Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 (2018-on) Review


  • Amazing value cafe racer
  • Ultra-low list price with full warranty
  • Suitable for A2 licence holders

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Annual servicing cost: £190
Power: 47 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.2 in / 793 mm)
Weight: Medium (445 lbs / 202 kg)


New £6,239
Used £3,800 - £6,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
3 out of 5 (3/5)

As an overall package, the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 is great, if a little one dimensional. Because it’s a café racer, the position is more extreme, so it’s less comfortable than the Interceptor it shares the vast number of components with. It’s only got a single seat too, so you can’t take a mate around.

As a Sunday blast bike though, it’s great fun, arguably more fun than the Royal Enfield Interceptor but as an overall package, the Interceptor is the better buy.

Royal Enfield Continental GT takes on the MCN250 test route

First published on 27 February, 2019 by Phil West

Royal Enfield Continental GT on the road

The very fact Royal Enfield’s 650 twins caused such a stir when they were launched was itself an indication of the scale of the ambitious Indian company’s achievement.

After all, the roadster Interceptor and its café-racer brother, the Continental GT, not only lifted Enfield to a whole new level, they’re even being considered as credible rivals for the likes of Triumph’s Bonneville and Moto Guzzi’s V7, as well.

The GT is distinguished from the Interceptor by its more angular, 12.5-litre tank, rearsets and clip-on bars, plus an optional café racer style seat and cowl, which costs £170 extra.

And, to be brutally honest, inspecting it up close for the first time outside the MCN office before a lap of our 250-mile test route, I’m yet to be convinced.

Royal Enfield Continental GT left side

Sunny Sunday toys like this aren’t usually built for big days in terms of either comfort or equipment. Its 47bhp will surely underwhelm and its Indian-built, budget approach is all too conspicuous: switchgear and dials are a tad tacky, mirrors cheap, and the Monza filler cap a bit flimsy.

But as I hop on board, thumb the starter, twist out a fruity thrumm from the willing twin and blart out of the car park, darting up and down through the gears with ease and dancing nimbly through the traffic, I’m already impressed.

Within half-a-mile I’m completely at ease. Despite the ace bars and rearsets, the riding position isn’t at all extreme and, being relatively light, slim and all-round dinky means it’s also completely unintimidating and manageable. You really do just get on and ride.

Royal Enfield Continental GT tackles a UK B-road

I was pleasantly surprised by the Continental GT and this is from someone who was prepared to be underwhelmed.

Don’t get me wrong: in no way is it a Triumph Bonneville-beater and in some areas it reminds more of Chinese fare than European. Its price is also a little deceptive as the single seat, stylish paint and more are all extra, lifting the price of our test example to around £6k.

But there’s also no doubt that it’s a pleasing, unintimidating ride. Its all-day-at-80 performance lifts Enfield to another level, it has a cool name and look (plus huge potential for trendy customisation) and it should have appeal both to newbie A2 types and downsizing older riders. For a combination of ability, credible style/brand and value, not much comes close.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 Euro5 updates

2021 Royal Enfield Continental GT colours

For 2021, Royal Enfield have tweaked the Continental GT’s air-cooled internals to ensure the bike is now Euro5 compliant. Power and torque remain at around 47bhp and 39lb.ft respectively, with the big story being a range of five new colour designs to choose from.

Prices now start at £6299 for block colours and raise to £6799 for more technical liveries, making it slightly pricier than it’s more upright Interceptor 650 stablemate. There are five new designs to choose from, ranging from the solid red 'Rocker Red' design, reminiscent of the old 535cc Continental GT, to British Racing Green and even a chrome-tanked 'Mister Clean' finish.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The Royal Enfield test riders say their brief for these bikes was to make them fun and they’ve succeeded. Because it doesn’t make huge amounts of power, you can rev the nuts off it and spend the whole day stretching your throttle cables without feeling like you’ve had the shit kicked out of you.

When a corner approaches, the Bybre brakes scrub off speed well with a decent bite and good modulation – hell even the budget Pirellis do a great job of sticking to the road. Riding along you start wondering where they’ve saved the money, then you come across some challenging corners and it all becomes painfully apparent.

When you really start to push on, the budget suspension starts to struggle although it remains slightly more composed than the Interceptor. The bikes are very soft, at the request of the Indian market, and can wallow on fast, sweeping roads but the GT comes with more rear preload as standard, which helps put a bit more weight onto the front.

