2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT: First Photos And Specs

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Today at Ace Cafe London, the wraps came off the final production version of the 2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT. More a ’60s bike made with modern production techniques than a retro, it should more accurately capture the classic cafe racer riding experience than anything else out there.

We’ve been seeing versions of this bike since January, 2012, when the Xenophya-designed concept debuted at the Delhi Auto Expo, tracking that bike’s evolution to the production model you now see here.

2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT
The 2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT was launched at Ace Cafe London, the home of the cafe racer.

Royal Enfield produced motorcycles in England until 1967, opening a concurrent factory in Chennai, India in 1957. When the UK company went bust, the Indian factory stayed in business, churning out essentially the same old bikes from 1950s and ’60s England. While this new bike is thoroughly modernized, complete with a new engine and frame, it shares its basic architecture with Enfields of yore. Along with other throwback brands like Russia’s Ural, China’s Chang Jiang and ‘Murika’s Harley-Davidson, this is as close as you can get to buying a classic motorcycle, today. It should be noted that, while Harley did away with its kick start in 1967, Royal Enfield has retained its, allowing riders to chose their thumb or foot to start the bike. How’s that for freedom?

Designed from the ground up as a cafe racer, Enfield commissioned renown English tuning firm Harris Performance to design its double cradle frame and basic chassis geometry. That should ensure a sweet handling little bike.

Outright performance will be limited though. The now-larger 535cc single-cylinder retains a very low compression ratio of just 8.5:1, meaning it puts out a meager 29.1bhp at 5,100rpm and 32lb-ft of torque at 4,000rpm. Kerb weight is said to be 405lbs with the fuel tank 90 percent full.

2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT
The new engine is fuel-injected and equipped with both a kick and electrical starter. RideApart loves the “RE” badge on the engine cases.

The upside of such limited performance? The Continental GT should meet the European A2 license tier for new riders. That puts it in competition with bikes like the 47bhp, 420lbs, $5,500 Honda CB500F. No price has yet been announced by Royal Enfield, but its current range starts at $6,000. US availability is expected to begin early next year.

2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT
Aside from the cheesy model, this is as close to a classic riding experience as you’ll get from a new-in-2013 motorcycle.

2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT Pros:
- Classic styling
- Harris-designed frame
- Kick/Electric start
- Low maintenance and easy to work on
- Awesome “RE” badge cast into engine covers
- Great base for customization
- Hassle-free fuel-injection

2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT
Even in these carefully retouched press photos, the cheapness abounds. Check out those tank seams and the triple clamp, nearly as cheesy as the dude sitting on it.

2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT Cons:
- Limited Performance
- Cost-cutting everywhere you look — prominent tank seams; “El Cheapo” cast headstock and lower clamp; parts bin headlamp, taillight, indicators and clocks
- RWU forks borrowed from Royal Enfield Thunderbird; limited suspension performance
- Tubed tires and 18 inch spoked wheels increase unsprung weight, reduce tire choice
- Ohlins-look shocks are actually made by Paioli
- Seat cover doesn’t actually cover anything, the Continental GT is single-seat only

2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT

Despite those reservations, the Contintental GT is actually a strong sign of promise from the Indian brand. Not only is this the first all-new motorcycle in 50 years from Enfield, but it’s stylish, show’s they’re willing to look outside the company for influence and expertise and generally displays a strong grasp of the world motorcycle market and their place in it. Royal Enfield currently produces 175,000 motorcycles a year, but hopes to expand that number to 500,000 within the decade. As such, the Continental GT is a strong start.

  • MrDefo

    As far as the cost cutting – I would imagine that, while also saving them money, it contributes to the “look” that they’re trying to achieve as well. “Two birds with one stone,” as the saying goes. I do wish that they had made the suspension a little more competitive though.

  • Guillaume Béliveau

    29 hp ?? 6000 $ ?? LOL ! Who’s gonna buy this and not a CB500F ?!

    • chupa

      Someone who doesn’t want to looks of a crotch rocket. It’s a shame it’ll cost more than it’s worth but for someone who wants a new classic cafe racer, it’s the only game in town.

      • mikki sixx

        least expensive game in town.

        • chupa

          Actually, the CCW Misfit is cheaper but that’s a 250cc. And I suppose the Thruxton is also a cafe racer but it’s around $8k. I should’ve said the only game in town in that size.

          • mikki sixx

            forgot about tha misfit.

  • Guzzto

    with all that talk of ‘doing the ton’ in the promo video I wonder if this pretty little bike can ?

  • Chetan

    Guys, this bike is for the Indian market where it will also be cheaper. In India this is a pretty big bike. You can’t go that fast so smaller bikes rule the market there. The US and European markets are all after thoughts. Royal Enfield has a huge following in India and they will have no problem selling this. Other thing to note is that Indians are emotional people, so even if there are better bikes available, they would rather buy this for the sentimental reasons. Why do you think Harley is slowly eclipsing Honda, Suzuki etc. sales there.

    • ckoerner

      I’m not from India and this bike makes me sentimental! I’d love to have one next to my 2011 Bonnie.

  • el_jefe

    Just needs this :) http://www.musketvtwin.com/

  • MichaelEhrgott

    29 bhp…yikes…my wr250x makes 32.5 in plugged up stock form.

    That being said I’m sure it will sell very well. The overall look ain’t bad for a cookie-cutter cafe racer.

    • Stuki

      Yammy should put that engine in a 300lb cafe racer…….., with a common tire size.

      • MichaelEhrgott

        That would be awesome. The 250 motor is incredibly strong and reliable for it’s size and it revs to the moon. In stock gearing i’ve had it up to 92 on the speedo. Prob 88 in real life.

