Royal Enfield Continental GT: Find your café, here’s the racer

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Royal Enfield Continental GT Royal Enfield Continental GT
SummaryCafé racing as culture evolved in UK of 1960s when biking enthusiasts used fast motorcycles to race between transport cafés.

machine we rode was a single-seater, the company is also offering a double-seat option.

The heart

For the Continental GT, Royal Enfield took the 499-cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled, unit construction engine that powers the Classic 500, and upgraded it to 535-cc by increasing its bore (up from 84 mm to 87 mm) while keeping stroke the same (90 mm). The company also re-mapped the ECU and the result is that it now produces 29.1 bhp of power and 44 Nm of torque. While the numbers may seem humble, the result is an extra punch and responsiveness that is so essential to its café racer character.

The ride

Royal Enfield has also worked with UK-based Harris Performance to create this bike’s chassis, which is essentially a twin downtube cradle frame on which the engine and the body is planted. While the front suspension is 41-mm telescopic fork that has a long, 110-mm travel, on the rear you have twin gas-charged Paioli shockers. But perhaps the two best things about the bike are its tyres and brakes. Royal Enfield has chosen Pirelli Sport Demon tyres for the Continental GT and to stop the bike you have Brembo brakes—the front is a 300-mm floating disc, while the rear is 240-mm disc. All this results in a motorcycle that is fun to ride. The Continental GT is, unarguably, the best handling Royal Enfield in production. Also, the ride is quite planted on most road conditions, but not all. While the bike is very smooth on good tarmac, some vibrations do trouble you on bad roads. Then, because you tend to sit in a way that a lot of your body weight shifts onto your hands, the ride can get tiring over a period of time. The bike we rode had these unique bar-end rear-view mirrors which, though small, are surprisingly functional and clearly show what’s following you.

The need

Available in two colours—the signature GT red and a brand new shade of GT yellow—the bike retails for R2.05 lakh (on-road, Delhi) which, we believe, is a very good price point, especially considering the fact that we currently have only two café racers in the country and the other one, recently unveiled by a famous British manufacturer, will cost you about three times. “Find your café. We’ve built a racer,” so said Siddhartha Lal, the MD & CEO of the company, at its India launch in Goa. “With the Continental GT, Royal

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