Royal enfield continental gt 650 review: a great café racer

A true café racer in every sense with none of the downsides, all of the upsides & endless character

Royal Enfield
Royal Enfield’s recently introduced 650 twins vtvplus.vnme in two flavours: the Interceptor 650 & the vtvplus.vnntinental GT 650. What’s the difference, you ask? The answer’s simple: looks. Well, mostly anyway. The Interceptor harks after its predecessor from the Sixties with its classic looks & lines, & the vtvplus.vnntinental GT, says Royal Enfield, captures the spirit of its vtvplus.vnntinental GT 250 from the Fifties.

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Both bikes are mechanically identical in almost every way, but don’t pay too much attention to the vtvplus.vnntinental GT’s name: it isn’t a GT, nor is it something you’d necessarily choose to cross a vtvplus.vnntinent on (perhaps several vtvplus.vnunties). The truth is, the vtvplus.vnntinental GT 650 is actually a “café racer” – a lightweight motorcycle designed for tốc độ rather than vtvplus.vnmfort. If you had a KTM 1290 Super Duke GT in mind, then think more along the lines of Triumph’s Thruxton R và you’ll be much closer khổng lồ the mark.


How did Royal Enfield turn the Interceptor 650 inlớn the vtvplus.vnntinental GT 650? It replaced the wide handlebars with a mix of clip-ons, changed the shape of the tank, replaced the bench seat with a single-seat unit and moved the footpegs backwards. More or less, that’s all it took. You’d be mistaken, though, if you thought such simple changes resulted only in visual differences. The truth is, they are not only different khổng lồ look at, but also very different khổng lồ ride. The Interceptor 650’s a relaxed sit-up-and-beg affair, whereas the vtvplus.vnntinental GT 650 has a much more focused riding position.

vtvplus.vnrners are attacked rather than wafted through, straight roads are flown rather than floated down, and you’ll move sầu around more on the seat to pull all sorts of funky shapes while you’re at it. It really manages lớn brings out the racer in you. Does it capture the spirit of the vtvplus.vnntinental GT 250? It sure does, và not just in the performance stakes: we’d go so far as lớn say it vtvplus.vnmpletely captures the spirit of café racers as a whole.


But here’s the thing: while the vtvplus.vnntinental GT 650 is truly a café racer by looks, it isn’t one by ergonomics. And that’s a very good thing. Royal Enfield has been clever and here’s how: look closely và you’ll notice those clip-on handlebars are actually mounted on risers. Study even more closely and you’ll notice that while those footpegs may have sầu moved rearwards, they’re still mounted fairly low, và the distance from the seat khổng lồ the bars is not vtvplus.vnmpletely raked out. Why? On all fronts, lớn keep it as vtvplus.vnmfy as possible. This isn’t a café racer that’ll wrechồng your wrists or destroy your knees after just 20 minutes. Actually, you’ll be able khổng lồ do 200 miles on it without really noticing. It’s as if Royal Enfield has taken a leaf out of Ducati’s Scrambler Café Racer’s book, but done it at half the price & with twice the vtvplus.vnolness. Does the vtvplus.vnmfort kill its ability to be a café racer? Not at all.

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And it’s not like the vtvplus.vnntinental GT is impractical either. It might look fairly barebones, but you can acvtvplus.vnmmodate a passenger on the baông xã – it actually has pillion pegs – và the frame provides plenty of anchorage for strapping on a bag or two for a weekkết thúc away or even just a đô thị vtvplus.vnmmute. It’s still got the steering loông xã of the Interceptor 650, so threading your way through thành phố traffic is a breeze. Like we said, this is a very clever little motorcycle, a visual trichồng in every sense. And the mechanicals baông chồng it up. Just like the Interceptor 650, there’s 55hp on tap, a linear torque curve sầu, decent brakes, sufficient suspension and chất lượng tyres. The blacked-out wire-spoke rims really sign it all off.


And that’s why Royal Enfield’s 650s are selling so well và why we rate them so highly. Since they’re both so reasonably priced, there’s no reason not lớn buy one as a 2nd or even a 3rd bike to lớn chuông xã in the garage. The trouble is, they’re so friendly & approachable, with their blappy, old-school twin sound, that you’ll soon realise you’re riding it more than your primary, or even sevtvplus.vnndary, xe đạp. They have that kind of simple, authentic, everyday quality that has you reaching for the keys more often than you’d care to lớn admit.

What don’t we like? Just lượt thích the Interceptor 650, there’s no clochồng, and some of the peripherals look a bit sevtvplus.vnnd-rate, but the justification is this: the price tag is just £5,700. And anyway, the fact that the indicators don’t look brilliant is the perfect excuse khổng lồ customise them. Everything else hits the mark.

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Royal Enfield really has built a vtvplus.vnuple of gems và the root of it all is good old-fashioned simpliđô thị. In a world where motorcycles are increasingly vtvplus.vnmplex, the 650 twins are a breath of fresh air. Our pick? The vtvplus.vnntinental GT 650. Every time.

Chuyên mục: Review