Over the previous yr or so, I’ve had the chance to experience the Royal Enfield INT650 each throughout Portland in addition to some longer distances out throughout the Pacific Northwest, from the damp and rugged Pacific shoreline to the excessive desert east of the Cascade mountain vary (and thru these mountains to get there). Nice rides to make sure and I’ve stored the bike mainly bone inventory, and it’s a surprisingly efficient long-distance companion, because of the torquey parallel twin engine, snug driving place, better-than-expected road-holding and particularly that 6-speed gearbox. However the longer rides additionally acquired me considering of how to raised discover how the 650 Interceptor, because it’s identified exterior the U.S., may very well be made into an much more efficient distance machine, with out subtracting from its appeal and core look.
As famous, it helps that the INT650 actually is an honest light-duty over-the-road bike proper out of the gate, not less than to me. A Gold Wing competitor? Um, no. However that’s probably not the touring vibe I get pleasure from anyway. I’ve owned a number of full-boat touring bikes (together with Goldwings) and so they’re nice at consuming miles, however all that luxurious dulls the sting of what needs to be a way more involving and thrilling strategy to see the world. Longer rides on the INT650 introduced again the sense of enjoyable and journey I had after I first began exploring the world by bike, after I was a penniless school child crossing borders on well-used, fundamental machines with no single luxurious.
Now, after many years of driving every kind of bikes, going again to touring at a way more fundamental degree has gained me over once more. Ten years in the past, I saddled up a used, air-cooled, single cylinder dual-sport machine for an impromptu lengthy experience I figured might flip right into a torture check – for my butt, not less than. I merely threw some tender baggage over the seat, bungeed up my different gear to the rear rack, and headed out onto the roadway – and ultimately onto dust roads. No windscreen, no heated seat, no cruise management, no cupholder on the handlebars, no nuthin.’ As an alternative of a grind, it turned out to be an epic, interactive driving expertise. In reality, I lucked out on the seat issue, and the bike was a easy runner (for a single). That definitely helped make it extra… tolerable.
I love touring with a super-simple setup. Transferring by area at velocity whereas out within the parts with a minimal of vehicular “stuff” round me is like flying – and why I began driving bikes within the first place. I really feel completely snug out within the wind with the suitable gear on – and seat. My solely concessions to age, modernity and luxury embody mentioned higher seat, fashionable driving attire, some suspension tweaks, a superb Cardo helmet audio/communications system, USB energy for my telephone and GPS, and a few higher ahead lighting. However that’s it! General, my “touring” bikes are easy and near inventory.
After an amazing yr buzzing round on brief hops and one lengthy journey to really feel out the INT650’s touring potential, I hit the Royal Enfield accessory catalog and in time, UPS delivered a big, heavy field the supply man lugged to my door with considerably of a scowl, however inside had been some key bits to take the INT650 from citybike to horizon chaser.
Comfy Distance: Royal Enfield Touring Seat
For extra consolation whereas driving longer distances, Royal Enfield gives a Touring Seat choice, and fortunately, it seems equivalent to the inventory seat, which is sweet information as a result of the flat inventory seat seems and works nice. Fairly than do some form of deep-dish king/queen flying couch type of factor, RE merely modified the inner supplies to extend consolation; the one distinction in look from the inventory seat is a small “touring” tag and double stitching as a substitute of single stitching. There’s a particular improve in firmness over the inventory seat, and since it’s nonetheless flat just like the inventory seat, I might simply transfer round on it and alter positions. Should you’re courageous sufficient to tour on an INT650 with a passenger, there’s really a good bit of room, however I hope you and your pillion pal are actually good pals (or extra). Professional tip: Regardless of what it’s possible you’ll assume, you don’t need a pillowy tender bike seat when occurring lengthy rides. There’s motive folks might sit in metallic tractor seats all day approach again when: Assist and firmness are the keys to consolation over lengthy distance.
Mirror, Mirror: Royal Enfield Touring Mirrors
The inventory mirrors on the INT650 work wonderful however gave me a bit an excessive amount of shoulder in my opinion. The elective touring mirrors characteristic a pivot on the base for extra adjustment choices and I like them proper over my arms so I’ve a transparent view to my six, and their profile is decrease. Plus, they appear higher, are increased high quality and have some good RE branding.
C’mon Really feel The Noise: S&S Exhaust System
That is maybe the largest change I made to the INT650, and some of the standard judging by my chatter with different INT650 homeowners. Whereas the inventory chrome cans that include the bike look good and even sound respectable sufficient, they’re fairly heavy and for me, somewhat too quiet. The brushed aluminum peashooter-style S&S exhaust system look nice (you possibly can polish it to a shine if that’s your factor) however extra importantly, they shave a stable 18 kilos of weight from the bike and convey a burly, head-turning bark to the 650’s 270-degree firing order. In addition they don’t void your guarantee. Easy baffle inserts allow you to mellow the tone for metropolis driving. Slipping them out lets the 650 actually make its presence identified underneath heavy throttle, however they nonetheless burble down the street properly whereas cruising. Let’s simply say they appear and sound “correct.”
