To be honest, I’ve never been a Royal Enfield fan. All of their motorcycles that I’ve had a chance to ride in the past never brought that oomph for me, lacked that excitement and thrill that I usually look for. Perhaps, the only Royal Enfield that I did like a bit was the Himalayan. However, my perception of the brand took a 180-degree turn when I rode the Continental GT 650 for the very first time. It was surprisingly fun!
So this happened in the middle of when I was trying to figure out my next motorcycle. Coming from a single-cylinder naked bike (don’t take me as a complete noob! I’ve ridden bigger bikes, too), I was considering to upgrade to a more powerful (still single though) KTM Duke 390. Everything was almost finalised and at the last moment, I decided to give the Continental GT 650 a shot. And I’m so glad I did. I’ll share my full story some other time otherwise this piece would become neverending! Fast forward things a week, I got my brand-new Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 in the lip-smacking Ice Queen White! And here’s my first impression about it.
Looks and Design
It’s a beautiful motorcycle; that’s how simple I can describe the GT. Well, because it has indeed a very simple design and construction. And perhaps, that’s one of the best things about it, the simplicity. Also, the timeless retro-modern look is something that I can admire all day long. And while doing so I get a plethora of customisation ideas.
Some of my favourite elements of the Continental GT 650 are the design of the clip-ons, dual exhausts and their sound, instrument console, the shape of the fuel tank, and the overall stance of the bike. And things that I don’t like that much include the rectangular tail lamp and side turn signals, overuse of chrome, and feature-less digital display in the instrument console.
Overall, the GT 650 is a machine that has a good road presence. And sometimes I do get lost in its beauty.
Engine and Ride Quality
650cc, air/oil-cooled, parallel-twin. This was the reason my perception of Royal Enfield changed. It’s such a smooth and relaxed engine; nothing like RE has made before. With 47 horses and 52 Newton-metres, it’s a perfect engine to have in both city and highway conditions. RE says that 80% of the torque is available from as low as 2.5k revs, and they’re right. This machine pulls with ease in higher gears and lower revs; such a breeze to ride in dense traffic. Yes, it does heat up but considering it doesn’t have liquid-cooling, the heat is very well contained.
Since my Continental GT 650 is new and currently in its running period, I can’t really comment on the performance at the higher revs. I’m going to talk about that in my ownership experience a few weeks from now. What I can tell right now is that the ride quality under 4k revs is smooth. It’s so much not like a Royal Enfield. There’s a slight buzz at the clip-ons which I noticed early on but got used to it in no time. Everything else is stable. The suspension setup is towards the stiffer side so it does get bumpy if you aren’t careful on the bad sections of the road, not complaining, just telling.
Braking and Handling
The brakes on this thing are super impressive considering the amount of work they need to do to stop this 200+kg machine. The combination of a 320mm rotor at the front and a 240mm at the rear coupled with Bosch dual-channel ABS gives you a supreme braking performance. The initial bite is not the best but the progressive feel is nice.
The specially developed Pirelli Phantom Sportcomp tyres do a decent job in giving you the grip you need but more on this later. Regarding handling, it isn’t as agile and flickable as my previous naked motorcycle was, so I think it would take me some getting used to but filtering through the traffic wasn’t a hustle.
As of now, I’ve spent only a few days with my Continental GT 650 and I’m already in so much love with it. It’s a fantastic machine which Royal Enfield is providing at such a reasonable price. I’m keeping an open mind about it and expecting to get to know it more in the coming weeks which would make me aware of its both good and bad qualities. So until next time, Ciao!