We have been testing Powertronic’s piggyback ECU as well as the quickshifter for our long term Royal Enfield Interceptor 650. Is it worth spending the extra bucks?
Our long term Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 has been running impressively well for the past nine months or so. It doesn’t fall short on the performance count especially considering it’s a 650cc classic motorcycle with almost 210kg of moving weight. However, a lot of Katoomers have been trying to drag race at traffic lights and that’s exactly where the RE falls short. But that was until the guys from Powertronic sent us the piggyback ECU that claims to increase the power by 3bhp and torque by 3Nm. Of course, it comes at a cost; Rs 22,000 (349 USD) to be precise. And then you have to spend an additional Rs 1300 on the mode selector switch. And if that doesn’t fly with you, Powertronic also offers a quickshifter which will set you back by another 13,000 rupees! The real question is, does all that money make it quicker in the real world? Or is it just gimmicky like most of the other third-party ECU upgrades in the market? Most importantly, does it make the Interceptor faster than the 390 Duke?
And the answer is a big yes! During our VBox tests, the 390 Duke managed to clock 100kmph in 5.8sec which is great, thanks to its brilliant power-to-weight ratio. The stock INT650 was slower by 0.34sec. But now, in the unhinged M2 mode (which boosts 3bhp and 3Nm), the RE hits 100kmph in exactly the same time as the 390 Duke! Maybe Powertronic tested it against the benchmark.
However, thanks to the Interceptor’s additional torque over the 390 Duke, the in-gear acceleration is way quicker. With the ECU connected, it does the roll-on between 30-70kmph in 3rd gear at 3.1sec; which is an improvement of 0.6sec, mind you. For 40-80kmph in fourth cog, it used to take 4.5sec but now it does it in exactly 4sec! Both the figures are better than the 390 Duke’s by a few tenths, which is saying something. The speedo-read top speed too has gone up from 170kmph to 174kmph! Remember, even an extra kilometre requires a lot of effort when it comes to the top speed. Imagine the potential if you reduce the weight further. Or maybe, just slapping on high-quality rubber will do the trick.
The throttle response, too, is sharper at any RPM; not relative with the selected gear. The Interceptor feels a lot more eager than usual. Ride it back to back with the stock setting and you’ll be surprised for sure. The flatter torque curve is no gimmick and I can genuinely say that Powertronic’s dyno figures are true to their potential. Yes, you can always switch to stock mode as Powertronic supplies a couple for debugging purpose. The best bit is the quickshifter though. It works seamlessly and feels perfectly calibrated with the ECU. It’s a joy to use, be it in the city or on the highways.
And that’s not all there is to it; the Powertronic ECU also comes with a full-fledged software portal for the geeks among you. You may create your own power maps or as you please with the piggyback ECU. Powertronic supplies a handy USB cable that lets you connect your PC with the ECU and that’s it; no additional kit is required at all.
But of course, it all comes at a price. Shaving half a second to 100kmph isn’t a big deal for many, as the Interceptor is meant for a relaxed riding experience. However, the unit will definitely come in handy if you frequently take trips to racetracks. It’ll also make touring far more comfortable for you in the long term. But the best reason to get one is – you can flip the bird at Katoomers during those traffic signal drag races.