At the 2010 Auto Expo in Delhi, sitting nice and pretty in red at the Royal Enfield enclosure was a Cafe Racer Concept. If you were at the Auto Expo then, you wouldn't have missed it. The bike looked as retro as ever but still gave a contemporary aesthetic design because none of us knew exactly what to call it. That was the birth of the Cafe Racer in India, because the reception and feedback that Royal Enfield got from the public was enough for them to decide that India was ready for such a historic motorcycle.
Having just gotten back from the Media ride of the all new Royal Enfield Continental GT, all I can say is that I really want one badly. Up close the Cafe Racer styled bike looks beautiful, and the attention to detail is so deliberately seen. Everything from the elongated fibre glass fuel tank to the clip on handle bars and the bar-end mirrors has been cleverly and carefully designed on this beauty. The GT looks both retro and modern thanks to the subtle lines and the tension in the forms. It looks like a proper race motorcycle.
The engine it uses is the same 500cc UCE found in the new Thunderbird and the Classic models, but it has been bored out to accommodate 535cc of capacity, and it has also been fine tuned to allow for lower inertia and volumetric efficiency along with a tweaked ECU so that power output now stands at 29.1bhp and 44 Nm of torque. And the engine is the only part of this bike that can be found on any other Royal Enfield model, as it features all new parts and a brand new dual steel frame that was designed by the legendary Harris Performance.
When you ride the Continental GT, the first thing you will notice is that the seating position is different and then the next thing you will notice is that it has got one hell of a pick-up. The seating position is actually decently comfortable, and even though I initially had my doubts because I am a very tall rider, the bike actually fits perfect - however on long rides I do foresee a lot of pain in the riders arms. Coming back to that wonderful acceleration, the Royal Enfield Continental GT really takes off like a racer, and you can expect a 0-60 km/h sprint in well under 4 seconds. The bike also handles really well and that is thanks to the wonderful suspension setup, the frame and the weight distribution.
Overall the Continental GT is a beautiful piece of machinery and it is also a heritage motorcycle in a modern day body, which means you will be buying yourself a part of history and you will become apart of a hardcore biking culture. The price for all this and more is just Rs 2.05 lakh on-road Delhi, so head to your nearest RE dealer and go for a test ride, I promise you will enjoy the ride.
For a full feature on the Royal Enfield Continental GT Cafe Racer check out our January 2014 issue.