2014 ROYAL ENFIELD CONTINENTAL GT BACKGROUND
At the time of its introduction, the Continental GT was Royal Enfield’s lightest, fastest, most powerful motorcycle in production. To this end, they started by increasing displacement from 500cc to 535cc, adding a larger throttle body and a hotter cam, which pushed net horsepower to 29. The all-new twin-downtube frame was designed by Harris Engineering and uses non-adjustable 38mm Gabriel forks and two preload and rebound-adjustable Paioli shocks on a longer swing arm. Brembo brakes provide stopping power front and rear. Because of Royal Enfield’s British roots, they felt inspired by Britain’s Rockers vs Mods movement, during which the Rockers literally invented the cafe racer. Enfield had already been dabbling in cafe racer and Clubman kits starting in the 90s, and by 2010 they showed a factory cafe racer at the 2010 Auto Expo in New Delhi, India. When it made its second appearance at the Expo in 2012, it had been given the name Continental GT, and the first production bikes began rolling off of the assembly line in 2013, and was officially launched at the Ace Cafe in London, the legendary haunt of the original Rockers back in the 1950s. Royal Enfield’s Bullet-derived singles have been the bread and butter for the brand, selling some 175,000 examples per year in 2014. In 2018, they launched their first twin, a 650cc parallel twin meant to harken back to the British pattern.