put off demoing one because of the mild cruiser appearance. Still, definitely check it out because it really is quite a fun bike to ride.

Supermature 650

Top of the lineup though, we’ve got the supermature 650, which leans more heavily into that typical cruiser mold.

It’s the longest bike of the bunch, as well as the heaviest at 241 KG. It also comes with the biggest fuel tank.

Then you’ve got the riding position, which is fairly low slung at 740 mil in the seat, as well as having the most swept back bars combined with the mid position pegs.

Now, some people find this sort of position much more comfortable over distance, and so this is a great shout, of course, if this sounds like your cup of tea, and naturally the geometry of the bike gives it that reassuring straight line stability.

I will say as well, that’s all relative to the other Mphil 650s, but if you compare this bike to bigger, more expensive cruisers from other manufacturers, it really does feel very nimble and very much a middleweight.

And so it’s a good option if you’re coming down from a bigger cruiser and want something that feels a bit more manageable and also that’s less expensive.

What I think is really impressive, though, is that you do still get some of the sensation of what you might call a proper cruiser with a really nice level of finish, beautiful sparkling paintwork, and plenty of chrome on the hardware.

You see, when I compared it to some of the other mid cruisers like the Honda Rebel 500 or the Kawasaki Vulcan S, I think the character of the engine really shone through with far more personality than the liquid cooled 180 degree twins of those other two bikes.

Honestly, it’s such an impressive amount of bike for the money and in my opinion, one of, if not the best bike they’ve ever built.

So yes, definitely one for the cruiser fans who like that lower position with the hands or feet forward, and also definitely one for anyone looking for a middleweight cruiser that still feels a bit special for me, though personally,

I think it would have to be between the Interceptor and the shotgun because I tend to find that more neutral, naked riding position a bit more comfortable, as well as more practical and easy to get on with when you’re in stop start traffic.

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