The Motorcycle Diaries: test-riding the new Royal Enfield Continental GT

It was first showcased in India at the 2010 Auto Expo in Delhi and it immediately caught the fancy of motorcycle enthusiasts across the nation. Now, three years later, as the Royal Enfield Continental GT finally nears production, Eicher Motors Ltd. CEO Siddhartha Lal takes a prototype of this cafe racer out for a ride.

Through this photo feature, Siddhartha, an avid biker, shares what it's like to ride the pre-production model of the Royal Enfield Continental GT from Goa to Mangalore via Gokarna.
The Motorcycle Diaries: test-riding the new Royal Enfield Continental GT
On the first day, I rode the cafe racer around Goa and then onwards to Gokarna on the picturesque NH17, covering 205 kilometers. Being one of a kind, the red, low, racer attracted a crowd every time I stopped. While some thought of the GT as a modified Enfield, surprisingly, there were also many bikers who knew a lot about it. Those who knew, loved that the modern bike is so true to its 1960's roots; and many loved the fact that it looks so good, yet so different from the normal Indo-Japanese bikes.
The Motorcycle Diaries: test-riding the new Royal Enfield Continental GT
On the second day of the road trip, I started off with a swim in Om beach, Gokarna. The hilly approach road to the beach gave me a great opportunity to test the cornering abilities of the bike. The Continental GT was flex-free and effortless around the corners, and great fun too - so I did the six kilometre stretch from Gokarna town to the beach several times!
The Motorcycle Diaries: test-riding the new Royal Enfield Continental GT
While drinking some coconut water by the beach around 55 kilometers short of Udipi in Karnataka, a young man from a neighbouring town came up on his 1979 Enfield and struck up a conversation with me. He knew all about the Continental GT and was keenly awaiting its launch! I continued down the NH17, taking frequent diversions to smaller roads (which I prefer) and had covered another 267 kilometers by the time I reached Mangalore.
The Motorcycle Diaries: test-riding the new Royal Enfield Continental GT
The Continental GT, a cafe racer, is powered by a 535cc, air-cooled single, which is a bored out version of the Classic 500's 499cc Unit Construction Engine - with a re-mapped ECU and a lighter flywheel which makes it rev quicker. This will be the most powerful and the fastest Royal Enfield motorcycle to hit the streets once it goes into production later this year.
The Motorcycle Diaries: test-riding the new Royal Enfield Continental GT
For the first time in more than 50 years, Royal Enfield is letting go of its single down-tube frame. The Continental GT features a double down-tube and cradle design for superior rigidity - a necessity for razor-sharp handling. The GT is set to come with Paioli developed shocks at the rear and sticky Pirelli tyres.
The Motorcycle Diaries: test-riding the new Royal Enfield Continental GT
The cafe racer is also around 15 kilos lighter than the recently launched Thunderbird 500, which along with the higher-powered engine, gives the Continental GT that extra responsiveness and punch.
The Motorcycle Diaries: test-riding the new Royal Enfield Continental GT
Yes, it goes fast. But, it stops even better. Up front, the bike sports a Brembo full-floating disc; and a ByBre disc brake at the rear. Some serious Italian kit on this motorcycle!
The Motorcycle Diaries: test-riding the new Royal Enfield Continental GT
A host of official accessories are already available at select Royal Enfield stores. After the bike hits the market, you can get a GT-branded helmet (shown in the picture above, with Om beach, Gokarna in the backdrop) and a range of Continental GT inspired apparel and accessories from stores.
The Motorcycle Diaries: test-riding the new Royal Enfield Continental GT
This bike truly embodies what we are trying to accomplish at Royal Enfield. To make stunning bikes that are truly engaging at every level, and allow the rider to meld in with the bike - where the bike responds naturally and instantaneously to the body. It's motorcycling at its purest.
The Motorcycle Diaries: test-riding the new Royal Enfield Continental GT

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