Royal Enfield is the oldest motorcycle name still in business, and as is shown by today’s Nice Price or No Dice Continental GT, it’s still doing things the old-school way. Let’s see if that history lesson makes for good economics.
One thing that’s stuck with me ever since elementary school is the trick for remembering when to use the spellings of principle and principal. The trick is that the principal is your pal and that he or she has principles. You’re very welcome.
Many of you showed that you were no pal to the seller of last Monday’s 2007 Chevy Trailblazer SS since, on principle, you couldn’t see spending the $17,000 asked for the truck. With its miles and mods, the end result was it dropping in a 75 percent No Dice loss.
To be fair, the seller of that Trailblazer did note in the ad that the asking price was just a starting point for negotiations and that “reasonable” offers would be entertained. That means it could go easily for a good bit less.
We all like a good bit less, am I right? I mean, getting the very best deal possible is the modern era’s take on the caveman bringing home the biggest Saber-Toothed Yak for the family repast or, in more current terms, baseball’s legendary unassisted triple play. This is why many of us like to save cash by buying nearly-new vehicles, letting some other dunder-headed schmo take the hit on the inevitable drive-off-the-lot depreciation.
Today’s 2019 Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 is just such an opportunity. It’s a mere three years old, although seemingly ridden off the lot more recently in 2020, and presently carries but 1,077 miles on the odo. With those tender years and light miles, it should make for a good deal if it can be had a substantial discount from new. We’ll see in a minute if that’s the case.
But first, let’s look at the bike. This is one of four models that Royal Enfield, the English marque that’s now built in India, peddles here in the U.S. It’s powered by a fuel-injected and air/oil-cooled 648 cc parallel-twin, which is about as olde-timey as it gets. That engine produces 47 horsepower and 38 lb-ft of torque, and since it sports a 270° crank (a format introduced on this model), that torque is available pretty much when and where you want it.
A one-down/five-up gearbox and chain drive make up the remainder of the traditional driveline. There’s nothing exceptionally modern about the frame or suspension either, as the engine sits, unstressed, in a tubular-section frame. Twin coil-over tube shocks buffer the swing-arm rear end, while up front, there are pretty standard 41 mm forks. Disc brakes with ABS — one nod to modernity — are fitted to both front and rear wheels.
The seller claims this Continental to be “sweet” and to be in “perfect condition.” The Café style suits the bike well with a sculpted tank that accommodates tucked-in knees and factory handlebars that sit just an inch or so above the top of the triple tree. The Café bike lifestyle is typically a solitary one, but this Royal Enfield offers the option of two-up riding with a removable tailpiece that, when unbolted allows access to the pillion.
That’s just one of the options this bike carries. According to the ad, it also has the optional compact engine guards, which the seller says “don’t stick out like goofy ears.”
Everything supposedly works as it should, and both the break-in service and an initial oil change have been completed. The seller recommends another oil change in the bike’s near future. There’s no monkey business with the title and the reason for the sale is the loss of garage space and the reticence for keeping the bike out-of-doors.
Ok, with all that in mind, let’s now consider whether this bike is a deal or not. According to Royal Enfield’s website, a new Continental GT 650 will set you back a minimum of $6,199. Add to that the engine guards, long saddle, and ass-cap, and you’re probably looking at something closer to seven-grand all up.
This 2019 bike asks $5,250 a substantial discount from what that hypothetical new one would cost. Of course, the heffalump in the room is that this bike likely doesn’t have any of its original warranty left — at least the ad doesn’t make mention of such. A new Continental will come with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty, and that’s got to be worth something. Maybe a lot of somethings.
Yes, that does make for a compelling conundrum, and I’m now going to ask you to act on that question. What do you think, is this lightly-used Royal Enfield worth that $5,250 asking in light of what a new one would go for? Or, does the idea of a warranty and that “new-bike smell” make you prefer to spend a bit more?
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