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Author Topic: Glynn Kerr reviews the 650's  (Read 3615 times)

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Richard230

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on: February 05, 2018, 08:25:06 am
Glynn Kerr is a famous (he might say "infamous") and well-respected (except by Pierre Terblanche) vehicle designer who has assisted motorcycle manufacturers in their design of their bikes for the past 33 years.  He writes a monthly column in Motorcycle Consumer News and he reviewed the styling of the RE Interceptor and GT in their February 2018 issue. His article is quite long and his comments bounce around so much it is hard for me to summarize easily.  So I will just quote the last two paragraphs of his article, which follows this statement:  "...but instead of beating their chests, the UK development team should take the money and slip quietly out the back door"

    "Like many enthusiasts, I have been waiting a long time for the next generation of Royal Enfield motorcycles. This could have been a milestone product, while still ticking all the boxes.  Instead, the utter predictability of the design is a huge disappointment.
    If the Continental GT saw Enfield screaming into the 1960's, the Interceptor has catapulted them squarely into the 1970's.  That's probably enough for the Indian market, which will make huge allowances for a traditional domestic motorcycle. But to anyone with an understanding of the international motorcycle industry, it could have been so much more
."   :o
« Last Edit: February 05, 2018, 04:26:15 pm by Richard230 »
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hpwaco

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Reply #1 on: February 05, 2018, 09:17:24 am
Sort of agree.  After seeing the new Interceptor at the Dallas IMS, I kind of felt like it was a 70's UJM clone.


GSS

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Reply #2 on: February 05, 2018, 07:27:41 pm
Good points. Even the silver, black and orange color schemes on the Interceptors are identical to the Suzuki TU250 models sold in the US over the past few years.
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paulie

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Reply #3 on: February 06, 2018, 05:14:57 am
Well, I love 1970s motorcycles, so maybe irs perfect for me.


Guaire

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Reply #4 on: February 06, 2018, 08:18:51 am
Well, I love 1970s motorcycles, so maybe irs perfect for me.

Yep. I like them.
This Kerr fellow reminds of movie reviewers. A movie is like a motorcycle. It’s a team effort. It needs to be built. There is a specific plan of what to build. Did the director build it along the line, established by writer(s), producer(s) and financier(s), or not? Then along comes a reviewer after a screening, saying the picture was romantic and sad. That’s exactly what the team wanted to build, and he says, “wha, wha, whine.” Meanwhile the critic couldn’t write, produce or finance a film.
  The looks of the new 650s are there to make the connection to the big twins built in the 60s, that I rode in the 70’s. So far so good. The only questions left relate to build quality and reliable performance.
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Chuck D

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Reply #5 on: February 06, 2018, 09:36:20 am
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glynn_Kerr

A few years ago when these twins were still a rumor he published some beautiful designs (around the Indian V twin)  of his own in Motorcycle Consumer News. I wish I could dig 'em up. But any way, he's right. RE played it safe.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 09:51:17 am by Chuck D »
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hpwaco

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Reply #6 on: February 06, 2018, 10:08:02 am
The new 650's at the Dallas IMS just didn't say "buy me" the way the CGT did back in 2014.   But then I'm 76 and owned 62 and 01 Bonnevilles.  About time for me to consider something smaller and lighter, or maybe even a can am or scooter!


Rattlebattle

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Reply #7 on: February 06, 2018, 12:55:59 pm
I doubt that it really could have been so much more. Like what, exactly? Does he mean a premium product to compete with the T120 Bonneville 1200, or the R NineT BMW? Whilst these are ace bikes IMHO it’s a step too far to go to big capacity (by today’s standards) twins with ride by wire throttles and selectable maps. The CEO of RE has said that they’ll not build a bike bigger than 800cc; their business plan is to capture the mid size segment, retaining air cooling if possible. RE won’t win in a “me too” fight, not until it produces reliable and reasonable quality bikes. It is currently targeting the hipster/custom market. For that it has the right basic mix IMHO i.e. simple, proven engineering design and scope for owners to modify their bikes relatively easily.
To me the 650 has a similar sort of engine to the old Yamaha 650 twin of the seventies but looks a bit like the 750 Norton Commando with an engine that looks a bit like the Norton Jubilee/Navigator/Electra. I believe it will sell well for a brief period (maybe a couple of years) after which tastes will change again. The 500 CGT single has pretty much had its day in the U.K. as far as new sales are concerned. There are only so many buyers who want a 500cc single cafe racer. The Triumph 1200cc Bobber is apparently the biggest seller EVER that Hinckley Triumph has produced; this is set to continue with the new Bobber Black, which is getting brilliant reviews and is considered to be even better. Personally I’ll wait to see what early adopters think of the 650 twin and then see what new variants come out in season two.
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Richard230

