Royal Enfield Cafe Racer Review
Pure Driving PleasureWednesday, November 27, 2013
Design and Style
There was a time when café racers were quite popular in Europe. Unfortunately, Indians never had the chance to experience such bikes but now, Royal Enfield has decided to bring back that culture in India almost after five decades with their all new bike, Continental GT. It has been launched at a launch event in Goa with a price tag of INR 2.05 lakhs (on-road Delhi). What makes this bike different than other bikes of Royal Enfield? Let’s find out.
Design and Style
Royal Enfield has tried its level best to make it look as classy and vintage as possible. They have taken care of every small bit and that’s probably the reason why it truly looks like a cafe racer. It has a compact design featuring low positioned headlight and handle bar. The round shaped chrome finished headlight of Continental GT is accompanied by two retro styled, orange colored side indicators. The bike lacks any type of visor and cowl and looks extremely aggressive when seen from the front. It has an extremely short front fender finished with non-glossy silver color which gels well with its telescopic front forks and disc plate. Chrome finished multi spoke rims are fitted in this bike which suits the color scheme on this bike.
For the first time a RE bike gets clips on handle bar which makes it look sporty. The long fuel tank of Continental GT looks explicit with premium paint finish. The dual tone finishing on its engine differentiates it from its siblings. The long seat of this bike nicely merges into its sporty rear cowl which adds a fresh appeal to this bike. The fatty chrome finished silencer is also a welcome feature in this bike which looks stunning with its yellow colored rear shock absorbers. The retro styling also continues at the back as the rear fender of the bike starts just below its seat and carries the number plate and tail light of this bike. The wide rear tyre also catches your attentions instantly.
Continental GT comes with two naked circular dials in its instrument console with chrome surroundings. The left dial of the bike houses its analogue speedometer and odometer while the analogue tachometer is placed on the right side. Other indicators can also be seen these dials.There is also a blue back-lit LCD display which display the odometer and fuel gauge.
Lightest, Fastest and the Most Powerful RE
Engine and Gearbox
Royal Enfield has revised their 500cc engine and now with increased cubic capacity for the new Continental GT. The bike is powered by a new 535cc engine with a lighter fly wheel and re-mapped ECU. It is a single cylinder, 4-stroke engine which generates a maximum power of 29.1 BHP at 5100 rpm. The torque output of this engine is also going to get better than the standard 500cc engine at 44 NM at 4000 rpm. The engine is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.
Acceleration and Performance
RE engines tend to be refined and impressive and we expected the same from this engine. With increased specifications, this bike is faster than its other siblings. Moreover, Continental GT is good 15kgs lighter than Thunderbird which also helps it to get better power to weight ratio. The bike is equipped with well-matched gear ratios and you can expect the top speed in the region of 140 to 150 kmph. Café racers are famous for quick and high acceleration and Continential GT meets all the expectations.
The light weight of this bike helps you to get respectable fuel figures despite its fast performance. On our road conditions, we can expect anything around 20-25km/ltr from this bike.
Comfort While Driving
This is the first bike of RE which will offer you a sporty riding position. The long seat is of course quite comfortable and gives you nice under thigh support. Few elements like rear set foot-pegs and clips on handle bar completely differentiate it from other bikes of Royal Enfield. The foot pegs folds your legs in such a manner so that your knees can firmly stick around its fuel tank. The low positioned clips on handle bar require you to bend forward which not only improves its aerodynamics but also gives you clear view of roads. The firm palm grip and electric start also adds to your comfort.
Storage Space and Safety Features
You have to get an additional side bag for storage as there is not much storage space in this bike. The bike features a powerful headlight and pass button which provides you clear vision of roads at night and thus confirms your safety.
Suspension and Brakes
For the first time, a Royal Enfield bike gets Italian kit in this department. Continental GT features telescopic forks at its front and Paioli engineered rear shock absorbers. Both wheels of this bike will be equipped with disc brakes. It comes equipped with a Brembo full floating disc at its front and disc at the back.
Ride and Handling
Looking at its impressive features like strong suspension system and wide tyres, this bike is fun around corners. Royal Enfield bikes often digest potholes easily and with Italians on work in this bike, we don’t need to doubt its riding abilities. Moreover, Continental GT becomes the first bike of RE to get Double cradle chassis for superior handling. The braking system also makes sure that it always remains under control at high speeds. The riding position surely prompts you to rev it hard and it would be interesting to see how this bike will behave on our crowded Indian roads. With clips on handle bar, the bike should get a tight turning radius which will help you to move frequently through city traffic.
Shades and Variants
Royal Enfield Cafe Racer is available in a single variant and 2 shades: GT Red and GT Yellow.
Cafe Racer Continental GT 535 is the most expensive and powerful bike by Royal Enfield. The retro styling and powerful performance of this bike makes it a complete value for money bike and Italian involvement further makes it special.