The Cafe Racer !! We are still waiting…
So, RE are teasing us with the Café Racer or what is now being called the Continental GT.
C’mon guys that is the name of a Bentley for crying out loud. Please change the name or go back to plain simple Café Racer.
So, I looked up café racers and report here. Should be illuminating if you don’t already know what it is.
The term started out as a slightly derogatory one for guys who had these racing type motorcycles but did not really race but merely parked them outside Cafés to look the part. Therefore these were called Café Racers.
But this then went on to become quite a phenomenon, lending itself to modified bikes made with low handle bars, lower than the tank, tanks would be longish allowing the rider to lean low, tanks would also be cut out to let the rider grip them with their legs, seats positioned to keep the rider profile low, everything to make them faster.
These bikes would participate in drag racing where the riders tried to reach 100 MPH, which earned them the nickname Ton-up boys and girls. (Ahem! My Classic 500 still doesn’t L)
Typical races would involve riding from one café to the next and back before the juke-box finished a song. Others involved just riding from one café to another.
A very 60s 70s theme really and one that is undergoing some revival of interest now.
|Picture from the Aussie website.|
Personally, I think these bikes are so damn good looking with that retro look. I want to wear a floral shirt, swing a muffler around my neck and ride on this one singing “yeh jawani…”
And in case you want to get in to it too, there is quite a café racer renaissance going on, there is a TV show, a magazine, a forum for cafe racers, there is a site dedicated to showing café racer designs and an Aussie website about Café Racers (with some interesting videos). The one with the best pictures I thought was the Return of the Cafe Racers.
Benji is selling cafe racers for those interested, some really nice ones on the website.
The killer line I take-away from the video, where a chap is talking about riding a bike being therapeutic, “you never see a bike parked outside a shrink’s office” J
I looked at some of the pics of Café Racers and found this one – Whoa!! What a looker. This one is a triumph engine in a custom built bike.
|Triumph Cafe Racer with loads of oomph !!|
Then, one needs to know about Ace Café in London where Café Racers were all the rage. This is where the ton up boys and girls got their monicker as they raced. These races would typically be from this café out and back.
It is still active and here is their site. It is a veritable mecca with bikers and bikes of all ages, shapes and sizes hanging out over there.
The name continental GT of course comes from the Royal Enfield bike of 1964, the GT 250 Continental. The fidelity of the current design to the original is quite amazing, almost 100%. Here are a couple of pictures of the original. I couldn’t resist including one of the newspaper adverts images as well. Classic.
So, coming back to the issue at hand, what about apna home grown café racer. Well looks like RE have managed to actually put one together. Mr. Siddhartha Lal, lucky chap, took one out for a spin recently. NDTV had a photo feature on that. – link here.
He seems to have enjoyed the ride quite a bit and says the bike did quite well.
Eicher Motors Ltd. CEO Siddhartha Lal on the Cafe Racer.
Well…one might tend to think he is a little biased, but then he is also a bike enthusiast, so I am sure it was a good ride.
The RE site has a PDF with some of the same photos and more write-up.
In a nutshell, we still don’t have a date on when they are coming out, it is a vague towards end of 2013.
However, Royal Enfield of Fort Worth, US has been taking bookings for this bike from Nov 2012 onwards, talking about the popularity of a bike still months away.
But here are the specs from what I garnered.
Royal Enfield Continental GT Café Racer highlights:
- Fuel Injected 535cc, air-cooled single, unit construction engine. Higher revving due to re-mapped ECU and lighter flywheel
- The Continental GT will be the fastest and most powerful production Royal Enfield motorcycle
- 15 Kg lighter than the Thunderbird 500
- Improved handling as a result of new tubular steel double down-tube and cradle design for the chassis
- Chunky Paioli developed gas shocks at the rear with Pirelli tyres
- Serious stopping power with Single full-floating Brembo front disc and ByBre single disc at the rear
It is looking like one helluva machine. The Aussie café racer site have already reviewed it from the debut at the expo in 2010 and have said it looks like one of the best café racers to be factory produced, bearing in mind that these days anyone who needs a café racer has to modify.
So, well, the wait goes on, for what is likely to be one of India’s most sexy retro motorcycles.
|The RE Continental GT – set to blaze the streets sometime in 2013|
Will keep you posted till the time we get these on to our roads.