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Reply #8 on: February 06, 2018, 04:13:26 pm
Glynn Kerr was apparently comparing the new Interceptor and GT with the originals.  He included a photo of the original RE Interceptor in his article.  However, it was not at all clear to me what he would have liked to see in the way of better styling, which is all that he was discussing. Like I said, I found the article kind of hard to follow. Of course, you do need to keep in mind that he is kind of like an artist comparing the work of another artist - in an industrial sort of way.  ;)
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Bilgemaster

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« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 08:34:00 pm by Bilgemaster »
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GSS

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Reply #10 on: February 06, 2018, 09:26:20 pm
Good article.....also agree with hpwaco that these don’t have they same “buy me” appeal as the original GT or C5 release did.  Having seen the Interceptor, I will likely get one, but it’s styling.....is mostly a relief that they did not put in the square engine head that was in the early spy shots.
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LexM

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Reply #11 on: February 07, 2018, 08:13:55 pm
Enfield’s comparative advantage is in selling connection to motorcycling’s past. It isn’t there to surprise, but to delight. Viewed against that backdrop, the Interceptor 650 fits both the aspirations of Enfield’s domestic market and the values of the hipster or nostalgic motorcyclists it seeks to connect with in overseas markets. If that’s “safe,” please—bring on more safety!
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Reply #12 on: February 08, 2018, 06:02:13 am
I agree; the strategy works well enough for Triumph, although in their case it only applies to part of the range; they make class leader my bikes in other sectors too. Having read the article I’m not impressed; an Alan Cathcart he isn’t. Given the reputation RE has for ancient design updated to suit the modern day, who is likely to buy some radical design by RE? It just isn’t their ethos. I believe that the twins will sell well, but I’ll wait to see what the second series looks like.
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Chuck D

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Reply #13 on: February 08, 2018, 08:07:14 am
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Bilgemaster

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Reply #14 on: February 08, 2018, 02:37:00 pm
Found 'em.
http://www.coroflot.com/Glynnkerr/Royal-Enfield-Cannon

Now THAT'S what I'm talking about, but with comfy seating for two. And lose the slinky rear light nacelle and instead give me some robust and commodious luggagy and carrier options back there for real touring.



Of course you can already get something like this right now from the über-talented folks at Musket V-Twin.  If you want the back story on it, you might enjoy this episode of Jay Leno's Garage.

Incidentally, I for one vastly prefer that old school Royal Enfield logo shown on the tank above.  The newer curlicued one just kinda looks like something you might see on some 14 year old girl's Social Science notebook.  What say you?



« Last Edit: February 08, 2018, 03:12:44 pm by Bilgemaster »
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal in India.


Narada

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Reply #15 on: February 08, 2018, 04:20:32 pm
I've always wodered how it would look in Devangiri script. ??? Otherwise, I'm perfectly happy with my curlycued font. Its the bike I fell in love with. Curlycues and all :)
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tooseevee

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Reply #16 on: February 08, 2018, 04:53:40 pm




Incidentally, I for one vastly prefer that old school Royal Enfield logo shown on the tank above.  The newer curlicued one just kinda looks like something you might see on some 14 year old girl's Social Science notebook.  What say you?

 

              Agree.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2018, 04:56:33 pm by tooseevee »
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Bilgemaster

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Reply #17 on: February 08, 2018, 06:16:09 pm
I've always wodered how it would look in Devangiri script. ??? Otherwise, I'm perfectly happy with my curlycued font. Its the bike I fell in love with. Curlycues and all :)

Well, wonder no more! Why it's even MORE curlicuer!...and speedier too!

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Narada

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Reply #18 on: February 09, 2018, 02:02:30 pm
Wow, nice! :o Thanks Bilgemaster!  ;)

Now to have maroon tank stickers made with the translation.   ::) Speaking of which, here it is in Tamil, official language in Chennai, (most appropriate for The Madras Missile) but without that crazy break-neck speed scroll.

