History on Wheels: 2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT

The new 2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT is a direct descendant of the Royal Enfields of yesteryear, but its journey started in Chennai, India.

Royal Enfield

2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT

Photo By Kyoichi Nakamura

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2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT
Claimed Power: 29.1hp @ 5,100rpm
Top speed: 75mph (tested)
Engine: 535cc air-cooled OHV single, 87mm x 90mm bore and stroke
Weight (wet): 405lb (184kg)
Fuel capacity/MPG: 3.6gal (13.5ltr)/70mpg (est.)
Price: $7,200 (MSRP)

While the new Royal Enfield Continental GT is a direct descendant of the Royal Enfield motorcycles of yesteryear, its journey started out in Chennai, India, where all Royal Enfields have been made since the Enfield Cycle Company went out of business in 1970, after a brave but ultimately futile attempt to stave off insolvency with the 1965 introduction of the 250cc Continental GT café racer.

That’s the bike that the new 535cc Continental GT is ultimately based on, at least visually. It’s also the first step in the plans of Royal Enfield’s parent company Eicher Motors, the large Indian commercial vehicle manufacturer that has owned Royal Enfield since 1996, to transform the world’s oldest motorcycle company in continuous existence into a global player by investing in a raft of new models and a huge new factory to build them in. The new state-of-the-art facility, outside Chennai at Oragadam, has almost 200,000 square feet of covered space, giving Eicher the capacity to eventually produce 500,000 motorcycles a year between this and the venerable old Chennai plant. Enfield was on schedule to build 175,000 motorcycles in 2013 after rolling the first bike off its new Oragadam production lines back in April, and the company plans an increase in production capacity to 250,000 in 2014.

“We’re already the leader of the 250cc-750cc midsize motorcycle market in India, where there’s a seven-month waiting list for our models,” says Eicher’s Managing Director/CEO Siddhartha Lal. “The Royal Enfield Continental GT is the first fruit of the major $22 million investment in our new plant, allowing us to put a dent in that waiting list in our home market, as well as to substantially increase export sales.” Royal Enfield motorcycles are currently exported to 54 countries, with the U.S. presently the largest foreign customer, with 3,500 bikes sold in 2012.

Order the January/February 2014 issue of Motorcycle Classics to read more about the Royal Enfield Continental GT. Contact Customer Service at (800) 880-7567 or contact us by email.