Super Meteor vs Interceptor: Which Royal Enfield 650 cc bike should you pick?

  • Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 does not have any direct rivals. The closest competitor comes from the family within which is the Interceptor 650.
Royal Enfield Interceptor and Super Meteor shares the same parallel-twin engine.
Royal Enfield Interceptor and Super Meteor shares the same parallel-twin engine.

The 650 Twins changed the perspective of a lot of people about the Royal Enfield when they were first launched. The Interceptor 650 and the Continental GT 650 helped Royal Enfield in capturing more market share in India as well as the global market. The brand recently launched the Super Meteor 650 which is the third 650 cc motorcycle after the Interceptor and the Continental GT.

The Super Meteor does not really have a direct competitor. Yes, there is a cruiser from Japan and one from Benelli but they are priced quite high when compared to the Super Meteor. So, one of the competitors emerges from within the line-up and that is the Interceptor 650. People have been asking whether they should upgrade from the Interceptor to the Super Meteor or which motorcycle should they buy. So, here is a detailed comparison between the two motorcycles but before that here is a brief history.

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A brief history:

I used to ride a 2013 Royal Enfield Classic 350 on which I clocked 15,000 km. After which, I bought the Interceptor 650 and have covered around 10,000 km in a year. I have used the motorcycle for city commutes, highway runs and occasional tours too which include a trip to Ladakh. The modifications that you would notice are the LED bulbs for the turn indicators and a different handlebar. I changed the handlebar which is taller and wider after using the stock one for a few thousand kilometres. The new handlebar gives more leverage in the twisties and is more comfortable while touring. Now, let's get on with the comparison.

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 vs Interceptor 650: Design and ergonomics

The Super Meteor 650 is a proper low-slung cruiser. It still has some of the retro elements and a tear-drop fuel tank. The handlebar is tall and wide and falls easily into the hands of the rider. The foot pegs are forward-set and it might take some time for a person to get used to them if he or she is not into riding cruisers.

The Super Meteor 650 has a proper cruiser-like stance whereas the Interceptor has a slight hint of sportiness to it.
The Super Meteor 650 has a proper cruiser-like stance whereas the Interceptor has a slight hint of sportiness to it.

The Interceptor 650 is a roadster inspired by some British motorcycles. Being a Royal Enfield, it still retains its retro elements. The riding posture is slightly leaned towards the handlebars and the foot pegs are slightly rear-set.

The thing that you might notice is that the Interceptor’s rearview mirrors are slightly better and offer a better field of vision when compared to the ones on the Super Meteor. This is mainly because of the longer stems that the mirrors have. There is a possibility that this can be fixed by using the Touring Mirrors that the brand sells as a genuine accessory.

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 vs Interceptor 650: Features

In terms of features, it is the Super Meteor 650 that is better equipped. It comes with a LED headlamp and tail lamp, the instrument cluster is now borrowed from the new Royal Enfields but now it gets a black surround instead of a chrome one. There is also a Tripper Navigation system and adjustable levers on offer. Royal Enfield is also offering a USB port but it’s awkwardly positioned and a bit cumbersome to use.

In comparison, the Interceptor 650 uses a halogen headlamp and tail lamp, while the old instrument cluster with a tachometer is basic but some people still like seeing the needle chase the redline.

Moreover, the Super Meteor is equipped with alloy wheels with tubeless tyres whereas the Interceptor still gets spoked wheels. Despite being on sale for four years now, the 650 Twins do not get alloy wheels even as an accessory. Why RE??

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 vs Interceptor 650: Build quality and hardware

Royal Enfield has definitely taken leaps in terms of build quality. The Super Meteor feels like a significantly better-built product than the Interceptor 650. The paint quality, fit and finish, brushed aluminium on the switchgear and powder coating on the chassis make the motorcycle feel like a premium product.

Both motorcycles do have a road presence because of the way they have been designed.
Both motorcycles do have a road presence because of the way they have been designed.

Then there is the hardware, the Super Meteor 650 gets more premium bits than the Interceptor. This is the first time that Royal Enfield is using Showa's 43 mm USD forks in the front for the Super Meteor 650 whereas the Interceptor uses 41 mm telescopic forks. Both motorcycles have gas-charged twin shocks at the rear.

