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Royal Enfield Interceptor, the classic roadster of the 60s and 70s that could reach 205kmph

Aditya Chatterjee  /
12 Oct 2017 11:41:39 IST

If you have been researching about upcoming motorcycles in India on the net, the Royal Enfield Interceptor is something that you must have come across. The Royal Enfield Interceptor is supposedly the same of the Chennai based motorcycle manufacturer's first "large displacement" motorcycle in India. Test mules of the same have been spotted in the guise of a cafe racer based on the Royal Enfield Continental GT and a roadster that takes design inspiration from the Triumph Bonneville. While we will get an official look of the upcoming Royal Enfield at EICMA, the model name Royal Enfield Interceptor is not new. In fact, the RE Interceptor dates its roots back to the 60s and the 70s.

The upcoming Royal Enfield motorcycle will likely debut at the EICMA show (Image source: Bikesmedia.in)

The Royal Enfield Interceptor was introduced in 1960 and was sold only in the US and Canada. Why you ask? Enfield, back then, was being sold as Indian Motorcycles and were painted in red as it represented the latter. However, it is said that the Americans were not too happy with the product compelling Enfield to cease their operations of rebadging their Constellation motorcycles as Indian Chiefs. This led to the birth of the Interceptor 700, a top of the line Royal Enfield motorcycle

The Royal Enfield Interceptor was the first "big" bike for the company. (Image source: Classic-British motorcycles.com)

This roadster was powered by a 692cc vertical-twin engine with twin carburettors that was a spruced up version of the Royal Enfield Constellation, mated to a 4-speed gearbox. This engine had a claimed maximum speed of 160kmph, which is comparatively more than what we see in present day Royal Enfield motorcycles. It is said that the Royal Enfield Interceptor packed in weight saving features like lightened and balanced crankshaft, R-grind cams and a Lucas magneto. In addition to the regular version, there was also the Interceptor S that came with quick detachable lights.

The updated Royal Enfield Interceptor got revised styling with lots of chrome as well as tweaked powertrain. (Image source: motorcycleclassics.com)

In 1962, Royal Enfield brought the Series 1 Interceptor which was powered by an all new 736cc twin-cylinder engine. This motorcycle was called the 750 Interceptor. Although the new engine was again based on the 692cc Constellation motor, each and every part on it was heavily worked upon. In addition to the displacement even the torque rating had gone up, and to take care of that the engine case was further strengthened. It is also said that the crankshaft in the Royal Enfield Interceptor 750 was dynamically balanced making one of the smoothest British twin engines.

The Series 1 Interceptor was then succeeded by Series 1A that came in GP7 and TT7.models. 1A receive coil ignition instead of the magneto, new chrome tank, handlebar, mudguards and seat.Then came the Series 2 which with a reworked motor that was offered in the Series 1A. This one came with a redesigned crankcase assembly and also wet-sump lubrication, similar to that in cars.

Royal Interceptor MkIII was a prototype that used a 800cc motor and was the last model to roll out of the Redditch plant. It had a claimed top speed of 205kmph (Image source: weroyalriders.com)

And lastly, there was the Royal Enfield Interceptor MK III also called the Typhoon. The Mk III was powered by a 800cc motor which was basically a reworked version of the 736cc unit used in the Series II. This was a prototype model and hence Royal Enfield only made three engines at its Redditch factory, out of which only one was used. Royal Enfield claimed that this motor could reach a top whack of 205kmph. In 1970, RE stopped operations at this plant. This Royal Enfield Interceptor MkIII, the rare prototype, was sold to British racer Steve Linsdell. From the images of the motorcycle, one can clearly see the styling inspiration it shares with the Royal Enfield Continental GT that is presently sold in India and global markets. If Royal Enfield does end up calling its upcoming bike Interceptor, it will have a huge responsibility to carry on the legend of the brand. We will know about that soon during the EICMA show.

The air-cooled, 55-degree V-twin engine in the Carberry Double Barrel 1000 displaces 1,000cc and outputs 52.92PS/82Nm

Royal Enfield has indeed come a long way from its initial days, as seen from its well spread portfolio that includes a cafe racer - Continental GT, adventure tourer - Himalayan and the cruisers - Thunderbird and the Classic series. The company has always enjoyed a cult following among the enthusiasts. Encashing on the same, Carberry Motorcycles, custom Royal Enfield V-twin bike maker, has launched its first India made motorcycle, Carberry Double Barrel 1000 at Rs 7.35 lakh (ex-factory).

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 2013

Price (Delhi)
  • Rs. 2,08,456 Ex-Showroom
  • Rs. 2,31,203 On Road
  • 535cc Displacement
  • -NA-
  • Manual

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