Royal Enfield Continental GT (2018-on) Review

Highlights

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

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Annual servicing cost: £200
Power: 46 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.2 in / 793 mm)
Weight: Medium (445 lbs / 202 kg)

Prices

New £6,099
Used £4,000 - £5,900

Overall rating

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

As an overall package, the Royal Enfield Continental GT 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’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.

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.

Engine

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

The Continental GT 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 coming 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.

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

Value vs rivals

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

Royal Enfield are known for the budget bikes and the Continental 650 continues that crusade. The 'Black Magic' colour will cost an incredibly reasonable £5700, and the 'Mister Clean' option will be £6200. A brand new 650cc twin bike with a three-year unlimited mileage warranty for under £6000. Could leave Triumph Street Cup owners feeling a little sick.

Equipment

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.

Specs

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 £93
Annual service cost £200
New price £6,099
Used price £4,000 - £5,900
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 46 bhp
Max torque 38 ft-lb
Top speed 105 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

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

3 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: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 3.7 out of 5 (3.7/5)
Engine: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Equipment: 2.7 out of 5 (2.7/5)
Annual servicing cost: £200
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 to.....so 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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