Big Cruiser Takes on Street Racer for the Win – Interceptor 650 Vs Duke 390
The Interceptor 650 vs Duke 390 are miles apart in terms of body styles, ride and handling, yet they have similar price tags which makes this comparison relevant. While the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is a retro modern cruiser to rule the highways, the KTM Duke 390 is a street fighter – nimble and light through the corners. The Interceptor 650 and Duke 390 come from two different worlds, but they stack up against each other in terms of power, dynamics and riding characteristics.
At just under Rs.3 lakh, the Interceptor 650 and Duke 390 prices are on level ground. But which would you prefer? Let’s help you make the decision between the Interceptor 650 vs Duke 390.
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Royal Enfield interceptor 650 vs Duke 390 – Engine performance
Bikers rave at the Duke 390 engine saying it is indeed ‘ready to race’ like the KTM slogan goes. It is powered by a single cylinder, 370 cc, liquid cooled engine producing 43 bhp / 37 Nm of torque. The engine is a high-compression unit, energetic with plenty of mid-range and top end power. With such a light weight, space frame chassis, it feels like a Duke 390 modified for racing. Acceleration is immediate and you can take the bike to the limit even on corners, that’s how stable it feels. The Duke 390 top speed is 160 km/h and 0-100 km/h times could leave much larger bikes trailing in the dust. The Duke 390 mileage per liter is 26 km while the Interceptor is less frugal at 23 kmpl.
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The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is more relaxed in its approach. Yes, it has twin-cylinders with a total capacity of 650 cc, but those 47 horses and 52 Nm of torque come with the added weight of the heavy chassis and body work. Acceleration and top speed are still comparable to the Duke 390, but the Interceptor has more low-end torque which gives the rider an effortless thrust every time the throttle is opened. The Royal Enfield feels civilised and composed as you would expect from a big street cruiser.
The KTM’s engine can best be described as a hooligan while the Interceptor is more of a gentleman. If you love to red line your bike at every opportunity then the Duke is your choice. The Interceptor is better suited for long distance journeys which call for serious mile munching. It should be noted that the KTM Duke 390’s engine is liquid cooled, and some owners have complained about heating issues, whereas the Interceptor is air/oil cooled which also could be a problem in heavy traffic at slow speeds. However, both bikes should perform well in city driving without any issues.
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Interceptor 650 vs Duke 390 – Ride and handling
The Duke has a sporty riding posture that compliments its aggressive engine characteristics, urging the rider through high-speed manoeuvres. On the other hand, the Interceptor is more laid back, with a comfortable position, better suited for a relaxed ride. Wide handlebars on the Enfield offers a stress-free ride, combined with a large, flat seat and forward set foot pegs. The Duke’s low handlebars and rear set foot pegs can get a little uncomfortable for daily commutes.
If you are thinking of tagging along with a pillion rider, then the Interceptor is perfect with its accommodating seat and sorted ergonomics. With the Duke, the pillion is seated too high and there’s just not enough space. Tall riders will struggle on the Duke 390.
With a forward stance on the Duke 390, it handles quite well due to more weight up front. The Duke 390 weight is only 170 kg which makes it easy to park and move around at slow speeds. The Interceptor is nearly 40 kg heavier making it difficult to manage through tight spaces, but this weight disappears once you get going. Duke 390 mileage is higher than the Interceptor due to its lower kerb weight.
The Duke 390 comes with stiff suspension that provides good handling and dynamics, but this offers a harsh ride, especially over bumps and potholes. The Interceptor’s suspension set up is much softer, allowing it to soak up uneven roads with aplomb and giving the rider a comfortable biking experience. Duke 390 seat height is 822 to 830 mm, riding higher than the Interceptor 650 which is at 804 mm, allowing shorter riders a better chance at reaching the ground on the cruiser.
However, both machines offer unbridled fun on the road, something you won’t find on most motorcycles in this price range.
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Duke 390 vs Interceptor 650 – Specifications, dimensions and features
The KTM Duke 390 price in India starts from Rs.2,94,976 (average ex-showroom) while the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is priced at Rs.2,88,141 which is slightly less than the Duke. Colours available on the Duke 390 are Dark Galvano and Liquid Metal whereas the Interceptor 650 is available in 3 colours, Orange Crush, Canyon Red and Ventura Blue.
Here is a comparison of the various specifications, dimensions and unique features of these two bikes.
