Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 test
Royal Enfield is probably the oldest operating motorcycle brand in the world, with its first motorcycle in production appeared in 1901 and has in the Bullet the longest-lived motorcycle model in history that has carried the name since 1931 and has remained without significant changes since 1948. During the 50s and 60s Royal Enfield had a lot of presence in the American and European market with its version of the now popular parallel twin engines and iconic models such as the 700cc Meteor, Supermeteor and Constellation.
Those motorcycles sold well although they never received due recognition, sometimes partly due to the poor reliability and quality of their components. During the expansion of Japanese manufacturers in the late 60s and early 70s, the company did not have the necessary success to remain competitive in the American market and ended up failing. close its factories in England between 1967 and 1970.
The company’s Indian factory, simply called Enfield at the time, continued to produce the Bullet virtually unchanged for decades for local market consumption. In 1999 the company regained the name Royal Enfield and at the beginning of the 2000s, with the signing of a very young CEO named Siddhartha Lal, its reconstruction and evolution began to what it is now.
With the arrival of Siddartha Lal and in recent years, Royal Enfield has opened a research center in England, has attracted talent and workers from direct competitors and in 2015 completed the acquisition of Harris Performance, a leading company in the design and manufacture of premium chassis and components. All facts that have been adding value to the brand and notable quality to its models.
Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 Test: The Rebirth of the Continental GT
The Royal Enfield Continental GT has been a Cafe Racer style motorcycle since its original conception in the 1960s with a first 250 cc single-cylinder engine. Later, in 2014, the Continental GT name was recovered for the 535, which was still single-cylinder, but became the brand’s most powerful model with 30 horsepower, becoming an important milestone in the company’s evolution.
Finally, in 2017, Royal Enfield would present what would be its first modern parallel twin engine incorporated into the new Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650. These models, which also share chassis and components, have become the spearhead of Royal Enfield in its evolution to the present day.
The Continental GT 650, like the Continental GT that preceded it, remains faithful to its proven formula of success: classic, sporty styling and more than decent performance at an affordable price. The new engine, developed by former Triumph engineers at the new UK facility, is proving to be very popular and together with the chassis and suspension from Harris Performance, it features a very balanced set of modern operation and classic style.
For the 2023 model, Royal Enfield introduces some aesthetic and equipment changes that modernize the model without changing its essence. These changes include a more comfortable seat, improvements in the button panels, new USB socket under the clutch lever, LED lighting, alloy wheels, tubeless tires and engine and exhaust in Matt black.
Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 test: Aesthetics and ergonomics of the Continental GT 650
One of the things that makes you fall in love with this motorcycle is without a doubt its aesthetics. It has an appearance cafe racer very minimalist, eminently classic and very evocative. For this 2023 that has almost left us, the Continental GT features a matte black engine and exhausts and alloy wheels of 7 suits. The paint on the tank and covers is great and looks very good. The lighting Full LED It gives it a touch of modernity without breaking with the classic design lines. The round headlight presides over the front, a front that together with a minimalist and classical instrumentation of two watches and the semi-handlebars, it remains very light.
The handlebars have enough travel for those who want to venture to put them a little lower and increase the racing stance that the Continental GT already has naturally. A posture that is playful, attackingwhich encourages us to lie down on the front axle and with the footpegs set back rather far back.
My 186 cm height puts me almost outside the ideal range of the motorcycle, because although I don’t feel uncomfortable on it, I am sure that it will fit much better for those who are not taller than six feet. The space for the passenger is not large, but the seat is comfortable and well finished in both the pilot and passenger seats. I don’t see any problem to do trips in pairs per city or even a quiet weekend outing as a couple. It is a very accessible motorcycle in terms of height, since it is a light motorcycle that also has the seat only 80 cm ground.
For all this, the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 is an accessible and very beautiful motorcycle in my opinion, which attracts attention and maintains that essence of classic what is sought in this segment.
Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 test: Smooth engine and well-stepped gearbox
The engine of the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 fuses the traditional and the contemporary without compromising the original concept with an excess of electronics. It is an engine twin cylinder in parallel of 648cc with crankshaft set at 270º to achieve a sensation similar to a V2. With 8 valves, double overhead camshaft, air and oil cooling, balance shaft to minimize vibrations and assisted anti-rebound clutch, it has no shortage of advances to earn the title of “modern.”
