Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Royal Enfield Continental GT has classic look

Royal Enfield Continental GTs of 2014 and 1965 share a moment at Brooklands.
The look of the new Royal Enfield Continental GT cafe racer was clearly inspired by the original Contiental GT, built by Royal Enfield in 1965, in Redditch, England.

There was British input into that decision, from Mark Wells of Xenophya Design, widely credited with design of the new Continental GT. There's even a short YouTube video of him explaining how he shaped the new bike's fuel tank.

But there's more to the visual similarity than that, so I was interested to read "Royal Enfield: The Next Chapter," by author Steve Wilson in Classic Bike UK.

It's an earlier article, written before the new Continental GT was revealed. Wilson quotes Xenophya's Wells discussing the appearance of the UCE motor that powers all Royal Enfields.

Turns out that the 250cc Crusader motor used in the original Continental GT back in the day was the model for the look of today's Royal Enfield power plant. Here's Wells talking:

The unit constructed motor of 2014, left, and 1965, right.
"The new engine had to be less Japanese-looking. We bought an old G2 Bullet, and since the new one was a unit, I got old 250 unit Crusader cases from Hitchcocks, and we introduced the Crusader's winged motif; I replicated the points cover with it for the starter motor."

It's an interesting example of how the world turns, isn't it?

Wilson's article was pointed out to me by reader Beau Lethbridge, who found something else interesting in it:. Wilson hints that there would soon be a parallel twin Royal Enfield motor from the factory in India — with two side-by-side 350cc cylinders, like the Royal Enfield Constellation made in the 1960s in Redditch,

"Sources very close to the factory confirmed to me a long-held Royal Enfield rumor. A twin-cylinder model, which has been under development for several years, is nearing finalization and the firm hope to release it before the end of 2015."

That hint is now two years old — and it was "a long-held Royal Enfield rumor" even then. If it's true, that "2015" time table has probably slipped a little.

1 comment:

  1. I keep looking at the R-E setups with sidecars and dreaming of the open road, but hoping those roads don't go uphill. The 500cc motor is a delight for the senses, but with a sidecar is a little short on power for a long climb. They are long on style, and with a 700cc twin, they'll be long enough on power to tug a sidecar up the mountain at a respectable speed.


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