Ride On: Royal Enfield Continental GT 650
ONE might define a café racer as a lightweight, powerful motorcycle, optimised for speed and handling, rather than comfort, with bodywork that recalls 1960s grand prix road racing bikes. One such café racer is the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650.
The latest player on the racer scene, the Royal Enfield is causing quite a stir among its rivals. In a class noted for visual minimisation, with low mounted handlebars, prominent seat cowlings and elongated fuel tanks, the GT is no exception.
Paired with classic chrome spoked wheels, chrome exhausts and engine, the vintage white and black paint work gives the bike a really stylish retro flair, while paying homage to its Royal Enfield roots.
The 2019 Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 shares its new parallel twin motor with its sibling the 650 Interceptor, with the racy 648cc motor doing more than just look good; it is a great performer on the road as well.
Air and oil cooled, the motor, with a 270-degree crank, was chosen for the GT 650 for the same reasons that this crank phasing has almost become the default in modern parallel twins. It gives the rider a satisfying V-Twin feel at both idle and throttle.
Perhaps the best part of this power plant is the somewhat perfect match of street capable performance and ride capability. Just enough to have some fun, but at the same time, not enough to get the rider in over their head.
Producing 47hp and 52Nm of torque, the 2019 Royal Enfield Continental GT 650’s new twin-cylinder engine spins up beautifully, letting you rip down that special bit of tarmac with your mates.
Torque kicks in at just the right time as you flick through the gears. This is probably a good time to mention that the gearbox feels like it can handle just about anything you can throw at it.
The longer gearbox ratios let you work the GT 650 and not worry about gear selection as you enter the apex, as it feels as though the Royal Enfield will pull you through the other side, no problems at all.
Gnarly is the best way to describe the GT 650 in the upper rev range. The note coming from the twin pipe exhaust is a sweet tune, but if the budget allows, Stage 1 pipes on this model are truly something special, and take the note and performance to the next level.
Suspension and brakes are basic but impressive. Stopping power is strong and predictable and is provided by ByBre, an off-shoot brand of well-known Brembo brakes.
A 320mm floating stainless steel rotor, sintered brake pads and a twin-piston sliding caliper, with a master cylinder and braided line complete the front brake package. Rear brakes have a 240mm rotor, 20mm larger than standard.
Bosch ABS is standard on the Royal Enfield, for that little extra piece of mind if things don’t go quiet as planned.
Ergonomically the foot pegs on the 2019 Continental GT 650 are slightly set back behind the rider’s seat, giving a sportier riding posture to enhance the café racer feel. This assists in being able to move your weight around more efficiently in the comfortable seat.
Weighing in at just 198kg, the 2019 Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 feels light and nimble and performs exceptionally well when sending it through the apex. It can be best described as providing a sense of confidence.
Once you find your rhythm, it just flows through the corners, with the ability to keep up with the big boys, which may hurt their pride a little when you compare engine figures.
Priced at just $9,990 ride away, the 2019 Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 comes with a 3-year unlimited kilometre warranty, and even features 24/7 roadside assist as standard. It’s available in Black Magic, Ice Queen, Ventura Blue, Dr Mayhem and Mister Clean.
Super cool colour names aside, it offers a great ride experience, café racer charm, and competitive pricing. It will be a worthy addition to any garage.
Peter Swat – exhaustnotes.com.au
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