|KTM Duke 390||Royal Enfield Interceptor 650|
|Maximum power (bhp@rpm)||42.9 bhp @ 9,000 rpm||47 bhp @ 7,250 rpm|
|Maximum torque (Nm@rpm)||37 Nm @ 7,000 rpm||52 Nm @ 5,250 rpm|
|Displacement||373 cc||648 cc|
|No. of Cylinders||1||2|
|Bore x stroke (mm)||89 x 60||78 x 67.8|
|Valves / Cylinder||4||4|
|Spark plugs /cylinder||1||1|
|Cooling||Liquid Cooled||Air cooled / Oil Cooled|
|Transmission||Manual 6-speed||Manual 6-speed|
|Drive System||Chain drive||Chain drive|
|Clutch||Slipper Clutch||Slipper Clutch|
|Fuel Delivery||Fuel Injection||Fuel Injection|
|Fuel Tank (litres)||13.4 litres||13.7 litres|
|Mileage||26 kmpl||23 kmpl|
|Top Speed||167 km/h||169 km/h|
|ABS||Yes||Yes, Dual Channel|
|Front brake / Rear Brake||Disc (320 mm)/ Disc (230 mm)||Disc (320 mm)/ Disc (240 mm)|
|Calliper||Front – 4 pistons, Rear – Twin piston||Twin piston|
|Front Wheel||17 inches||18 inches|
|Rear Wheel||17 inches||18 inches|
|Front Suspension||USD Forks, 43 mm diameter||Front Fork – 41 mm diameter|
|Rear suspension||Mono shock – 10 step adjustable||Twin shocks – Coil springs|
|Kerb Weight||171 kg||202 kg|
|Width||831 mm||789 mm|
|Height||1,109 mm||1,165 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,357 mm||1,400 mm|
|Ground Clearance||151 mm||174 mm|
|Seat height||822 mm||804 mm|
|Chassis||Trellis Frame – Tubular||Steel Frame – Tubular, Double Cradle|
|Warranty||2 Years, 30,000 km||3 Years, 40,000 km|
|Battery||12 volt||12 volt|
|Price (average ex-showroom)||Rs.2,94,976||Rs.2,88,141|
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Pros and Cons of the Interceptor 650
The Interceptor 650 is the most affordable twin-cylinder motorcycle in India, with a powerful 650 cc engine and cruiser styling. The motor is refined and ride quality is comfortable. The only downside is old school tyres and limited features.
Here are some reasons why you should buy the Interceptor 650 and some points to keep in mind regarding its dislikes.
- Retro modern styling – The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 has an old school charm that makes it appealing to those looking for modern technology in a retro design. The circular headlamp, straight fuel tank and chrome exhausts seem to be lifted off models from previous decades, yet it feels contemporary in every way.
- Engine – The 650cc with 47 PS of maximum power is smooth and refined, making it a joy to ride in city traffic as well on the open highway. The 6-speed manual transmission slots into gears nicely thanks to the slipper clutch and assist.
- Ride and handling – Bikers will love the excellent road manners of the Interceptor 650 due to its stability and supple suspension. Doesn’t require much effort to be pushed hard.
- Brakes – Dual channel ABS equipped disc brakes on both ends provide decent stopping power together with telescopic front suspension and gas-filled rear shocks which keep the bike planted through corners.
- Affordable price – At a cost of Rs.2.8 lakh, the Interceptor 650 is an affordable cruiser with good-build quality.
- The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 doesn’t ride over bumpy roads too well, as the suspension is set up a little stiff for Indian roads.
- Although the foot pegs have been placed for comfortable riding, they tend to come in the way when the bike is stopped and you need to put your legs down.
- The seat is a on the softer side which can feel awkward on a long drive. A wider and firmer seating position would have been ideal.
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Pros and Cons of the KTM Duke 390
The KTM Duke 390 has managed to appeal to serious bikers looking for a fast machine with good street cred. The engine is the standout feature on the Duke 390, although there are other features that make this bike likeable. The Duke 390 is known for its great handling, excellent value for money and modern features. It only suffers with stiff suspension and a cramped riding position.
Let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of the Duke 390.
- Features such as ABS brakes are a standard safety feature on most modern bikes, but the Duke’s ABS system works really well to keep the bike under control during braking.
- It gets standard Metzeler tyres to handle the Duke’s performance at the limit.
- The Duke 390 is a lightweight machine which makes it nimble and quick. Riding through crowded traffic is an absolute breeze.
- Good power to weight ratio means the Duke can accelerate like a jack rabbit.
The engine is fine tuned to provide power at mid and higher rpm ranges. It is a high compression unit developing almost 43 bhp from single-cylinder 370 cc. The Interceptor 650 manages only 47 bhp from twin-cylinder 650cc engine.
Good beginners’ bike with comfortable riding position and wide handle bars. The all-digital instrument cluster provides extensive information to the rider.
- The rear pillion seat is position too high and could be tiresome for the pillion rider
- The liquid cooled engine could develop heating issues in stop and go traffic. It is more suited to highway riding.
- The naked and exposed trellis frame gets dirty quite easily and will require some extra car to keep it looking new.
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Both the Interceptor 650 and Duke 390 are evenly matched, even down to the price range. So, a buyer would like to know which is better value for money? Well, the Royal Enfield is air cooled and misses out on certain features like LED lights and electronic throttle control. It also get analogue dials that are old school, adding to the retro theme, but giving the buyer a sense that Royal Enfield has skimped on equipment to keep prices competitive.
The Duke 390 is the more modern machine of the two, with new age tech and the latest features to keep the new generation of bikers satisfied. The fully digital instrument cluster, drive by wire controls, advanced engine and clutch technology and space Trellis frame will keep the Duke 390 relevant for a few years to come. You can even hook up your smartphone via Bluetooth to handle calls and play music. In terms of safety, the Duke 390 has an ABS system which can be switched off with varying road conditions.
Considering the pros and cons of each motorcycle, you will find the decision between the two to be a close one. To make things easier, narrow down your riding style – if you like a sporty demeanour, aggressive riding and a rev happy engine, then the KTM Duke 390 is the motorcycle you are looking for. It also offers great value for money, as you get a pocket rocket for under Rs.3 lakh. Riders who like touring, relaxed rides and a laid-back style will prefer the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650. Its big lazy engine will get you to your destination in no particular hurry, and you get there with style.
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