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royal enfield continental gt

You again!

by Guy ‘Guido’ Allen, Feb 2021

The good, the bad and the ugly of factory clones

(See the 'You Again' home page here.)

royal enfield continental gt

Part 6: Royal Enfield Continental GT
More grunt, Vicar?

While Royal Enfield never really went away as a brand, it’s transition from UK-owned to a home base in India from the mid-fifties through to 1970 saw it become a low-volume specialist import in the local market for a few decades.

royal enfield continental gt

Really, the big news came in 2014 with the effective relaunch of the brand on the back of the Continental GT 535. Here was a motorcycle with a newly-engineered engine – albeit a big single like the traditional Bullet single – with fuel injection, wrapped in a Harris-designed chassis.

royal enfield continental gt

The international media launch was a staggering exercise, that was clearly about cementing the brand back to its origins in England.

Frankly, the sixties 250 single the Continental was named after was never a really big deal, and this bigger retro version was probably more attractive than the original (now there’s a first!) and far better-developed than the 500 Bullets.

royal enfield continental gt

Its achilles heel was the very modest power, at 21kW. Enfield tried to use the ‘blank canvas’ argument, saying you could readily unlock more and that had some merit. But the fact remained the engine didn’t quite live up to the promise of the chassis. Local sales never really took off and the bike probably deserved better.

That said, it’s a delightful thing to ride and something you should definitely add to the list if you're in the hunt for a mid-capacity single.

royal enfield continental gt

Royal Enfield Continental GT 535
Power 21kW @ 5100rpm
Torque 44Nm @ 4000rpm
Weight 187kg wet
Rating: 3/5
A really convincing café racer that could have used just a little more fire in the belly.

See our full Continental GT profile here


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