Royal Enfield Continental GT review
- Published On: 19 April 2017
- 4 min read
The Continental GT is one of the most important Royal Enfield bikes ever. Is it as good to ride as it looks?
The Continental GT is a bold move, Royal Enfield, the company admitting it is treading through unknown territory with this bike. This is a café racer painstakingly re-created by Royal Enfield to match similar, sporty looking British bikes of the 1960s. The attention-to-detail RE has paid on this bike is great.
The GT has a classic round headlight that sit surrounded by alloy steering braces. The clip-on bars that house Royal Enfield-typical switchgear, including a pass-light flasher and engine-kill switch. Other rider controls include good palm grips, as well as comfortable, buffed alloy clutch and brake levers. The instruments are neatly laid out – there’s an analogue speedometer and tachometer set in chrome, twin-pod units, plus a digital fuel level display with odometer and trip counters. You get twin horns as standard, and the superbly crafted aftermarket bar-end mounted mirrors are solid and functional, despite their petite size.
The slim, 13.5-litre fuel-tank, has the classic font company logo, and comes with a beautifully sculpted, flip-to-open filler cap. There’s a single saddle (dual-seat are optional), with smart red stitching and a humped tail section. The GT also comes with alloy wheel rims with spokes, golden disc brake rotor carriers, exposed frame sections bordering the flank panels and dual-colour metal mudguards. Its flowing, chromed exhaust and exposed drive chain are neat touches too.
The Continental GT is powered by a 535cc, four-stroke, single-cylinder Royal Enfield powerplant. It’s a button or kick-started engine, that puts out 30hp at 5100rpm of peak power, making for a low specific output of 55.2hp per litre for this large capacity an engine, while making 44Nm of torque at 4000rpm. The bike uses a smooth shifting, five-speed gearbox, that operates in the universal, one-down and four-up pattern, shift lever located to the left of the engine.
The GT feels quick enough, capable of cruising at 100kph comfortably, tachometer hovering at 3500rpm, the big-single firing away at a steady rhythm. The bike achieves an indicated 140kph on a flat road in fifth, even racing to 150kph down a slight gradient with the throttle pinned open. The bike’s engine sounds and feels unmistakably like a Royal Enfield, with tangible improvements, a relatively rev happy nature and improved top-end performance, thanks to lightened engine internals. At the bottom end of the powerband though, power delivery is a touch snatchy.
The GT’s seat is supportive, roomy and wide enough - it’s a reasonably comfortable bike. The footrests aren’t too far behind, 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 any present day Royal Enfield, although the GT still is quite useable over long distances. Royal Enfield has managed to keep weight down to 184kg.
Ride quality is firm, the GT handles with Enfield-trademark stability, the new frame helping the bike lean into corners with a planted, sure-footed feel - there’s ample grip from both tyres. There’s enough stopping power, with a nice progressive feel at the lever. The GT is easily the best handling Royal Enfield so far.
A true Royal Enfield from the word go, the GT will tempt, then charm, a whole new set of bikers into the traditional world of Royal Enfield. If you believed classic couldn’t get sporty, the Continental GT proves it sure can.