At £5,499 on the road, there’s nothing quite like the Interceptor, Royal Enfield’s first twin-cylinder motorcycle since 1970. “I sold two yesterday morning,” says John Hogsden of Enfield dealer Hartgate of Mitcham. “There’s nothing like it at the price.”
The original Interceptor was introduced in 1960 and these 700cc (later 750cc) twins found a ready market in the US, where there’s still recognition for the Royal Enfield name, which is apparently the world’s leading maker of mid-sized motorcycles.
Which might explain why last year they launched the new Interceptor in Santa Cruz. Funny how we didn’t get invited to that launch and instead got to ride the bike around south London.
While we missed the views of the Pacific Ocean, the Interceptor proved itself as suited to the UK’s pockmarked pavement as it would have been cruising California’s Highway One. It also attracted a degree of attention which was almost alarming given the parlous state of the UK motorcycle market. Five people came up to ask about it while we were photographing on Wimbledon Common.
So what is it? Highly conventional, that’s what, though you tend to count upwards in terms of specification when it comes to this 118-year-old name, which has had a reputation for basic and decidedly retro machines.