Jan 10, 2012

22 Royal Enfield Displays "Continental GT" Cafe Racer @ 2012 AutoExpo

At last a Royal Enfield of my dreams.. the "Continental GT" Cafe Racer..!!

Nothing could be more Retro and cool at the same time than the "Continental GT" Café Racer model that Royal Enfield has shown at the 2012 AutoExpo..!!

The anticipated Café Racer model from Royal Enfield was displayed at the 2012 Auto Expo. Royal Enfield did show a Café Racer concept at the last 2010 AutoExpo, but that was quite clearly just a concept based on the current “Bullet” chassis.

This Royal Enfield promises to graduate you into a mature yet cool biker dude amidst a sea of plastic bikes/bikers..

But the Café Racer displayed during this AutoExpo is based on a completely new chassis. The finishing and detailing on the display bike suggests that it is almost production ready..!!

What is a Café Racer? In short, it is a classic/retro bike born out of the retro/classic road bikes of the 1960’s which back in those “Black & White” days days were used for racing on the European freeways by making customizations/modifications.

The signature Café Racer (modifications) stying elements are:

  • An elongated and flat fuel tank

  • A small humped (single) seat

  • Low and narrow handlebars (2 piece clip ons or short one piece handlebars called "clubman")

  • Rear set foot pegs

These modifications allowed the rider to to "tuck in" to reduce wind resistance. The bikes had a raw, lean and stripped-down look. These motorcycles were lean, light and handled road surfaces well.

Royal Enfield “Continental GT” Café Racer:

Styling: The Royal Enfield Café Racer shown at the AutoExpo has “Continental GT” pasted on its tank. The elongated flat fuel tank & single humped seat is authentic Café Racer styling. The handlebars are "two piece clip ons" which is low set. And of course it also gets rearset foot pegs.

With other details on the bike like the switchgear, twin pod instrument cluster, new sporty looking exhaust and the rear view mirrors which are attached to the handlebars in a novel fashion, this Royal Enfield promises to graduate you into a mature yet cool biker dude amidst a sea of plastic bikes/bikers.

Engine: The Single Cylinder lump looks to have been carried over from the current UCE platform. Details of the engine regarding its capacity, power, torque etc. are not yet official.

But one can see the Fuel Injector lines on the engine, therefore its probably safe to assume that the “Continental GT” Café Racer from Royal Enfield would get the 500 cc, Fuel Injected engine that does duty on the Classic 500 model. With minimalist/stripped down body, we can expect the kerb weight on this bike to come down.

Totally new Chassis & Suspension: The bike features an all new and first for Royal Enfield “Double downtube + Double cradle” frame which is a departure from the traditional “Single downtube + Engine as a stressed member” frame of the current Bullet, Classic and Thunderbird models of Royal Enfield.

With an all new chassis, plus a new swingarm, rear suspension (the bike at the show had Ohlins Gas filled rear shock absorbers), rear disc brakes and probably redesigned front forks as well we should expect the “Continental GT” to handle like a Classic Sports Bike..!!

Launch Dates: There has been no official announcement made yet but the Royal Enfield officials that were present at the Expo did mention that we can expect a launch date somewhere in 2013 in India.

My Take:

The “Classic” model was developed primarily for the export markets. Royal Enfield never imagined that its Classic range of models would become a huge success in India. But to everyone’s sweet surprise the Classic enjoy a 8-10 month waiting list in India. History could repeat itself in India with the “Continental GT” Café Racer. I am sure that in export markets this model would be received very well, but I am get this premonition that it might become another Royal Enfield success story in India as well.

The Café Racer from Royal Enfield has become latest my dream bike (which is within reach for a middle class Indian ) and I have made up my mind to get one after a few years.. just let me enjoy my “Plastic Bikes” a little bit longer..

Photos Credit (Posted with permission): Bobby Roy

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This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.


Anonymous said...

The most "frictinious" thing in the design is the Tank... It could be better... Even the default Bullet tank would be more proper.... BTW, dont know, howz this low rise handlebar fitted in our Indian condition... Retro look doesnt means to make pain in driving guesture... simple handlebar should be provided, atleast as option....
& the must have feature are its headlight & analog dials... At the end, if not nice, but good job...

first_synn said...

Who gives a shit about practicality? I'll take the bus when I need that.

Bring it on!!!

Moosehunter said...

I reply to the comment made by Mr anonymous you may never see this machine in your country as its designed for western Tastes as we made this look back in the 50,s 60, 70,s and so on its Called a
Cafe Racer we have the roads for this kind of machine so do your home work before you make comments on the looks !! I think is great peace of workman ship,I hope it go,s into production.

Anonymous said...

This tank is perfect you are very much wrong. And bars will be very much fine. I will by one! Well done re

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

Aahh.. Synn,

Royal Enfield had to come out with this one to bring you back into action.. :-) Good to hear from you after a long time.

About the tank and handlebars, well that's the way cafe racer's are styled/designed.. I see no wrong in it. At least the Cafe Racer that Royal Enfield has shown isn't a "confused" model

Anonymous said...

