Riding across one of the highest mountain passes on the planet – Khardung La – is on every biker’s wishlist. Nestled amid the western Himalayas in Ladakh, the Khardung La pass has an altitude of 17,582 feet, making it one of the highest motorable roads in the world. Dr Girish Kumar Singh took his Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 across this pass recently, and this makes his motorcycle the first Interceptor in the world to successfully cross this high altitude road. He did face a couple of hiccups though, in the form of the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 stalling a couple of times due to low oxygen levels.
Images courtesy Team-BHP
This isn’t the first time that we’re hearing about the Interceptor 650 facing trouble on high, mountain roads. BuluBiker, a well known Youtuber in the biker community, has detailed how his Interceptor 650 faced stalling issues at another high altitude area, in his case the Gurudongmar high altitude lake in Sikkim. While BuluBiker did manage to turn around and not get stranded at one of the world’s highest lakes, his was the first incident where the Interceptor 650 showed stalling issues at high altitude. We hope that Royal Enfield get to the root of the problem and address it if this is a recurring issue on the motorcycle.
The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 was launched late last year, and has quickly become India’s best selling twin cylinder engined motorcycle, along with its sibling – the Continental GT 650 cafe racer. The Interceptor 650 is the country’s cheapest twin cylinder bike, with a starting price tag of just Rs. 2.37 lakhs. The motorcycle is not only sold in India but is also exported. Overall, the feedback about the Interceptor 650 has been very good, with most bikers praising it for its refinement levels, value-for-money price tag, and excellent handling and braking performance.
The ergonomics on the Interceptor 650 are comfortable, and this allows riders to go on long tours. In fact, many bikers across India have already begun modifying the bike with touring accessories. From higher windscreens to panniers for luggage mounting, the Interceptor 650 is the latest Royal Enfield that’s being tweaked for long distance riding by enthusiasts. On the other hand, the Continental GT 650, which has an aggressive riding position thanks to clip-on handlebars and rear set footpegs, is aimed mainly at those who want a quick, retro motorcycle for city streets and the occassional weekend ride around the twisties.
Both motorcycles have an identical mechanical-spec and apart from the different styling and ergonomics, they’re virtually similar. The engine is a newly developed 647cc twin cylinder motor with four valve head and a single overhead camshaft. Equipped with fuel injection, this engine makes 47 Bhp-52 Nm and is air-oil cooled. It’s paired with a 6 speed manual gearbox that gets a slipper clutch. Telescopic front forks, dual gas charged rear shock absorbers, disc brakes on both wheels, tube-type tyres and dual channel ABS are the key cycle parts on both motorcycles.