Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Royal Enfield's new/old cafe racer vs. the future

Ride Apart pit the Zero electric motorcycle against the Royal Enfield Continental GT.
Which would you choose? The new Royal Enfield Continental GT cafe racer or the Zero SR electric motorcycle?

Why would anyone ask? Give the Ride Apart blog credit for inviting controversy with its "Technology vs. Heritage" feature pitting the two motorcycles against one another.

If you're reading my blog, you know that the Continental GT is a modernized tribute to the 1965 Royal Enfield model of the same name. It has timeless good looks and its performance is from another time as well — with an underwhelming 85 mph.

Brakes and ride are improved to make it a sterling example of what the original Continental GT might have become if it had remained in production all these years.

It has a sense of history; of heritage.

In contract, Ride Apart says that the 2014 Zero SR "can go from 0-60 in a mere 3.3 seconds and hit a top speed of 102 mph."

"Zero doesn’t seem to be concerned about classic ideas of what motorcycles are or should be," Jacob Moss writes.

"Instead, they have visions of what the future of motorcycling could be."

The article naturally inspired a long list of interesting comments.

The first, from Nathan Haley, pointed out that we tend to consider the single-cylinder Enfield a "simple" motorcycle while the high-tech Zero is considered complex modernity.

In fact, the Zero is all solid-state simplicity while the Enfield is a mass of gears, valves, pumps and pushrods.

All-in-all, a thought provoking article with no one answer that will suit everyone.

Except, perhaps "I'll have one of each."

1 comment:

  1. Having ridden both it is an interesting question. Zero has acceleration that is amazing. While not a bad thing but it is weird to hear every clunk and clang the actual bike makes with no engine. You also get a feel of how much noise you have in your helmet from wind. On the RE we take care of that with mechanical engine noise so you can't hear it. Zero is a bit scary in traffic because it is silent. Our motto has been "Loud Valves Save Lives. On the other hand if you are relying on your own noise to keep you safe you probably shouldn't be riding. Overall I guess I can say I like both.


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