The clip-ons and rear sets also push you weight further forward, eliminating the worst of the ‘floaty’ feeling from the budget springs. When you consider the price, you can forgive the bike a few faults – there are more expensive bikes with naff suspension too – but it’s still disappointing.

Royal Enfield Continental GT front brake


Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 is fitted with Enfield’s brand new, air-cooled 650 parallel twin. It doesn’t make huge amounts of power or torque, but that’s not really the point and it has ‘enough’.

Down low there’s a reasonable amount of torque with 80% arriving before 2500rpm, so you can chug it out of corners but you can rev it all the way to its 8000rpm redline. The throttle is lovely and smooth too, partially as a by-product of its low power, plus it’s A2 compliant.

Holding on to gears brings you a bit more power while also rewarding you with a fantastic exhaust note. It sounds like it’s straight out of the ‘60s, which is a miracle in a Euro4 strangled world – there are even some S&S cans for noisy types.

The new six-speed gearbox (an Enfield first!) is slick and if you keep feeding it gears it will clamber all the way to the magic ton.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

For the brief 150 miles we rode the bike on the launch, nothing broke so I guess it’s 5/5. In all seriousness Enfield doesn’t have the best rep for reliability but that’s something they want to change.

All the new bikes that come off the line will go through a 1007 point check, which Enfield say takes over six hours to complete. If that’s not enough, every new bike will come with a three year unlimited mileage warranty, so it comes with peace of mind too. Speaking personally – I wouldn’t have any concerns about buying one and it falling apart on the ride home.

Royal Enfield Continental GT has clip-ons and rearsets

We ran the GT's sister bike, the Interceptor, on the MCN Fleet for 2020 and it experienced no mechanical failures in a year of running.

In May 2020 a recall was issued for this bike due to corroding Bybre brake calipers.

Our Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 owners' reviews show a few issues with build quality, but nothing major that you should be concerned about.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The very fact Royal Enfield’s 650 twins caused such a stir when they were launched was itself an indication of the scale of the ambitious Indian company’s achievement.

After all, the roadster Interceptor and its café-racer brother, the Continental GT, not only lifted Enfield to a whole new level, they’re even being considered as credible rivals for the likes of Triumph’s Bonneville and Moto Guzzi’s V7, as well.

Royal Enfield Continental GT turning right

The Continental GT 650's low power (and price) make it unfair to compare it to the Triumph Thruxton R but the old Thruxton 900 is close in performance and spec to the GT and you can pick up a good used example for about the same price.

An even better comparison can be drawn between the Triumph Street Cup, but that has unfortunately also been dropped from Triumph's range.


3 out of 5 (3/5)

Despite its budget price there’s some decent kit. Brakes are from Brembo subsidiary ByBre and they’re paired with Bosch’s two-channel ABS. Pirelli provide the tyres (although 18” sizes doesn’t leave many aftermarket options).

The retro clocks are nice too and they’ve even got a fuel gauge, although they’re not as feature rich as the ones on the Royal Enfield Himalayan, which is a bit of a shame. The fit and finish of the rest of the bike isn’t bad either – the only thing that really lets it down is the budget suspension.

You can listen to the sound this engine makes with aftermarket slip-ons and an air filter below - the Interceptor and Continental GT are the same in this respect.


Engine size 648cc
Engine type Air-cooled 4v parallel twin
Frame type Steel twin spar
Fuel capacity 13.7 litres
Seat height 793mm
Bike weight 202kg
Front suspension Non-adjustable 41mm RWU forks, 110mm travel
Rear suspension Preload adjustable twin shocks, 88mm travel
Front brake Single 320mm disc, dual piston caliper
Rear brake 240mm disc, dual piston caliper
Front tyre size 100/90 – 18
Rear tyre size 130/70 – 18

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £111
Annual service cost £190
New price £6,239
Used price £3,800 - £6,000
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 47 bhp
Max torque 39 ft-lb
Top speed 105 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2018: Bike launched alongside Interceptor 650.
  • 2020: Recall issued for ByBre brake caliper issue.

Other versions

  • The Interceptor 650 was launched at the same time and uses many identical parts to the Continental GT. It has eclipsed the GT's sales by a considerable margin, however, because it's comfier and more practical as well as being slightly cheaper.

Royal Enfield Continental GT-R650 is ready to race

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 GT-R650 race bike

Royal Enfield’s big-selling 650 café racer has been breathed on for a new, one-make race series which kicks off in India later this month.