This propellant declares a power of 47 HP at 7,250 rpm and a torque of 52 Nm at 5,250 rpmbut with the very particular characteristic that 80% of the torque is available already at 2,500 rpm. So despite not increasing the laps very quickly, it is true that it has good thrust from very early on and maintains that force without problems during practically the entire potential curve. That’s why it’s a very linear bike and the engine feels very full. Personally, I find it very grateful to ride because I like motorcycles with a kick down that help us in recoveries, corner exits and overtaking.
This good engine is accompanied by a 6-speed transmission that remains up to par. His drive is very smooth, almost telepathic. The gears enter easily and have a very accurate staggering so that you don’t have to work too much on it. The sixth gear is especially long and, together with the engine torque, allows you to maintain high cruising speeds with little effort.
Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 test: Cycle part that maintains the level
The cycle part of the Continental GT is very well done and revolves around a fantastic Harris Performance chassis. Of the double steel cradle type, with direct attachments to the engine at the front, it offers rigidity and confidence on the road that is a notable evolution compared to the old chassis that the Continental GT 535 mounted. The chassis is without a doubt what It will be more surprising to those who approach the Continental GT 650 without knowing it and the main reason why on winding stretches the motorcycle allows us to take more joys than its appearance suggests.
The 41 mm telescopic fork is not adjustable but the front axle offers a pleasant and firm feel. With smooth, fun cornering that inspires great confidence. This confidence, together with the “attack” position of the driving position, invites us to put our chins on the handlebars and have a blast when the road gets twisty. Besides at low speed the bike is tremendously agile Since it is not very long (wheelbase 1,398 mm), the turning radius is very good for carrying half-handlebars and 18-inch wheels and it is surprisingly easy to turn around on narrow roads. The double rear shock absorber with separate gas bottles is adjustable and performs its function wonderfully.
The ByBre brakes They are sufficient and adequate, although it is true that the front braking could be more forceful. It is peccata minuta that is explained by the fact of mounting a single 320 mm front disc (and 240 mm in the rear). He Bosch ABS Dual channel works as we expect and is a key safety element, although it is sometimes a bit intrusive in the rear axle. In general, braking is manageable and if we accompany the front braking with good use of the rear brake, it could be described as notable.
Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 Test: On the move with the Royal Enfield Continental GT
It is difficult not to fall in love with the Continental GT 650, it is a beautiful motorcycle that has received just the right adaptations to modernize without losing its essence. When we get on it, it receives us simple and accessiblewith a very classic command post and light instrumentation without stridency.
As soon as we start we feel the engine, which is very smooth and emits a very pleasant sound. You really enjoy the torque, which is found very early, since 80% of those 52 Nm are available from 2,500 revolutions. Therefore it is a motorcycle that does not need to be stretched much, although it can be done if that is what we like. The riding position is a little uncomfortable for me with my 186 cm height, but I judge it appropriate for the philosophy of the bike.
When we enter curves, it is nice to see that the front axle is agile but also very poised. The motorcycle forgive many mistakes and it is easy to carry. You don’t have to fight with it to have fun. We charge slightly forward and that, together with the Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp (standard) that are quite narrow and reactive, makes it very easy to change direction and we really enjoy the zigzag and recoveries when exiting corners. Overall it’s a fantastic driving experience.
It is true that we are not looking at a super sports car and that it is not a motorcycle with a modern spirit. But that’s where all its fun lies. It is a very fun motorcycle, which has soul and that presents a more than acceptable final set of finishes.
It is very easy to turn the bike around and make it wriggle between the cars. The torque helps us navigate the traffic on the ring roads and as we pass cars, we may smile when we hear the drumming sound of the engine. Of course we’re not looking at crazy performance depending on what you use, but you can certainly have a great time with it on a ratty mountain road.
The engine vibrations are not excessive, the mirrors do not blur until very high on the rev counter and we will surely reach the limit of the road much sooner than the limits of the motorcycle. If you don’t fall in love it’s because you don’t want to, because this Continental GT He has the plant and the spirit to dazzle anyone.