Interceptor V Lightning...which Is Best.

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by speeder, Nov 14, 2022.

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  1. speeder

    speeder Noble Member

    Jan 3, 2019
    #1 speeder, Nov 14, 2022
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2022
    How does my 1966 BSA lightning compare to my 2021 royal enfield interceptor?
    1. Looks.
    I think both bikes look great, the enfield is designed in the UK and l think they have done a good job capturing a pretty authentic look of a basic British bike which has sold well worldwide.

    2 Ride and handling.
    Both machines have similar frame geometry with relatively soft, basic suspension, the riding position is rather upright but l prefer the footrest position on the BSA.
    Through the corners there is little to choose between them, for a bike pushing 60 years old the BSA is surprisingly good and can hold it's own easily against the enfield.

    3. Braking.
    A huge difference here, the enfield has single disc front and rear with ABS, The BSA only has half width single leading shoe stoppers which by modern standards are totally inadequate, you just have to adjust your riding style to allow for the limitations of these brakes.
    It is easy to see why so many of the early "ton up boys" came to grief.....they simply couldn't stop!

    4. Engine.
    Both produce similar power, 47 bhp but they are very different, the enfield has fuel injection and 4 valves per cylinder whereas the BSA has a two valve setup with twin amal carbs.
    For sheer lowdown stomp l think the BSA is better, they also sound different, the enfield has a 270 degree crank like most modern triumphs, this gives it the same firing intervals as a 90 degree v twin and it has an odd off beat exhaust note that lacks the brit twin snarl of the 360 degree BSA engine.
    In terms of smoothness the enfield is a clear winner due to it's modern design and balance shaft, however it doesn't have that "x factor" that only a well setup carburettor engine has.
    The BSA cruses best at about 60-65 mph, pushing it much above that and it starts to feel a bit stressed, however the enfield can easily manage 70-80 mph cruising thanks to it's 6 speed box.

    5. Living with them.
    The enfield is very cleverly designed to be easily maintained and serviced at home, everything is easy to do, no messing about with shims for the valves: it's all a simple screw and locknut design that anybody can do, with basic competence there is no need to ever use a dealer for any repairs or maintenance.
    The BSA is similar but uses old technology so knowledge of setting up carbs and ignition points together with timing is useful , not a problem for me as l was brought up with this stuff
    Will the enfield still be on the road in 60 years time? I doubt it....the electronics will have given up by then consigning it to the scrap heap....unless someone fits carbs and coil ignition from an old BSA to keep it going!
    Couldn't cover everything but hope you enjoyed the read.


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  2. Dawsy

    Dawsy Cumbrian half-wit

    Aug 24, 2018
    What a great write up @speeder !
    The Enfield's do look the part but so does the Beezer. Brakes are always going to be better on the modern bikes but the BSA badge looks far cooler than the RE:grinning:
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  3. sprintdave

    sprintdave Nurse,he's out of bed again

    May 25, 2014
    Good old power egg. Love em, I had an A65 Rocket many years ago and agree with your thoughts on the Lightning. Never ride an Interceptor but hope the gearbox is better than my mate at the time's Continental GT, which seemed to have at least one neutral between every gear. Also it lived up to the name they were given then, Royal Oilfield and leaked from everywhere. Great days tho.
  4. darkman

    darkman Crème de la Crème

    Oct 26, 2015
    Southcoast of the UK Earth
    We sold our two modern Triumph speed twins this year having decided that our classic bikes are more than enough :)
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  5. Markus

    Markus First Class Member

    Oct 28, 2020
    Thanks for your interesting write up. I love the photos of your bike. They are great!;)
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  6. speeder

    speeder Noble Member

    Jan 3, 2019
    Funny you should say that darkman, l am thinking about selling my speed triple, l don't use it much anymore, much as l like it, just puttering about on the BSA or enfield is just as much fun even though they have limited power.
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  7. darkman

    darkman Crème de la Crème

    Oct 26, 2015
    Southcoast of the UK Earth
    Let's hope we have a cracking summer to enjoy the lanes around Dorset :)
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