Dubbed the GT-R650, it’s a factory tuned, lightened and faired version of the road-going Continental GT, which was already the sportier, ace-barred, café racer version of the Interceptor roadster.

It’s been created for use in India’s new one-make Royal Enfield Continental GT Cup, due to take place between October and January.

GT-R650 Royal Enfield Continental

Similar to the UK’s early 1980s Yamaha Pro-Am series for the then RD350LC, the GT Cup is open to both novice and experienced racers. And, with the old LC and new GT both boasting, in stock trim, 47bhp and their grids in identical spec, the Cup promises similarly dramatic racing.

Along with a specially-developed fairing and belly pan, the racing GT-Rs also feature a special, stainless race exhaust which boosts power by 12% from 47 to 53bhp.

Weight has been slashed by 24kg thanks to the removal of road equipment such as the lights and rear mudguard, although by racing standards, at 174kg dry it’s still no featherweight.

Royal Enfield Continental GT-R650

There’s also stiffer, race-tuned suspension front and rear, with both now adjustable; new clip-on bars and new rear-sets to give a racier riding position as well as increased ground clearance. The tyres are a specially-developed, softer race compound by Indian manufacturer JK Tyre.

Riders need to be over 18 and have at least attended a track school or trackday. Applications were via Royal Enfield’s website with a shortlist of 100 whittled down to 18 successful participants.

No word yet on whether the kit will be available in the UK – but if there’s a positive response then it’s surely only a matter of time.

Owners' reviews for the ENFIELD CONTINENTAL GT (2018 - on)

4 owners have reviewed their ENFIELD CONTINENTAL GT (2018 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your ENFIELD CONTINENTAL GT (2018 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
Engine: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Equipment: 2.5 out of 5 (2.5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £190
4 out of 5 Fun, cheap and makes me smile.
13 June 2022 by AndrewR

Year: 2022

Annual servicing cost: £150

Great little bike, very cheap and fun to ride.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

OK, so I know it gets a bit of a slagging for the front shock, and it is soft, but works perfectly well. I will upgrade the springs at some point, but there is no rush. Twin rear shocks are working fine, are adjustable to a degree and the bike handles really sweetly on them, so again, I may upgrade, but likely not. I use as an everyday machine. 45 minutes each way to work and its very comfortable. My pillion doesn't like the stock seat so much and needs a leg stretch after 30 minutes. The bike isn't designed for motorway or dual carriageway work, but will knock along at 120kph all day (75mph ish I think). On back roads and the twisties she excels, and is amazing fun. Don't be fooled by the 47bhp, it makes all its power low and early, so can get to 80kph (50mph) as quick as my mates 1200 Triumph Bonnie.

Engine 5 out of 5

Just runs like clockwork, such smooth easy power delivery, a real joy. Gets to 80kph in reasonable time and never feels like its underpowered on the back roads. On fast A roads, you may need to plan overtakes a few days in advance, but in a way I like that, you need to ride it more than just seeing a gap and blipping the throttle on a bigger sports bike.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Straight out of the showroom, the bike stalled regularly at junctions for no apparent reason. After doing a little research, it seems a common issue with easy fix, just remove the copious amounts of grease from inside the 3 relays under the left side panel and around mains fuse line. After doing so, she's not missed a beat, starts first time, runs like a Swiss watch now. Build quality looks decent, although after 6 months, 2 bolts have slight corrosion, so ACF50 needed there. Paintwork is deep and nice.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Have gone from a GSXR1000 to this, so running costs have been amazing. Its costing me about €12 less to fill and I get 20km more range. Tyres will be cheap to replace and servicing is a doddle and I will do myself, but after initial service, I'd guess at 150 being max price with fluids, not including tyres/chain etc.

Equipment 2 out of 5

2 stars isn't a bad thing though on a bike like this. It has exactly what I want/need - almost. Speed, revs, trip and a fuel gauge. Only think I would like is a built in clock, but a nice little stem mounted analog clock is cheap and looks the part. My one slight gripe is the fuel gauge is not that accurate, in that I still have a full tank after 100km, and then 50km later it goes to 20%.

Buying experience: Paid €9000 here in Ireland, which is far more that the UK by about £2000 I believe, but thats about standard for all bikes here, we get ripped off at the dealer something rotten. I was planning to go to the UK, buy and bring back to Ireland, but Brexit put an end to that idea at the end of 2021 when tax rules on vehicle imports changed. I would consider going to France or the Netherlands if I was going to do this again.

