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  1. Everyone dreams of owning good looking, fast motorcycles that are fun to ride. Some wish they could corner like a pro on a sport bike, while others wish to soak in the scenery on a more comfortable cruiser. And then there’s those folk who just want a supersized high displacement motorcycle to flaunt their dominance with at a heated pub discussion. Unfortunately, expensive price tags, high running costs and exorbitant maintenance costs that come with such motorcycles keep them out of reach for many. Just a few years ago, fun and affordable motorcycles in India meant bikes with an engine capacity of between 150-220cc. Change is in the air though, for today anyone who can put up Rs 4 lakhs, can choose between a single cylinder Honda CBR 250R, twin cylinder bikes such as Kawasaki’s Ninja 300R or Suzuki’s Inazuma, a modern day KTM Duke 390 or then even Royal Enfield’s Classic 500. In a largely big bike starved country, the entry of these new motorcycles has seen a vast number of bikers hopping on the excitement trail to upgrade from their plain Jane commuter motorcycle of yesteryear. Responding to this wave, every manufacturer is today keen to grab more share of the growing premium motorcycle segment. Even traditional larger displacement motorcycle manufacturers like Triumph and Harley Davidson are showing willingness to change with times, downsizing on cubic capacity to get their products into this segment. So it is, that Royal Enfield’s Continental GT rides in as a new entrant to this segment, with a difference. Since its launch, the Continental GT continues to command headlines in National and International automotive media circles. This isn’t happening because the PR machinery is working overtime. The GT has roped in global attention for Royal Enfield because it rekindles a dormant ‘Café Racer’ culture. Royal Enfield has gone the whole hog with this bike, even introducing it at a superbly organized global launch at the iconic for motorcyclists, Ace Café in London. Apart from being a classic motorcycle with genuine heritage, the GT is also a very fun package, that could teach many a common bike rival how to kill two birds with one stone. This culture is new to India. Royal Enfield first launched a 250cc performance oriented Continental GT in 1965. The term ‘Café Racer’ originated in the 1960’s and referred to motorcycles ready to race between cafes on streets, with styling that had them looking ready for the race track. But in 2014, is a classic café racer bike worth the money to add character to your weekend ride? An advantage of the Continental GT is this new Royal Enfield motorcycle is undoubtedly an attention magnet. Irrespective of whether it’s on the move, or standing still outside a café, fresh from a wash, or wearing a coat of dust and exhaust soot, this is one attractive looking motorcycle. Its striking retro looks charm other motorcycle owners into contemplating becoming first time Enfield owners. Yes, a 535cc engine that develops 29.1bhp today makes you think ‘slow’, but that notwithstanding, the Continental GT does offer its rider his fair share of modern bits. A frame that’s developed by UK specialist Harris Engineering, gas-charged rear suspension from Paioli, Pirelli tyres, Keihin fuel-injection and Brembo brakes make this quite a well equipped motorcycle. Armed with all this, the Continental GT delivers adequate performance and handling capabilities, offering its owners good fun, without ever breaching many limits. It also comes with good ride quality. So, though the GT looks and feels every bit a retro race machine, riding it considerable distances still doesn’t kill you. The truth is, for the price of a Continental GT, one could get faster and more technologically advanced motorcycles. Yet let’s keep in mind, considering the numerous road hazards that exist in India, one can only enjoy an occasional burst of speed on our roads, and now you’re starting to realize how the Continental GT taps into this reality so very effectively. Its adequate performance can be exploited without calling for too much skill, or effort. Yet on a winding road it doesn’t hesitate to commit itself to your lines. It even accepts mid-corner corrections without much protest. And on the highway, the GT comfortably holds 90kph, with still some pep in reserve. A mere twist of the wrist is sufficient to convert most objects in peripheral vision into specks in your mirrors. Just like a good cup of coffee, the Continental GT is best enjoyed in measured, quality sips instead of outright gulps. Like a genuine cafe racer should be, the Continental GT is aimed at giving your weekend cafe run more character and charm, from an era that laid the foundation for motorcycle evolution. Traditional Royal Enfield fans will fall in love with the all-new, still traditional looks of the Continental GT. It also appeals to those on the look-out for a stepping stone into big displacement motorcycle territory. The competitive sticker price and cost of ownership also work to its advantage, making it sure to strike a chord with a whole bunch of buyers. Royal Enfield has got the whole package right in the Continental GT. The Continental GT is devoid of mechanical complications that hamper modifications. This creates an uncomplicated canvass, easy to work on and customize according to needs. Enthusiasts can use the new bike to spawn further new body styles, be it a scrambler, or perhaps even a sporty tourer. What the Continental GT really achieves is seeing off Royal Enfield’s traditional image of being little other than the neighborhood ‘doodhwaala’s’ bike, that came to him from his father! The Continental GT brings Royal Enfield a hip, young and totally fresh feel, a clear sign of Royal Enfield’s emergence as a modern day motorcycle manufacturer ready to move into the future.