The Royal Enfield Classic 350 thumper is a great entry point for practical rider nostalgia and for general usage but for those novice or returning seasoned riders looking for significantly more oomph and even more pronounced charisma then the new Continental GT 650 Twin is the steed to have. Once again, the model has been reviewed before but I wanted my own direct experience with it to either reconfirm how great it is or perhaps reel it back for revaluation. I am so pleased that I did take the opportunity to test the brilliant café racer, it exceeded my expectations, I loved it!
Let me tell you early on that, I can genuinely confirm that the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 Twin is the most compelling standard mid-range bike in our market today for its value-for-money, its overall design and packaging, and ultimately the joy in creates while you are zipping effortlessly along with its cool clip-on handlebars and unique voice.
Our test unit came in British Racing Green livery which is very tasteful with a balanced amount of contrasting colors and materials. The cafe-racer-styled Continental GT 650 Twin is a middleweight by displacement but it handles like a 200-cc motorcycle on 2 liters of coffee. It is a proper retro-modern standard. The Continental GT 650 Twin uses fuel injected Mikuni throttle bodies to fuel the lovely polished air/oil-cooled, SOHC, 648cc, parallel-twin, four-valve-per-cylinder engine with a 270-degree crankshaft. The valve rocker arms utilize rollers on the cam side and screw/locknut adjustable tappets on the valve side, a smooth power assist/slipper clutch, and a primary gear-driven clutch with a 6-speed transmission to optimize the more than sufficient 47 bhp @ 7,250 rpm and 38 pound-feet of torque @ 5,250 rpm. More than 80% of the torque is available from 2,500 rpm so the GT does not feel underpowered at all.
The steel double-downtube cradle frame was designed with the help of renowned chassis builders Harris Performance. The non-adjustable 41mm conventional front forks with rubber gaiter boots and twin reservoir-equipped shocks (with seven-step rear spring preload adjustments) are from Gabriel. The brakes are handled by ByBre (Brembo subsidiary) with Bosch dual-channel ABS, a twin-piston slide-pin caliper up front squeezing a single 12.6-inch (320 mm) drilled disc and a single piston slide-pin caliper at the rear managing a 9.45-inch drilled (240 mm) rear disc. The wheels are glorious vintage 36-spoke aluminum alloy rims, fitted onto bespoke inner tube-type CEAT Zoom Cruz F tires, specially developed for Royal Enfield, 2.50 x 18-inch rim with 100/90-18 M/C 56H in the front and slightly wider 3.50 x 18-inch rear rim shod with 130/70-18 M/C 63H. The tires are dynamically balanced but I would prefer the optional Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp tires which offer more grip for more aggressive riding. Ground clearance is 174 mm with a 24-degree rake angle and 106 mm of trail, and weighs in wet at 450 pounds (204 kg.) so the GT rides with pronounced nimbleness.
The Continental GT’s instrumentation is straightforward with a traditional yet tasteful round tachometer and speedometer setup that includes a digital fuel gauge and odometer but I wish it had both mph and km/h speed measure formats included. I also wish the lighting was updated to LED for illumination strength, better aesthetics, energy efficiency, and reduced heat. The lovely sculpted tank holds 13.7 liters of fuel with a neat Monza-style fuel cap. The standard mirrors work well but I wish the optional bar-end mirrors (P7,616.00) were packaged together with the Continental GT pre-release. A matching optional rear green seat cowl at P5,890.37 would complete the look too. The great news is that you can tailor your bike to your own tastes at the dealership level with many optional equipment and 4 more available color packages that include the chrome-tank Mr. Clean variant.
The Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 Twin has its own unique sound from the nicely upswept twin pipes massaged by the unique buzzy characteristics of the air-cooled twin engine. The switch gear are simple and all function well. The engine likes to rev but you will not get much more power beyond 7,250 rpm. Best to ride within the sweet powerband and within the limits of the tires and suspension. Acceleration is fairly strong from naught up to 160 km/h, all you will ever need on public roads. The next 40 km/h takes much more conviction to kiss 200 km/h but it is unnecessary. On spindly tires and naked, with modest power and suspension optimized for real-world use, the Continental GT is best enjoyed solo and ridden with reserved persuasion. If you want an aggressive and tactile speed demon, this Royal Enfield is not for you even if it is hugely rewarding and supremely entertaining at normal travel speeds. The steering is delightfully light and neutral, though the rear will twitch a bit when ridden aggressively.
Considering the ease of use, the sublime styling, and the authentic enjoyment that the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 Twin produces for the price, it is a total bargain. The build quality and detailing are excellent. And since it is a 650cc motorbike, you can use it legally on all our Philippine motorways too. So, as it stands, given the unique combination of design, capable performance, affordability, and build quality, the Continental GT is a resounding and characterful hit.
|Engine||Parallel Two-cylinder, Air/Oil-cooled|
|Fuel Injector||8 valves, EFI|
|Max Power (bhp @ rpm)||47 bhp @ 7250 rpm|
|Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)||38 lb-ft @ 5150 rpm|
|Top Speed||192 km/h (120 mph)|
|0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph||5.8 sec.|
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
|Fuel Milage (km/l)||3.57L/100km overall|
|Price as Tested (PHP)||PhP 394,000.00|
|What's Great||Oozing with charisma, traditional effortless use, solid reputation, hugely fun to ride, fuel efficient.|
|What's Not So||H4 halogen bulb headlight (which thankfully can easily be replaced with an LED unit), non-LED turn signals and stoplight.|
|C! Editors Rating||10/10|