BSA or Royal Enfield 650: Which 650cc retro to buy?


I recently saw that BSA will come back to India after many decades with the new Gold Star 650. My family friend used to have a Gold Star back in his day and that has made me keen to buy this new Gold Star but at the same time I can’t ignore the twin-cylinder Royal Enfield Interceptor 650. Budget is not an issue, I will use it only on Sunday and I’m 6 foot tall. Please nudge me in the right direction. 

Hormuz, Mumbai

Autocar India says: This is a question that is going to be very common in the Indian market since Classic Legends’ announcement of BSA’s return. Nostalgia plays a big role when it comes to neo-retro bikes and both bikes have it in spades. 

Also See:
BSA Gold Star India debut on August 15

Let’s start with the Gold Star because that’s what you seem to have a closer connection with. The 2024 Goldie uses a liquid-cooled, 652cc, single-cylinder motor making 45hp and 55Nm of torque. These numbers are decidedly in the ballpark of the Interceptor’s 47hp/52Nm. Interestingly, it's the single-cylinder BSA that has more torque than the twin-cylinder Royal Enfield (which is air/oil-cooled). At 213kg, the Gold Star is 5 kg lighter than the Interceptor, which shouldn’t be a noticeable difference while riding. What will however, is the BSA’s low 780mm perch that is a fair bit lower than the Interceptor’s 804mm saddle. 

This should tell you that both bikes will have a markedly different riding experience, at least when it comes to the engine. When it comes to the chassis both are evenly matched with tubular frames, similar suspension and braking units. It remains to be seen how the BSA Gold Star 650 handles the Indian road conditions. 

When it comes to the all-important question of price, Classic Legends will likely position the made-in-India BSA in the same ballpark as the Royal Enfield’s 3.03 lakh - 3.45 lakh price range (ex-showroom, Chennai). It bears mentioning that in overseas markets the BSA carries a Rs 30,000 - Rs 50,000 premium (approx.) over the Interceptor. Whether that will be the case in India as well remains to be seen, although even historically, BSAs would be pricier to their Royal Enfield equivalents. 

It's an exciting time to be shopping for a midsize neo-retro bike and you should stay tuned to our social media and website as we bring you the latest developments on this matter. 

Also See:
2023 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650, Continental GT 650 review: Retros refreshed

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