Royal Enfield had first showcased it’s all-new café racer at the Delhi expo in 2012. Back then it had created quite a stir amongst the public. Finally after a long two-year wait Royal Enfield has launched the café racer, rechristened as the Continental GT in United Kingdom. Following that it has been launched in India and will be the flagship model of the Royal Enfield range of motorcycles.
Café racers first came into existence in the 1950’s. The owners of the bike used to remove out the unnecessary parts in order to make the bike lightweight. Handlebars were usually clip-on type and the pedals used to be placed way behind in order to obtain an aerodynamic and sporty driving position. First look at the bike and you can see how much effort Royal Enfield have put into developing this product. The timeless and classic design of café racers has been recreated by Royal Enfield designers and they seem to have got it spot on. The Continental GT continues to have all the characteristic features of Café racers along with round headlights, 18-inch spoked wheels and a short single saddle. It comes in two attractive colors, red and yellow. All these elements make the Continental GT look truly spectacular.
The Continental GT is powered by a modified version of the 500cc engine found on other Royal Enfield bikes. It is as 535cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled, four stroke motor which develops 29.1bhp of power at 5100rpm and 4.49kgm of torque at 4000rpm. It comes with an electric starter but can also be kick-started. The engine is mated to a five-speed constant mesh gearbox with a four-up and one-down operation pattern. You might think that the Continental GT is underpowered but actually it is not true. With the lightweight frame and high quality parts the Continental GT is quite powerful and can achieve a top speed of around 140kmph . Stopping power is also adequate with the Brembo brakes. Some of the other high-quality parts of the Continental GT are the Paioli gas shocks for the rear suspension and Pirelli Sport demon tires.
The Continental GT like all other Royal Enfield motorcycles makes a very good tourer. Though the pillion rider might be a bit uncomfortable because of the shape of the seat, but there is nothing to worry as Royal Enfield are offering the full-sized seat as an option to customers. The seat is supportive and well-cushioned. The ride quality is a little stiff but not exactly bone-jarring. The riding position is quite sporty because of the longer 13.5litre gas tank, short clip-on handlebars and positioning of the footrests. One of the biggest areas of development on the Continental GT is the frame of the bike. It is a twin downtube cradle steel frame that has been developed by Harris Engineering. The bike is quite light weighing only 184kg (with 90% fuel).
To conclude, the Continental GT is possibly one of the best products ever made by Royal Enfield. With the Café Racer trend catching up worldwide it will surely be extremely successful. Royal Enfield has literally built this bike from scratch. Every single element has been perfected right from the all-new frame to the design and reworked engine. The bike is also generously equipped with quality parts like the Brembo brakes, Paioli shocks and the Pirelli tires. At the end of the day it leaves us with a flawless product. With a pricing of 2.14lakhs on-road it is pocket friendly too!
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.