2015 Royal Enfield Continental GT Maintenance

| 2/12/2015 5:24:00 PM

2015 Royal Enfield Continental 

Royal Enfield pitches its retro-inspired motorcycles as simple, down-to-earth machines. Powered by an overhead valve, single-cylinder engine and designed to appeal to novice and experienced riders alike, they promise ease of riding and maintenance thanks to their straight-forward architecture. After putting 1,000 miles on our long-term 2015 Royal Enfield Continental GT, we found the GT to be a fun urban machine, accessible and friendly. Conducting a basic maintenance regimen of oil, spark plug and filter change, we discovered it’s quite easy to work on, too.

The first thing we did was change the oil, which we’ll detail below through photos and captions. A few notes, first, however. The GT is about as bare-bones as they come. That’s a good thing when it comes to maintenance, because you don’t have to remove acres of plastic to get to service parts. In fact, the only piece of bodywork that comes off for this work is the right side cover, to access the air filter, and that only takes one screw. That’s it. Even the gas tank can stay on when changing the spark plug.

That’s the good news. The not quite as good news is that changing the oil is a messy affair. The new unit engines, first introduced to the U.S. market in 2008, have proven to be reliable, long-lived units and an excellent improvement over the earlier engines. Yet they still have their idiosyncrasies, evidenced by the six – count ‘em, six – separate O-rings and crush washers required when changing the oil. And that’s not counting the one tiny O-ring supplied in our oil change kit we never identified, nor is it identified in the Continental GT Owners Manual.

There are two oil drain plugs and a separate drain plate. The oil filter is mounted horizontally in the engine’s right side cover; it can’t be removed without dumping oil on the side of the engine and on the exhaust pipe. Granted, it all cleans up easily enough, but it strikes us as an oversight that Royal Enfield didn’t give this aspect of the engine more thought, especially considering that the unit engine was a clean sheet design.

The other thing that struck us is the poor location of the crankcase breather tube, which is mounted directly forward of the screw-in oil filler cap. That wouldn’t be so bad if the tube didn’t immediately elbow 90 degrees rearward. Because of its location, it has to be pushed out of the way to remove and install the filler cap. Simply running the line straight up an inch or two before elbowing back would solve the issue. Over time, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the tube or its elbow fail from being moved around every time you add oil.

3/26/2015 10:06:24 PM

Just by looking at it in your photo, it looks like the air cleaner draws its air from the inside to the outside of the element. In that case you never would see much dirt by looking at the outside of it.