Just the thing for a peaceful curlycue filled afternoon;

றோயொயல் ஏந்fஇfஇஎல்த்.  8)

P.S., that green chrome would look good with a paralell twin too!
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Bilgemaster

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Reply #19 on: February 09, 2018, 03:21:57 pm
Yes, that's MUCH curlicuer still!  But you've got a weird "stutter" and non-native characters there in Tamil. Here's a correction (big and maroon and gold-bordered and parked for your convenience):


ராயல் என்ஃபீல்ட்
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal in India.


Fragman

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Reply #20 on: February 10, 2018, 05:35:20 pm
Enfield’s comparative advantage is in selling connection to motorcycling’s past. It isn’t there to surprise, but to delight. Viewed against that backdrop, the Interceptor 650 fits both the aspirations of Enfield’s domestic market and the values of the hipster or nostalgic motorcyclists it seeks to connect with in overseas markets. If that’s “safe,” please—bring on more safety!

I heartily agree. ;) It would also be nice to see RE do a nice V twin like that beauty green & chrome version of 'er in Kerr's renderings.  :)
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Narada

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Reply #21 on: February 11, 2018, 01:18:03 am
How about putting a Carberry or Musket V-twin in there?  ::)
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Fragman

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Reply #22 on: February 11, 2018, 06:46:43 pm
Yes, RE could easily do up the Carberry version due to having most of the parts in stock to produce 'em, and I also wish that they did. However, today's marketing is hell bent on moving product volume above all else, and the styling demanded by the most potential buyers generally gets the nod.

I would be rather happy with a Carberry in chrome/maroon though. ;)

Nothing better than a nice putt on an RE.
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AmBraCol

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Reply #23 on: March 05, 2018, 02:17:04 pm
The author clearly doesn't understand the market which Royal Enfield has targeted.  He talks about the "international motorcycle market" - while ignoring that most of the world moves around on sub-200cc bikes.  Here in Latin America there's a huge gap between the multitudinous 100-200 cc bikes and anything over 500 cc's.  The gap is not just displacement but cost.  Honda and Yamaha have some 200 cc bikes that cost as much as a Royal Enfield - or more. The closest thing in displacement/cost is the Suzuki GS500 - and it's priced well above the Continental GT.  By targeting the price/performance gap between all the little bikes and the larger ones, Royal Enfield stands a fair chance at dominating the market that the above mentioned author ignores completely.  He can get his jollies from the European and Japanese bikes, which are WAY above reach for the vast majority of riders in Royal Enfield's target audience.  Royal Enfield is putting decent bikes out at a level to which many more of us can aspire.
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Richard230

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Reply #24 on: March 07, 2018, 08:28:41 am
Glynn Kerr started off his column this month with the following comment: "Last month, I lamented a lack of creative vision from companies that follow the design route of the obvious, and no doubt lost the support of Enfield aficionados in the process."  So it sounds like he received a little push-back regarding his 650 twin being not all that exciting (design-wise) comments last month from his readers.

However, this month he mentions motorcycle designs that went way too far.  In particular, he provided photos of two electric motorcycles, the Johammer J1 and the British-designed Saietta.  If you want to really see what going over the top really looks like just google those two bikes.   :o
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AmBraCol

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Reply #25 on: March 07, 2018, 09:51:52 am
Glynn Kerr started off his column this month with the following comment: "Last month, I lamented a lack of creative vision from companies that follow the design route of the obvious, and no doubt lost the support of Enfield aficionados in the process."  So it sounds like he received a little push-back regarding his 650 twin being not all that exciting (design-wise) comments last month from his readers.

However, this month he mentions motorcycle designs that went way too far.  In particular, he provided photos of two electric motorcycles, the Johammer J1 and the British-designed Saietta.  If you want to really see what going over the top really looks like just google those two bikes.   :o

That's hilarious! From his comments on the Royal Enfields, those are the type of bikes I figured he'd be thrilled with!   :o

 ;D 
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portisheadric

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Reply #26 on: April 06, 2018, 05:18:51 am
Pretty sure that Saietta made its first appearance inside one of those embryonic tubes in Alien Resurrection.


