Recently, I became interested in typical 1960s 'Classic Style' motorcycles and the Royal Enfield Continental GT Motorcycle is one I am considering. Its a bike that can be retro fitted with numerous accessories and a choice of optional tank paint schemes to make it your own.
I committed to a great deal of research on the Continental GT and the Unofficial Royal Enfield Forum is well worth a visit. Another site worth a visit is Stuart Fillingham who owns and posts videos relating to his ownership of the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and the Royal Enfield Continental GT.
The Heritage of the current 2021 Royal Enfield Continental GT stretches all the way back to 1963 and the bikes remain very similar in looks. The image below is the 1960s Royal Enfield Continental with a 250cc engine -
The Dux Deluxe colour has wheel rims (shown above) which match the original 1960 bike but the Mr Clean Tank version below and the British Racing Green version, both with the black wheels, are also very nice.
Other colours include the Rocker Red and Ventura Storm -
I notice from the Continental GT images above and on the Royal Enfield Website, that the 2021 model seems to have those horrible mudguard extensions removed. The rear mudguard extension which stuck out under the number plate was particularly horrible and the one on the rear of the front mudguard was no better - the bike is much more neater and aesthetically pleasing without them. However, the front and rear mudguard extensions can easily be removed. Then, all that is required is a (very slightly) smaller rear number plate from Fancy Plates.
The Glory Days of British Motorbikes
The Continental GT harks back to the 1960s and to a certain extent has kept true to the 'classic' tradition of a 1960s motorcycle, albeit the kick starter which has been replaced by an electric start. Hopefully, one day the kick starter will make a comeback on 'classic' retro styled motorbikes.
The Technical Data includes a nice 820mm seat height and a wet weight of 212Kg. The performance from its 648cc air cooled twin cylinder engine delivers 34.9 kW (109 hp) at 7,150 rpm and 52.3 Nm of torque at 5,500 rpm. I am thinking that 648cc is enough for an easy ride through the countryside and to enjoy the burble of the exhaust note.
The service interval is every 6,000 miles or 12 Months, whatever comes first. The valve clearances or tappets required checked every 6,000 miles and adjusted if necessary. Royal Enfield recommend a pre-ride check 3,000 miles after a service but most owners do a pre-ride check before they go out on the bike.
If you wish to do your own servicing, Hitchcocks supply a Service Kit for the bike and all you require to add to the kit is the 3.1litres of oil from a local supplier or purchase a 4 litre container of Silkolene Pro 4 10W-50 from Hitchcocks.
Stuart Fillingham has produced a
few videos on installing the above shocks -
I think if I purchased the Continental GT, I would start with just a couple
of accessories. I would purchase the optional centre stand, and consider changing the
stock mirrors for black bar end Royal Enfield mirrors
Cleaning & Polishing Engine Casing
Stuart Fillingham has produced videos on cleaning his Royal Enfield motorbike -
I would like a very basic 'Classic' motorcycle without all the bells and whistles. I want to feel that the riding limits are decided by me and not governed by electronics. Of all the 'Classical Style' motorcycles that I have looked at, the Continental GT has maintained the original visual appeal coupled with a basic build. It is not perfect but a modern frame which offers better handling is not a bad thing. I like the clip-on handlebars and the long seat with the grab rail at the back. The foot peg positions are further back than the Interceptor to get my legs and knees slightly tucked up more and with a more forward leaning reach to the handlebars. The Royal Enfield Continental GT is devoid of traction control and is a 'bare bones' motorcycle with no rider aids, other than ABS which in today's traffic is essential, especially on wet roads. It comes as standard with a side stand and there is an optional centre stand which is great for getting the rear wheel up and oiling the chain. Its a motorbike that I could service myself, perhaps not in the warranty period but certainly thereafter.
Apparently the Continental GT suspension is a step up from the Interceptor and offers a firmer ride with better handling but if necessary, I could change the stock rear suspension from the Continental GT parts section at Wemoto Royal Enfield Continental GT and purchase Rear YSS G-Series Twin Shocks (AG9368). Wemoto have other parts for the Continental GT, so their parts list is worth exploring.
Stuart Fillingham has produced a few videos on installing the above shocks -
I think if I purchased the Continental GT, I would start with just a couple of accessories. I would purchase the optional centre stand, and consider changing the stock mirrors for black bar end Royal Enfield mirrorsand install the twin compact engine guard rails from the Royal Enfield Accessories Page on their website. Other items worth considering are the Motone Knee Pads for the sides of the tank, and the short Royal Enfield screen as shown below.
I think a pair of Royal Enfield pannier rails and bags would prove ideal and save using a backpack -
A video on fitting Royal Enfield Bar End Mirrors -
Accessory Links & Bike Cover & Premium Touring Seat
Numerous accessories are available from Royal Enfield Accessories Page and the Continental GT could be classed as a bargain, considering just how inexpensive it is, compared to other 'classic' motorcycles. For winter storage in my garage, I would purchases an Oxford Indoor Cover in black. Other colours tend to show up any oil marks which are almost unavoidable when putting on the cover, especially down at the chain. R&G also supply a list of Continental GT accessories.
Stuart Fillingham produced a very good video on a Premium Touring Seat, with links to the supplier -
Shoei & Bell Open Face Helmets & Halcyon Goggles
One item that I will definitely consider is a open face helmet and Shoei J-O Helmets are probably the best ones on the market and they come with a flip down visor. There is also the Shoei RJ-Platinum-R style that has a top fitting small sun visor peak that can be removed to allow you to fit a standard 5-snap GT visor design to stay compatible with other aftermarket compatible visors and shields. Of course you can stay with the stock top sun visor peak and opt to wear goggles or ballistic lens sunglasses. Bell is another helmet manufacturer which provides a great range of open face helmets and is worth considering. Their Bell Custom 500 range as well as their Bell Scout Air range is worth checking. Halcyon probably make the best range of quality goggles and they can be purchased from Halcyon Classic Parts.
See the videos on Shoei and Bell helmets below -
A video on the Shoei J-O Helmets -
A video on the Shoei RJ-Platinum R Helmets -
A video on the Bell Scout Air Helmets -
A video on the Bell Custom 500 Helmets -
Scorpion Red Power Exhausts
Perhaps at a later date, a pair of stainless steel Scorpion Red Power Exhausts from Manhattan Bikes or MotoGB would improve the performance -