  • deathspray

    WT FUCK are those press images???

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      They’re obviously just trying to imitate Intersection Motorcycles.

    • Robert Horn

      Someone, somewhere, is blogging about how yummy, tasty, delicious, etc… they are.

    • Damo Von Vinland

      Agreed, those are the most poseur-y pictures I have ever seen this side of the Crab Nebula.

    • Corey Cook

      I don’t know, I would say this a fairly accurate representation of the modern “cafe racer” scene…

  • pete bloggs

    I don’t really think it matters how fast it goes, people will buy it for the look. I think they’ve priced it too high, If they weren’t trying to be greedy they would probably sell quite a few of them. Royal Enfield might play on the nostalgia of some people but it’s not a Norton or a Triumph and as such it needs to be cheap because when push comes to shove, it’s just a cheap Indian bike now.

    • Lee Scuppers

      Cafe racer hipsters are the only bike demographic more obsessed with style over function than H-D loyalists. If this keeps those idiots from mutilating a few old Hondas into unrideable clown bikes, it’s a wonderful thing.

      But yeah, the price needs to come down.

  • Corey Cook

    Just a little unimportant side note on the cost cutting: every single bike on the market (up to and including the panigale 1199) uses an el cheapo cast alloy lower triple clamp. Out of sight out of mind right?

  • Adan Ova

    Where is that girl sitting?

    • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

      In the back pocket of the guy not-riding the bike, apparently.

  • Brad Snyder

    Maybe honda will bring back the GB500……..

  • Rocket Punch

    When did Royal Enfield became the Abercrombie & Fitch of Motorcycles? I cannot believe none of those models have a hipster mustache….unacceptable. #PBR4LIFE

  • Michael Howard

    Hold on a minute… You mean those folks in front of the Ace Cafe aren’t the staff of RideApart? ;)

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      Hahahahahahah, good burn. Except Wes either dresses like a journalist (wears whatever free t shirt he got at some launch) or like Hamptons/East coaster (pastel button ups tucked into jeans)

  • E Brown

    You know the scenes in the movies when someone looks down and sees a red dot on their chest indicating someone is targeting them? Yeah, hipsters of the world should be seeing that right now. Not since the Bolt have they been so aggressively targeted in marketing shots.

  • Mykola

    2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT Cons:
    - Ohlins-look shocks are actually mounted upside-down

  • Khali

    It looks quite good, but i’d prefer a triumph scrambler over it…classical looks, right sizing for a big guy like me, and a proper seat :P

    • 200 Fathoms

      Yeah, but don’t forget that 270-degree crank vs. 360 on the Bonnie/Thruxton. Sounds a bit too Harley for me.

  • 200 Fathoms

    Was thinking the exact same thing.

  • TFR

    Whats burning in the top picture?

    • juliansr

      Our eyeballs. Oh the collar poppin’ leather studded humanity!

      it’s probably that guy’s sharpie colored chuck taylors melting.

  • Davidabl2

    It could actually be considered as much of a ‘reboot” of the early 60′s 250cc Enfield Crusader, rather than
    being “first all-new motorcycle in 50 years”….It’s not like it was a V-Rod v.s. the rest of the Harley lineup at the time the V-Rod was launched.

  • Davidabl2

    I’m astonished that RE is up to 175,00 units..It wasn’t too many years ago that production was about one-eighth to one quarter of that number.. i.e. in the Ducati range or about like Triumph of a few years ago…

  • chupa

    I’d very seriously consider the F if I decide to get a new bike. I ride a 2000 Kawa W650 and I love the style of that bike. You’re right, it’s not as much of a rocket as the R but it still looks like a very modern bike style wise. Unlike the Bonnevilles or this Enfield cafe, which is classic/retro. I wish Honda would reduce their retro CB1100 to a 500 or 600cc version. That would be a perfect bike for me, EFI and ABS.

    • Guillaume Béliveau

      I’m totally with you on that one ! CB500V (vintage) would be awesome with EFI and ABS. Between the F and the V, I’d go for the V.

      • Stig Sarangi

        think about it, if the rumor mills are to believed, it will retail for about 3000$ in India (its largest market) and going by the current waiting period for the TB 500, you can be sure there are a ton of folks ready to grab one and ride out!

  • DoctorNine

    This is a beautiful bike, with Enfield heritage. If I was starting out riding, this bike would be one of the choices at the head of my list. It’s a machine to ride on, to work on, and to learn the pleasure of getting to know every one of its mechanical idiosyncrasies. That’s what a first bike needs to do for you. And Royal Enfield understands this.

  • Michael Howard

    When you’re not braking you can swerve and/or accelerate out of the danger zone.

  • Slowtire

    Factcheck…I had a 1975
    Sportster that had kick-start only.

  • Slowtire

    Fact check… My ’75 sportster was kick-start only.

  • Stig Sarangi

    Guys, if you are in the vicinity of one and want one, I would suggest to pick it up ASAP, the booking open around festive season in India, and believe me there are a ton of guys who are waiting for this since the first show case. :)

    Sadly due to the quirky Indian norms we get the stalk mounted mirrors as standard and the bar-end mirrors are optional extra :(

  • Dr.X

    Is that a cloud of oil smoke surrounding a brand new (not running? idling?) motorcycle in the oh-so-posed first press photo in front of the Ace Cafe?

  • Raahul Jain

    Great! one!

  • Raahul Jain

    I got test drive today… awesome bike with Great balancing+power+suspension+handling…. I love it!