Rattlebattle

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Reply #27 on: April 10, 2018, 02:31:07 am
Glynn Kerr, whoever he is, is a bit of a pillock. Discuss. :)
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ringoism

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Reply #28 on: April 15, 2018, 07:11:27 am
Glynn Kerr started off his column this month with the following comment: "Last month, I lamented a lack of creative vision from companies that follow the design route of the obvious, and no doubt lost the support of Enfield aficionados in the process."  ...this month he mentions motorcycle designs that went way too far.  In particular, he provided photos of two electric motorcycles, the Johammer J1 and the British-designed Saietta.  If you want to really see what going over the top really looks like just google those two bikes.   :o

Well, I for one would ride the Johammer in a minute, despite being a pretty old-school kinda guy... just stunning both in tech and the very clean, functional, yet revolutionary looks.  Though dropping one would prove expensive...

Re: Kerr on RE's: I can appreciate a lot of what he's written, but as much as he talks about it, I don't think he's quite in touch with the domestic (Indian) market.  The new twins may be "lower risk" but IMO they are not entirely safe for the company.  The Himalayan, even before all the technical issues came up, was being eyed very tentatively by many, and probably a majority of traditional Bulleteers wouldn't be caught dead on one, despite the "adventure" market getting hot and its generally being a lot more interesting and making a lot more sense design-wise and functionally than any Bullet. 

The twins in question, 270-degree crank aside, lack the all-important low-rpm "thump" that has thrilled Indians for decades... and will cost probably double what a nice-looking, 40kmpl CL350 does... and will require more capable mechanics than average to keep them serviced/repaired (and their company technicians have often been deplorable).  No, they are not being viewed in the domestic market as "superbikes" - there are plenty of higher-performing machines available here already, the wealthy have no trouble shelling out double the U.S. price for Triumphs, and even a lot of middle-class persons are willing to pay loans on bikes costing double and more what the RE's probably will.  There is indeed a lot of talk/interest (as there was for the Himalayan) and it's entirely possible that they'll sell well, but end of the day, someone has to plonk down the money (or fill out that loan application), and the cumulative mind is a little complex here. 

I think RE absolutely had to do this, they'll only be able for so long to keep selling underperforming singles in an advancing market...  I respect Sid Lal and his team for all they've been aspiring to, and truly the company has grown by leaps and bounds, but producing a "world bike" is not an easy thing.  The entire market here is risk-averse with good reason: by example Hero, since it was also mentioned, introduced India's "first" dual-sport bike in 2012 - I own one and it's not a bad bike, I guess it was successful enough in the Brazilian market, but here it was a monumental market flop, and despite Hero's finally offering them at large discounts, they still had unsold, rusting stock sitting around the factory as of last year, must have finally scrapped them when the BS (Euro) 4 laws came into effect.  The actual first enduro/dual-sport was Kawasaki/Bajaj's KE100 "Endura" a couple decades back - another monumental flop.  People thought these bikes looked funny, and the high mudguards did nothing to prevent their office shoes getting muddy in the monsoons.  The Himalayan was certainly a risky venture against that backdrop.  The Funduro flopped here, the Hyosung twins (cruiser and sport) flopped here, and dozens of good bikes of all types have come and gone, never really catching on for whatever reason.  Not to mention widely varying regional preferences domestically.  Not an easy place to do business IMO, and while India is changing rapidly, there's this (to me, despite 15 years here) very difficult to understand mix of lust for the latest/greatest/most adventurous and the sometimes very traditional, "safe" tastes / sensibilities of the oft-cited "herd mentality". 

Time will tell.  Meanwhile I applaud RE for venturing out a bit.   

-Eric


ringoism

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Reply #29 on: April 15, 2018, 07:25:12 am
PS... forgot to mention that the KE-100 (/variants) was Kawi's longest-running bike ever, with 30-odd years production and sales successes worldwide.  But hardly could sell any here.  Come to think of it, RE has sold very few 535 Conti's in India either.  Or even 500's, compared to the 350's.  Things are changing, but not sure it's easy to predict the direction of the majority's tastes / whims.   


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Reply #30 on: April 17, 2018, 10:08:46 pm
Well, I love 1970s motorcycles, so maybe irs perfect for me.

And there's the rub - a lot of people are looking for nostalgia (be it for 50's or 60's or 70 machines) and a strong sense of 'retro' when they spring for an Enfield or a Triumph, and even (these days) a Ducati. The markets are full to bursting point with more modern alternatives.

I would like to see the original design requirements for the new twins, unembellished with PR nonsense.  How much (if at all) have the new twins deviated from those requirements?


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Reply #31 on: April 19, 2018, 12:53:47 pm
Yeah, I prefer the classic tank design, but I'm chock full of air cooled v-twins. I'm puttin the 6 speed parallel twin in the WIN column.
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