Retro Design Meets Modern Tech – Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Vs Classic 350 Cruiser Battle
Riders are inclined toward Royal Enfield motorcycles for their signature sound, retro-themed designs and classic nostalgia. When we talk about the Interceptor 650 vs Classic 350, it is a difficult comparison because these are two very different bikes with distinct price ranges and buyer segments. The Classic 350 price starts from Rs. 1.9 lakh while the Interceptor is priced at Rs.2.88 lakh, quite a big gap in costs. What they do have in common is a retro-styled cruiser design with laid-back riding characteristics. The Interceptor 650 and Classic 350 have been smash hits in their respective categories thanks to trusted brand loyalty, strong build quality and reliable motoring that has seen generations of bikers cutting their teeth on these fine machines.
Let’s compare these two bikes in terms of their engines, riding dynamics, features and likes & dislikes.
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Interceptor vs Classic 350 - Engine
The Classic 350 was not designed with performance in mind, but it still can deliver when put to the test. The 349 cc J-Platform engine is the same as the one that debuted on the Meteor 350 with changes made to the ignition timings and fuel mapping. It is a SOHC, two-valve, air-cooled unit with an additional oil circuit for extra cooling. The Classic 350 has plenty of usable torque and a sweet exhaust note that urges the rider to keep the throttle open. It may not have the signature Royal Enfield thump of previous generations, but the power delivery is smooth and linear. The 5-speed transmission is a refined unit; however, the clutch feels a bit heavy that can get cumbersome in traffic. The Classic 350 mileage stands at 32-37 kmpl which may not be spectacular, but compared to the older Classic 350, it is a marked improvement. The Classic 350 top speed is a respectable 114 km/h which is more than adequate to keep up with traffic.
The Interceptor 650 sports a 648 cc, air-cooled, parallel twin-cylinder engine that is the crowning glory of this motorcycle. At slow speeds, it seems comfortable to slip through traffic with ease, but a slight twist of the throttle and the revs climb up with no hesitation. It is indeed a smooth motor with a fuel efficiency of 23 kmpl. The 6-speed manual transmission shifts without any effort, providing a seamless riding experience.
The Royal Enfield Interceptor vs Classic 350 power units cannot be matched in the real world, although they have unique characteristics which you cannot find on other bikes. Since both engines are BS6 compliant, you can expect these models to be in contention for quite a few years ahead.
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Interceptor 650 Vs Classic 350 – Ride and Handling
The Classic 350 has a double downtube cradle chassis with swingarms at the rear making for firm ride quality with confident handling. It feels agile around corners and riders can shift their balance when needed without much effort. The Classic 350 weight is just 195 kg which may seem heavy, but once you get moving, the bike lightens up with easygoing dynamics. 19-inch wheels at the rear provide excellent grip while the disc brakes with dual channel ABS are effective in anchoring down the bike. The Classic 350 fuel tank capacity is 13 litres which provide a riding range of around 455 km, which will keep the long-distance tourers happy that they don’t have to stop frequently for refuelling. You can expect to see the Classic 350 modified for road trips for the Leh Ladakh odyssey that they are so famous for. The Classic 350 seat height of 800 mm makes these long-distance journeys all the more enjoyable.
The Interceptor 650 has soft suspension which can get a little unsettling over potholes and bumpy roads; however, it reacts well to rider inputs with ample feedback. Riders sit low and wide, the perfect ergonomics for long rides on the highway. The seat could do better cushioning as it is not supportive enough and is a little on the narrow side. You will find yourself tweaking the rear suspension settings to adjust the preload and avoid a harsh ride.
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Royal Enfield interceptor 650 vs Classic 350 – Specifications, features and price
The classic 350 Royal Enfield price starts at Rs.1.90 lakh (average ex-showroom) while the Interceptor 650 starts from Rs.2.88 lakh (average ex-showroom). That’s a big price difference considering you get a twin cylinder 650cc in the Interceptor as compared to a single cylinder 350 cc in the Classic. Although both bikes are street cruisers, they have distinct riding dynamics.
The Royal Enfield Classic 350 is available in 3 colours, namely, Redditch Sage Green, Redditch Grey and Redditch Red. The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is available in shades of Orange Crush, Canyon Red and Ventura Blue.
Here are the detailed specifications and features of the two bikes.
|Royal Enfield - Classic 350||Royal Enfield - Interceptor 650|
|Max Power||20.2 bhp @ 6,100 rpm||47 bhp @ 7,250 rpm|
|Max Torque||27 Nm @ 4,000 rpm||52 Nm @ 5,250 rpm|
|No. of Cylinders||1||2|
|Valves / Cylinder||2||4|
|Bore||72 mm||78 mm|
|Stroke||85.8 mm||67.8 mm|
|Spark plugs / Cylinder||1||1|
|Cooling||Air Cooled / Oil Cooled||Air Cooled/ Oil Cooled|
|Transmission||Manual - 5 speed||6 speed Manual|
|Drive System||Chain Drive||Chain Drive|
|Clutch||Wet – Multiplate||Assist / Slipper Clutch|
|Fuel Delivery||Fuel Injection||Fuel Injection|
|Fuel Tank||13 litres||13.7 litres|
|Range||455 km||315 km|
|Fuel Economy||35 kmpl||23 kmpl|
|Top Speed||114 km/h||169 km/h|
|ABS||Single Channel||Dual Channel|
|Front Brake||Disc – 300 mm||Disc – 320 mm|
|Rear Brake||Disc – 270 mm||Disc – 240 mm|
|Front Wheel Size||19 inch||18 inch|
|Rear Wheel Size||18 inch||18 inch|
|Front Tyre Size||100 / 90||100 / 90|
|Rear Tyre Size||120 / 80||130 / 70|
|Front Suspension||Telescopic forks||Front Forks|
|Rear Suspension||Twin tube shock absorbers||Twin coil shocks|
|Kerb Weight||195 kg||202 kg|
|Length||2,145 mm||2,122 mm|
|Width||785 mm||789 mm|
|Height||1,090 mm||1,165 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,390 mm||1,400 mm|
|Ground Clearance||170 mm||174 mm|
|Seat Height||805 mm||804 mm|
|Chassis||Twin Tube Spine Frame||Double Cradle Steel Tubular|
|Standard Warranty||3 Years, 30,000 km||3 Years, 40,000 km|
|USB Charging Port||Yes||No|
|Additional Features||Semi Digital Cluster||Digital Instrument Cluster / LCD|
|Price||Rs.1,90,229 (Redditch Single Channel ABS)||Rs.2,88,1412 (Standard BS6)|
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Pros and Cons of the Royal Enfield Classic 350
The Classic 350 is the perfect bike to step into the modern classic cruiser scene with its strong engine and storied heritage. Here is a list of likes and dislikes about the RE Classic 350 that you should consider before buying one.
