Royal Enfield, the brand which needs no introduction and has been manufacturing some of the powerful and classic bikes in India since 1955. The latest offering from the manufacturer is the bike brought back from history, yes its the Continental GT. The bike which started off in the post war-era, with the some young English men and women, wearing leather jackets, helmets and goggles, racing each other from cafe to cafe. This got the bike its name and was called a cafe racer. The concept of cafe racer did not exist in India, with the Continental GT, it has started to take shape.
The manufacturer has put in lot of efforts into this bike and it is the first all-new design in 50 years from the Chennai based manufacturer. The company has attempted to recreate a original cafe racer culture in these modern times but will it be able to compete with latest sports, naked street bikes currently present in India? Lets find out.
Looks,Quality and Design
One glance at the bike and you will get affixed to the beauty of the bike. The bike clearly stands out in terms of looks and colour from the other typical Royal Enfield’s. The bike comes in two colours- Red and Yellow, and you have to give credit to the manufacturer for the paint job as it is a delight to watch the GT and adding more to its appeal is the chrome work done right. Both the colours are indeed very attractive colours given to the GT ( Yes, Yellow colour also looks stunning when you see the bike live). Wherever you go you will see people showing thumbs up, waving, cheering and turning their heads to get a better look of the bike, that’s the appeal that you get for free when you ride this motorcycle.
Talking about the design of the bike, the company sure has gone to its roots as the bike resembles their own 1965 Continental GT, which was a 250cc bike. To make the bike, Royal Enfield teamed up with Mark Wells from Xynophya Motorcycle Design- a very well known UK based motorcycle design house. The bike is surely work of art and has a simple design that is sporty yet remains clean. The bike is worthy to be called a modern classic.
Looking closely the bike is a visual treat, with round chromed headlamp, a nice comfortable seat, small bar-end anti glare mirrors (available as optional equipment) which though small provides a decent rear visibility, upswept exhaust that adds to its sportiness. Switch the ignition on and the instrument panel comes alive and greets you with the needle swinging. The instrument panel is fully functional with digital fuel indicator, odometer and trip meter and an analogue speedometer all neatly placed in round chromed housing.
Coming to the rear, tail light with slim trafficators looks nice. The bike has nicely trimmed mudguard at the rear and chromed mudguard at the front. The fuel tank is elongated with a chromed Monza style fuel cap. The wheels are made up of wire-spoke aluminium alloy and adds more oomph to the bike. The single seat comes standard (pillion seat comes as an optional) and the height is set at 800mm.
Overall the fit and finish is good although on downside, there is no heat shield and that may get your riding pants if one is not careful enough.
Engine, Gearbox and Performance
The engine has received minor updates and that results in a 2 Bhp increase over its 500cc siblings. Now the bike is powered by 535cc, single cylinder, air cooled engine that churns out 29.1 bhp at 5,100 rpm and 44 Nm of twisting force at 4,000 rpm. The bike weighs in at 184 kgs which give a total power to weight ratio per ton of 158. This has been achieved by increasing the bore size from 84mm to a larger 87 mm while maintaining the stroke length at 90mm. For increasing durability the firm has strengthened the internals such as connecting rod and crankshaft. The engine comes alive by electric start and for emergencies provision of Kick-start is also given.
Electronic Fuel Injector are from Keihin and new ECU mapping provides the smoother throttle response. Manufacturer claims a 35 per cent reduction in inertia which allows it rev quicker improving acceleration in all powerband.
The gearbox follows the same pattern of 1-down and 4 up pattern and is very much upgraded, feels smooth, and that you will know instantly if you have ridden other Royal Enfield bikes. GT easily manages to hit the rev-limiter in first 4 gears and hit the speed of 135 kph on the speedo. Throttle the bike and it effortlessly cruises around 80-110 kmph mark but going at higher than that the bike starts struggling and becomes a little lethargic.