Both motorcycles are equipped with a 320 mm disc at the front which offers enough stopping power but not a lot of feedback. At the rear, the Super Meteor gets a larger 300 mm disc whereas the Interceptor has to do with a 240 mm disc. The Super Meteor clearly has the benefit of superior braking hardware and it shows. However, it also weighs substantially more than the Interceptor so it needs that stopping power.

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 vs Interceptor 650: Ride quality and handling

The ride quality of both motorcycles is not perfect. The rear of the Super Meteor 650 feels stiff whereas the Interceptor's front is softly sprung. Despite that, it is the Interceptor 650 is the motorcycle which feels better in the corners because of its less weight and shorter wheelbase. This does not mean that the Super Meteor does not handle well. In fact, you might be surprised by the way it sticks to its line. And for those concerned, the Super Meteor did not scrape anywhere despite having a ground clearance of 135 mm. Both motorcycles feel planted when you are doing triple-digit speeds on the highways.

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 vs Interceptor 650: Engine and gearbox

Both motorcycles use the same 648 cc, air-oil cooled engine that produces 47 bhp and 52 Nm of peak torque, which undoubtedly remains the highlight of the package. However, Royal Enfield has tuned the engine of Super Meteor to suit its cruiser characteristics. The motor produces power and torque higher in the rev range. The vibration levels are slightly higher on the Super Meteor and the engine sound and the on-off throttle transition are also not as smooth as they are on the Interceptor.

The Interceptor is not very well equipped in terms of features as compared to the Super Meteor
The Interceptor is not very well equipped in terms of features as compared to the Super Meteor

Having said that, these things will not concern you if you do not own a 650 Twin because you probably won’t notice them. The torque is well spread across the rev range and all you need to do is twist the throttle for an overtake. That is the highlight of this engine, there is loads of torque are always available in reserve.

Both motorcycles use the same 6-speed gearbox but the unit on the Interceptor feels smoother. This is probably because of the heel and toe shifter that the Super Meteor gets. The clutch on both motorcycles is quite stiff but you do get used to them after riding for a couple of days. The burbly exhaust note of the Super Meteor sounds better too when compared to the Interceptor, especially on the BS6 version that's more mellow than before.

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 vs Interceptor 650: Touring and pillion comfort

When it comes to touring, the Super Meteor is the better motorcycle because it is built for it. The riding triangle is aimed towards comfort and the person can spend hours on the saddle. However, the stock seat might not be the preferred one for some people. Royal Enfield is offering an accessory seat to solve this issue. Then there are the exhausts which are straight, this means that mounting luggage is easier. The up-swept exhausts of the Interceptor limit the luggage options that one can use for touring.

For pillion, again the Super Meteor seems like a better option because of the exhaust design and larger seat. Having said that, lower variants of Super Meteor do not come with a backrest, so the pillion might feel that he or she will fall when the rider decides to accelerate or overtake someone. Again, this can be solved by opting for the accessory that the manufacturer is selling. The Interceptor’s exhaust design makes the pillion sit with knees up position which is not comfortable.

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 vs Interceptor 650: Price

The Interceptor currently starts at 2.89 lakh whereas Super Meteor starts at 3.49 lakh. Both prices are ex-showroom. So, there is a price difference of 60,000 between the starting price of the two motorcycles. The Interceptor is offered only a single trim and the price changes depending on the colour that the person opts for. The Super Meteor 650 is offered in three variants - Astral, Interstellar and Celestial. The prices are 3.49 lakh, 3.64 lakh and 3.79 lakh respectively.

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 vs Interceptor 650: Who should buy what?

If you are looking for a motorcycle for city usage and occasional long rides, the Interceptor should serve you well and the money that you saved could be spent on accessories and modifying the motorcycle so that it suits you better. However, if you will be using the motorcycle for long tours on good roads and you want a true blue cruiser then the Super Meteor is the motorcycle.

First Published Date: 08 Feb 2023, 13:04 PM IST
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