The Royal Enfield Continental GT 650! It is a motorcycle that I have been waiting to ride for a couple of years now. It is one of those things where no matter how hard you try, the stars don't align and things just don't work out! But, a couple of weeks ago, I was told that the BS6 variant of the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 was available for a review. Immediately, I confirmed the dates and reached the showroom from where I was supposed to pick the bike up. Nervous as a boy who is out on his first date, I was waiting inside for the bike to be ready. After a nerve-wracking hour, the bike rolled in and the executive handed over the key to me. I kept staring at her, stardust in my eyes. After all, the tank was beautifully done in chrome! Donning my gear, I slotted the key, thumbed the starter and took off.
As I made my way into the traffic laden roads of South Delhi, riding the bike for barely 10 minutes, I was grinning ear-to-ear inside my helmet. As motoring journalists, we end up riding motorcycles from all segments and every once in a while, you come across a bike which talks to you, forms an instant bond. The Conti GT 650 is not that! It whispers into your ear seductively, the pops and crackles from the twin exhausts transform into a lascivious smile and the bass-laden rumble of the 648 cc parallel-twin engine between your legs just sets the mood right.
The Conti GT 650 turned heads at every traffic signal, the glint of its chromed tank with mirror finish reflecting the wide-eyed expression of fellow motorists. You feel happy and inside of you, there is a warm glow of satisfaction every time you ride the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650. And not many motorcycles in the market, no matter the segment, can boast of making the rider feel so special.
It is evident that Royal Enfield did a lot of work into its first ever parallel-twin engine. As you ride the bike, the first thing that you notice is the smoothness. It is unlike anything you would ever imagine from RE. The 47 bhp on tap comes in fully at 7,150 rpm and there is 52 Nm of torque, which fully comes into play at 5,250 rpm. The company says that 80 per cent of the torque comes in before the needle hits 2,500 rpm and it is right too!
No matter what revs you are riding at, the Conti GT never runs out of breath and there is a steady wave of torque, just waiting for you to ride it. The throttle response is crisp and the engine too is capable enough to cruise at triple digit speeds for as long as you want to. All the power is sent to the rear wheel seamlessly via a 6-speed gearbox, with smooth shifts and light clutch operation. The engine feels as refined as any of the parallel-twins from bigger, more premium motorcycle brands and thanks to a counter-balancer, the vibrations (on the handlebar) only creep in at the very top of the rev range.
Ride and Handling
Royal Enfield did well to tune the suspension too. There is a balanced reaction to all sorts of undulations on the road. The rear springs could have been slightly firmer but there is not much to complain really. The slightly sporty seating position isn't too committed either. You simply crouch forward enough so that the motorcycle makes you look cool. And if it weren't for the exhausts that jut out, the Continental GT 650 does not shy away from corners either. In fact, the grip from the Pirelli tyres gives you the confidence to lean the bike deeper, without any drama. The brakes do well to shed off speed in time although a little more bite would have been welcome.
Well, there is not much to say, really! All you need to do is look at the photographs of the motorcycle. The BS6 variants have the exact same design and colours as the BS4 models. The design is minimalist and classically old-school. The round headlight, circular-twin pod instrument console and the forward set handlebar along with the contoured seat, all of it works brilliantly. Some people may want more features on the motorcycle but that could just rob the bike of its 'old-school cool' feel.
It is an object of desire for sure. The BS6 compliant Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 which connects to you emotionally. Every gleaming bit of chrome, every nut and bolt, makes you want to ride the motorcycle and that is saying something! The design and the performance come together very well on the RE Continental GT 650. It works wonderfully as a daily ride and short highway jaunts too.
The Black Magic and Ventura Blue colours of the Continental GT 650 are priced at ₹ 2.82 lakh, the Ice Queen and Dr. Mayhem colours are priced at ₹ 2.90 lakh while the Mister Clean (chrome-finish) which was the colour on our test motorcycle too, is the most expensive model at ₹ 3.03 lakh. All prices are ex-showroom, Delhi. The only differences on the motorcycles are the colour options. Irrespective of the colour you choose, the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 is going to put a smile on your face every time you ride the motorcycle.