Royal Enfield Continental GT Test
Royal Enfield, a part of Eicher Motors, has expanded its motorcycle range with the launch of the 535cc Continental GT. Café racers of the 1960s and Royal Enfield’s own 1965 Continental GT — the first mass produced café racer of its time — have been the main design inspiration for the current Continental GT.
The new Continental GT – aka, the Café Racer Bike – was first unveiled in London in late August, priced at 6,350 Euro in Europe and $7,200 in the US.
But the Continental GT launch would occur in the combination of divine greenery and beaches of its homeland in India, at a destination called Goa. This ride was completely a mix of relaxation, scrumptious goan food and definitely thoughtful riding plan for the roads of Goa.
And without doubt, this new Royal Enfield is a show-stopper. The Continental GT packs a fuel-injected, single-cylinder 535cc engine that can pump a maximum power of 29.1 horsepower and 32.4 ft.-lb. of torque.
Vibrations are intense above 2500 rpm, but the great acceleration, stability and “thump” creates a cafe-racer pleasure for just about any rider craving nostalgia.
Typical of cafe-racer style, the long seat, pushed back foot pegs and controls, the lengthy tank and the crouched rider position all makes the rider feel an aggressive nature.
This bike loves to be pushed, so we spent a full day exploring its limits. The vehicle sports 18-inch spoke wheels and comes with Paioli twin gas charged absorbers. It is offered in single-seat and double-seat variants. The front brake is a 300mm floating Brembo disc and the rear a 240mm disc.
S Sivakumar GM, Product Development teamed up with Harris Performance, UK. Established by Steve Harris along with Mark Wells and team at Xynophya UK crafted a combination of retro design, power, nimbleness and lightness for the Café racer.
Indian prices are as follows: the Royal Enfield Continental GT will be priced at Rs 2.14 lakh (on road) in Mumbai, Delhi will be Rs 2lakh. In some markets like Punjab, the bike will cost 5 Thousand and below Rs 2 lakh, says Siddhartha Lal, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Eicher Motors Ltd.
As for colors, the Royal Enfield Continental GT is available in the signature GT red and a brand new shade of GT yellow, which is definitely my favorite.
“We want to bring back the fun into biking,” said Siddharth Lal CEO , Royal Enfield. “Not something that will take round and round a track super quick. In today’s post-performance motorcycling age where power is no longer the most important attribute for an enjoyable ride, design and responsiveness have taken the lead over sheer speed.
“There is a revival of simpler, evocative and classic bikes that engage the rider. As the world re-awakens to the sound of modern café racers, Royal Enfield is bringing back an icon that introduces the spirit of one of the most popular motorcycling cultures in history with the Continental GT – the lightest, fastest and most powerful Royal Enfield in production.
“We believe there is space for usable, fun bikes. That is what we aim to bring. We are going to close the year at 1.75 lakh units. In 2014, the capacity will be up to 2.5 lakh units but already we are witnessing demand exceeding that. We are now trying to find ways to even get over this number.
The Continental GT Café Racer proves to nudge you to an era of 1960s yet keeps you modern with the aesthetic deign and yet powerful with such a fine engine.
Rutavi Mehta shares the ‘katha’ (Hindi word ) behind every picture she takes during her travels. She’s taking a sabbatical from corporate life to explore cultures, places and emotions around the world. Her eagerness to travel has also nudged her to become a biker so that she can reach places others can’t. More about her can be found at www.photokatha.in. You can follow her on twitter:@photokatha and like her work on facebook.com/photokatha.