How do you differentiate motorcycles? There are V-twins, in-line fours, parallel twins and there’s the single. For folks who’ve just heard of these terms, there’s actually a world of difference with each one.
V-twins is where there are two cylinders shaped like the letter V. Harleys are well known for this engine type. Parallels is exactly what it means; Opposed twins only belong to BMW. The in-line four is where you see four exhaust manifolds beneath the engine. The Japanese have perfected this without question. A single cylinder engine is the first cell in the motorcycle organism. From there it became a twin, to a straight four and lo and behold, it seems the original cell is coming back to form.
How about the sound that these motorcycles emit? This is a major factor in what builds “character” in the machine. The V twin produces a very distinct sound where people immediately recognize as it passes by. A deep resonating bass note can be felt through your heart and vibration that reverberates within a large radius. An in-line four usually sounds like a screaming animal is coming. A large single on the other hand, is considered by some as a unique drumbeat like you’re off to war. It is evident that aside from the power and looks the sound the motorcycle produces is what makes the buyer make the purchase.
I was riding a Yamaha SR400 for a period of five years. It was single piston and vibrated like you were on a jackhammer. My XS 650 twin vibrated just as much. But I’m not complaining because it is characteristic of such makes. I enjoyed riding it daily immensely because it gave me a feeling of riding in the old world order. But this was years ago. All this was replaced by rubber mounts, digital servos, traction control and obscene amounts of displacement. Gone are those days. Or so I thought.
The Hardcore Bros. who build custom motorcycles brought in the Royal Enfield. It was evident that they had a soft spot for singles. As it turns out there were a lot of riders looking for singles. They have the whole line-up that will make you feel like T.E. Lawrence. Not to conquer Saudi Arabia but rule the insane streets of Manila.
The Continental GT is a single with a kick. It’s a classic café but with all what new science can put in. It features an old school style that draws inspiration from the classic bikes of the ‘60s. The sculpted shape of the fuel tank, the retro tail, 18 inch spoked wheels that are wrapped in Pirelli Sport Demon tyres. Despite its classic appearance, it is packed with contemporary technologies. Keihin EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection), electric starting, digital electronic ignition, Brembo brakes and dual Paioli gas-charged piggyback rear shocks.
At the heart of this beautiful Continental GT sits a single cylinder, 4 stroke, air-cooled engine with a displacement of 535 cc. It is mated on a five speed constant mesh transmission with wet, multiplate clutch. The engine delivers a maximum power of 29.1 bhp (21.4 kW) at 5100 rpm with 44 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm which makes the Continental GT the strongest model in Royal Enfield’s lineup. Moreover, the new Continental GT is not only the strongest Royal Enfield motorcycle, but is also the lightest as it weighs only 184 Kgs.
The tried-and-tested single-cylinder air-cooled Unit Construction Engine (UCE) has been upgraded to 535cc with a re-mapped ECU and lower inertia to deliver that extra punch and responsiveness that is so essential to the café racer character. The only drawback with this unit is you ride solo. This may somehow limit your adventures in social circles though you arrive in glorious form.
With the current trend that is café racing, now you have a motorcycle that brings an old English practice to our shores. Though most café customs relinquishes oil side covers, rear fenders, wide bars and pillion, the GT keeps those elements intact and makes the motorcycle complete in appearance.
This motorcycle in the metropolis will make underbones weep. They are almost same in size but the power will put them in place. The Enfield is a strong competitor in the singles playing field though few in its class. There is something romantic and elegant with single-piston motorcycles. Sure the larger displacements will make you feel macho but these singles gives a relaxed confidence that will make you want to smoke a pipe and have Earl Grey and speak in the Queen’s language. I do.
Royal Enfield Continental GT specs:
Type – Single Cylinder, 4 stroke, Air cooled
Displacement – 535 cc
Bore x stroke – 87mm x 90mm
Compression Ratio – 8.5:1
Maximum Power – 29.1 bhp (21.4 kW) @ 5100 rpm
Maximum Torque – 44 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Ignition System – Digital Electronic Ignition
Clutch – Wet, multi-plate
Gearbox- 5 Speed Constant Mesh
Lubrication – Wet sump
Engine Oil – 15 W 50 API, SL Grade JASO MA
Fuel Supply – Keihin Electronic Fuel Injection
Air Cleaner – Paper Element
Engine Start – Electric & Kick
Frame Type – Twin downtube cradle frame
Front suspension – Telescopic, 41mm forks, 110mm travel
Rear suspension – Paioli,Twin gas charged shock absorbers with adjustable preload, 80mm travel
Wheelbase – 1360 mm
Ground Clearance – 140 mm
Length – 2060 mm
Width – 760mm ( Without Mirrors)
Height – 1070mm ( Without Mirrors)
Seat Height – 800 mm
Kerb Weight (90% Fuel+Oil) – 184 Kgs
Fuel Tank Capacity – 13.5 Ltrs
Front Tire – 100/90-18, 56 H Pirelli Sport Demon
Rear Tire – 130/70-18, 63 H Pirelli Sport Demon
Front Brake – Brembo 300mm Floating disc, 2-Piston floating caliper
Rear Brake – 240mm Disc, Single piston floating caliper
Electrical System – 12 volt – DC
Battery 12 volt, 14 Ah
Head Lamp – 12V H4 60 / 55 W
Tail Lamp – 12V 21W/5W
Turn Signal Lamp – 12V 10 W (4 Nos.)