Friday, December 21, 2018

How many cylinders in a Royal Enfield GT? It depends

Royal Enfield motorcycle that was not properly identified in ad
This 535cc Royal Enfield Continental GT is a single-cylinder motorcycle.
Here is the future tie-breaking question for Royal Enfield trivia contests: how many cylinders in a 2014-2017 Continental GT?

The answer, of course, is one. Yet, surprisingly, some eBay and CraigsList ads are beginning to describe the single-cylinder 535cc engined Continental GT as a "parallel twin."

It's not.

The new 2019 Continental GT 650 does have a parallel twin motor. But that is not the single-cylinder 535cc Continental GT that appears in some recent ads.

One enthusiastic eBay ad read this way, until it was corrected:

"This is a 2016 Royal Enfield Continental GT with 535 cc Fuel Injected Parallel Twin, 5-Speed Transmission and Chain Final Drive. When you first throw your leg over this machine and realize that you can either turn the key and hit the button for the electric starter or if you feel like it, you can start this amazing machine with your foot by just swinging out the kick lever and putting all your weight on top of that lever, you are truly taken back in time."

The actual parallel twin Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 does not have a kick starter. It's an entirely different motor and motorcycle altogether.

An instant point of identification is that the parallel twin motor of the new motorcycle appears canted slightly forward. The new Continental GT 650 also does not come with a standard center stand.

The cause of the confusion is undoubtedly mistaken identity after all the publicity the twin-cylinder Continental GT 650 has received.

Continental GT 535 single vs. Continental GT 650 twin.


  1. Do today's young Bonneville owners know that their bikes are twins? Do young Continental GT owners know that their bikes are singles? Do they know that bikes didn't always have electric starters and that British bikes shifted on the right? Or do they simply recognize an "authentic" look? Is Royal Enfield more to them than an old-sounding name?

    1. Many people today, especially younger people, have no mechanical knowledge at all, so how many can figure out if a bike has 1 or 2 cylinders? Most people don't know if their car is front wheel drive, rear drive, or all wheel drive. They barely know where the engine is. It's a sign of the times.

  2. Amen Unknown how true.

  3. All one need do to verify the above comments is read many of the posts and comments on any motorcycle Facebook page. There are detailed questions and comments about the most basic facets of motorcycling ... i.e. tire pressures, petcock settings, turn signal blinking rates.


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