@ Moose above: Taste is very personnel thing, I dont like it... & U like like it, its private matter.... So dont become Kapil Sibal.
BTW, I still humbly feels that these types of handle and the riding gesture obtain from it, will not be quite comfortable in our Indian conditions of bad roads & chaotic traffic. This blog/forum is about Indian Bike & bikers, (& IF NOT, why this blog is full of Hero Honda, Bajaj & Honda India & not about Harley & Ducati's???) so priority of domestic scenario should be kept prior to what westerns had choices in 50's & 60s...
Samadar Samajh Jaye... Nasamajh Shor Machaye....
Keep Loving!!!
Urs, Anonymous...

S.P - Biker Next Door said...


Your comments are well taken but please don't get into mudslinging. even for me the low handlebars make the bike an authentic cafe racer and that is the way it should be.

If one can isn't comfortable with it then he always buy a bike with normal/comfortable handle bars.. why should he buy a cafe racer or a Super Sports (another example of uncomfortable stance) motorcycle

arsouille13 said...

je la trouve géniale et c'est vraiment l'essentiel qu'on demande a une moto! ceux qui la critiquent mal , ne connaissent vraiment rien aux belles machines!
ah! si seulement honda ou yamaha pouvaient nous ressortir de leurs cartons de tels engins : quel bonheur!..
mais la mode étant ce qu'elle est: toujours +de puissance avec toujours autant de bridage en France! quelle honte! alors autant se faire plaisir sur de tels engins!
un grand merci a royal enfield...vraiment!...

rahul said...

the bike looks stunning but can the cafe racer be used as a touring bike like the other enfield bikes?

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

Cafe Racer's are Classic Race Bikes and hence have an aggressive ridin posture meant for racing.

This aggressive riding stance won't be comfortable for long distance tourung

melville said...

Gasp!! Droooollll! You know, I really hope the Mayans were wrong and 21/12/2012 doesn't happen.

I will do anything to see this bike in my garage....in fact if they would launch it, I would be one the first to book this utterly gorgeous motorcycle; KTM & Co. can wait!. Place it next to a Triumph Bonneville and it wud be no less desirable. This is the most perfect Royal Enfield ever, albeit the name is not very apt. In fact Continental GT is what the T-bird shud have been called...Whatever they decide to call it, let's hope they build it. Amen.

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

You said it Melville,

This Royal Enfield won't look less desirable even when placed beside the Boneville or any other classics.

sachin said...

Ita a great piece of art...a perfect cafe racer from royal enfield,everything perfectly designed.....just brimg it on man,waiting for this bike with my fingers crossed.Any one who dont know what a cafe racer is plz dont comment!

Anonymous said...

Before Tata Nano was launching, everyone from media person to "chaai-wala's" tells other that, its too cute... perfect for them... like it very much... WILL BUY IT!!!

Even two years after launching, so cute, so perfect, so liked Nano, still struggles on sales charts....

Feeling similar???

Consiguió que un amigo?

La verdad es más extraña que la ficción.

S.P - Biker Next Door said...


From the time the Nano was conceived to the time it was launched in the market, a lot changed among the Indian middle class. The aspirations of the middle class had changed.. being seen driving the "Cheapeat Car" was a turn off for the great Indian middle class.

In hindsight, the issues with the Nano turned out to be multifold. The "Positioning" as the "Cheapest Car", serious "Quality issues with the intial batches", with the intial couple of them getting up into flames leading to a PR nightmare. Also the interiors of the car was no where what was expected of a car.

Comparing it with the Cafe Racer is a bad analogy.. the Cafe Racer projects the image of class and taste in bikes.

Bring it on Royal Enfied

Anonymous said...

what would the estimated cost of this bike? and when it will launch in India

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

Price has not been officially announced but i am expecting a price anywhere between 1.75-2.00 lakhs Rs.

Anonymous said...

I own a 2010 C5 classic(black) and have enjoyed every minute riding and owning it,but what i was really after was a classic looking and sounding single cylinder cafe racer around 600cc and (affordable).Well done Royal Enfield or who ever made the decision to build it, i will order one as soon as they arrive in Australia, put a polished alloy tank on it,paint them in black,red and chrome, and they will sell thousands.

HP said...

I feel RE has done a gr8 job. In today`s world of plastic bikes and `toffee wrapped' riders this is a pulse racing bike for hardcore guys who luv the feel of the engine thump and good handling too.I wish for a bit more power. RE bikes are not just bikes, it gives complete motorcycling experience.

Anonymous said...

I have a Redditch(UK)- built 1966 RE Continental GT for which I had to wait 22 years before previous owner would sell. At 68, I find it somewhat uncomfortable, but what- the- hell. If I were 48 again I would be prepared to wait another 20 years for one of these lovely looking machines. Hope I get the chance to see them on UK roads; regards to all, Jayem

phalgun said...

i called up the RE guys, the said that its not gonna be launched in 2012 :( but in 2013 somewhere i have no patience to wait foor such a long bloody time XD RE get this into production before i loose my patience

Chethan Srinivas said...

Finally something of my taste, this one hopefully would blast thru the highways and also glide those twisty roads up ahead this is brutally exciting and must place my manly balls over the seat and all alone,....man this is thrilling away from pulsars, unis, apacs,..i must only wait. And all those who ride plastic bikes please atleast(once) taste power and bruteness(yezdi), you ll feel your manhood was stolen.

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