Friday, September 1, 2023

Royal Enfield GT 535 set the café style

2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT.
In my book, the Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 was perfect. 

 Royal Enfield dealer Baxter Cycle, in far-off Marne, Iowa (far-off for me, anyway) deserves applause for the wonderful advertisements it posts for Royal Enfields in its inventory. 

Its website entries are pure poetry for fans of Royal Enfields, particularly for fans of Royal Enfields the factory no longer bothers to tout (it has new motorcycles to market). 

I personally admire the Royal Enfield Continental GT 535. Introduced in 2014, it was a single-cylinder café racer true to the look of Royal Enfield's original Continental GT 250 of the 1960s. 

But Baxter tells it best

"First year GT and what a ground-breaking bike it was!  RE’s first all-new bike since 1970, the little GT proved that Royal Enfield was prepared to mature, but never grow up. 

"At its heart, the 535cc overhead valve motor pumped out a healthy 27-ish HP – not really race ready, but good for a solid 70 mph all day long.  Brembo brakes and Paoli suspension gave a gleam of class, the all new chassis was developed by Harris Performance and the styling was totally on point.

"This one was bought new here in 2014 and still wears its vintage (and sought after) first-year-only old-school Royal Enfield badging. 

"It is nearly stock with a few tasty exceptions: 7″ headlight conversion, up-tilted megaphone muffler (sounds soooo good!), and aluminum bar end mirrors.  It has also been fitted with a capacitor ignition so no need for a battery. Just kick and go! 

"The tank shows a few small scratches (likely from a jacket zipper while racing from café to café), but overall it is in excellent shape. Just serviced and ready to ride!"

That line about genuine café racing is the clincher. I'm sold! (Although, living in Florida, I can't say I'll be right over to see it.)

There are seven photos on Baxter's website, one of which shows mileage to be under 19,000.

But what a great description.

I hadn't realized this was the first new model Royal Enfield India introduced outside India (there were some made-in-India Royal Enfields over the decades that we didn't get in the U.S.).

I also hadn't realized that the 2014 GT 535 was the last with the time-honored Royal Enfield decal on the tank. The new logo has the tail of the "R" wrap around to form the "O" in Royal Enfield, a design some criticized as "the trunk of an elephant."

Royal Enfield logo.
Modern Royal Enfield logo has wrap-around "RO"

Its look is more "India" than "UK," perhaps a step away from Royal Enfield's roots in Britain. Not inappropriate, and customers, if they even noticed, didn't seem to care.

The Continental GT 535 lasted only through 2018. Royal Enfield's current Continental GT 650 twin  quickly came along to up the excitement.

But the Baxter ad perfectly captured the appeal of the simpler, single-cylinder GT 535, with its then new Unit Construction Engine. I'll always be a fan.

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