Ride and Handling
On ride and handling part none of the RE bikes scores much points but the GT changes things together with Harris Performance- established by Steve Harris and Lestor Harris more than 30 years ago. The GT handles quite sharply on the twisty and curvy roads. The bikes sports a 41mm dia conventional telescopic forks by Gabriel that provides 110mm of travel up front giving the cafe racer its straight-line stability. It changes its direction quickly but you can feel its weight. Ride quality is further improved by twin Paioli gas charged shock absorbers that are adjustable for pre-load. Swing-arm is rigid and helps in overall handling of the bike.
On bumpy terrain the suspension comes into play and offers good amount of comfort but on higher speeds the ride can get a little uncomfortable. On smoother tarmac GT is a pleasure to ride. On the upside turning radius of the bike is 2.8m only which makes it easy to turn the bike but inexperienced riders may find it difficult to adjust to this bike especially if they are coming from other motorcycles with a wider tunring radius. In bumper to bumper traffic it may prove to be a little difficult to maneuver as well.
Wheels and Brakes
GT uses Pirelli Sport Demon tyres of 110/90-18 53H up front and at rear are equipped with 130/70-18 63H. Being Pirelli, the tyre offers good grip on-road and enhances the ride quality allowing one to explore the limits of the motorcycle. Front disc brake is a floating type 300mm Brembo and at the rear is a 240 mm dia floating disc brake with a single piston caliper. The brakes of the GT are far more impressive than any other Enfield and provides you the confidence that your bike will came to halt in emergencies. However, ABS in future is more than welcome.
Royal Enfield Continental GT has an ARAI certified fuel efficiency of around 41.9 kmpl. However you can expect a mileage of 26-30 kmpl in normal city riding and on the highways the mileage will rise a little more.
Allaboutbikes.in feels that the Royal Enfield Continental GT is by far the absolute best Royal Enfield that you can buy at an on road price of ₹2.14 lakh (adds another 8,350 for the accessories). The bike is priced well given the bike runs on superb Pirelli tires, Paioli rear shocks, aluminium rims. The bike even with all of its quirks, is a fun motorcycle. The bike is a pure joy to ride and does give that premium bike feel. By this bike the manufacturer have shown that they are now out of the box and in future we can hope to see some more interesting bikes from their stable.
That being said, at its current price tag the GT clashes with the KTM 390, which outmatches the GT in almost every front be it cornering, in city traffic, on the highways and even on the track. So why should one opt for the GT? Well the bike has its styling and classic feel attached to it, if you want a bike that you can take it out on the highways cruising at normal speed of 80-110 kmph and don’t want to throttle hard, if you want to feel that 1960’s cafe racer culture- wearing leather jacket, half face helmet and a goggles and want to flaunt then this is the bike which you can look up to.
Technical Specifications of Royal Enfield Continental GT
|Width||760mm ( Without Mirrors)|
|Height||1070mm ( Without Mirrors)|
|Seat Height||800 mm|
|Kerb Weight||184 Kgs (with 90% Fuel+Oil)|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||13.5 Litres (Including Reserve)|
|Type||Single Cylinder, 4 Stroke, Air Cooled|
|Bore X Stroke||87mm X 90mm|
|Maximum Power||29.1 Bhp at 5100 rpm|
|Maximum Torque||44 Nm at 4000 Rpm|
|Electrical System||12 volt|
|Battery||12 volt, 14 Ah|
|Head Lamps||12V H4 60W/55W|
|Tail Lamps||12V 21W/5W|
|Turn Indicators||12V 10W (Each unit)|
|Ignition System||Digital Electronic Ignition|
|Gearbox||5 Speed Constant Mesh, 1-Down 5-Up Pattern|
|Engine Oil||15 W 50 API, SL Grade JASO MA|
|Fuel Supply||Keihin Electronic Fuel Injection|
|Air Filter||Paper Element|
|Engine Start||Electric & Kick|
|Front Tyre||100/90/18-53H Pirelli Sport Demon|
|Rear Tyre||130/70/18-63H Pirelli Sport Demon|
|Front Disc||Brembo 300mm Dia Disc Floating Type with Twin Piston Caliper|
|Rear Disc||240mm Dia, Single Piston Floating Caliper|