Royal Enfield Unveils SG650 Concept

Evans Brasfield
by Evans Brasfield

Taking the 650 Twin in new - and old - directions

Fans of Royal Enfield’s Continental GT and Interceptor 650 owe it to themselves to take a long look at the SG650 Concept. This neoretro interpretation of the platform sure turned our heads. [UPDATE: Eicher Motors, which owns RE, had previously filed trademark applications in multiple markets for the name “Royal Enfield Shotgun”. We can surmise that may end up being the production name for the SG650 concept.]

For starters, the frame gets slammed with a bobbed rear fender with a solo seat cantilevered covering over it. The subframe rails look quite different from the one used on the Continental GT and Interceptor. The side panels covering the airbox are much more bulbous, too. The low-slung look is highlighted by beefy tires, front and rear, mounted to disc wheels that feature dual cutouts. To further accentuate the austere styling, the brake discs have color-matched carriers and a hole-free swept area.

Every curve, from the tank to the headlight nacelle that appears to be integrated into the triple clamps, has been sculpted to give the impression of speed. The top of the nacelle organically incorporates a LED tachometer/speedometer assembly on the left and the new Tripper navigation system (recently introduced on the 2022 Royal Enfield Himalayan) on the right. A monochromatic paint scheme which fades from silver at the front to a black rear fender only utilizes occasional teal highlights.

Though we can’t comment on any performance modifications, the engine itself is part of the design with a blacked out cylinders above the cases which sport the same silver/black digital fade as the tank and front fender. The black dual peashooter exhausts continue the light and dark theme by utilizing bare aluminum muffler mounts.

The inverted fork appears to be totally modern while the dual shocks harken to Royal Enfield’s history. A similar approach comes from the lighting which looks to have a halogen headlight, while the rest of the illumination is LED.

From the Royal Enfield booth at EICMA 2021.

Whatever else that can be gleaned from these photos is up to the reader, but consider the MO staffers sufficiently curious to hope that this styling exercise makes it to production with its character intact. We’ll leave you with a short video.

Begin Press Release:


23rd November, EICMA – Milan, Italy – Royal Enfield, the global leader in the middleweight motorcycle segment (250cc – 750cc), opened its showcase offering at EICMA 2021 today with the unveil of the #royalenfield SG650 Concept motorcycle – marking another chapter in the brand’s 120 year old journey of creative expression and conceptual development.

The SG650 Concept is the result of a challenge set to Royal Enfield’s Industrial Design Team by Mark Wells, Chief of Design. At its core, the message underpinning the concept build was about celebrating ‘transition’. The aim, through this challenge, was for the #royalenfield team to embark on a new creative journey with the SG650 Concept; starting from within Royal Enfield’s classic design sensibilities and then pushing into a whole new era of what the Royal Enfield’s of the future could look like.

Says Mark Wells, “we are a company in transition – so long a representation of the analog age and now developing new products that keep that same pure soul yet are fully integrated into the digital present. To celebrate this, we wanted to develop a project that really gave our design team an opportunity to stretch themselves creatively. The goal : to build 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 #royalenfield motorcycle could look like, but at its core still celebrating that iconic #royalenfield DNA.

The advances of today are often inspired by the imaginations of the past – the mobile phone, the smart watch or even space travel. That desire to look forward with optimism and imagine the possibilities is fundamental to the progression of our culture. And so we started this concept with a context rather than a question – imagining a world in the not so distant future and our brand’s place in it. A cyber, neon saturated, urban jungle took shape – where old meets new in a tangle of concrete, metal, bright lights and shadowy streets, where the analog and the digital intertwine and blend – setting that felt both familiar and alien to us, and in doing so foster an environment that would force us to think differently about how we approached the aesthetics of a #royalenfield motorcycle.

We believe that the resultant concept motorcycle, unveiled for the first time at EICMA 2021, inhabits this world fantastically well and offers up something very new, very original and entirely unique to fans of the brand and motorcycle enthusiasts more widely. The design team have done an amazing job in retaining the analog soul – those classic #royalenfield lines and design nuances – subtle nods to the past – while creatively pushing the boundary of what the Royal Enfield’s of tomorrow could conceptually represent in form and function.”

Says Adrian Sellers, Group Manager, Industrial Design and lead for the SG650 Concept project, “We’re really excited to unveil this concept and write another chapter in the rapidly evolving story of #royalenfield design. It is always exciting to design for a “What if…” scenario, and the brief to create a motorcycle that would both be recognizably #royalenfield but at the same time push what a #royalenfield could be was a real challenge. This was a wonderfully collaborative and rewarding project to develop, as it required the creative input of many different aspects of the design team – from Industrial Design to Color Trim and Graphics and CGI – each contributed a piece of the puzzle to bring this other world to life.

The key concept of transition is conveyed throughout the motorcycle; from the choice of aesthetic finishes, to the materials that we used. From the heritage-inspired polished aluminium front end, flowing into the futuristic, digital graphic on the tank – this was about bringing the old and the new together and resulting in something timeless.

There are some really special elements to this motorcycle that are a first for a #royalenfield concept – many of the component parts have been individually, one-off fabricated or designed exclusively for this motorcycle. The tank has been CNC billet machined from a solid block of aluminium, as have the wheel rims with integrated ABS, bespoke designed brake calipers, and dual front brake disks. The upside down forks, integrated aluminium top yoke / nacelle unit and low rise extra-wider bars with all aluminium 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. Graphically, the black out 650 Twin engine and exhaust system compliment our imagined near future, while the polished aluminum forms transitioning with a “digital transformation” graphic across the motorcycle speak to the progression of the brand. We’re delighted with the end result and truly believe this brings something completely new, in our 120th anniversary year, to the ever developing story of #royalenfield.”

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Evans Brasfield
Evans Brasfield

Like most of the best happenings in his life, Evans stumbled into his motojournalism career. While on his way to a planned life in academia, he applied for a job at a motorcycle magazine, thinking he’d get the opportunity to write some freelance articles. Instead, he was offered a full-time job in which he discovered he could actually get paid to ride other people’s motorcycles – and he’s never looked back. Over the 25 years he’s been in the motorcycle industry, Evans has written two books, 101 Sportbike Performance Projects and How to Modify Your Metric Cruiser, and has ridden just about every production motorcycle manufactured. Evans has a deep love of motorcycles and believes they are a force for good in the world.

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