Riding the Royal Enfield INT650 and Continental GT

We were given a Royal Enfield INT650 and Continental GT to take to our Ride ’Em, Don’t Hide ’Em Getaway and share our thoughts on both bikes.

| November/December 2019

The INT650 in front of a setting sun, complete with Orange Crush paint.

Royal Enfield INT650/Continental GT650

Engine: 648cc air/oil-cooled SOHC parallel twin, 78mm x 67.8mm bore and stroke, 9.5:1 compression ratio, 47hp @ 7,250rpm (at crankshaft)
Top speed: NA
Fueling: Bosch multipoint sequential fuel injection
Transmission: 6-speed, chain final drive
Electrics: 12v, digital electronic ignition
Frame/wheelbase: Dual downtube steel cradle frame/55.1in (1,400mm)
Suspension: 41mm Gabriel telescopic fork front, twin Gabriel gas-charged piggyback shocks w/5-stage adjustable preload rear
Brakes: Single 12.6in (320mm) disc front, single 9.4in (240mm) disc rear
Tires: 100/90 x 18in front, 130/70 x 18in rear
Weight (dry): 444.4lb (202kg) INT/435.6lb (198kg) Continental
Seat height: 31.7in (804mm) INT/31.1in (790mm) Continental, 31.2in (793mm) dual-seat Continental
Fuel capacity: 3.6gal (13.7ltr) INT/3.3gal (12.5ltr) Continental
Price: Starting at $5,799 (INT650) and $5,999 (Continental GT)

Riding Royal Enfield’s new twins

I’ve had the chance to ride a handful of Royal Enfield singles over the years, and while I enjoyed them for what they were, I was never really bit by the bug. Though full of character and enjoyable for an afternoon trek, after 100 miles, I never wanted another 100. Though the torque of a big single always makes for a lively riding experience, I never missed our Bullets when they were gone. I already miss both the INT650 and the Continental GT650.

The folks at Royal Enfield arranged for us to borrow a Continental GT650 and an INT650 to take to Pennsylvania for our Ride ’Em, Don’t Hide ’Em Getaway this last August, and I had a chance to spend a full day on each bike. The two models are much alike: Seats, handlebars and footpeg location are the main differences between the two models. On both bikes, fit and finish is much better than the singles: Everything just works as it should. Thanks to electric start and fuel injection, they’re both easy-to-ride, easy-to-live-with motorcycles. The fuel mapping is clean, without any low-rpm hiccups, and the modest power is smooth and tractable. Both are happy to cruise around town, and while there’s not much grunt below 3,000rpm, from about 3,500rpm to 6,000rpm there’s a nice, torquey powerband. The sound is punchy yet pleasant. S&S Cycle already offers a set of slip-on mufflers that you’ll want as soon as you hear them, and ABS is a nice thing to have, especially in today’s traffic

The Continental GT650

MC ad man Rod Peterson aboard the Continental GT650.

Six hours, with a couple fuel and map-check stops thrown in, taught me many things about the Conti on Friday, our scouting day. The café style of this thing looks great, and the low bars give the bike excellent feedback once the pace gets cooking. The suspension is compliant and not too rigid. In the corners, the GT650 held its line well on power. I found the brakes to be plenty strong and easy to modulate, but then I’m used to vintage stoppers. This is one of those bikes where the experience is a “slow-bike fast” sort of thing. On the curvy but not-super-technical roads we traveled, you could use all of the throttle in most any gear once you had things pointed in the right direction, without any concerns of loss of traction. But I’m just the wrong size for this bike. At 6 feet 3 inches tall, this setup is just a bit too cramped for a full day’s ride. The first 100 miles of the day were great, but after that I needed to stretch about once an hour. If I were 5 feet 10 inches tall, it would be a different story.

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