Royal Enfield Cafe Racer comes to the US next summer

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At last week’s Long Beach International Motorcycle Show, Royal Enfield announced that its pretty little Cafe Racer concept will enter production and be US-bound by Summer, 2013.

The Xenophya-designed concept will apparently be translated nearly entirely to the production model, with the exception of lower cost Paoli shocks swapped for the concepts fancy Ohlins units.

Power from the 535cc, air-cooled, unit construction single-cylinder is said to be 34bhp and torque should be around 30lb/ft. All-up weight is expected to be around 360lbs and the price just over $7,000.

A dealer in Texas is already taking deposits, describing the bike by saying, “This bike was designed and built from the ground up by cafe experts assisting Royal Enfield. Lets start off with the frame. This is a frame that Royal Enfield custom built for this bike with true dual down tubes, black powder coated frame. The brakes were made across the street from the plant by the good folks at Brembo. The suspension was custom designed and built by Paoli, the fuel injected single was bumped up to a 535cc over the normal 500cc for this bike only. She is electric and kick start, unique tail section that is very comfortable, traditional cafe style tank that has been stretched and narrowed, clip on bars, dual instrumentation, bar end mirros, rear controls (sets), 7″ factory headlamp in a custom bucket, and a tuned race pipe!”

The most obvious competition for the Cafe Racer is the Triumph Bonneville. That bikes makes 67bhp and 50lb/ft of torque, but weighs 495lbs (wet). Perhaps troublingly for Enfield, it retails for $7,699 at a comparatively large number of dealers.

The Cafe Racer represents the first all-new design to come from Enfield in 50 years and with looks like these combined with high-quality suspension and brakes, it’s an encouraging sign of a new direction for the brand.

  • travellin

    Do those shocks look upside down to anyone else?

    • Wes Siler

      They are. I don’t think it affects their shockiness.

      • Davidabl Blankenhorn

        Needs to be a like a 600, and somewhere above 40 hp,and about 40 ft/lb to sell for anything like the money asked..I’m saying this despite being an Enfield aficionado. Even then I could get a very clean used Thruxton or Kawi W650 for less…

    • Campisi


      Thanks, you’ve all been great, tip your waitress…

  • Conrad

    7K? That’s way too much. You correctly point out that one can get a Bonnie. Or a V7. I can see people considering them at 5k.

    • Aaron Berg

      Yeah, I still think I would take a Bonne/Thruxton or V7 before one of these

  • Ankur Vishwakarma

    That’s not cheap. But then again, neither are the current models of Royal Enfield. I’d totally buy one to replace my 05 Monster.

  • Daniel Silverman

    Looks cool, but I’ll stay with my thruxton.

  • Streetfighter

    Instead of the Triumph Bonneville don’t you mean the Thruxton?

    • Wes Siler

      Oh, sorry. I meant a Bonneville with a few bolt ons and a considerable mark up.

      • Streetfighter

        Oh, sorry. I don’t work in the motorcycle business full time…

        • Aaron Berg


  • roma258

    Would look even better if it was a proper standard and retailed for $6k.

    • Campisi

      What you’ve just described is almost every other motorcycle Royal Enfield makes.

      • roma258

        Right, except without the nicer components, frame, smaller engine etc. I dig Royal Enfields, so want to see the nice stuff the cafe racer comes with trickle down to the rest of the range.

        • Campisi

          As other news outlets have reported, the engine and frame seen here are indeed destined for other models in the future.

          • roma258

            Yeah, missed that. Cool, we’ll see where it goes.

  • Andreas Alm

    Really nice. And no fake, ugly CV carbs. Hopefully alu fueltank for that prize?

    btw I’m not really sure what I think of the V7 plastic fueltank. Sure looks nice, and plastic is lightweight so I guess I should like it?

  • drivin98

    On paper, I’d choose this over the Bonneville. But, only because of the much lighter weight. As an inexperienced rider, I don’t need rafts of horsepower.

    I think an even more obvious competitor are the other Enfields, though. Particularly the Bullet G5 Deluxe (EFI). Also boasts classic look, costs $600 or so less.

    If you want the Cafe Racer look out of the box, though, isn’t this the best choice?

    • Scott Pargett

      I agree, you certainly don’t need alot of horsepower in a corner. But you don’t wanna be red-lining a less than resilient single cylinder the whole way just to get to that corner. Especially not for $7k.

      They could have really moved some units with a little more power and little less price.