4 out of 5 Great value fun bike.
10 July 2020 by Big Stu

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £150

Good fun and exceptional value for the money.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

Riding comfort is not bad, I have the touring seat and it's decent. Overall handling is good. The suspension is on the cheap side though and will benefit from some upgrades. Rear shocks seem ok but I'm planning a fork upgrade. Most I've ridden is an hour but it wasn't uncomfortable.

Engine 4 out of 5

Engine is very smooth for a twin. No vibes from it at all. Obviously it's not powerful but the gearing is perfect for keeping it in it's sweet spot.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Overall pretty good quality. Some minor corrosion on the rear shocks but easily fixed. The handlebar switches do feel cheap but work ok. Paintwork looks good quality. No issues with reliability.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

For a home mechanic this is very easy bike to service. Unless I need warranty work I foresee so reason to visit a dealer workshop. Running costs are average. OEM oil filter is £23 and it needs fully synthetic oil. The 18" tyres are also slightly expensive, they are tubed though so home fitting is very possible.

Equipment 2 out of 5

I think my favourite feature is the lack of features. This is very basic bike. Speedo, tacho, two trip meters and a fuel gauge is all you get. There are lots of upgrade options and I think the stock bike is a "blank canvas". OEM accessories are very reasonably priced and aftermarket parts are becoming available also.

4 out of 5 Great bike at an amazing price
29 July 2019 by Redpat1

Version: 650

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £160

Wow. I have many bikes over the years mostly more powerful and more expensive than the cgt. This bike has all the performance you need to have fun around the legal mark, its well made, has a long warranty and break down cover. Oh and its a head Turner. What's not to like!

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

It rides wonderfully, only getting out of shape a little when you stray into sports bike territory, but why would you? For reasonably quick every day riding the chassis and breaks are well tuned to the average riders (including mine) abilities

Engine 5 out of 5

Plenty if torque and feels more powerful than the 48bhp on the spec sheet. Has a lovely soundtrack with the standard exhaust. You can get a move on if required but you can especially just trot along at a consistent pace being a little lazy with the gear changes thanks to the torque available.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Well put together, especially compared to a few people I know who ride the great American brand.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

In line with other bikes of a similar nature

Equipment 3 out of 5

Ok so nothing is perfect but this would come close with a clock and gear change indicator, honestly though I am knit picking. I have the small screen purely for visual effect and the bar end mirrors which suit the bike and are very well priced. I will stick on the scorpion cans shortly.

Buying experience: The local dealer down in medway has been great, they seem to understand their customers. Cant speak for warranty claims yet has I haven't needed far. I managed to get a small discount off of the list price.

5 out of 5 A proper modern classic
02 April 2019 by Grant Tipping

Version: Mister Clean

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £300

I've never owned a more enjoyable bike, turns a heads everywhere it goes and sounds awesome even with the standard silencers.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

I'm not sure why MCN didn't like the suspension, I think the models that came to the UK may be a bit stiffer sprung than the launch bikes they were testing. Alongside my Continental GT I own a Honda Fireblade so the bike to handles like a pig compared to that. When I found myself on a twisty B-road with plenty on tight turns and crests I was not disappointed with the Royal Enfield, the Continental GT can more than hold its own for this kind of bike. I have also ridden with a pillion and the bike more than exceeded my expectations, I left the rear shocks alone and hoped it would handle the extra weight and they did with no wallowing what so ever.

Engine 5 out of 5

This engine is a masterpiece, good amount of torque and will more than happily sit at motorway speeds even with a pillion. There is no point revving the nuts off this bike as the enjoyment comes from letting the torque pull you out the bends, also the six-speed box is slick and works great with the slipper clutch although I always blip on the downshifts just to hear the lovely note from that 650 twin.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

I haven't owned the bike long, but it seems to be very well-built and the finish is lovely. There are a few rough edges but for the money I can't complain.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

The bike seems to be reasonably economical, I tend to refuel after around 100 miles but I'd imagine they will do 130-150 on a full tank depending on how you rode it.

Equipment 3 out of 5

These bikes are basic, poor storage even under the seat but the standard UK spec bikes do come with a twin seat. Also as standard is a pillion grab rail and ABS, the Bybre brake offer more than enough stopping power and the Pirelli tyres offer good grip and feedback although they do use inner tubes.

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