Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 Test Ride Review
- Published On: 24 January 2019
- 6 min read
The Continental GT 650 is the flagship motorcycle from Royal Enfield.
Royal Enfield motorcycles have always been regarded as big, brat and loud machines that love cruising and munching down long miles. However, things changed when Royal Enfield introduced its first-ever café racer, The Continental GT way back in 1965. People realized that Royal Enfield motorcycles could also be pushed to their limits for the thrill of speed with the Continental GT. Royal Enfield resurrected the Continental GT moniker in 2013 with the launch of the Continental GT 535. Since then, the Continental GT has had a niche fan following, especially among the youth. Now, Royal Enfield has now launched their much anticipated 650cc twins, the Interceptor 650 and the Continental GT 650 and expects to take the market by storm with very competitive pricing for the twins. Today, we look at what the new Continental GT 650 has to offer.
Styling – At first glance, you’ll see that the Continental GT 650 isn’t very different in terms of styling to the older Continental GT 535 or the original Continental GT for that matter. This is by no means bad news as the motorcycle looks like a true-blue café racer. Bodywork is minimal throughout. Spoke wheels, metal tank, telescopic suspension with gators, round headlight with a small visor and simple halogen tail-light and indicators give it a completely retro feel. The motorcycle gets plenty of chrome supply, the fully exposed engine with a large oil sump and the twin up-swept exhausts are completed in chrome. The chrome is best complimented in the black colour scheme of the motorcycle. The Continental GT is sure to turn heads with its subtle yet classy styling.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – The instrument cluster on the Continental GT 650 is similar to the ones we’ve seen on other Royal Enfield motorcycles. It is an analogue-digital setup, the analogue includes the speedometer and tachometer. While the digital unit has twin trip meters, odometer and fuel gauge. The instrument cluster doesn’t have much information to offer despite the Continental GT being the flagship product from Royal Enfield. Switchgear has also been borrowed from other Royal Enfield motorcycles and has a piano black finish on them.
Ergonomics – While the Continental GT 535 was loved for its styling, buyers looked at other options due to its extremely aggressive seating position. The Continental 650 despite having a similar styling has a much more comfortable seating position as the clip-ons are slightly raised now. You now sit comfortably leaned in. The pillion does have some space to sit with the stock seats but they aren’t the most comfortable out there. At 804 mm, you sit pretty high and need to be careful about your legs touching the exhausts on either side. Also, the GT 650 gets different accessories for the seat.
Performance – The Continental GT 650 is powered by an air/oil-cooled 648cc parallel-twin engine mated to a 6-speed gearbox. It produces 47 BHP of peak power and 52 Nm of torque. The engine loves to rev and is very refined as well, thanks to the use of counter-balancer. The motorcycle crosses the 100 km/hr mark in the third gear itself and pulls all the way to 160 km/hr as you shift up the gears without much fuss. The engine redlines at 8000 RPM and keeps pulling till the redline. Mid-range is fantastic and the low-end performance is good as well, so city riding isn’t a problem with this machine. The shifts from the gearbox are pretty decent and the clutch is also very light. The Continental GT 650 also gets a slipper clutch. The Continental GT 650’s engine by far the best and most refined engine from Royal Enfield. However, the refinement comes at the cost of the signature Royal Enfield thump. The motorcycle has no thump whatsoever but it does produce a melodious twin-cylinder rumble. While the Royal Enfield enthusiasts won’t love this but new riders are bound for a treat here as well.
Riding Dynamics – The Continental GT 650 offers rich dynamics, thanks to its sporty riding position. The 41 mm front suspension absorbs most of the bumps pretty well while the rear suspension has 5-step pre-load adjustments and the stock setup is quite stiff. Straight line stability is top notch till 160 km/hr. The motorcycle feels pretty comfortable for spirited riding but isn’t the best for touring duties. The motorcycle gets dual-channel ABS coupled with a 320 mm disc at the front and a 240 mm disc at the rear. The braking feedback is good on to the levers but there are some moments when the ABS kicks-in very early. It gets Pirelli rubbers but with a tube type setup which isn’t conventional, thus robbing it of some grip. The motorcycle has a good feel and feedback overall.
Verdict – The Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 is a brilliant machine and an even better value for money proposition. Under Rs. 3.5 lakhs, the Continental GT 650 is the best you can get if you are looking for a sporty parallel twin motorcycle. The motorcycle offers amazing performance, feedback-rich dynamics and retro styling. Even though people choose the more comfortable Interceptor 650 over the Continental GT 650, if you want to please the purist inside you, look nowhere else and get the Continental GT 650.