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Royal Enfield Continental GT India launch, ride report

27th Nov 2013 1:24 am

Brief ride report from the Goa launch of Royal Enfield's seductive new cafe racer.

Royal Enfield's Continental GT is the most special motorcycle to leave these famous factory doors in a very long time. A café racer painstakingly re-created by Royal Enfield to match similar, sporty looking British bikes of the 1960’s, the GT is built with a keen eye for attention-to-detail.
 
The Royal Enfield's Continental GT classic round headlight sits surrounded by alloy steering braces and clip-on bars. Other rider controls include good quality palm grips, as well as comfortable to touch, buffed alloy clutch and brake levers. 
 
Royal Enfield offer superbly crafted after market bar-end mounted mirrors for the GT, which we recommend for their solid construction and functional value, despite their really petite size.
 
The Royal Enfield Continental GT fuel-tank is tastefully adorned with a classic font company logo, and equipped with a beautifully sculpted, flip-to-open filler cap. There’s a single saddle (dual seat available as optional), with smart red stitching and humped tail section. Those with a keen eye will admire the GT’s alloy wheel rims. The GT comes with a flowing, chromed exhaust, and sporty looking exposed drive chain.
 
 
The Continental GT deploys a 535cc, four-stroke, single-cylinder Royal Enfield powerplant. It’s a button or kick-started engine, the air-cooled, long-stroke unit beating out a soft, yet evocative and crisp bark that will have riders blip the throttle more than usual, to extract little extra soundtrack. The GT outputs 29.1bhp at 5100rpm of peak power, while making 4.49kgm of torque at 4000rpm. Clutch action isn’t as positive as we’d like, although the GT does provide a smooth shifting, five-speed gearbox, operated in the universal, one-down and four-up pattern, with shift lever located to the left of the engine.
 
The GT is quick, not quick enough for a 500 perhaps, yet providing enough oomph for the sporty classic it is, capable of cruising at 100kph comfortably, tachometer hovering at 3500rpm, as the big-single fires away with a steady rhythm. Pushed hard to its limit, the GT achieved an indicated 140kph on flat road in fifth, even racing to 150kph down a slight gradient with the throttle pinned open, surprising us to hold such high speeds over prolonged durations without much protest, other than a lot of vibes. The Continental GT powerplant feels unmistakably Royal Enfield, with tangible improvements, a relatively rev happy nature and improved top-end performance, thanks to lightened engine internals. 
 
 
The Continental GT seat is supportive, roomy and wide enough. It’s a reasonably comfortable bike, only not quite as relaxed to ride as traditional Royal Enfield models like the Electra and Bullet. The footrests aren’t placed overly far behind though, and the light lean into its clip-on bars isn’t so pronounced as to make riders uncomfortable. This is clearly the sportiest riding position on offer with a present day Royal Enfield. The GT comes with a twin downtube steel frame, perfected by Harris Engineering, while providing top class, adjustable gas charged suspension at rear by Paioli.
 
Ride quality is firm, especially from the front telescopic forks, and the GT handles with Enfield trademark stability, the new frame helping the bike lean into corners with a planted, sure footed feel. Ample grip is offered by Pirelli tyres front (100/90) and rear (130/70 section) shod on 18 inch rims front and rear.
 
 
The Royal Enfield Continental GT comes with elliptical section steel swingarm, and single disc brakes front (300mm, float mounted, dual piston caliper) and rear (240mm). There’s enough stopping power, with a nice progressive feel at the lever, undoubtedly helped by steel braided brake hoses. The GT motorcycle is easily the best handling Royal Enfield we’ve ridden to date. Fuel economy should range somewhere between 25-30kpl.
 
The Continental GT has just been launched in Goa, prices at Rs 205,000 (on-road, Delhi). The new bikes will be available for sale in showrooms across India starting tomorrow. 
 
 
In conclusion, the Continental GT is a character rich motorcycle. Built today, it still recreates an undiluted, rich and flamboyant feel from the past. The most important Royal Enfield bike built today?
 
Yes, without a doubt as Royal Enfield understands their firm grip on classic bike buyers, but do need to step up to the next level, after decades sticking with one formula. With big risk, comes big gain, as riding the Continental GT proves. A true Royal Enfield from the word go, the Continental GT will tempt, then charm a whole new set of bikers into the traditional world of Royal Enfield. If you believed classic bikes couldn’t get sporty, the Continental GT motorcycle proves it sure can. 
 

More on the new Royal Enfield Continental GT 

Read our detailed Royal Enfield Continental GT review

Watch video review

Detailed photo gallery

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