Maybe it’s still not THAT late for all those of you who wanted a Royal Enfield Continental GT 535; maybe you can still place your order or find one in a dealership near you. But hurry up, as this won’t last too much: Royal Enfield discontinues the Continental GT 535 and will replace it with two new models.
The GT is probably one of the most important bikes in RE’s recent history, despite its short life. Introduced back in 2012, the Continental GT 535 represents the turning point in the Indian maker’s modern days, the milestone that proved change WAS possible, indeed.
Even if the Continental GT represented the dawn of a new era in Royal Enfield’s line-up, its major role was to trigger the change the manufacturer needed so much, and the change in RE’s customers mindset relative to the brand. Renowned for their conservative approach and devotion to classic machines, Royal Enfield gathered a strong following in India and other countries in Asia, but their bikes simply were not good enough to make a strong impression that really mattered in the Western markets.
Used to bigger, stronger, cleaner bikes, the customers in Europe and North America bought Enfields more for the sake of their legendary vibe rather than on-the-road qualities. And with the Continental GT 535 not being a long shot from the classic Bullet, it’s not hard to understand why Enfield needed to take the extra step.
The GT 535 is the foundation that showed Royal Enfield that their efforts are truly worth what the future may bring. It had a new geometry, was cleaner and boasted a new, bolder design that made it stand from the crowd of old models. And people loved it right off the bat. Now it’s time that Enfield introduced Continental GT 535’s heirs, also bigger and better.
At least two twins will take its place, the Continental GT 650 and the Interceptor 650 revealed last year at Milan. These machines should represent the seminal models of a new generation of Royal Enfield bikes, not just bored out engines installed in slightly different frames. RE may have finally understood that there is so much to earn in the Western markets, and delivering bikes that meet the needs of these particular customers could yield solid revenues.
Compared to the 29 HP of the GT 535, the new twins pack 47 horsies, electronic injection, ABS, 4 valves per cylinder, Brembo-licensed brakes, and can be ridden with an A2 license. With price tags that set them in the ballpark of slightly used Triumph Bonneville or Kawasaki W800 bikes, the new Royal Enfield motorcycles may be just what the market needs in this segment, provided that manufacturing quality is also improved.
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