A couple of months ago Royal Enfield kicked off a one-make racing series in its home country of India, hand selecting 18 riders to compete in the series across the country. This week the company announced the production of a new bike specifically built for track use, in addition to racing in the Continental GT Cup. The new Continental GT-R650 is a track-only throwback machine that totally looks as cool as it would be awesome to experience.
I have ridden the Conti GT’s cousin, the Int 650, which uses the same engine and chassis, but with a more upright design and a larger fuel tank. The ride, I assume, is largely the same. It’s not a speed demon, but it’s a ton of fun, it’s lightweight, and it feels like the 1960s. Making a throwback racer from this platform is a total no-brainer. I have been looking for an approachable and relatively inexpensive track bike for ages, and this would be a killer option.
These bikes aren’t mechanically all that different from the street going versions, as made obvious by the video below, which means you get around 50 horsepower and a pretty decent chassis. For track work, I’d certainly want a better brake pad and fluid, but that looks to be the case here. Add in a more aggressive exhaust note from the 650 twin, and a set of sticky tires on bitchin’ wire spoke wheels, and you’ve got a recipe for awesome knee-dragging action.
With the addition of the letter R, you get a bubble fairing for improved aero and 1960s throwback looks, more agro ergos with clip on handlebars and rearsets, thicker fluid in the front dampers and stiffer rear springs, and soft grippy track tires from JK Tyres. The bike a smidge lighter than its street-going counterpart with the aforementioned stainless exhaust, ditching the lights and signals, and chopping the rear fairing, and acceleration is further improved by a one-tooth-smaller front sprocket.
According to BikeWale, you can get all of this kit in India for your existing Continental GT to swap it to R spec for just 1 Lakh Indian Rupee, which is about $1,350. Considering a Continental GT will only cost you $6,199, this is a relatively inexpensive way to get on track, and one I would absolutely consider if Royal Enfield wouldn’t mind importing one of these kits for me and a few hundred of my closest friends.