Royal Enfield Cafe Racer

When it comes to selecting the best factory built Cafe Racer it looks like Royal Enfield's Continental GT Cafe Racer could take out first place. The Royal Enfield Continental GT Cafe Racer which is scheduled to be released in 2013 (fingers crossed), sports the first new chassis to be released by the Indian motorcycle manufacturer in 50 years. Along with the new chassis Royal Enfield have added a selection of performance upgrades and Cafe Racer styled parts you won't find on any other motorcycle in their current line up.

As you can imagine this is pretty exciting news but at the 2012 Auto Expo in India the Enfield Cafe Racer was overshadowed by the unvealing of their new Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 which may be due to the fact that this bike is more targeted to markets outside of India. While many are now speculating that this bike will be rolling out of the Enfield factory next year it's important to remember that it was labeled as a 'concept' so we'd wait for an official production announcement before we get too excited.

The Continental GT Cafe Racer is based around Enfield's single cylinder Bullet 500cc engine but no details have been released about any upgrades to it's performance. Due to the stripped down appearance of the Continental GT and the specially designed frame I'd expected that this bike will weigh in less than the Bullet so I would assume that performance improvements could be expected.

The styling of the Continental GT is text book Cafe Racer but it's not all about the looks. The new frame features a double down tube and double cradle design that will definitely outperform the more than 50 year old design of the Bullets single tubed frame. The front forks are stiffened up by an alloy brace that sits on top of the front fender and the rear stays true thanks to a pair of gas filled performance shocks from Ohlins. With this sort of handling it's easy to see why they've also put rear sets on the bike and not left any space for a passenger (I'm grinning right now).

Starting with a motorcycle that was designed half a century ago as a base it's obvious why the GT looks so much like a classic. Enfield's designers have stayed true to classic Cafe Racer looks with an elongated, Manx style tank held in place with a leather buckle, a wasp tail single seat, clip on bars, bar end mirrors and low profile lighting (huge thumbs up from me for that one). The GT also features some high quality finishes including a polished triple tree, brushed alloy switch gear, alloy fenders, alloy dash and minimalist instrument cluster.

As I said at the start of this post this has to be one of the nicest, "straight off the factory floor" Cafe Racers we've seen. It'll a classic before it even gets a chance to get old and I'm sure the waiting list will be disturbingly long if Royal do indeed start building the Continental GT Cafe Racer in 2013.

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