- The all-new engine of the Classic 350 new model is a smooth performer at 20.2 bhp, and it is powerful enough for most situations. The compression ratio has been increased to 9.5:1 from 8.5:1 of the older generation. The engine makes less noise due to the cam gears being replaced with a timing chain resulting in more efficient valve timings. Transmission losses are reduced with a new gear primary drive instead of the older chain primary drive. Vibrations are at a minimum now because of the primary balancer shaft. The motor has a lot of torque and a linear pull.
- Good dynamics from the improved suspension and double cradle chassis. The Classic 350 feels stable and instils confidence in the driver with a plush and comfortable ride. The front suspension is wider and offers more travel while the rear shocks absorb bumps in the road. The seating is very comfortable.
- Tyres are bigger and wider than the outgoing model, with disc brakes front and rear for increased stopping power. There is also an option for alloy wheels and tubeless tyres.
- Better ground clearance is a boon over speed bumps. Light chassis and body are great for city riding through traffic.
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- The overall design looks dated due to the similarities with the old models. Royal Enfield has tried to preserve the classic cruiser look but this may not go well with the buyer in search of a contemporary style.
- The instrument cluster misses out on some essentials like gear indicator and approximate distance to empty. These features are found on almost all new bikes in the market. It also misses out on LED lights.
- Top speed is somewhat lacking for highway use. Being a 350 cc should translate to better performance in top gear.
- The brakes don’t bite well enough. Although they do stop on a dime, they lack adequate feedback and an organic feel.
- Top end variant of the Classic 350 is a little expensive.
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Pros and Cons of the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650
The Interceptor 650 is the only twin-cylinder motorcycle under Rs.3 lakh available in the Indian market. This makes it a great value for money in a package that is powerful and fun to ride.
Curious about the strengths and weaknesses of this big 650cc cruiser? Let’s get into the pros and cons of the Interceptor 650.
- Power output is quite good considering this is a BS6-compliant bike. 47 bhp is more than adequate for highway journeys and wide-open roads, while lots of torque can pull efficiently from low gears through traffic.
- Royal Enfield is known for strong build quality, and you can see it on the Interceptor 650. Paintwork is sublime while the chassis has clean welds and perfectly spaced panel gaps. Instrumentation, plastics and switchgear are of high quality with a built-to-last theme.
- The twin exhaust of the parallel motor sounds fantastic. Some say it is the best-sounding 650cc in this segment. Yes, the signature Royal Enfield beat is missing, but the Interceptor sounds a little like a superbike now.
- Many riders complain of the seat being a little narrow and not supportive enough on long rides. Inter-city commutes are bearable and you will not notice the small seat. The seat is on the softer side, it can get uncomfortable for the rider and pillion. There is a touring seat option as an additional accessory. Also, the pillion riding position is cramped and has received complaints.
- The instrumentation follows the retro theme with simple, round dials (analogue with a digital insert). It displays basic information like fuel level, trip meter, etc. We would have liked to see a distance to empty meter, clock and gear position indicator for added practicality and convenience.
- Due to the wide crankcase, the footpegs have been awkwardly positioned (slightly rear set / combined with wide handlebars). This can get a bit troublesome at slow speeds when you need to put your foot down. Also, the 200 kg kerb weight doesn’t help much in this department.
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The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 has taken the manufacturer to the global map with a serious motorcycle, providing stiff competition to segment rivals. Its smooth parallel-twin engine and engaging riding dynamics equate to fun all around. This motorcycle has resonated with biking enthusiasts looking for a home-bred twin cylinder for our roads. The Interceptor 650 will stay relevant for several years to come with new models based on this platform, like the Super Meteor 650, to be launched soon.
The Classic 350 has remained Royal Enfield’s best-selling and most popular bike since the last decade. The age-old design is still a favourite among Royal Enfield enthusiasts. Although there are no carry-over parts from the old classic, with every body panel and component being new, it is hard to tell the new Classic 350 apart from the old generation just by looking at the bike. The J-platform 350 cc has improved ignition timing, exhaust and fuel mapping, incorporating the latest modern tech in a classic design.
If you are looking for a street cruiser on a budget, there is no match for the RE Classic 350. It gives you the right balance between performance, handling, comfort and rideability in a neat package which looks, well ‘classic’ indeed. However, for the serious biker who needs a substantial power unit to rule the roads, the Interceptor 650 is the clear winner. Riders say that the Interceptor is a bike which makes them prefer riding over driving. It ticks every box for what you are looking for in a motorcycle, making it one of the finest bikes to leave the Royal Enfield factory.
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