The Royal Enfield Continental GT isn’t a motorcycle that you’d immediately associate with potential for a flat tracker custom build. The factory-built cafe racer was released in 2014 with styling that caused a sensation and lead to a flurry of interest from people from Memphis to Mumbai.
Royal Enfield started out in 1901 as the Enfield Motor Cycle Company building motorcycles and bicycles, as well as lawnmowers and industrial engines. The company is best known for the Royal Enfield Bullet – the longest-running production motorcycle in the world.
Royal Enfield Continental GT uses a 535cc version of the Bullet engine, a single-cylider, air-cooled motor with two overhead valves, a single carburettor, and a 5-speed transmission. It’s likely one of the simplest motorcycle engines currently in production, and in India where it’s been in production since 1955 there are millions thumping their way through every town, city, and village. When it comes to product testing, it doesn’t get any more thorough than that.
The project to take the Continental GT and create a custom started with Cafe Racer XXX earlier this year in collaboration with Royal Enfield North America.
An open design process was undertaken to choose the style of bike that would be built, as well as the final colour and exhaust position.
The community chose to turn the GT into a tracker, with a white paint scheme and high-pipes – a choice that may not have been attempted by a custom motorcycle garage without this as impetus.
The project was assigned to the talented Sean Skinner of MotoRelic, and work got underway. He stripped off the tank and seat to get a look at the frame lines that he would be working with, it was clear immediately that a new fuel tank and seat would be required, and that new front and rear suspension would need to be fitted.
The forks were shaved and a new set of K-Tech Suspension springs were installed to lower the front of the bike by 2 inches. A set of K-Tech Bullit shocks were added on the rear, these changes leant the bike forward slightly and gave it more of a classic tracker profile. A fuel tank from a Yamaha XT225 was chosen and modified to fit, and the job of creating a matching seat section was begun. Aluminium was chosen for its light weight, a new seat pan was made, and the new seat was upholstered in distressed leather by Counterbalance Cycles.
As white had been chosen as the color, the tank and seat section were sent off to Craig Rutler at Homeward Bound Motorcycles for some time in the spray booth. Rather than just leaving it sheer white, a British racing green stripe was added with a matching parallel black stripe.
A pair of Pirelli MT 90 Scorpion A/T Enduro tires were fitted, these offered the best compromise between on-road rideability and mud-flinging capability.
A new headlight section was made by Sean at MotoRelic with a Hella LED front and centre, and a new exhaust was fabricated that sweeps to the left and curls through the mid-frame to exit on the righthand side.
As a finishing touch, a series of beautiful silver coins by Steve West were fitted to the bike, and the original EFI system was removed and replaced with a more traditional British Amal carburettor topped with a Uni pod filter.
The completed bike has a look that’ll appeal to a huge array of riders, and if Royal Enfield want to really break into the US market they’ll have to consider putting this bike or one very much like it into production – at an appealing price point preferably with some classic flat tracker paint schemes.
Images by Nubbs Photo
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.