Continental GT test drive: The cafe racer from Royal Enfield

Continental GT test drive: The cafe racer from Royal Enfield

Cafe racers are motorcycles optimized for speed. Rather than offering comfort during long journeys, the priority here is on speed and handling and the bikes are meant for quick rides over short distances. Cafe racers are known for their simple design, low-mounted handle bar, knee-grips indented in the fuel tank to aid aerodynamics and low riding position similar to that of sports bikes.

British lineage: Cafe racers trace their lineage back to England in the 1950s and 60s. During that time, the motorcycle culture among the youths developed around cafes which became the meeting place for those who liked high-speed bikes and racing. The youth then loved racing from one cafe to another in modified bikes.

Growth: The cafe racer craze grew fast and spread from Britain to other countries. It soon became a symbol of speed and youth in European countries and America. The British lineage introduced by Norton and BSA was adopted by American Harleys and Japanese Hondas and Kawasakis in several forms. Cafe racer achieved cult status when BMW and Ducati too adopted this culture in the 70s.

Continental GT test drive: The cafe racer from Royal Enfield

For the young in mind: Cafe racers are meant for those who are at least young in their mind. If you do not like the thrill of speed, never go for a cafe racer.

India entry: Since it has its roots in Britain, Royal Enfield is the only company that has launched cafe racers in India. After launch of a 535 cc cafe racer, Enfield now has launched its latest Continental GT 650. Though it looks similar to the Continental GT that was launched in 2013, the new bike is equipped with Royal Enfield's latest engine and other modern technology.

Classic: Though it is a modern bike, Enfield has retained its classic touch. The retro looks begin right from the round headlamp. The instrument cluster is a classic two-pod design with an analog tachometer to the right and speedometer to the left. The speedometer also gets an LCD display for the fuel gauge, odometer and two trip meters. The fuel tank is typical cafe racer. The handle bar is clip-on type. Foot pegs are rear set. Twin silencers are finished in chrome, while the engine gets silver finish. At the rear, the single tail-lamp with orange-capped indicators on both sides is beautiful.

Strong build: The double cradle steel tubular chassis offers good stability and handling. Compared to the Interceptor that was launched together, Continental GT has a longer wheelbase and low seat.

Powerful: The 648-cc parallel twin cylinder engine is the most powerful motor from the Enfield stable. It churns out 47 bhp of peak power and 52 Nm of peak torque. Since it is liquid-cooled and sports two cylinders, it can rival cars in performance. There are no hints of vibrations at any stage. The pick-up is impressive, while the mid range and top-end too are good. Though the seat looks small, it is comfortable, with a forward leaning riding stance. Well-tuned suspension improves ride quality.

Safety: Continental GT offers great stability even at high speeds. Brakes have good bite, with 320 mm disc in front and 240 mm disc in the back. The dual-channel ABS setup is from Bosch.

Ex-showroom price: From Rs 2.48 lakh

Test drive: Javeen's 9447056345