Motorcycle Sport & Leisure

ROYAL TWINS

Head down, heart pounding, teeth gritted, breathing deep. Knees grip cut-outs in the slender tank, feet tap dance on gear lever and rear brake, arms flick the clip-ons back and forth as the spirit-levelled asphalt spirals dizzyingly around ranks of giant redwood trees, Californian sunlight punctuating the vast canopy overhead and lighting up the road in a blazing orchestra of contrasting spotlights.

The riding pace is beautifully hectic. My right wrist strains the throttle, stretching cables so tight I could play a chord on them. The big air-cooled lump beneath short-shifts smoothly between fourth and fifth and back to fourth again, tacho needle flickering up to peak torque around mid-revs, exhaust droning like a twin-prop crop duster. Containing and guiding it all, the chassis is agile, light and balanced – subtle brakes can be stroked mid-corner without challenging the bike’s line, and ground clearance is sufficient to keep pegs off the floor and tyres on tarmac.

At the end of the road, I pause for breath. So what manner of superbike is this? Some new-fangled Honda, or a high-tech BMW? No. It’s the new Royal Enfield Interceptor.

If at any point in the last 40 years I’d told you in 2018 I’d be threading such an exhilarating, high-speed path

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