Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 India Ride Review

14 November 2018, 03:19 PM Vikrant Singh

Introduction

Pros: Engine, gearbox, performance, braking

Cons: No LEDs, instrumentation is too simple

This is the sportier, younger, and more desirable of the new Royal Enfield 650 Twins. And it's more expensive.  But, in terms of mechanicals, the two are identical. Same engine and in the same state of tune. Same chassis. Same suspension. And, the same wheels, tyres and brakes.  The real difference then is in styling, seating ergonomics, and the way the rear pre-load is set.

 

Quality

As is the case with the Interceptor, the GT too scores high on quality. From the levers to the casting to the paint quality to the fit and finish, it is all very good. Sure, it's not the best in the business, on the other hand, nothing really stands out as a sore thumb either. More on it in the Interceptor review.

Comfort

One of the main differences between the twins are the seating ergos. The GT is racier. It gets lower clip-ons and more rearset foot pegs. It also has a thinner tank, which means you have to grip it differently.  Now, racy they might be, but these are anything but uncomfortable. Compared to the older GT, it's more upright. And that means less stress on your wrists, especially when riding in traffic. 

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650

  • Displacement648 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)47 bhp
  • Kerb Weight198 kg
  • ;

Ex-showroom, Mumbai

 2,71,673

On the ride front, with the lower set handle bars, there is more weight on the front. Add the higher payload on the rear suspension and the GT feels instantly more agile than the Interceptor. It also felt less prone to head shakes which allowed us to ride it harder and with more confidence.

Performance

This new 648cc parallel twin engine is lovely. And it is mated to an equally well-engineered gearbox. The engine is smooth, easy revving, brimming with mid-range torque, and though it doesn't rev like a sports bike, the turn of speed is still handsome. Think KTM 390. Okay, it's slower than the KTM, yes, but not by much. Also, the gearshift, is crisp, consistent, and near effortless; something that we don't see on most modern classics. The power delivery is linear too. No jerks, no surprises, just a friendly build-up of torque. In fact, the 650 twin goes about its business with such ease that chances are, every time you look down at the speedo, you'd be going much faster than you thought. Moreover, the fuelling is consistent which makes riding in the city a breeze. The relatively light clutch and throttle action help in this regard too.

Handling wise, the GT certainly feels more alert and willing than the Interceptor. The turn-in is more confident; it doesn't weave as much as the latter, and it's more game for quick direction changes. The GT doesn't just look sporty, it delivers on its design brief quite well.

 

Braking is strong too. Good bite, good feel, and enough power to bring it down from three digit speeds with ease. Interestingly, when it comes to stock suspension settings, the GT rides better as well. It might feel slightly firmer at slower speeds, but over the bumpy and insulating stuff, it feels a lot more pliant.

Technology

Royal Enfield wanted to keep things simple with the 650 twins. So, just like the Interceptor, there are no riding modes, no traction control, no TFT screens, and no LED lighting. What it has though, is dual channel ABS, fuel injection, and discs at both ends. I guess it can't get simpler than that! Good news is, it still works.

Fuel Efficiency

We haven't tested the GT. But given that there's no real difference in mechanicals or weight, expect similar economy. That's between 22-23kmpl when ridden hard, and a tad over 30kmpl when you stop trying to kill the throttle.

Fitness of Purpose

To us, the Interceptor is the ideal 650 twin. It is a modern classic in the true sense. The GT comes close, and it works as a sporty alternative. But, it just doesn't feel as special as the Interceptor.

Our take

The GT is a fine bike. Much like the Interceptor. But, it doesn't pull on your heartstrings as much as the Interceptor does. Yes, the GT is a lovely thing for a ride up your favourite twisty road, or even for road tripping, if push comes to shove. But, when at the end of a tiring day, the missus asks you to run to the shop, you'd happily go for the INT keys. The GT, not so much..

Photos by Kapil Angane

Gallery

Please tell us your city

This allows us to provide relevant content for you.

Please enter your city
Confirm city