Sep 29, 2013

1 Royal Enfield Continental GT: Retro Cool

Royal Enfield launches it best built motorcycle till date the Continental GT "Cafe Racer".. in the UK

Few days back Royal Enfield launched it very important model the Continental GT which is a Cafe Racer model in the UK. Its very clear that the Continental GT has been conceptualized keeping specifically the export markets in mind.

Royal Enfield is probably correct in realizing this since this model seems to have generated more curiosity and interest in international markets than among Indian bikers.

Cafe Racer is a category of motorcycles which the normal desi "commuter" won't understand. Also pubescent bikers who can only think of "Dhoom" bikes will not understand what is the fuss about.

A Cafe Racer is the grand daddy of super sport motorcycles from the 1960's era. This latest Cafe Racer of Royal Enfield pays homage to the famous 250 cc model with the same name from Royal Enfield. And wow, has Royal Enfield done a good job at it? I just love the way the Continental GT has turned out.

Lightest and Most Powerful Royal Enfield (?)

According to me, Royal Enfield has gone a bit overboard in promoting the Continental GT as the "Lightest and the Most Powerful" Royal Enfield. The engine is a slightly larger bored 535 cc unit with lighter flywheel, new ECU mapping, new piston, piston rings. This has upped the peak power by around 2 bhp and the new bike makes 29.1 bhp.

At 184 Kgs the Continental GT is just around 5-6 Kgs lighter than the 500 cc Classic model. Even in India with pocket rockets like the KTM 390 Duke available, performance of the Continental GT can be said to be modest at best. For export markets the 29.1 bhp puts it in the beginners category. Autocar India says that the bike does around 100 Kmph (at a leisurely 3500 rpm) effortlessly and even reaches a speedo indicated 140 kmph but at this point, vibes do make their presence felt.

Use of Top of the line cycle parts:

The highlight is the Harris Engineering (UK) designed "Twin Downtube, Double Cradle" Frame (read: Types of Motorcycle Frames), Gas charged rear suspension from Pioli (Italy), front Brembo (Italy) brakes, Pirelli (made in Brazil) Sport Demon tyres, steel braided brake hose, aluminium alloy wheel rims among others.

All these coupled with a sporty riding position seems to have done wonders to the handling of this model. Anyone who has ridden this bike seems to be very impressed with its handling.

What Royal Enfield should have actually promoted it as

To me the performance of the bike seems adequate but what seems to be standing apart is the handing and the complete "Modern Classic" appeal of this bike. In fact is this model becomes like a near perfect Japanese offering, it would be so boring and would rob away it's character and the retro feel.

Instead of promoting it as the lightest and most powerful, they should have tried to highlight more on the "authentic retro feel" of this beautiful cafe racer bike. Anyway, despite however they promote, I genuinely feel the Continental GT would certainly help Royal Enfield getting more customers in the exports markets.

Royal Enfield Continental GT for India

Right now the Continental GT is on sale only in UK and France. According to Mr. Siddharth Lal (the boss man of RE), it will be exported to countries like USA and Japan next. Eventually the Continental GT would make it to India.

The pricing of the Continental GT would be so affordable especially with all the exotic parts going into it. In UK the price is around Rs. 5.2 lakhs (Indian Rupees Equivalent), so according to me, it could be priced at around 2.5-3.0 Lakhs rupees in India.

Price the Continental GT High in India

According to me Royal Enfield should price the Continental GT at around the 2.75-3.00 lakh mark.. which should keep the Continental GT away from the "desi commuter" crowd. It would be turn off to see this retro beauty being bought and used around as a glorified commuter like the R15's, Pulsar 200/220's, Karizma's, CBR150/250R's and even RE Classic's of the world.

The export focus is understandable. But I feel there would be a category of bikers in India who would appreciate and understand the Continental GT, after all there are guys like me who have started to feel that his "Dhoom" days are over.

Royal Enfield Continental GT: Specifications


Type: Single cylinder, 4-stroke, air-cooled, 535cc
Bore/stroke: 87mm x 90mm
Max Power: 29.1bhp at 5100rpm
Max Torque: 4.48kgm at 4000rpm
Fuel system: Electronic Fuel Injection


Gearbox: Five-speed


Length: 2060mm
Width: 760mm (without mirrors)
Height: 1070mm (without mirrors)
Wheel base: 1360mm


Kerb Weight: 184kg (90 percent fuel+oil)
Frame: Twin downtube, Double Cradle Steel Frame
Tyres: 100/90 R 18 56 H Pirelli Sport Demon (front); 130/70 R 18 63 H Pirelli Sport Demon (rear)


Front: Telescopic, 41mm forks, 110mm travel
Rear: Paioli, twin gas-charged shock absorbers with adjustable preload, 80mm travel
BrakeS Front: Brembo 300mm floating disc, 2-piston floating caliper
Brakes Rear: 240mm disc, single piston floating caliper
Tank size: 13.5 litres

Related Posts


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.


Shaiju B said...

This is the best RE I have seen. In fact all the refreshed models in the RE lineup makes an impressive statement. This modern retro looks cool, great job RE.

Post a Comment

Your Comments are valuable as they keep the conversation alive..

But Please Comment Responsibly (for them to be published)