There was much speculation about the Continental GT motorcycle from Royal Enfield which was showcased almost 2 years back at the Indian Auto expo. Royal Enfield launched the much awaited Continental GT in United kingdom first and now it has arrived finally in our Indian market. Many of you might ask what is so special about this motorcycle and how does it differ from any other Royal Enfield products out there? so the answer to your question is that the Continental GT is the most powerful and the lightest modern day cafe racer which blends retro style with modern appeal perfectly.
The modern continental GT is powered by a 535cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled engine which generates more power than any other Royal Enfield motorcycle till date. It has both electric and a kick starter as an option. The new Continental GT only weighs 184 Kgs(with 90% fuel), and has a 13.5 liter fuel tank capacity. The motorcycle has been sculptured to retain its old school looks and the elongated fuel tank leaves little space only for the rider to fit in their soft cushioned saddle.
Let’s find out all the details of the cafe racing culture its history and also everything about this modern era cafe racer from Royal Enfield which we must admit is the most stylish looking motorcycle from Royal Enfield.
UPDATE 26/11/13 Royal Enfield launched the Continental GT today priced at Rs.2.05 lakhs (Ex showroom Delhi). Read our exclusive review of the Royal Enfield continental GT here.
Hit jump to know all the details about the Royal Enfield Continental GT
HISTORY OF THE CAFE RACER
The trend of cafe racer started way back in the 50’s era where people used to race from one cafe to the other before the song finished playing on the cafe jukebox. Back in the 50’s young youths used to race those bikes and to make their motorcycle go faster they used to strip many parts from the bike so to make it lightweight. The handlebars were made long slung and the foot pegs used to be fitted at almost rear of the motorcycle to make it more aerodynamic Finally in the year 1961 Royal Enfield launched the Meteor, which received the cafe racer type treatment with the rear placed footrests and the low slung handlebars, which sparked off a revolution in motorcycle styling across a variety of models of that era. The very next year which was, 1962 the first motorcycle with a five speed gearbox was introduced. It featured a 9:1 compression ratio and 1’/16” inlet port, leading link forks and an old Enfield favourite, a deeply balanced front mudguard suspended from the sprung section of the forks, but later in 1964 it was removed from the range.
Then in the year 1963 the Royal Enfield Super Five was launched whereas the Bullet 350 also got the café racer treatment with rear placed foot rests and lower handlebars, keeping in tune with the new café racer styled motorcycles standard. In the year 1964, John Cooper rode the Royal Enfield Continental GT and took several laps around the Silverstone circuit of Britan with a fastest lap speed of 73 mph (117 km/hr), making it the Britain’s fastest 250cc motorcycle of those years.
Finally in the year 1965 after its success Royal Enfield started production of the Royal Enfield Continental GT at their parent factory at Redditch, It was a 250cc four stroke motorcycle with a lightweight fiber fuel tank and was finished in gleaming red paint, It also had a 5 speed manual gear-box and an engine which generated 21 Bhp of peak power at that time.
Later in the year 1970 the British Motorcycling industry faced a serious collapse and while most of the companies have vanished from the scene, The one and only company which was still producing motorcycles was Royal Enfield, and their most famous product at that time was the Metisse Frame Rickman Interceptor.
Finally in the year 1985 the cafe racer culture revived in U.K and Royal Enfield started exporting their product Bullet 350 in U.K and Europe. There Local dealers and experts started offering ‘Clubman’ kits to quickly convert stock motorcycles into the Café racers. Then finally in the year 1990 when Royal Enfield introduced the bigger 500 cc bullet which generated more power and torque figures it was fitted with the same ’clubman’ kit and was one of the most powerful cafe racers of that time.
Years passed by and much later in the year 2010 Royal Enfield unveiled the concept of the modern day cafe racer in the year 2010 Auto Expo in New Delhi, India. This concept created a lot of enthusiasm amongst the people and Royal Enfield decided to recreate the magic once again and finally in the year 2013 The modern day cafe racer was reborn in the form of Continental GT.
The modern day Cafe racer is given the same old school looks and styling. The front of the motorcycle has the same round shaped headlamps which are surrounded by an alloy steering braces. One of the most prominent thing that will surely attract your attention is the clip on handlebars, whereas the two analogue round shaped meters is placed just behind the big headlight that looks typically old school bit are easily readable. The switchgears are placed right on the handlebar and it seems that Royal Enfield has taken special care about the fit and finish quality of their plastics for this particular motorcycle. The handlebar end mirrors looks stylish and sends us back in time once again.
The huge 13.5 liter fuel tank sits in the middle and has a beautifully sculpted fuel lid on top of it. It also has the stylish Royal Enfield logo sculpted along its sides and the Continental GT badge placed on top of it. The rider seat is single saddle although there is an option of a dual seat available. The most interesting and stylish part of the motorcycle is the exposed round flank panel at the rear of the motorcycle. Lastly the overall look of the motorcycle is completed by the dual color metal mudguards, the alloy spoke rims and the chrome exhaust pipe.