The Laborious Underbelly: Royal Enfield Bash Plate
The INT650’s oil filter needed to go someplace, and it ended up low within the entrance of the engine, weak and, nicely, stylistically compromised let’s say. Each issues solved with the RE bash plate that each lends the INT650 a little bit of off-road menace whereas overlaying up that unlucky birthmark. Cautious, putting in it might result in knobbies, excessive pipes and suspension adjustments…
Defend The Coronary heart: Royal Enfield Engine Bars
In India, many Royal Enfield riders set up vast, vast engine/body safety bars (previously often called “crash bars”) and I’m completely happy to see that also they are obtainable for the INT650 right here in The States, however I wished some lower-profile crank case safety. These chrome bars (that are additionally obtainable in black) get the job performed, look nice and for an extended experience, will settle for any variety of folding footpegs to provide your boots one other place choice.
Buzz Off: Royal Enfield Bug Display
I like open-air touring (though I’ve ridden many a fully-faired luxobike) and let’s face it, the little Royal Enfield bug display screen simply seems cool. It doesn’t actually punch a lot of a gap within the air, nevertheless it retains bug guts off the clock housings. That’s actually all it does by way of practicality. Largely, it seems cool. Did I point out it seems fairly cool?
Fork Fortification: Royal Enfield Fork Gaiters
Dust bikes have fork gaiters as a result of all that dust grit will eat proper by a set of fork seals after a couple of rides. Road bikes just like the INT650 don’t want to fret about that as a lot however the total, long-term drawback is similar: street grit, bug innards, and a nick in a fork tube from a wayward pebble off the tire of a truck forward of you’ll all contribute to ultimately carrying out your fork seals. Fork gaiters largely resolve that drawback, plus they punch up the classic look a few factors. Model and substance.
Costume Up Time: Royal Enfield Handlebar Ends and Brake Grasp Cylinder Cap
The entrance brake grasp cylinder has to have all types of DOT verbiage and different warnings etched into it, however for those who tear the tags off of your mattresses and the warning stickers off of every thing else like I do, nicely, that ugly cap has acquired to go. RE gives this straightforward cap with a good-looking emblem (under), and I additionally added the branded RE bar ends (above) for somewhat bit extra snazz.
Carry The Load: Used Classic Leather-based Willie and Max Saddlebags
As famous, I’ve ridden all method of luxurious touring bikes over time, nevertheless it appears my most memorable journeys had been after I strapped a bunch of drugs to my outdated air-cooled Honda with bungee cords, stuffed up some low cost and easy saddlebags and hit the street. I considered forking out for a few of these swank Royal Enfield baggage however whereas at an Oregon Classic Motorbike present, I got here throughout a set of weathered however stable Willie and Max leather-based semi-hard baggage that appeared good and match good. They maintain simply sufficient gear and set me again all of $10, and don’t even want bag racks because of the dual shocks. Hey, you possibly can nonetheless buy them new as nicely, however they gained’t have that good patina mine got here with.
Sing Alongside: Cardo Packtalk Daring
Although the INT650 belts out a sonorous tune whereas underway, droning down a freeway at 65mph for 3 hours is simply that: droning. Name me spoiled, tender or simply entertained, I reasonably get pleasure from singing alongside to my favourite tunes on the less-curvy components of my adventures, and the Cardo Packtalk Bold in-helmet comms system has been a trustworthy and entertaining companion for a number of years now. Sound high quality is kind of good and naturally, there’s full telephone ops in addition to entry to digital pals like Siri for locating my strategy to that taco truck within the city forward. Cardo’s personal voice recognition system has a restricted vocabulary however works persistently, holding your arms and give attention to the street reasonably than on a telephone display screen or the unit’s buttons. I exploit it a lot it’s second nature to function arms free, and a great tool reasonably than a distraction. It additionally works as a wi-fi intercom with different riders which have Cardo items and even with another manufacturers of comms methods.
Discover Your Manner: Garmin Zumo XT GPS
Positive, your telephone has “GPS,” however fact be informed, when you lose cell sign, your telephone is only a very fancy digicam and flashlight. I’ve been utilizing Garmin GPS gadgets for over a decade, and their newest motorcycle-oriented system, the zūmo XT, is their finest but by way of simplicity, display screen dimension, and the extent of element relating to maps. It additionally pairs up with my iPhone and Cardo comms system for path prompts and telephone caller information. Plus, it got here with a RAM quick-mount system that vastly simplified mounting it to the INT650, and the entire mount will be utterly eliminated in a minute or so. The built-in battery lasts for hours on finish and it costs from a USB energy pack.
I additionally added a small clock ($12 on Amazon) that matches the INT’s analog aesthetic. It could be good if RE would incorporate a clock choice within the small LCD display screen within the speedometer as a clock is in fact extremely helpful.
What’s subsequent? Little issues, mosty. I’d like so as to add some marker lights, perhaps some low-profile AUX LED driving lights, a side-panel bag and heated grips. Test again quickly.