In these two iconic bikes — and beautiful ones, at that — is encapsulated a story of British manufacturing past, present and, hopefully, future.
These are the first new models in more than six decades from Royal Enfield: The Interceptor and its more muscular cousin, the Continental GT. And they have been created by the British brand to provide a classier, more refined alternative to pumped-up modern superbikes.
Established in 1901, in Redditch, Royal Enfield is the oldest motorcycle brand in the world who are still in production today. But the two wheels haven’t always spun smoothly — and the brand has a more complicated history than you may think.
In the 1950s, the company partnered with Madras Motors, with eventually all production and ownership moving to India.
"These are the first new models in more than six decades from Royal Enfield..."
Today, its Chennai-based plant produces half a million motorbikes a year. And these two new bikes mark a very welcome return to this strong, profitable UK-Indian partnership.
Developed over five years, they are the first machines to utilise the company’s new technology centre in Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire — just 50 or so miles from the original Redditch plant.
The bikes are powered by modern 650cc parallel twin engines, which are capable of producing a hefty-enough 47bhp. Not too burly or brazen, they make for perfect around-town cruisers.
And, of course, get in the saddle and you’ll be atop a genuine piece of British heritage — one that’s travelled the world and come back stronger as a result. But, if you’re itching to add one of Royal Enfield’s new offerings to your collection, you’ll have to wait just a little bit longer. They won’t hit the roads until the tail end of this year.
Royal Enfield Motorcycles
Prefer four wheels? Aston Martin’s DBS Superleggera might be more your speed…