The Continental GT is powered by a single-cylinder, air-cooled, 535cc, Royal Enfield engine which generates 29.1bhp at 5100rpm of maximum power and 4.49kgm of peak torque at 4000rpm. The fuel injected engine is mated to a five-speed gearbox which has one-down, four-up pattern and its shift lever is placed at the left hand side of the motorcycle.
There was always a complain that the Royal Enfield motorcycles cannot cruise at high speeds comfortably and the high capacity engines do not have an impressive top speed. This is not the case with the modern day cafe racer Continental GT, this motorcycle weighs less than the other Royal Enfield cruisers and thus it can easily reach top speeds of more than 140 km hour mark with ease. There is enough power in both high and low power bands which will definitely leave all of you impressed.
Ride and handling
As far as the ride and handling of this motorcycle is concerned it is loaded with Telescopic, 41mm forks, 110mm travel suspension setup at its front and Paioli, twin gas-charged shock absorbers with adjustable preload, 80mm travel at its rear and is built around a a double downtube steel frame, which is constructed by Harris Engineering. The ergonomics of the motorcycle is impressive and the seating position aren’t that uncomfortable either. Like the original cafe racers this Continental GT foot pegs are not placed placed far behind and the clip on handlebars are also not uncomfortable either infact they help in better handling of this motorcycle.
Those who are habituated with the comfortable Royal Enfield cruisers might take some time to adopt to the sporty stance of this cafe racer. The ride is also superb in this motorcycle because it has lost some serious weight and now weighs only 184kg (with 90% fuel). The 18 inch rims has been wrapped around the Pirelli front (100/90) and rear (130/70 section) rubbers. The Continental GT comes to a stop with the help of Brembo 300 mm floating disc, 2-piston floating caliper at the front and 240 mm disc, single piston floating caliper at its rear.
Royal Enfield Continental GT is priced at Rs.2.05 lakhs (Ex showroom Delhi).
It is priced at GBP 5200 in UK, Euro 6350 in Europe and USD 7200 in America and its deliveries will commence from October onward.
There is no doubt the Continental GT cafe racer is the most exciting and stylish looking motorcycle from the house of Royal Enfield till date. It is a sporty, powerful and lightweight motorcycle which helped it to enhance its overall performance by a fair margin. The old school looks on the motorcycle is charming and elegant, It has been fitted with a powerful engine and has a comfortable seating and can be ridden even for a longer distance without causing much trouble to your back.
The Continental GT is surely an impressive machine and will attract huge crowd and lots of attention from every generation for sure.
|Type||Single Cylinder, 4 stroke, Air cooled|
|Bore x stroke||87mm x 90mm|
|Maximum Power||29.1 bhp (21.4 kW) @ 5100 rpm|
|Maximum Torque||44 Nm @ 4000 rpm|
|Ignition System||Digital Electronic Ignition|
|Gearbox||5 Speed Constant Mesh|
|Engine Oil||15 W 50 API, SL Grade JASO MA|
|Fuel Supply||Keihin Electronic Fuel Injection|
|Air Cleaner||Paper Element|
|Engine Start||Electric & Kick|
|Ground Clearance||140 mm|
|Width||760 mm ( Without Mirrors)|
|Height||1070 mm ( Without Mirrors)|
|Seat Height||800 mm|
|Kerb Weight-(90% Fuel+Oil)||184 Kgs|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||13.5 Ltrs|
BRAKES AND TYRES
|Front Tyre||100/90-18, 56 H Pirelli Sport Demon|
|Rear Tyre||130/70-18, 63 H Pirelli Sport Demon|
|Front Brake||Brembo 300mm Floating disc, 2-Piston floating caliper|
|Rear Brake||240mm Disc, Single piston floating caliper|
|Electrical System||12 volt - DC|
|Battery||12 volt, 14 Ah|
|Head Lamp||12V H4 60 / 55 W|
|Tail Lamp||12V 21W/5W|
|Turn Signal Lamp||12V 10 W (4 Nos)|
CHASSIS AND SUSPENSION
|Type||Twin downtube cradle frame|
|Front suspension||Telescopic, 41mm forks, 110mm travel|
|Rear suspension||Paioli,Twin gas charged shock absorbers with adjustable preload, 80mm travel|
“The best Royal Enfield bike today? We didn’t even need to think before responding with a thumping yes!”—Autocar India
“The Royal Enfield Continental GT tries to pull your emotional strings with the riding experience it offers. It’s different and unique which will appeal to a very different set of riders.”—Motorbeam
- Design and styling