Royal Enfield has unveiled a new 500cc Thunderbird cruiser at the 2012 Auto Expo in New Delhi, India. The 2012 Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 is a larger displacement version of the 346cc Thunderbird which Royal Enfield first unveiled in 2000. The original Thunderbird 350 was Royal Enfield’s first model to use a unit construction engine. […]
2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT Cafe Racer to Launch in US this Summer
Royal Enfield is launching a new café racer, expected to arrive in the U.S. later this summer. Previously presented in concept form a year ago at Auto Expo 2010 in New Delhi and again at the Long Beach stop of the 2012 International Motorcycle Shows in December, the café racer will now officially be called the 2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT.
The Continental GT is close to being ready for launch in Royal Enfield’s home market of India. How close? Pictured above is Siddhartha Lal, chief executive officer of Royal Enfield’s parent company, Eicher Motors, sitting on a pre-production unit. Lal recently took this Continental GT on a 232-mile test ride down the southwest coast of India from Goa to Gokarna to Mangalore.
Lal chronicled his journey for India’s NDTV, providing several details for the Continental GT. The pre-production model looks fairly similar to the concept (pictured below), with the most notable difference being black mirrors mounted inside the clip-on handlebars instead of the chromed bar end mirrors on the concept.
The Continental GT is powered by a 535cc air-cooled Single, based on the 499cc unit construction engine used in Royal Enfield’s current lineup. The new engine has a remapped ECU and a lighter flywheel, which should result in higher rpms than those found on the Royal Enfield Classic 500. The larger, higher-revving engine should in theory make the Continental GT the most powerful Royal Enfield ever produced. Lal also says the Continental GT weights 15 kg less than the Thunderbird 500, which has a claimed curb weight of 430 pounds. That would put the Continental GT at a claimed curb weight of 396 pounds.
Though the engine is based on an existing unit, the chassis is all new. Instead of Royal Enfield’s usual single down-tube frame design, the Continental GT frame has two down tubes, providing added rigidity. Other specs include a Brembo front brake caliper, ByBre rear brake caliper, Paioli suspension and Pirelli tires.
At Long Beach, Royal Enfield said the new café racer is expected to arrive in the U.S. in July or August. Final pricing is still to be determined, but at Long Beach, the MSRP was estimated to be $7,295.
[Source: Royal Enfield, NDTV]