Royal Enfield unleashes the Continental GT in India

These are exciting times for the motorcycling industry in India with all international brands making a beeline for entry in the Indian market while the domestic brands are going global in a big way. The Continental GT from Royal Enfield, that was unleashed in India late last month, promises to make it all the more exciting.

After sweeping the show-goers off their feet as a concept at the 2010 Auto Expo before coming back in production form at the 2012 edition, Royal Enfield finally unleashed the Continental GT to the discerning Indian customers. Retailing at INR 2.05 Lakhs on-road New Delhi, the Continental GT is the most expensive motorcycle from the Chennai-based manufacturer that enjoys a cult status inside and outside our country.

At first glance, this latest Royal Enfield looks 'different'. Though this might pass off as a controversial statement, we will have to admit that this motorcycle splits opinion like no other. While the Continental GT looks absolutely fabulous for some and from certain angles, there are quite a few who loathe its styling too. Eventually, it all boils down to what we think of the 'Cafe Racer' body-style that this motorcycle has revived. Said to be a rage in the fifties and sixties when youngsters used light-weight, stripped-down motorcycles with a sporty seating position to race from one cafe to the other, the Cafe Racers are characterized by a forward-leaning seating posture with back-set foot pegs and a near-naked chassis. Quite obviously, Cafe Racers catered to a niche market.

That applies even today, as the Royal Enfield Continental GT is a motorcycle for the serious enthusiast. Its prospects in matured international markets are much brighter than the novice Indian market that's just opening up to motorcycling. That probably explains why the Continental GT was launched in the UK even before India.

It might be the most-expensive Royal Enfield ever, but the Continental GT is also the most technically-advanced and the best from the Indian manufacturer. We haven't driven it yet, but then how are we declaring it so confidently? Read on, you will get to know.

Based on the Unit Construction Engine (UCE) platform that powers the Classic and Thunderbird, the Continental GT is equipped with a 535 cc, single cylinder, air-cooled engine that belts out 29.1 bhp of maximum power and 44 Nm of peak torque. Mated to a 5-speed constant mesh gearbox, this engine has a remapped ECU and lower inertia to differentiate it from the other Royal Enfields. The chassis has been developed by the legendary Harris Performance of UK while the shock absorbers are from Paioli of Italy. Brakes are supplied by none other than Brembo while the clip-on handlebars, bar-mounted mirrors, elongated fuel tank and wrap-around single seat would attract eyeballs everywhere.

Over the last few years, Royal Enfield has been doing everything right and the Continental GT is one more step in that direction. It might not sell in huge volumes but with every Continental GT plying on the road, the image and cult status of the brand is sure to shoot up further.

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