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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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Royal Enfield SG650 concept bike: A neo-retro future

Photo: Royal Enfield

Royal Enfield is back at EICMA with a  new concept bike. The SG650 combines the company’s parallel twin with some funky styling.

Mark Well, the bigwig in charge of Royal Enfield’s designs, said the goal was to make a “unique concept motorcycle that pays homage to Royal Enfield’s rich history of custom motorcycles, but one that wasn’t encumbered by the past. A neo-retro interpretation that pushes the boundaries of what a Royal Enfield motorcycle could look like, but at its core still celebrates that iconic Royal Enfield DNA.”

A neo-retro? The resulting machine still looks an awful lot like a Royal Enfield retro, not like an Akira cyberbike. The lines aren’t that different from the Meteor. The paint is cool, but that doesn’t make it a machine fit for the next Tron movie.

However, Royal Enfield is all about customization, even at the factory level. In some markets, riders can actually use Royal Enfield’s website to pre-configure their bike with the extensive factory accessory catalog.

This bike shows Royal Enfield’s ability to take things further, making one-off parts to add extra flash. Another SG650 concept project insider said “The tank has been CNC billet machined from a solid block of aluminum, as have the wheel rims with integrated ABS, bespoke designed brake calipers and dual front brake discs. The upside-down forks, integrated aluminum top yoke / nacelle unit and low rise extra-wide bars with all aluminum switch cubes all add elements of originality and design progression to the concept—while the twin rear shocks, mounted to the classic chassis loop, hand-stitched black leather floating solo seat are a clear nod to our past.”

There could be a market for an upscale Royal Enfield with all this bling—this is exactly what other OEMs are doing. Maybe Royal Enfield wouldn’t build a halo model with this level of detail, but the idea of a factory custom with extra-flashy bits could very well be a cash cow for RE down the road.

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