      • AZ

        i live in west l.a. and own a Royal Enfield G5 Deluxe, which is the first bike ive owned (grew up riding my dad’s 82 hawk cb450 and later his bonneville). Scott’s absolutely right…I’ve done 4-5 mile stretches on LA freeways, and that is absolutely the upper limit of the Enfield’s freeway range…not a bike meant for freeways, which, having now put 3k miles on it over the last year, is the main drawback of an Enfield (albeit a potentially major one depending on your riding habits). for me, its a great bike…i ride it around the city and through beverly glen to work in the valley a couple of times a week, and love every second of it.

      • yipY

        Red-lining a single? Have you ever ridden a 450 Ducati,a BSA or an SR 500? I don’t think you understand the concept.Ride on one day,even a KLR650.The point is you do not have to red-line a half good big single.

  • FastPanda

    I completely fell in love with this thing when I saw the first pictures, but am finding it very hard to justify it against the new CBR500 for a bunch of reasons.

    Actually, I’d probably still go with a CBR250R over this.

    I may have to tear a corner off of my retro-lover card for this.

  • Damo Von Maciel

    Looks nice and all, but I would still have a CB500 for almost $2k less and about the same power/weight ratio. Seriously I can’t wait to see the first road test on the new CB.

  • karlInSanDiego

    They’ve been selling a $2300 cafe kit to dress your Bullet for several years, but clearly, the new cafe’s cleaner and has a double cradle frame.

  • Greg Coombe

    135 lbs lighter than the Bonneville? Even at 1/2 the hp, I think this would be more fun around a city.

  • Scott Jameson

    Sure is a pretty motorcycle. Especially like rear light/fender/seat.
    Its motor is a vintage design with a reputation for vibration and leisurely pace..
    Seven-percent displacement bump won’t do much good for either problem.

  • Hooligan

    “The brakes were made across the street from the plant by the good folks at Brembo” I did not know that either Royal Enfields were made in Italy or that Brembo brakes were made in India.

    • travellin

      Brembo has an operation in India and owns the ByBre brand, which specializes in brakes for smaller bikes. The Indian-built KTMs use their brakes, maybe the Enfields do too?

      • Hooligan

        Ok thanks you learn something new everyday

  • Campisi

    Dealer blurb aside, I’ve heard elsewhere that the double-cradle frame and bigger engine seen here would actually be propagated into other Royal Enfield models in the future. I’ve been excited about this bike since the concept originally came out, but I must say I was hoping they’d put a bit more Fireball in that engine for the purpose.

  • BillW

    It’s a hell of an aesthetic improvement on the current RE line. I hate the way their current frame still looks like somebody grafted a swingarm onto a frame designed for plunger suspension.

    But RE really needs to come up with a vertical twin to put in this frame. Their single just doesn’t have the oomph for modern traffic, at least in the US.

    • Ian W

      They kind of did. The Bullet was one of, if not THE first production bike to have a swingarm. The current Bullet frame is essentially that ’40s design. Agree it’s not a pretty frame though- this one has so much more potential. I expect to see some interesting customs based on the new bike.

  • Guzzi

    Lovely animation about Royal Enfield, so simple yet beautiful

  • Obba

    The main
    question, will the bike come for sale in Norway? It seems to be a beauty!

    • Sasha Pave

      Even if they don’t, at least you have Molte bær.

  • Jeremy B

    It may be expensive for what it is, but it looks like twice the bike my dad’s ’04 Bullet is. His bike, by the way, is a great back road bomb with a really fun old-world engine. The newer bikes are an improvement, but I think they lack some of the charm. Thankfully that seems to have paid off in quality improvements.

    I think charm may be the operative word here. It may not be fast but it’s a unique bike with a single cylinder engine. I don’t think it compares to many bikes out there.

    Also, you LA guys are dismissing it as useless on the freeway, which it is, but we country bumpkins love bikes like this for the back roads and we don’t expect to use them on freeways.

  • Sasha Pave

    Holy crap Royal Enfield has come a long way! If only they made an 850 version.

  • Hansveer Chandhok

    I feel cheated… I was so looking forward to what I saw in the concept, but am quiet disappointed with the production model… All the small changes add up to make it quiet a disappointment, as far as I’m concerned. It’s gone from my “must have” list to the “meh, I might think about it” list… :(


    I dare Hitchcocks to vamp it up with more power , with a 34bhp starting point I think we might see a 50 bhp monster 650 , the frame and forks though not as fantastic as the pre production bike but it looks a great bike never the less .

  • jacob

    Royal Enfield is not bought by its lovers for daily commuting purpose but to ride on the road with a pride.Its a bike which gives you a feel of king on the road.Its brawny,dusky and rowdy looks with a thunder sound just set ablaze the surroundings.